Oct – Nov 2011: Meet The Team…
As the days grew shorter and the nights colder, we settled into a steady and comfortable routine of regular classes and celebratory gatherings. The Hub family slowly and steadily increased. Attendees begun to lock in evenings and weekend sessions to their diaries.
The fall program proved to be an engaging collection of classes, covering everything from legal obligations of the believer, attributes of God, characteristics of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the believers relationship with God (to name but a few). Having now established the Hub, my focus in the fall became developing the team. A core group of people who ensure the Hub is able to provide Knowledge Without Barriers.
From the outset the team needs of the Hub were clear. Outreach to reach those who wouldn’t necessarily get to know about the Hub. Media to ensure our family was both locally and globally accessible. Events to manage the planned and not so planned visits by the scholars. Finance to keep the Hub alive and kicking, and HR to make sure everyone kicks where they need to.
I decided the best way to describe the managers to you was to have them describe each other and simply edit. So the following is what the management team think of one another.
Ziyaad Vahed leads the Outreach team. Ziyaad describes himself as excessively humble, excessively modest and deserves to have his hand kissed *smile*. The team see him as the point man. Meticulous, serious and driven by excellence. All the time. He will not settle for anything less than perfection. “He raises the bar for all of us”. He’s smart, very smart. He has this wacky, edgy sense of humour, that can be shocking. All too often, the line is behind him, his humour crosses it. But on both sides, his humour and his par excellence work ethic go hand in hand – they are both intense. “He brings floating dreams and anchors them in reality”.
Azeem Mohammed, the HR Manager, is the handyman that everyone else on the management team would like to be. Like most Hydrabadi’s he’s a true foody. He’s a committed family guy, likes ball hockey, and though the Hub team has never watched him play he has plenty of injuries (including a few surgeries) to prove he does actually play. He still likes cars, though he won’t admit it openly, and his pride and joy remains the memory of a honda civic with tinted windows, lowered suspensions and all the ‘toys’. He is a really sincere guy, likes to have a laugh and a joke with the guys, and will give you the shirt off his back. “Probably one of the funniest people I know”. He is made out of all kinds of good stuff.
Rufaida Mohammed runs the Events team. She lives by the hadith of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) of truly wanting for your brother what you want for yourself. She is a dreamer. She has big visions and big ideas, not always implementable, but she dreams them nonetheless. She has a wacky sense of humour and has a Trinidadian toughness even though she was 3 years old when she came to Canada. Her team describe her as being “off the wall, someone who serves, selflessly. Her commitment to beauty and excellence is remarkable”. She will make sure the work gets done just so long as no one else is put out. She has a huge heart and a huge work ethic. She is a huge advocate of Trinidadian food. The only thing that seems to make her nervous is cooking for the HR manager, Azeem! She truly believes in Mahatma Gandhi’s guidance – be the change you want to see in the world. And if you ever get the chance, ask her about cooking chickens cleaned by sleep deprived brothers…
Irshad Ali, the Finance manager, is one of the nicest guys you could ever know. Totally committed to everything he takes on, he likes structure, and will tell it to you like it is, but always with the utmost etiquette. One of the most sensitive, soft and gentle people you’ll meet, he only has good in the guy. He is totally shy, hidden and quiet except when you get him going, and then he just goes and goes. When he gets going there is no stopping, and its constant laughter. Even when you want to stop him you cant. He is a person of few words, but someone to aspire to because of his gentle heart. “With an undergrad in philosophy, we never thought he would get any job, now he’s in a better job than any of us”.
Nader Khan is the Media Manager. Nader is the quintessential artist. He is a great singer, but like all geniuses, he is also quirky. “He has the talent we all wish we had, the ability to entertain people”. He is a deeply rooted Hydrabadi, though he should learn to cook too! Sincere and pure of heart, he always sees the good in things and people. He always has a funny story about something that happened to him and he always has something funny happening to him unlike normal people. You would never expect anyone else to get into that situation, but somehow he does. He wears his heart on his sleeve. You can’t not know what he is thinking, because it is always written on his face. If he is hurt you will feel it in your heart. When he is happy you feel the joy, it is contagious. “His optimism is refreshing; with him you dare to believe it could be true”.
And there you have it. An autumn spent putting together some of the best people I have met in Toronto, to be the heart of the Hub. As we begin to plan Dr Umar’s month long visit to SeekersHub Toronto, I breathe a sigh of relief. This is what you call a team.
Toronto, November 2011
Read up on the whole story:
• Episode 1 — In the beginning…
• Episode 2 — Meet The Team…
• Episode 3 — … (coming soon)