Crafting Notable Digital Solutions With Xpert Digital: Shazia Hammad

Shazia Hammad

On the special occasion of International Women’s Day, we would be delighted to share our conversation with Shazia Hammad, an adept professional and the CEO of Xpert Digital. Shazia, who is skillful in project management, sales, business development, and leadership, is determined to expand her expertise and abilities in her line of work.

In her current role as the CEO of Xpert Digital, Shazia plays a vital role in offering innovative and updated solutions for banks. In this interview, the CEO speaks about her career journey over these years, her role at Xpert Digital, challenges she came across on this path, and the importance of having a growth mindset, and shares valuable suggestions for aspiring professionals in this field.

Key Milestones Of Shazia’s Journey

We were eager to learn about the beginning of Shazia Hammad’s professional journey and worthwhile events over these years. So, we asked, “Could you share a brief overview of your career journey, including key milestones and transitions?”

Shazia Hammad

Shazia Hammad shared, “My career journey has been an exciting blend of technical expertise and leadership evolution. I have a degree in Computer Science from the University of Houston and a leadership diploma from Harvard Business School. I began working as a business analyst at a bank in the USA, where I learned about banking and money stuff. Then, I worked with banks in both the USA and the Middle East. As time passed, I discovered that I liked leading and managing teams.

One day, Hammad, who is a Co-Founder and Director of Xpert Digital, told me about his big idea for Xpert Digital. He wanted to change the banking industry worldwide by providing top-notch digital services. His goal was to create the best digital transformation company globally. I felt a strong connection to his vision and joined him right away. Ever since then, I’ve been working with Xpert Digital from the very beginning. We started with only three people, and now we have a big team of over 150 people helping millions of customers in 22 countries across three continents. Our growth has been fantastic, about an average of 110% YOY growth, and we still have big plans to expand globally even more this year.”

Overcoming Major Adversities

Hurdles and challenging phases are an inevitable part of every business. To understand how Shazia Hammad overcomes the same in her business, we inquired, “How do you tackle challenges in your field and how do you ensure your company remains adaptable to emerging trends and technologies?”

Shazia Hammad

Shazia Hammad responded, “In my field at Xpert Digital, me and my team face challenges by staying open to growth and change. We believe that if we don’t adapt, we’ll fall behind. We must continually evolve; otherwise, we risk being overtaken by change. The financial industry is changing fast, especially since COVID-19.

At Xpert Digital, we have a special unit called R&D that keeps up with new technology and improvements in products. This helps us stay updated so we can offer the best to our clients. Also, we have a creative mindset, so all our solutions for banks are innovative and up-to-date with the latest technology and trends. Furthermore, innovation is ingrained in our culture at Xpert Digital. This way, we can tackle challenges and keep moving forward in our field.”

Plans We Asked Shazia Hammad

To learn more about the plans and professional aspirations of Shazia Hammad, we asked, “What are your plans or goals for your career and company?”

“In the coming years, I am determined to continue expanding my expertise and abilities in my current field. I aim to make my company, Xpert Digital, even better and reach our goal of being the top digital transformation company worldwide. Alongside this professional ambition, I am passionate about fostering a supportive environment for mentorship and guidance, particularly for women navigating their careers.

I aspire to mentor, coach, and empower individuals to navigate their professional journeys with confidence and achieve balance across various aspects of their lives. By dedicating myself to these goals, I aim to contribute positively to both my personal growth and the advancement of others in their careers.” Shazia replied.

One Role At A Time – A Growth Mindset

Shazia Hammad

Regardless of any field, success comes to those who adopt a growth mindset and prioritize playing one role at a time, rather than being everything at the same moment. We asked, “What valuable lessons have you learned throughout your career?”

Shazia Hammad shared, “Throughout my career, I’ve learned many important lessons, and I believe learning never stops. One big lesson is that life involves making trade-offs. As humans, especially women, we often try to be perfect in all our roles. But the truth is, we can’t have it all. Our biological clock, like getting married and having kids, clashes with our career goals. We have to understand that one may suffer, and that’s okay.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that there’s nothing we can’t do. The only limits are the ones we set in our minds. When I graduated, the focus was mainly on mobile hardware, and I hadn’t studied mobile software. But when we started Xpert Digital, we aimed to digitally transform banks, focusing on making them less reliant on branches and more on mobile apps. I succeeded because I had a growth mindset, and I encourage everyone to have the same outlook.”

Cultivating The Right Skills

To grow in any field in today’s modern era, building matching skills is paramount. We asked, “What are the most important qualities or skills you believe beginners should cultivate to thrive in this industry?”

Shazia Hammad responded, “In this industry, beginners should focus on developing certain qualities to succeed. Firstly, having a growth mindset is key. This means being open to learning new things all the time. Learning has become simpler and cheaper, so taking up new skills is easier than before. With competition in the market, it’s important to keep learning to stay ahead.

Secondly, it’s essential to put your heart and soul into whatever you do. If you give your best effort, you’re more likely to be successful. Putting passion and enthusiasm into everything you do can make a significant difference in achieving your goals. Lastly, never accept “no” as the final answer. Instead, focus on finding solutions to problems and avoid making excuses. By embracing these qualities, beginners can set themselves up for success in the industry.”

Retaining The Top Talents

We were curious to learn from the insights of Shazia on the acquisition of top talents in her team. So, we asked, “How do you attract and retain top talent in your organization?”

Shazia Hammad replied, “In our organization, attracting and retaining top talent is not just a goal, it’s a core part of our vision. We believe in creating one of the best places to work, where employees feel valued, supported, and inspired to grow. Our investment in our employees goes beyond traditional benefits; we focus on individual growth and development, providing opportunities for advancement and skill enhancement.

We understand that in today’s competitive market, talented individuals seek out progressive companies where their ideas are valued and where they can flourish creatively. That’s why we foster an environment of innovation and creativity, encouraging employees to bring their unique perspectives to the table. We have created a dedicated space for our employees where they can relax and rejuvenate.

Our dedicated space at the head office is more than just a lounge area; it’s a hub for collaboration, and brainstorming sessions, where employees can recharge and come up with creative solutions for our customers. By prioritizing the well-being and professional growth of our employees, we not only attract top talent but also ensure they stay with us for the long term, contributing to the success and innovation of our organization.”

Setting Xpert Digital Apart

To understand the approaches adopted by Shazia Hammad to set their business apart from the competition. So, we asked, “How do you differentiate your services from competitors in the current market?”

Shazia Hammad shared, “In today’s competitive market, our ability to differentiate our services lies in our unwavering commitment to putting our clients first. Unlike our competitors, we adopt a highly client-focused delivery approach, ensuring that every solution we offer is accurately crafted to address the specific challenges, aspirations, and market trends unique to each client. Since we work a lot with banks, we must understand banking well, including its challenges and future trajectory.

What’s special about us is that all of our top leaders, including myself, used to work in banking, so we know exactly what our clients are going through. This makes it easy for us to connect with them, understand their perspective, and provide them with the best solutions possible. Moreover, for us, every client engagement exceeds mere project execution; it represents a personal commitment. We prioritize building long-lasting relationships with our clients over short-term gains, fostering trust and loyalty that set us apart from the competition. Our client-centric approach ensures that we consistently exceed expectations, positioning us as leaders in the market.”

Words Of Wisdom For Beginners

Addressing the beginners, we asked, “What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs in this industry? What key lessons have you learned along the way?”

Shazia Hammad

For aspiring CEOs in this industry, I would offer the following advice based on my own experiences. Firstly, understand that leading a company is not just about holding a position; it’s about embracing responsibility. This means being accountable for your team’s development, fulfilling commitments to your clients by delivering results, and adapting your direction to meet future demands and changing market dynamics. Patience is key throughout this journey; results may not materialize immediately, requiring perseverance and resilience.

Embrace the unpredictability of the role; while some days may feel like a triumph, others may seem like a challenge. Importantly, take ownership of your decisions, whether they lead to success or failure. Every decision, even the unfavorable ones, offers valuable lessons to refine your approach and avoid similar pitfalls in the future. Leadership in this industry demands a blend of responsibility, patience, adaptability, and accountability, traits that will guide aspiring CEOs through the highs and lows of their journey.” Shazia replied.

Crafting A Legacy

We further asked, “How do you want your business to be remembered, and what steps are you taking to secure that legacy?”

Shazia Hammad continued, “I want people to remember our business for the great quality we provide. Every time we work on a project, we promise to deliver top-notch quality. Also, we want to be known as leaders in innovation, setting new trends in our industry. Our clients can vouch for the quality and innovation we bring because they’ve experienced it firsthand.

We keep this reputation going strong by making sure that delivering quality and being innovative are big parts of our company’s culture. It’s not just something we talk about; it’s something we practice every day, from our leaders to our newest team members. This way, we’re making sure our legacy is one of excellence and innovation.”

Ensuring A Competitive Edge

Finally, we wanted to learn more about the plans Shazia Hammad has for her business for the upcoming years. We asked, “What are your long-term goals for your company? How do you plan to remain competitive in the evolving business landscape?”

Shazia Hammad concluded, “My long-term goal for my company is to realize our vision of becoming the best digital transformation company globally, while consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences. I am deeply committed to achieving this vision, and the progress we’ve made over the past six years gives me confidence that we are steadily moving closer to our goal. To remain competitive in the evolving business landscape, we plan to adapt continuously to market dynamics.

Our strategy involves providing best-in-class solutions to our clients, ensuring that we stay at the forefront of innovation. For instance, we launched the first digital banking app in Ethiopia and have plans to launch similar solutions in Zambia, Palestine, Iraq, and Australia very soon. Crucially, we prioritize the quality of our solutions, ensuring they are adaptable to evolving market requirements. By staying agile, innovative, and focused on delivering excellence, we are poised to maintain our competitive edge in the ever-changing business landscape.”

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