My very own Engro Foods

imageI feel humbled. I don’t think I can put it better. Fifteen months after totally unexpected events, I write about thoughts, which I wanted to express all along. To explain further one has to tell a bit of history.

Engro Foods started out as a personal dive into Pakistaniat – being a Pakistani myself. For years either abroad or working with MNCs, I had lost that connection…not in the heart, but in the daily rigour of existence. But I wanted it back so badly. This cannot be explained better than by an expatriate, who has been working away from home and has suffered from homesick blues. EFL was a gift which finally arrived in 2006. It changed my life and alongwith a bunch of disparate individuals, we carved out a vision, built a team and created corporate history. Along the way, we won two of the biggest world class level awards, which no other Pakistani corporate has ever done. Not one persons effort, but a team to die for.

Then in 2011, as it is my wont to do, I felt my time was up. The company set, the goals achieved, the awards taken, it was time to move onto new things. A dive into my own world of self actualisation. Frontiers in education to be conquered and my payback to this land of mine. Twenty months of education projects, mentoring so many young people, and blogging about thoughts which I could never express before. My time my own, for the first time in 28 years. However, it was arrogant to think that I control my destiny. I don’t! Allah does. So eventually a return to a commercial calling due to unforeseen events.

It was strange to say the least. What I had done and gained expertise in during my whole life seemed difficult. My apprehension was alive. Do I really have it in me? Can I take this particular stress? Does my mind work anywhere near what it used to. Will I have the drive? I genuinely thought..I was not up to it. But the need was imperative and really I had no choice but to return to a room I had left with some relief a while back.

Enter the office, I felt like I was going to school on my very first morning, or my commencement day when I entered the Unilever offices 30 years ago as a Management Trainee. Days bygone and old apprehensions! But it was strange at this age and time of life, when life’s experiences have given one confidence. How will I be received by old colleagues or the new ones? What will I say to them? How do I justify this U turn? Will the old trust be there? Will the old hand in glove fit be there?

I need not have worried. The capacity of humanity to surprise one is a constant in life. The smiles, the connections and in cases the hugs were all there. These were people after my own heart. They were warm and wanted to show that warmth and affection. I had been humbled. Right from the tea boys, to the drivers, to the secretaries, the younger managers, the older ones and then my senior colleagues (more controlled). This was still home, maybe altered and different in form, but the substance still remained. I still belonged here. And by showing what my colleagues did show, they once more sucked me back into that emotional churn, which was EFL. It compels me today, to write about it. To acknowledge it.

So to the taking up of this challenge. This was a place which was built to be a home, for togetherness and not just about individuals, but an institution. In the decades ahead, Inshallah, EFL teams shall go out and together sustain that very belonging and shall build a dream on top of it.

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About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

20 Responses to My very own Engro Foods

  1. Nejat says:

    Two thumbs up!

  2. Rafiq says:

    Sarfaraz Bhai – in your own subte way i can bet that as a leader of Engro Foods, you have made difference in quality of life of people who gets connected with you directly or otherwise. Really to me form does not matter, it is the substance. Whether one is directly involved in an NGO type work – as your sabbatical where committed yourself to eduction or one remains in corporate live – so long that fire in the pit of belly remains i.e. “to
    committ to success of people around you”, one has done his part of the bargain. I wish you and your company many success.

  3. Abdul Aleem Khokhar says:

    I can see that its coming straight from your heart.. great writing by a great man.

  4. Syed Zain Najam says:

    Inspiring!

  5. Manzar Naqvi says:

    Chief ! We’re also so proud to affiliate ourselves with EFL. Apart from the wonderful efforts that your team is doing, It is this Pakistaniat that pushes us to give our best for your team.
    Very best of luck for 2015 ! EFL Khappay 🙂

  6. Fahad says:

    Very well written and straight from the heart. I remember the day when i first met you during my induction at Engro somewhere in 2008. Without any “egos” of being the CEO of a great company, i felt that (being an ordinary man in that marriot room) you are the one i can relate to. please keep living and keep writing.

  7. Kiran Fatima says:

    Touched the heart and visualized every bit of it all what you actually mentioned. It is really woww and inspiring. 🙂

  8. Ahmad Yahya says:

    Dear Sarfaraz, You touched many cords and soft spots for many Pakistanis abroad. Its great that Allah gave you the opportunity to fulfill your passion, dreams and create a leagacy, above all you did it all with humility. All traits of a Great leader…………

  9. Prof Wasif M Khan says:

    Have only met you a few times but the genuine humility struck me at our first meeting in your makeshift office when the original had burned down. For me, that was enough but the fact that you once used some choice language with an arrogant, bratty boss endeared you to me even more! Carry on the good work…I know you don’t like superlatives.

  10. mashkoor alam says:

    Sarfaraz:

    The human being and the kind thoughtful soul
    in you that many of us have known, seen and experienced as friends and colleagues is inspiring. Hope some of the younger associates at Engro Foods pick up on your experience and thinking.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Thank you Mashkoor bhai. Coming from a former boss it carries great value. Indeed one hopes to add value and learnings for future generations. It is one of the main drivers in most humans.

  11. Hamayun Khattak says:

    Sir

    I was the part of EFL from 2011 to 2014 May , it was the time when I was not realising the culture , the environment, the happiness but when I left EFL for six months than I realised that I was so alone without my family , that’s the reason that I am again the part of EFL from last three days , now I can sleep in relax ….. Once again with Family

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