Sobia Zafar and her two siblings were raised to believe they were destined for much bigger things than a regular 9-5 existence.
Sobia, the 200th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, had her worldview shaped by a nomadic childhood in Pakistan.
Her father was a senior civil servant who was sent, every couple of years, to different postings, often in remote places. During his postings, he made it his mission to open schools. But promoting education for girls in tribal regions sometimes made him enemies. The family received periodic death threats – and, one night, when Sobia was seven, someone fired a rocket launcher at their home.
Being raised in that sort of environment made Sobia believe in the power of education and the importance of serving others, even in the face of adversity.
After finishing school, Sobia moved to Geneva, where she attended university and did her masters. She then worked for the United Nations and built a career in change management.
If you’re getting the feeling that Sobia is very smart and a high achiever, you’re not wrong. But Sobia has also had her share of challenges, from confusion about her identity as a career woman and how to define success to postpartum depression and her journey of navigating motherhood.
These days, Sobia works as an executive transformation coach, which perfectly suits her personality and experience. Sobia is empathetic; she’s a great listener; she’s an intellectual match for her executive clients; and she’s faced many of the issues that trouble them. Also, her work gives her the opportunity to help others.
One recurring pattern Sobia has noticed in her clients is that when people feel stuck in their lives, it’s often because they don’t have a creative outlet – something that gives them energy and purpose. For Sobia, that creative outlet comes from coaching and writing.