As the CEO and Founder of Excel Consulting, I have spent two decades driving women-led international development projects in Asian regions and beyond. By cultivating international partnerships and humanitarian bridges among decision makers, societal figures, and political catalysts, my primary focus has specifically been to impact and elevate women and girls in crises through the mastery of scalable trade practices. As a connector of political worlds, my entire career has encompassed creating critical gateways for resources and opportunities to flow to women who need it most in parts of the world ravaged by war and oppression. Since stepping onto the world stage, I have been running Excel Consulting, training hundreds of female entrepreneurs, organizing trade shows and conferences, and producing fashion shows in London, Germany, India, and at the US Bagram Airbase. My greatest accomplishment has been to inspire the life foundation for thousands of women in business, overcoming socio-political instability in my ancestral homeland, and igniting culturally unifying stories that demand female voices, equity and leadership.
During my career supporting women in securing economic well-being, I served in chief executive roles for USAID-funded projects like Home-Based Workers’ Network (HBWN) and Trade Show Support (TSS), leveraging the technical, financial, and administrative resources of multinational firms such as Deloitte, Chemonics International, DAI, and Davis Management Group. While holding responsibility for millions of dollars in transactions and time-sensitive deliverables, I administered vocational training protocols to thousands of entrepreneurs, organizing trade shows between investor, business, and consumer, and sparking critical discourse for these initiatives through conference appearances. With every new case study, the implications of my firm’s work have built a replicable leadership development path for women in communities where their voices have been violently oppressed.
To honor all hard-working women, I often look to history for the answers to solve problems in scaling programmatic capacity and doing what is necessary to fund the development of the most promising female leaders. Before the war, women were found in the upper echelons of government, medicine, law and other crucial civil development and societal roles. As female participation rates in society plummeted due to the transfer of power, Afghanistan took many steps back in female equality, relegating most women to roles within the home. In 2002, female school enrollment and overall participation rates in the economy and civil society began to recover again. My deep connections among US, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian governments influenced how positions of power partner with tomorrow’s women leaders. Unfortunately, the most recent transfer of power in Afghanistan has yet again caused regression in the progress of women’s economic development.
Following three decades of war, I founded the Afghanistan World Wide Shopping Online Mall (AWWSOM), operating a factory for three years. In my initial quest to scale “Made in Afghanistan” by women for the world to see, the shop sadly had to close under political instability.
Over the last decade, my work has been recognizable in conversations that bridge ancient creative culture to both the visions of political progressives and the curious traveler with a meticulous eye. With frequent journeys between my home in Virginia to my ancient homeland of Afghanistan, my hope was to reinvent access to its creativity for the rest of the world.
There is so much left to do for women all over the world. As we seek to participate in the doing and seeing of cultural beauty beyond just the messages of the mainstream media, my mission will always be to deliver the critical resources needed by women through hands-on participation in society’s development. Women must be full partners in all decisions if marginalized world regions are to recapture peace and stability.
At the root of my global movement, creative inspiration will continue to inspire my current ventures to empower women economically through handicrafts.