|Organization:||Internet Society Pakistan|
Sidra Jalil is a Marketing and Research Enthusiast with diverse 12 years of experience of Technology and Social Sector related to Research, Communications, Digital Marketing and Innovation.
In the track of Internet, Information technology and telecommunications, she has contributed to the ecosystem wearing several hats yet the objectives are same, i.e. to promote innovation and support in developing tech savvy society. As a research consultant I have always aimed to drive business growth by synthesizing various pieces of research, understanding Pakistani citizen’s needs and competition information to achieve business objectives. As Digital Media Enthusiast, worked upon Imagery and Perception leads to Consideration. Believing consumer is the next media, always on the urge to explore right medium for the brand promotions. Techy by heart, love for apps and strong belief that technology shines only when it’s used for building relations.
I have been part of the Entrepreneurial ecosystem for over 6 years now and have deep passion for it. I believe Innovation is the key to development particularly for underdeveloped and unstable countries like Pakistan and there is a desperate need to promote entrepreneurship among youth so that they can create employment opportunities for others.
Large businesses in Pakistan, both in Govt. and the private sector have not created significant employment opportunities in the past few decades and this is unlikely to happen in the coming decade. We have experienced a continuous decline in the public sector and government employment in the last few years and are expected to decline more. Large private sector companies have also been slow in offering employment opportunities, and jobs in Pakistan that are unlikely to change due to an increase in process automation and digitization in the industry, which requires less human involvement. Apart from this, the need to bring innovation and mobilize the community can never be underestimated. I have been part of the Incubation Centre namely NUST Technology Incubation Centre and worked there as Senior Manager, contributed as a mentor, partner, supporter and volunteer several times for NIC Islamabad, have been friendly partners with i2i and worth mentioning, I was the first coworker and incubatee of Pakistan’s only Women Incubation center in Islamabad – named WECREATE (which is US-funded program). I also served as their Ambassador hence helped to spread the word about the center itself, entrepreneurship in general and how women's participation in such initiatives can do wonders to the overall economy and country’s growth.
I am currently working with Code for Pakistan as Director of Operations, where our aim is to transform civic life by increasing civic engagement, encouraging the opening of government data, and supporting innovation in the public domain. We collaborate with governments to open up data, crowdsource data collection, and build useful apps for citizens on top of that data. We have our 6-monthly mentored fellowships enabling coders, designers, community organizers to work alongside domain experts in governments and NGOs to build and deploy apps. As part of the forte, we conduct events that spark civic engagement, bring software designers and developers together to solve their communities’ needs, and show what’s possible using tech can help improve the ecosystem.
I am voluntarily working with OPEN Islamabad (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs in America – Islamabad chapter) as their Executive Member. We organize several workshops, Special Interest Group around startup/entrepreneurial problems, networking events, motivational talks and forums to address startup issues. Regular mentoring, CEO coaching and legal clinics are other programs that happens all over the year. I look after outreach of these sessions, logistics, marketing and communication of all these activities – on social media and print.
I am actively working for AngelHack as their first and only female Ambassador in Pakistan. It is a community of a diverse group of Hackers including Designers, Coders and Change Makers with 65000+ individuals contributing to the network across the globe. I am very excited to be part of this group and hoping to mobilize a community of developers and coding in Islamabad as well. From this platform, I with the help of the team executed Pakistan’s first-ever AngelHack Hackathon in May 2016 in Pakistan.
Apart from this I have been part of the organizing team and lead at least 7 hackathons in Pakistan including one based in KPK, One in Karachi and 5 in Islamabad – also been a mentor to 3 Education based startups.
I joined the Internet Society last year and have been part of both the events conducted since then, the celebratory event and the meeting conducted in December in person in Islamabad. Earlier last year, contributed in drafting a workshop proposal which was later on approved to be presented at IGF 2017. With support from US Embassy in Islamabad, I attended IGF 2017 along with senior officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, MOIT and US Embassy.
My motivation to become an active member of the society chapter is to bring diversity to it. I strongly believe there is a need to bring more women leaders, members and activist to the group. Living in a third world country has its own challenges and women in Pakistan no doubt face a unique set of day to day challenges and prejudices in a variety of domains. This is one area; I practically count on young leaders to become the catalyst of social change. From basic improvements like an increase in female enrollment in schools to give rural and suburban females access to technologies and digital solutions, we need more or a revolution and this is where I have tried to add the best value. From hiring more women employees, visiting women-oriented institutes and centers and encouraging them to enroll themselves in more activities. And it’s important to have female leaders and members on board to understand and address the problems.