Maheen Noor Awan: Unapologetically her


Have you ever found yourself stuck in a situation (job, relationship, city, degree) that made you unhappy? Most, if not all, of us know what it is like to struggle with finding a way out and not knowing what it would take to break through the shackles; will it involve rebellion? How much perseverance will be enough?


Maheen has always chosen to color outside the lines, is unapologetically true to herself, and bravely accepts that she isn't everyone's cup of tea! She has seen her fair share of challenges to be doing what she absolutely loves doing! Today she is an Account Executive at an experiential marketing agency in London, living a very creatively and personally fulfilling life!


Maheen’s journey is an unfolding of perseverance, her self-belief, and her fire to stand up for what she believes in. Maheen left engineering to do Chartered Accountancy. She then left CA to do her Bachelor's in Business and then finished her Master's in Design and Brand Management. Having had a decent amount of career hopping, she very strongly believes that it's not worth ruining your mental health over a career that will only make you unhappy. To her, struggling academically should not be normal, because if you genuinely love what you're doing, you'll cope and you'll get through. In our society dropping out is still disapproved, it’s seen as a failure. But as Maheen puts it, quitting does not make you a failure; failure is when you stop trying.


Maheen has not gotten this far all by herself. Her mother’s support has played a huge role in her journey. Her mother’s outspoken, career-minded, and go-getter attitude has been an inspiration to her. It also instilled in her the belief that nothing is ever just handed to you; you have to fight for it. And fight for it she did, as it took a lot of convincing on Maheen’s part to make her mother understand and see her point of view. Even with all the privileges, she was blessed with, Maheen had to earn her freedom and the right to make her own decisions. It took a lot of learning on both their parts to become more accepting and empathetic of each other’s perspectives. It is these trials, struggles, and endeavors that make Maheen the non-judgmental, respectful, and kind person she is today.


Maheen is very passionate and vocal about mental health, sexual and domestic abuse, and the unnecessarily glamorised hustle culture. She continues to question the status quo through her work. Recently, she developed a toolkit/game of sorts to engage men in conversations regarding the sexist day-to-day behaviours women face. The idea is to encourage men to put themselves in women's shoes to highlight how different the experiences of women are in Pakistan from the men. By answering on behalf of the women, the men will hopefully look inward and develop empathy toward women.


We remember Maheen’s time at Minerva. It was her first break into photography. You’d see her climbing up tables and chairs to get the right shot. It was evident that she was going to find her way in life no matter what it took - on her own terms. And here she is today proud of everything she has worked hard to achieve, doing what she loves and living her life on her own terms.