Passionate about food and education, Kausar provides culinary and nutrition workshops for children and adults in impoverished communities around Karachi, the most populous city in Pakistan, through a programme called “Cooking for Change.” With the same enterprise, Kitchen Craft, she also teaches cooking classes and works with corporate clients as a food stylist. As a woman entrepreneur, Kausar faces many hardships and sought after a mentor to give her guidance and support.
Kausar first joined our Mentoring Women in Business Programme in 2017. She had big ideas for her business but felt overwhelmed and sought help in determining the best direction to go in. She was matched with Anne, a Senior Advisor for the UNDP in Singapore. Anne helped Kausar hone her passions and find clarity by encouraging her to define her goals and establish timelines for her work. Together, they worked on sharing Kausar’s cooking expertise through both classes and marketing her cookbook. The pair met all of Kausar’s objectives within only eight months!
Kausar explained, “Working together to achieve these goals was perhaps one of the most joyful and challenging parts of this journey. With Anne’s encouraging, clear, thoughtful and precise guidance we kept moving forward.” After such a productive first year in the Mentoring Programme, the pair decided to continue on together for one more year.
Kausar has had many accomplishments while being mentored by Anne. At the start of the Mentoring Programme, Anne encouraged Kausar to partner with Airbnb and join their experience hosting programme as a culinary educator and ambassador. With Anne’s support, Kausar excitedly contacted Airbnb, and within a few weeks, she had the opportunity to visit the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco as a guest chef to promote her cookbook and to initiate a partnership with their experience project. They even asked Kausar to train their chefs at their Seattle, Portland and San Francisco offices to cook Pakistani cuisine!
Since then, as a mentee of Anne, Kausar has been interviewed about her cookbook by popular radio shows in San Francisco and New York City and was a finalist in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She also collaborated with well-known global brands including Nestlé, Unilever and Williams Sonoma, and became a member of acclaimed institutions like the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Kausar also continued to serve her community through culinary and nutrition programmes, including a partnership with the World Women Global Council.
As Kausar has described of her experience, “The last one year has been very tough, but it went through like a breeze with the support and tremendous guidance of my mentor Anne.”
Though Anne was the one to generously give her time to Kausar, she was also amazed at how their mentoring relationship was mutually beneficial. “As an ongoing mentor with the Foundation, I have learnt a lot from my mentees and have found inspiration in their resilience, empathy, ingenuity and courage.” In addition to being personally inspired, Anne also learned valuable lessons about “start-ups, cross-cultural considerations, business models and innovation processes” that she finds helpful in her own work.
Having now discovered some missing ingredients to her enterprise recipe and looking to the future, Kausar hopes to further develop her partnership with Airbnb, launch a product line, and reach international recognition.