“After 18 years of work experience, when I look back, it was not easy. Starting from Islamabad to becoming the Coordinator of Department CS & IT at Women University AJK, Bagh was one long roller coaster ride with many ups and downs!
Success never comes easy. Being someone coming from a financial background of limited means, I had to pave my way with my hard work and zeal.
I acquired my early education from Urdu medium government school but the turning point in my life came when I joined Islambad College for Girls (ICG F-6/2 Islambad) an english medium college. It was difficut for me to copeup with english langauge but I did not give up and scored good marks in FSc pre-engineering degree program. Further, I got to work as teacher assistance during my BIT(Hons) at Barani Institute of Information Technology based on my good CGPA! That’s when I found the true purpose of my life. If you ask me what is that one thing that I feel the most proud of, it would be this.
Moving to my MS(CS) from FAST-NU or NUCES (FAST, Islamabad Campus) came with its own set of challenges. The first thing that came packaged with it was the cultural shock.
I knew I had to support myself – from paying the fee to the rentals and other living expenses, I managed everything on my own. But I must say, hard work pays off! I never let any hardship demotivate me. Those sleepless nights of non-stop studying, giving tuitions to pay for my bills, everything paid back.
But little did I know what Allah had planned for me.
I got HEC scholarship for my PhD from FAST Islamabad. As if life had a whole new meaning to it, I worked day in and out to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I also pay fee of my younger sister by doing job at different places during her BBA(Hons) from FAST. Further, I got chance to visit University of Birmingham for 6 months to work on my PhD research along with a visit to Canada. Understanding people from a completely different lifestyle in UK where you have no family to support you both emotionally and financially, was challenging.
With more than 7 years’ experience, I am adept in analyzing, developing, optimizing security, and providing strategic direction in Compliance Programs. I have joined MTBC, Medical Transcription Billing, Corp., on February 15, 2007 as Data Security Officer (DSO). While still retaining the DSO designation and responsibilities, I assumed the additional new role of HIPAA Security & Privacy Officer (HS&PO) on April 20, 2007 and worked till February 15, 2013. I left MTBC, Medical Transcription Billing, Corp., to purse my PhD research abroad and then I rejoined MTBC and worked as an Information Security Manager (ISM) from September 16, 2013 to January 1, 2015. Based on my team performance, my team was selected as Team of the Month (TOM) for December 2013. During my tenure, I was involved in other key activities related to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001 Quality Management System (QMS)/ISO 27001 (Information Security Management System)/ Deloitte & Touche LLP (“Deloitte”) internal/external audits as an internal auditor, lead auditor Penetration Tester of application & software or supporter. Further, I have closely worked on Compliance program with MTBC’s former General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for MTBC which successfully completed its IPO in July 2014. I have visited New York, Florida, Washington and New Jersey etc. to meet clients and handle compliance related activities as MTBC Compliance representative for a month abroad. This work visit was sponsored by MTBC. Further, I have attended compliance conference HCCA at Taxes USA along with General Counsel. Thanks to Ishrat Hyder, the spirit of her team consistently spread throughout the default community.
Belgium based reputed think tank Institute of Peace & Development given me Ambassador of Peace title award in 2016. Further, I have taught different types of courses at different universities e.g. FAST-NU or NUCES, BIIT, WUAJK and UAAR etc. as a faculty member with more than 5 years’ experience.
Well, now you must be thinking why did I come back to Kashmir and why did I join Women University AJK, Bagh? Three words – serving my mother land.
My love for Pakistan is what gravitated me back to my mother land Kashmir and it was the vision of Vice Chancellor Dr. Haleem, to strengthen this country economically through education that brought me here.
And Alhamdulillah, these last three years with WUAJK family, has been fantastic! I also joined FM VOK 105 as RJ UG and enjoyed working with Zubair Hassan Zubairi.
If there’s one advice I would want to give to my students and the younger generation of Pakistan then it would be to ‘Never lose hope and keep at it! You’ll get there with your hard work, dedication and honesty with yourself first and then the organization. Keep in mind, never let anything or anyone make you compromise on your values!’.”
I am deeply grateful to the unforgettable and substantial support of the Dr. Arshad Ali Shahid (Professor FAST), Higher Education Commission (HEC), Zia-ul-Qayyum (VC AIOU), Dr Haleem (VC WUAJK) and Mr. Haq (Chairman MTBC).
Syeda Uzma Gardazi is Coordinator of Department Faculty of CS & IT, Women University AJK, Bagh.