Saba Imtiaz: An Incredible woman who is a Self-made Leader
Saba Imtiaz
Saba Imtiaz

Education gives a woman the power to challenge societal norms. It not only helps her break through conventional barriers but also guides her to become the leader she deserves to be. Here’s why education is crucial:

Empowerment through knowledge: Education equips women with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to challenge these limitations and claim their rightful place in society. This empowerment becomes the foundation for breaking down traditional barriers and achieving true equality.

Shattering Stereotypes and Breaking Through Glass Ceilings~

Conventional expectations: Societal norms often confine women to specific roles, hindering their full potential. Education allows them to transcend these expectations and pursue diverse career paths previously considered out of reach.

Breaking barriers: As women gain access to education, they begin to occupy leadership positions across various fields, shattering the glass ceiling that has traditionally limited their advancement. This not only benefits individual women but also paves the way for future generations to break free from outdated limitations.

Leadership Development~

Skills and knowledge: Education equips women with the critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills essential for effective leadership. It also provides them with the knowledge and understanding needed to navigate complex situations and make informed decisions.

Confidence and self-belief: The process of acquiring knowledge and achieving academic success fosters confidence and self-belief in women. They learn to advocate for themselves and their ideas, becoming empowered to lead and inspire others.

A mighty example of the power of education, Saba Imtiaz, the CEO and Founder of Empower Group & Co Ltd in the United Kingdom, is more than just a leader; she is a shaping force in the field of education. Renowned for her dedication, vision, and impactful actions, Saba has established herself as a respected authority in elevating secondary education programs.

With a proven track record of success, Saba excels in various facets of educational leadership. She deeply understands curriculum development, effectively manages and motivates teachers, and fosters a culture of academic excellence within her institutions. Her expertise extends to data-driven decision-making, fostering teacher growth and development, and ensuring student success, all while promoting a safe, inclusive, and innovative learning environment.

Deciding for Self

Saba’s voyage in the realm of the noble teaching profession started in Pakistan and within a few years, she carved a niche for herself to lead one of the private school systems. She became a renowned leader with her work. However, a major shift occurred in her journey when she went to the London scholarship program to pursue a degree in educational leadership and started her life again with no financial backup. Being a mother of a small child of 5 years, it was a herculean task for her to manage her studies, but she did it with perseverance.

Working for 12-18 hours, teaching, tutoring, and examining work with Cambridge University were some of the rewarding projects. Within a few years, she moved onto a higher progression ladder and started her own business Empower Group. This small business was started with the aim of providing qualifications and CPD in the UK however within 6 years the business has expanded to countries such as Pakistan and UAE.

Being an inspirational leader for others, Saba’s own inspiration for her leadership journey in the educational sector stems from personal experience and life events that happened in her life. Reflecting on her journey, she feels very proud, “As I come from a middle-class background where there was less emphasis on girls’ education and more on boys.”

Yet, Saba always has had the desire to improve herself. Her leadership journey started when she started making decisions for her own life. Her professional life has spanned three different countries: Pakistan, the UK, and the UAE. The clarity of her vision, self-motivation and development of leadership skills have made her who she is now. Saba adds, “I feel blessed that I am in a profession where I can see growth and success of those I lead and knowing that I have played a key role in their development.”

Empowering Others

Saba clearly sketches Empower Group’s mission and vision. “Our vision revolves around fostering independence, confidence, and self-sufficiency in individuals and communities,” she says. Their mission is ‘To empower individuals by providing access to resources, education, and opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential.’

Challenges are how a mighty leader distinguishes herself from the rest. Saba’s story is no different. Her biggest challenge, according to her, came from people who were resistant to change, new initiatives, or processes. Addressing conflicts and disagreements with teams constructively and fairly made all the difference. Saba started on her own, with much self-reflection and found ways to navigate towards the positive side. She always made tough decisions, worked under pressure, met tight deadlines, and worked with people of diverse needs and abilities, which has always strengthened her to improve further.

The Educated Greats

In Saba’s opinion, four distinctive key qualities make a leader effective in the field of education.

*Visionary leadership—the ability to inspire and communicate a compelling vision for the future of educational institutions or organizations.

*Empathy—understanding the needs of students, teachers, staff and parents to foster a supportive and inclusive environment.

*Continuous learning—demonstrating a commitment to ongoing professional development and staying abreast of current educational research and trends.

*Resilience—the ability to navigate challenges and setbacks while maintaining a focus on the long-term educational mission and vision.

Excellence Shines Through

Beyond her successful career in the top-most private education industry in UAE, Saba demonstrated her resilience, empathetic leadership, and a strong commitment to variety of stakeholders. Working closely with parents and students, she helped them to identify their unique needs, establishing a real structured framework for inspections and witnessing the impact on students. She has received ‘Excellence Awards for Education’ in the UAE as the work here is very rewarding. “The educational reforms in UAE are beyond expected, and the success and history that we are making fostered a sense of community satisfaction and commitment.”

According to Saba, technology plays a crucial role in shaping the future of education. “It is used for personalized learning.” Students can experience self-directed and unique development. Adaptive assessment methods that track and analyse students’ progress provide valuable educational insights to tailor their instructions.

The Educational Evolution

Saba’s leadership acumen goes beyond the classroom walls. She demonstrates exceptional strategic policy development, and community engagement skills, ensuring all stakeholders are involved in the educational journey. Her crisis management expertise and her ability to collaborate with diverse groups allow her to navigate challenges and achieve strategic goals effectively. She says that inspiring a team requires responsive support. “I strive to provide prompt support and relevant responses, aiming to offer consistent support and guidance.” Positive reinforcement by acknowledging and validating users’ questions and providing encouragement.

When asked what changes she envisions for the educational sector in the coming years and how she prepares her institution, Saba says that the first and most important action is personalized learning and the use of scaffolded instructions to cater for learners’ needs. This includes an adaptive learning platform and customized learning pathways. “We also encourage enhanced remote learning experiences with continuous support on developing robust and engaging remote learning experiences leveraging virtual classrooms interactive simulations and collaboration for online environment to educators.”

A Revolution in the Making

Education not only shapes our present but transforms our future. Thus, modern educational leadership demands that the leader address 21st-century students’ evolving needs.

Saba personally feels that prioritising skill development is important in the 21st century. “We can promote this through activities and resources on critical thinking and problem-solving. I also believe that access to information and insight across various subjects will help our students.”

In this regard, she says they offer guidance and mentorship through educational support and career exploration resources to empower students to navigate their educational journey and make informed decisions about their academic and professional aspirations.

Saba’s commitment to excellence is further evident in her extensive experience as an Advisory Board Member for Awarding Vocational Achievement and a trainer for various exam boards. Her reputation for leadership and excellence inspires and empowers educators across the UK. Saba is a role model for women and aspiring leaders, demonstrating that self-made success is achievable with perseverance, talent, and a passion for making a positive difference in the world.

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