Paying it forward

I grew up in Stockholm, as the only child to a Pakistani father and a Swedish mother. I was the first of my family to go to university. My parents set the bar high for me, so I worked hard and excelled in school. Eventually I attended the Stockholm School of Economics, which offers the most well-renowned economics education in my country.

I had no clue what McKinsey was all about when I was invited to have lunch with a woman named Åsa, who was an associate at the time and later became a partner before she left the firm. I wanted to be just like her. She was incredibly intelligent and friendly, and I was so impressed by her. That meeting got me excited about McKinsey. The fact the firm would offer me an international role and ample development opportunities sealed the deal. I joined the firm about 14 years ago, and I continue to be impressed—and motivated—by the exceptional people here.

My role at the firm

I am now a partner in McKinsey’s Stockholm office, and I co-lead the firm’s work in social, healthcare, and public entities, as well as the people and organizational performance efforts in the Nordics. I work with a wide range of providers, payers, and public-health authorities throughout Europe.

Paying it forward
Paying it forward

I do meaningful work that makes a positive impact. I love the fact that I one day can work on rethinking how community and mobile care services should be developed for our local society, and the next day think about how to make more effective use of pharmaceutical spending for our nation. I have helped healthcare providers modernize and build a healthcare infrastructure that will have staying power. There have been so many topics where the work I do at McKinsey inspires real change for the people around me. It’s a thrill to work on projects with such a noble purpose!

Receiving the support required to grow into leadership

I’ve felt supported as a colleague and as a woman in leadership at the firm. Early in my tenure as an engagement manager, I decided to have children. The firm supported me, and my opportunities weren’t limited because I chose to become a mother early in my career.

When I was elected to associate partner, I decided to follow my passion and switch my focus to healthcare. I was in this senior role, wanting to completely change my path and leave the colleagues and sponsors with whom I’d worked so closely. Yet not one of them was upset or felt I was being disloyal. They supported my transition entirely. I wouldn’t have made it during that time without my sponsors. I didn’t know anyone in the firm’s healthcare practice, and I relied heavily on them to open doors for me and offer guidance. They believed in my intrinsic ability to be successful in a new field and took a leap of faith for me.

I again relied on my sponsors when I made partner. I will be forever grateful by how far my colleagues were willing to go on my behalf and the sheer number of people who reached out to help me advance.

Offering support to the next generation of McKinsey women

My advice to all women: follow your passion. You are more likely to find a sense of purpose and be successful if you do. My journey here is proof that if you are passionate about something, people will support you.

Paying it forward
Paying it forward

I am hoping to do the same for my colleagues. I'm the lead for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the Stockholm office. We’ve started offering tailored coaching and mentoring programs for women when they start. We also offer a professional sponsor program for senior women, where we match engagement manager and associate partner level candidates to a partner sponsor who can help them shape their careers.

I have regular calls with colleagues to make sure they are fully apprenticed and connected outside of client service project teams. I am on a mission to help others the way so many people helped me.

More about me

Outside of work, me and my partner - who also works for McKinsey - dedicate our time to our daughters, which gives us such a sense of fulfillment. Right now, we have our hands full with our puppy that we absolutely adore. Beyond this, I am a true design addict, loving anything from interior design to clothes and art pieces.

Find out more about women at McKinsey

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