Updated: Jan 30
Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Mahfooz Azeez, Energy Data Analyst @ the University of Calgary, AB, Canada
How could you describe your career path in few words?
I had a very interesting career path during my journey in the Computer Science world. My professional expertise variesfrom working in Private industriesto Federal Government, and then to Provincial Governments across different domains. Considering myself as a multi-potentialite, I hold strong experience in multiple roles across different portfolios. Starting my career in the start-up world has leveraged my IT skills to interact with clients and learn new skill sets. I believe this is very critical to work in a fast-paced IT industry.
During my time at the University, I was fortunate enough to compete and complete internships and Co-ops with the Government of Canada as an IT Analyst in the Infrastructure and Project side. With the advent of new technologies like cloud computing and sensor-based technologies has transitioned my interest towards the Internet of Things (IoT) and sparked my interest in Industry 4.0 and automation. This has transitioned me to a deep dive into the technology world. Furthermore, having worked in the health organization amidst the pandemic as a Project and Data Analyst with the Provincial Government leveraged my skill sets to be flexible and adaptable to the virtual world in the fast-paced industry.
Currently working as a Data Analyst in the Sustainability, Energy, and Planning department at the University, I take great pride to work in an esteemed organization that values people, culture, its mission, and vision. Working with the engineering team has dusted off my creative mind that leveraged ideas and innovations to provide solutions.
What was your most challenging experience, and it has changed your mindset?
The most challenging experience for me was not knowing the right people at the right time. Being a people person, I found it a challenging to narrow down the people for resources. Most of the time, I had to continue with my own investigation and figure out things on my own- for academics, and for professional work.
During my time at the University there were a lot of challenges that hit me hard. There were times when I was not able to execute the fall-back plan and felt like losing myself. This is when I had an epiphany that said to myself- “This too shall pass”! I learnt the art of being resilient, and used the lessons learnt during challenging times as a springboard to pursue success. As I walk and run to find happiness, peace, and success, I remind myself to be patient, kind and humble throughout my journey. This reminds me of the lines said by Robert Frost- “Two roads diverged in the woods, and I chose the path less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”.
What’s the most important key success factor for you based on your experience?
Based on my experience, the most important factor for success factor is resiliency. It is often said that tough times don’t last but tough people do! I have learnt this the hard way during my time at the University. Life teaches your many lessons that you need to sit back for a minute and reflect upon them. People looking to succeed need to be patient and persevere to achieve their goal. Lastly, they need to have grit in them to get up after falling seven times and keep moving forward to succeed in life. I recall one of the TED talks by Angela Duckworth that I watched recently who spoke about Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. It could sum up my success factor to a great extent.
Adding on, I have met people with great potential and brilliant minds in their academics and at work but couldn’t perform enough to reach where they could have been at present. This could be due to multiple reasons that include lack of passion, a good support system, or not having a clear and concise goal. It is “Okay” to not know your ambition and goal. As long as people are resilient enough, they will be able to figure out a solution to the problem and keep moving forward. I believe that’s how winning is done!
What would be the major pitfall that may undermine the success of a leader?
According to me, the major pitfall that may undermine the success of a leader is micromanaging their employees and colleagues. I strongly believe that as a leader, they will have to walk on the edge and lean forward. Being a leader takes time, effort, and commitment. Personally, leadership to me is not about being in charge, rather it is more about taking care of those people in our charge. Micromanaging the employees at work is a major backlash to a true leader. This makes the employees to underperform as compared to their peers and creates a toxic work environment. Being picky or bossy with their peers also affects the mental health of the employees at work and eventually leading to resignation.
Secondly, I would add that the success of a leader also depends up on the relationship with people. This could be with their peers, employees, or colleagues. Having attended leadership sessions and workshops at workplace and at the University, I want to keep emphasizing the significance of building relationship with people. A lack of people trusts and a good relationship with people is a key indicator to undermine the success of a leader. Lastly, I would add that leaders take a hit when they are not accountable to their actions and get their employees back when they needed the most. Their success is undermined to a great extent when they tend to listen less and talk more!