Leader in the Spotlight: Moeed Ahmad, Human Resources Pro & Volunteer Extraordinaire
Our June Leader in the Spotlight is Moeed Ahmad, a Kwantlen University student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Human Resources major. Amidst his packed academic schedule, Moeed volunteers extensively and has served as a volunteer coordinator for Kwantlen University, the Canadian Cancer Society, Urban Rec. and most recently, Vancouver’s Car-Free Day. In the interview below, Moeed shares some tips on managing intrapersonal problems and expores the differences between accounting and human resources.
You mention on your NYL profile that you grew up in South Africa. When did you arrive in Canada? What were some prominent challenges you faced upon moving here?
I arrived in Canada in 2010. Firstly, I had a lot of academic challenges and cultural changes to deal with as an international student. I initially perceived Canadians to value technology and technology based communication more than human interaction. Now I realize that people in first world countries have gotten so used to technology (ie. cell phones and tablets), for so many years that they don’t really realize what living with minimal technology is like. I found this created a lot of challenges for me when I first came to Canada since people didn’t speak and interact with others as much as in South Africa; Canadians spent a lot of time on their electronic devices. But, this never deterred me and I began to initiate more conversations people whenever I was commuting, in university, or in a social setting.
I also realized that Canadian universities put more emphasis on business writing, an area that I had little exposure to prior to moving from South Africa. As a result, I had to spend more time polishing my business writing skills and now am an expert in this area.
Your Involvements in the community are diverse, ranging from recruiting volunteers for Car Free Day Vancouver, to engaging volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society, to coordinating volunteers for the Nations Cup Soccer Tournament. Which volunteer opportunity/opportunities did you find most rewarding, and why?
Overall, every single one of the mentioned volunteer opportunities was rewarding since they each helped me polish and develop certain skills and build moral character. However, I would define the term “rewarding” as anything that requires effort to accomplish and value. On this basis, “Car Free Day Vancouver” fits the bill. Car Free Day is an annual community festival run and organized solely by volunteers and funded by donations. It’s one of the few festivals where there is an absence of cars. Also, we reduce waste by having green teams help festival attendees and organizers recycle.
I had a chance to work collaboratively with my fellow core event planning team on a remote basis using Skype, email, and phone and finally in person. This was the first role where I did most of the recruitment work remotely from home and then canvassed on foot for promotion of the event. It was really a role that forced me to get out of my comfort zone and meet strict deadlines.
You work a lot with people. What are your strategies for tackling challenges you encounter?
Maintaining the right approach, tone, perception, and cool mindedness in daily interpersonal interactions are probably my frequently experienced challenges.
In terms of strategies, it’s all about how you live. Your ability to overcome any interpersonal challenge depends on your physical and mental state of being. So, eat well, sleep, exercise; live a balanced life and you can be productive and positive, which will help you overcome challenges. I also recommend regularly self-meditating on the strategies and methods that were successful and conversely, unsuccessful, in achieving the right approach, tone, perception, and cool mindedness in daily interpersonal interactions.
Lastly, ask your boss, teachers, family, and friends on the approaches that have worked for them in handling the above mentioned challenges.
You’re currently studying Human Resources (HR) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, but you seem to have been previously interested in pursuing Accounting. What are salient differences between the two career directions, and what committed you to HR?
Accounting deals with the quantifying and accounting of monetary figures that relate to a company’s performance. For instance, accounting students learn to interpret, record, account, and verify figures. These skills are then transferred to four related areas of accounting, namely: financial accounting, managerial accounting (product/ service manufacturing costs etcetera), taxation, and auditing.
In contrast, human resources deal with certain areas of expertise that helps an organization achieve its vision, mission, and organizational objective. For instance, recruitment and total compensation are two fields of HR. HR specialists seek to recruit the right talent and compensate them accordingly to achieve an organization’s objectives.
In South Africa, only an HR diploma was offered to students. Hence I chose accounting as my major. After I came to Canada, I realized that an HR major would be beneficial since this major still incorporates accounting but also gives me the opportunity to learn about the areas of business that pertain to human interaction. Moreover, since I grew up in a household where my father is a medical doctor, I have always felt that skills in engaging people were crucial.
What are your long-term goals?
I want to complete my CHRP (professional designation in HR), secure an HR role in the health industry, complete my karate syllabus and attain a Black Belt in Kyokushin karate, start and complete my MBA, learn Brazilian jiu jitsu, and be married to a special lady.
I want to complete my CHRP, because it’s a requirement to practice as an HR expert in any industry. My goal is to work as an HR professional in the health sector; my father is a doctor and his experiences has opened my eyes to the importance of mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
At some stage, I also would like to complete my MBA in Business and perhaps become a professor and spread the knowledge of this wonderful profession in the Middle East and UAE, where their newly established universities require experts in these fields.
As far as karate goes, I am only two belts away from my getting my black belt in Kyokushin karate. Achieving this goal has been long overdue because of injuries and my university commitments. Moreover, Kyokushin is a form of karate that follows the ethos of “pain is a part of life”. This mantra encourages individuals to persevere through challenges in order to achieve valuable goals, which I strive for. Furthermore, Brazilian jiu jitsu has always been a martial art I have wanted to study because it balances karate, which is a striking art, with self defense. The martial arts provide a state of zen (balance) and have taught me breathing and meditation skills that have really helped me.
Want to ask Moeed a question? Schedule a chat with him today! Moeed is happy to answer your questions and offer advice on business, and event coordination.