My Dearest Friends,
At this point, after reading your stories, I too am nervous about writing my story. I seriously don’t know what I can write about my insignificant self in the company of these diverse and brilliant women from all walks of life. Every single post I had a chance to read, made my heart swell in pride. The experience last few days has humbled and grounded me. It made me reevaluate all of my own milestones/achievements that I thought were pretty good. Everyone who talked to me, women with shinning resumes shared the same about their insecurities. What I told myself and my friends was that our individual stories, struggles, and successes are our own, and we all did our bits to reach wherever it was we wanted to reach in life. None of our authentic stories can be compared to others nor can they be devalued based on others’.
My name is Farhana Hasan. Shoma is my nickname. I’ve had a Facebook Profile named Shoma Human since the dawn of Facebook. I’ve come to the United States right after my SSC from Viqarun Nisa Noon, and have been living here for 32 years. I’ve been working in different capacities since I was 18 – the first day of my University life. My undergraduate and Masters degrees are from Georgia State University.
I came to the United States at age 17 with my family for my father’s international position. A deeply personal tragedy changed the trajectory of my life at age 19. From that carefree free-spirited girl, I became a cautious serious plain Jane and focused all my energy into studies, and excelled in my undergrad and grad programs. I’ve been working for Delta Air Lines for over 18 years now. I now lead Delta’s partnership integration with other global airlines, and I served as the Delta appointee for SkyTeam Digital IT Executive Board for six years. Although it was supposed to be a source of pride that I was the only woman on the board of 20 airlines, I do not appreciate the fact that such a small percentage of women are in leadership roles. I have to travel quite a lot for work, and my life revolves around only family and work. I have founded a couple of women’s leadership teams at Delta and I am on the Board of Directors of some other external associations.
I grew up in a nice nuclear household of Mom, Dad, and a little sister, with a loving extended family around me, with friends all over Dhaka. My family, both of my parents’ sides, were well-reputed, educated, and cultured, without the greed for money as the way life was back in the ’70s and ’80s. I was a butterfly with books, songs, and friends – carefree and open – I was equally loved and scolded for not being a conformist good little girl.
My wind beneath the wings has been my husband whom I met at age 14 in Bangladesh, and got married to at 20. He has been my constant strength and taught me to be truly free and fearless. We have two very opinionated children – a girl and a boy.
My life has not been as privileged and smooth sailing as it may seem here. For 20+ years, I constantly studied, worked, expanded my horizon. “Fun” was foreign to me. I wanted to be financially independent, a change maker, and advocate for those who didn’t have the courage or opportunity. My dream has been to elevate and to enable others to make meaningful connections for mutual growth. I raced constantly to change systems and processes. And I have faced equal challenges and rewards for thinking differently.
Like many of you, I struggle with sometimes debilitating health issues, family responsibilities, internal conflicts, and numerous other obstacles. But what defines me is my attitude of never giving up. I have always been told that I have an innate genuineness, which reflects in my personal and professional life. That’s probably the only attribute I am truly proud of.
The dream of Her WILL began in the early days of my career when I found impediments to success for being a woman in every step of the way. Mostly from other women. I wanted to change the way we operate – how women think, act, treat others, and reach for the stars without apologizing. That dream slowly started becoming a reality when I climbed up the leadership ladder and had actual influence to bring about positive changes. Highlighting women of substance, their multi-faceted lives, creating a funnel of true mentors and mentees, giving women opportunities to network, create deep friendships, helping each other to think differently, address critical and relevant problems are the key objectives in the first phase of Her WILL.
In our vision, Her WILL is a platform “of the women, by the women, for the women” independent of race, religion, color, or any other constraints.
I have been privileged to have been surrounded by amazing friends all over the world who love me unconditionally. Each of my friends enriches me and most are working hard to make this world a better place on a daily basis. They inspire me.
As I write this, we are carefully working on goals, objectives, structure, and near-term agenda while we highlight our incredible members. Please have trust in us. With your encouragement and support, we will develop a program that will benefit us all. Please feel free to reach out to us to engage further. Until then, stay well and safe in this unprecedented crisis.
I would like to sincerely thank each one of you who joined, showcased their amazing stories, supported us with positivity, and elevated our collective platform.
Farhana Hasan Shoma