PWiC and OPEN Seattle: Making the Leap to Startup from Corporate Life

Since its inception, PWiC continues to partner with other organizations that align with our vision to “enable our community to connect, learn and grow together”. On April 16th, 2019, PWiC and OPEN Seattle co-hosted the organization’s inaugural event — Making the Leap to Startup from corporate life.

It was a very successful event with over 70 attendees. The event started out with the attendees networking over some snacks and chai. It was a great opportunity for Pakistanis living in Seattle to meet other Pakistanis who have the goal of increasing their network and supporting each other professionally.

OPEN Seattle

After the networking event, Azfar Moazzam for OPEN Seattle welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of the goals and vision of OPEN Seattle. He reminisced about the early 90s when there were not many Pakistanis living in Seattle and expressed his excitement about how the community has grown thus far. He mentioned that OPEN’s membership boasts leading entrepreneurs, business leaders, and corporate professionals. There are currently 13 OPEN chapters globally and it hosts dozens of networking, knowledge sharing, and mentoring events every month.

Azfar Moazzam — OPEN Seattle


After Azfar’s presentation, Huma Hamid, who is the PWiC President and Co-Founder introduced PWiC and shared her story of PWiC inception. She impressed the attendees with the great number of successful partnerships that PWiC has created and the tremendous impact that it has made throughout the years.

Huma Hamid, PWiC -President & Co-founder

Keynote Session By Farrukh Malik

The keynote was delivered by Farrukh Malik, CEO, and Co-Founder at Discretelogix | President OPEN Islamabad, who was on a business trip to the US. Farrukh is a seasoned Pakistani entrepreneur with multiple startups and technology initiatives under his belt. In his keynote, he shared his personal journey of becoming an entrepreneur and the current ecosystem for technology related startups in Pakistan.

Farrukh Malik, CEO, and Co-Founder at Discretelogix | President OPEN Islamabad

Panel Discussion

Next, Alishba Khawaja moderated the panel discussion on the topic of entrepreneurship. There were four panelists from a diverse type of businesses:

The panelists went over topics ranging from productizing and financing a startup to setting up the right culture for your company and hiring your first employees.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion

  • Be ready to work harder than your corporate jobs — evenings, weekends you name it
  • Culture is everything — be sure to take your culture seriously
  • Hire carefully — Since you are usually starting small and spending money that you don’t have, you want to be very diligent about hiring employees with the right work ethic
  • You will be spending most of your waking hours with your partners, make sure that the person you pick as your partner is someone who you really respect and like working with
  • Talk about your startup idea with your network — You will get some good feel for the viability of your idea

Partners and Sponsors

Photo credits: Snapshot Photography

Design credits: weprint

About the Author

Sarwat Ismail is a Tech enthusiast with 13 years of industry experience. She is currently a Software Developer in Xbox, Microsoft and no, she does not play games all day. Sarwat is very passionate about mentoring fresh talent especially women in technology and takes great interest in coaching them into becoming thriving members of the industry. When she is not writing code, she takes an active role in college recruiting, giving campaigns and hackathons that help improve company culture. She is a mother to three handsome but mischievous boys who keep her at her toes. In her free time, she loves to experiment with new baking recipes and makes and eats way too much banana bread.