Azhar Rizvi, CEO

Author, Serial Entrepreneur, Consultant, Trainer and Coach

Azhar Rizvi is an author, consultant, trainer, coach and master strategist who helps people and organizations achieve high growth targets. He has helped more than 450+ firms redefine business strategy to scale up operations, from few hundred thousand to multi-million dollars’ global operations.

He started his career marketing IT services, with leading firms, including NCR, AT&T and Unisys and rising to Director Sales & Marketing from Sales Executive in a short span of 10 years. During his career, he managed and grew the sales portfolio, handling major multimillion dollar relationships with major accounts like PTCL, GHQ, Habib Bank, UBL, ABL, Federal Ministry of Finance, ABN Amro, Standard Chartered Bank, MSD, BASF among others. In 1999, he decided to enter the entrepreneurial world and launched two highly successful IT firms which serviced which grew to over 1500 strong workforce with largest BPO Services serving major banks like HBL, UBL, Emirates Bank with multimillion-dollar operations.

Since 2007, he has been working as an ecosystem enabler and has trained 10,000+ student teams, faculty, start-ups and mid-size organizations to develop their business plans and growth strategies and launching successful ventures. He has been instrumental in cultivating an environment of promoting entrepreneurship at various universities through business plan competitions, hackathons, innovation cups, startup weekends and other forums. He has served as Chairman, Standing Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI). He is also co-founder of MIT-Enterprise Forum of Pakistan, Pakathon Global, OPEN Pakistan amongst others. He also advises the government and many universities in their entrepreneurship initiatives. He is currently he is the CEO of Cambridge Advisors Network and on the board of several social initiatives including Women’s Digital League and Pakathon International.

He has authored the book, “Entrepreneuring Pakistan- 27 stories of struggle, failure and success” which details the challenges of 27 mentee organizations – in the technology, social, research and students- which have broken the barriers and achieved exponential 10X+ growth per annum.

Azhar also pays an active part in philanthropic and social circles and has implemented several key initiatives in the healthcare, education for normal and special kids, law and order, Disaster Relief Management System during Earthquake and Flood Relief as part of Rotary Global.

Syed Saqib Hasan, COO & Consultant

Syed Saqib Hasan is a career IT professional and has an extensive experience of more than 45 years to his credit in Development, System designing, Project management, Operations management, and Consultancy etc. During his long spell in the field he attended various management seminars and certification courses locally & overseas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Karachi University and a DIPL. In IT from Control Data Institute of Technology Frankfurt Germany. During initial stages of his career he worked for American Express Bank Frankfurt and Fresenius KG(a pharmaceutical co.) in Germany as programmer.

After shifting back to Pakistan in 1980 he joined HBL and during his long span with bank he handled various challenging assignments in IT Group as Sr. programmer, Sr. Systems Analyst, Project manager, IT and branch manager of bank’s Srilanken operation, head of the bank’s largest IT center at Karachi and as the SVP and Head of bank’s entire IT operations. As operations head he supervised ten IT centers countrywide, responsible for the formation of IT infrastructure policy and implementation strategy, development of infrastructure, deployment of software, procurement and deployment of hardware, maintenance of branches and Head office IT infrastructure and operations of Bank’s local and international Data center catering pan Pakistan, Middle East and Far East branches. He was also responsible for the marketing and maintenance of Bank’s in house developed Shares and Inventory packages which produced large amount of revenue for the bank. He led the operations team to consolidate and convert the data of 1450 plus branches to a single data base, paving the way for implementing the currently in-use banking package (MISYS).

After working for the bank till 2011, he joined a large IT company as Group Head operations for one and a half year and then persuaded to work as an independent IT consultant, rendering his services to help organizations in streamlining their IT setups. During the last five years he has provided his expertise in implementing HIMS and ERP solutions in health and trade / industrial sector organizations like Civil Hospital Karachi, Altamash Dental Hospital, Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Alshaheer Corporation etc.

Muhammad Haseeb Ali, Consultant Central Region

A graduate in economics from Govt. college University Lahore Muhammad Haseeb Ali is an experienced professional in overall Banking operations and IT with 38 years to his credit having served 30 years in senior managerial positions as Head of IT operations of HBL across three continents of the world. He holds command in controlling, monitoring, coordinating, planning and organizing the team with efficiency resulting in increased profitability through technology.

An effective ICT Head with skills necessary to direct, train and motivate staff to its fullest potential to face ICT and business challenges with experience of analyzing and designing Systems with complete set of User and Operational Documentation. He is well conversant with IT Policy standards & Control procedures implementation. He supervised the construction of backup sites and coordinated disaster recovery drills for Business Continuity Management.

He supervised the networking team of HBL for secured LAN / WAN with encryption to handle Data, Voice, and video for optimum performance. He has experience of Implementing, administrating Core Banking systems. MIS Systems, Image-based Clearing Systems, Real Time Gross Settlement Systems, SWIFT, ATM, E-mail and other product services modules.

He has experience of Migrating the core banking system on various IBM and Microsoft Platforms.

During his long career with HBL, he had the opportunity of designing different allied systems for Bank and the customers. He has attended scores of Seminars, workshops and training courses. He is a team player and holds good interpersonal skills. After retirement, he has joined CAN as a consultant for Central Region.

Tahir Javid Butt, Consultant Northern Region

Mr. Tahir Javid Butt brings with him 35 years of core IT experience, after handling different important assignments in HBL with dedication and zeal he rose to the position of DGM and Head of IT operations North and Central Regions of HBL’s IT domain consisting of 7 IT centers and 15 business regions with 1296 branches,1486 ATMs and 8346 users. Mr. Butt is a thorough IT professional and a team player who as a head did not limit his responsibilities to IT infrastructure development, ATM deployment, Vendor management, set up online branches, create user manuals but also build up teams at regional levels to sustain & support internal and external users. He ensured good IT governance through administrative and financial control, timely remedial actions, un-interrupted online banking services 24x7, optimum resource utilization, and employee development by providing in-house & through L&D training. He ensured timely and efficient deployment of new projects, releases, ensured compliance of IT security at all installations. By coordinating with L&D he ensured adequate user training for making the best user of IT products and available infrastructure. Provided IT-related guidance to branches and controlling offices especially to resolve the IT audit observations. Maintained working environment based on the organization's core values of excellence, meritocracy, integrity, customer focus, progressiveness and code of ethics & business conduct for staff.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in IT and during his long IT career has attended various workshops, seminars and training courses including IT security & control, Risk management, Business continuity management, etc. which strengthen his capabilities. He is an excellent IT professional and has very strong interpersonal skills. After retirement from HBL in 2019, he is now working as a consultant for CAN’s Northern area operations.

Haniya Mudassar, General Manager

Haniya Mudassar is a serial Entrepreneur since 2003, getting hands-on with three start-ups she is well accustomed with the dynamic eco-system. Haniya holds a MBA and a Masters in Human Resource Management. Since 2010 she developed deep interest in learning and cognitive skills, that took her to trainings in British Council Singapore and established a learning help center for school kids in her hometown. She has successfully led the World Bank’s project WOMENX in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Contributing to a relatively new entrepreneurial eco-system in various universities and chambers, promoting women entrepreneurs by connecting them through a conducive network. Haniya is now onboard with the Cambridge Advisors Network as a General Manager, developing programs for women empowerment that create impact and deliver results.

Shazia Zia Yaqub

Shazia Yaqub is a consultant at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). CAN works with Industry and Academia to support entrepreneurship initiatives throughout Pakistan especially in developing university entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Prior to working at CAN, she was associated with Wadhwani Foundation, as an International Program Consultant at National Entrepreneurship Network. The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is launched in Pakistan to provide a systematic and structured strategy towards building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In Pakistan, NEN is a joint collaborative between Wadhwani Operating Foundation, the USA who initiated this movement, and MITEFP. The scalable model of NEN, its resources and IP are contextualized for emerging economies like Pakistan and deployment of these will facilitate the development of entrepreneurship. We established a network of E-Cells in several universities and a repository of mentors & supportive organizations as well as introduced a focused program for training and coaching of early stage entrepreneurs.

She has also been a founding member of a number of startups including ePatterns Software Solutions, Active Partners LLC, Carbon Care Pakistan and more recently, Baby First Pakistan. She has also been associated with a number of companies for including Wadhwani Foundation, USA, The Citizens Foundation, E-Commerce Gateway, Netpace Systems, and the Institute of Business Administration Karachi.

She is a graduate of FAST-NU and MBA from IBA Karachi. Her expertise are program management and development.

Zainab Hameed, Consultant LMS (Learning Management Services)

Zainab has extensive experience of technology-enabled transformations, innovation and technology management. Having spent 20+ years of developing business and IT strategies, setting up governance structures, nurturing teams and transforming ideas into reality, she has created value for businesses. She has led cross-cultural, virtual and matrix teams across MENA / CIS (Middle East, North Africa and Russia / CIS) and has also worked in UK and USA. Her varied experience and passion to find solutions to real-life problems, has won her international accolades for innovative and transformational work including APICTA and the Computer World Honors program for Economic Development.

Zainab is a Certified IT Governance professional and has worked as CIO in leading organizations in Pakistan. She has led Engro Foods IT team for 5 years from inception where she developed the IT team and their IT strategy and digitization strategy to help the young organization leverage technology to achieve its aggressive business goals. At GSK Pakistan, when she joined in 2013, she developed the IT strategy for the local entity including the multichannel marketing strategy. Later when they worked on a regional strategy she aligned the local strategy with the global initiatives. At GSK she was also the IT lead for regional initiatives like deployment of Veeva and Gross to Net programs which were both very critical for business. At GSK, she was also part of the global business process advisory group who was responsible for developing Global Commercial Operations Roadmaps and Strategies. She also led strategy and execution of key regional initiative for HCP engagement to develop sales force capability of 2500+ medical representatives across MENA markets for use of digital tools and enable them to support webinars for their customers.

After working for a Big 4, top global Pharmaceutical, leading FMCG, teaching university students and failing at entrepreneurship once, she has recently moved on from her role as Head of IT for GSK Pakistan & Iran to pursue another passion, another idea and set up her own Education Technology venture. She is also working as an Independent consultant for IT Governance and Security projects.

She is a graduate of Computer Science, with an MBA, along with certifications of CISA, CGEIT, and PMP. She has also attended courses at the Technology Leadership Institute, UC Berkeley.

Sarah Ashraf, Manager Programs

Sarah Ashraf is Manager Programs at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). Prior to working at CAN, she has worked with different companies including Mobilink and TRG (The Resource Group) in operations and sales & customer services. In 2012, she joined a social enterprise Naya Jeevan and worked in the healthcare sector for the marginalized communities in Pakistan including a USAID project in Sultanabad for 5,000 low-income residents. She has also participated in ASP- LUMS training sponsored by USAID. She was also responsible for managing healthcare services for corporate clients third-party contractor staff. She was responsible for liaison with different stakeholders including clients, health insurance companies and beneficiaries. She held major accounts like Shell, HRSG among others. She also has experience in fieldwork and community mobilization.

In 2015, she joined healthcare startup as an operational lead. She developed various partnerships with healthcare providers and pharmacy chains all over Pakistan. She has been part of various national and international incubators and accelerators including NEST I/O, Telenor Velocity and Start Up Chile. She was the first woman co-founder to represent Pakistan in Startup Chile in LATAM region. She was also runner up of MIT enterprise forum Pakistan in women-led startup category. Her expertise includes operations and program management.

She has done her O & A level’s in business and is an Arts graduate from Karachi University. She has also attended various start-up training programs both locally and internationally.

Nimra Parvez, Web Developer

Nimra Pervez works as a Web Developer at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). She is responsible for developing and managing website and web portals. Before working with CAN, she was working as a Research Associate at a consulting firm named, Al Ali Consulting.

She has a degree in computers systems from Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET). Her skills include Web Development, WordPress Development and Graphic Designing.