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Zahara Malik | CEO & Co-Founder | Grosvenor Capital

Zahara Malik: A Proficient of Impact Investing

“I have always seen my challenges as a learning curve to really develop and grow. Both communication and diplomacy are imperative in order to overcome any challenges,” says Zahara. Zahara Malik is the CEO & Co- Founder at Grosvenor Capital, an independent business services company. She is an experienced investment professional with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry with a focus on Impact Investing, Deal Origination, Emerging Markets, Sustainable Development, Value Based Investing, and Government Relations.
She asserts “my career has never been a simple straight road (as with many of us) and therefore it was important for me to ensure I had some professional mentors and soundboards to help me navigate through any roadblocks. Even to this day, since we launched the company, I believe in mentorship more so than ever and I am extremely grateful to those who continue to support me in my journey.”
Below are highlights of the interview conducted between Insights Success and Zahara Malik:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient leader. 
I started my journey with Mosaic, which is a part of HRH Prince of Wales, Princes Trust which focused on the importance of mentorship for the youth across the UK. Having started within the charity sector, purpose and impact has been at the forefront of my journey, and throughout my career I was forever searching for ways that purpose and profit could align beyond philanthropy. Philanthropy still plays a pivotal role in my journey, however I was looking for models where global issues went beyond a campaign, a time of year or to solve a single problem. This is where Impact Investing bridges people, the planet and profit. My biggest turning point was in 2012 where I studied my masters at UCL, London and I ran a campaign with my colleagues where we built a school in Chittagong, Bangladesh for Jaago Foundation. Following this I went into understanding the commercial fundraising world where my focus had primarily been Africa centric in which I was fortunate to have some great mentors who taught me the many layers within the investment world.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience? 
We are determined to bridge the gap and shape the impact investing narrative across the GCC. Impact Investing is a term that is fairly new to the region but the concept of impact is embedded in regions principles, we work to build and define an organisation’s or the investors’ purpose in their investment mandate and ensure that we support their journey as they focus on purpose driven investments that do not compromise their returns.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market? 
I believe in collaborating and joining forces as and where possible, particularly in the unprecedented times we are facing now. I don’t believe that competition should be feared but especially in the Impact Investing space we are all driven by creating impact and to support people and the planet, so where we can come together to simply share thoughts and work together for the wider purpose we should remain to do so. My game plan is therefore to support anyone who is on the mission to drive impact investing.
What are the vital traits that every business women should possess? 
I would expect it to be the same as a business man, we should all encompass integrity, professionalism and to have a strong work ethic.
Have you in any ways contributed towards the cause of women empowerment. 
I have also been fortunate to be a part of projects including Girls do Good, A global EdTech movement & social impact product changing the way children learn highlighting some incredible female role models around the world. Most recently I also joined the Football for Peace Steering Committee which is focused on harnessing the power of football globally through peace and diplomacy. Kash Siddiqi the co-founder of Football for Peace, alongside FIFA legend Elias Figueroa at the UN with the late Kofi Annan established the organisation to really drive the movement of women and football, I am fortunate to now work with the wider team to continue to grow this globally.
As your previous question alluded too unfortunately there is still a differentiation between genders in the professional world. I am a strong believer in women supporting women, I have been grateful to have men support me throughout my professional life and I am determined to ensure we all work together to create a level playing field that is equal and diverse across the board.
How do you cope up with capricious technological trends to boost your personal growth?
I believe we should embrace technology in every way that we can, with the growth of tech and digitization during the global pandemic it has become evident that we need to be able to connect, communicate and sustain both our business models and professional development using technology.
What are your future endeavours/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
I have a long way to go and as we are only a year into the journey, for me at the moment its important to try and continue to shape the narrative for Impact Investing across the GCC region. Thought leadership is imperative for our journey and one of my favourite quotes is, “Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become.” Heraclitus, Philosopher (c. 535 B.C. – 475 B.C.)
We hope to stay on the road of impact investing where we can continue to bridge the world of value-based investing and to add directly to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I am determined to continue to work with partners and peers into to achieve this global mission.