Fellow Feature: Pervez Soomar

Published: September 18, 2018

Pervez loves technology, personal finance, career development, and anything that physically and mentally challenges him. His passion lies somewhere between helping startups grow through sales and helping (hopefully inspiring) people to meet their personal and professional potent

When he’s not working with his awesome team at Andela, coaching someone through an interview for a job they want, talking to a company about revamping their sales strategy, reading through a resume, or speaking to a younger audience about personal finance or career growth, you can find him strolling the streets of NYC & Austin with his dog daughter Bella. Pervez is a member of the inaugural class of Notley Fellows.

We sat down with Pervez to discuss what causes are close to his heart, the areas of social impact he wants to change, and the organizations he is passionate about and participating in.

What specific issues are close to your heart and why?

Two specific issues keep me up at night. The first being equality in education and opportunity. Unfortunately, where you are born and raised too often determines the level of access you have to a proper education. Going a step further, sometimes an education isn’t enough if there isn’t an opportunity to provide value with the skills one has. I consider myself beyond lucky for my parents fleeing poverty in Pakistan and coming to the states — because of this, my siblings and I were able to go to school, get jobs, start businesses, and make an amazing living. The second issue that is near and dear to my heart is financial literacy in schools and especially low-income schools. Habits around finances highly determine a person’s quality of life and ability to live. The student debt crisis has a lot to do with a lack of education that the millennial generation received while growing up and it has blocked so many from being able to do the things they want in life. My time in finance showed me the power of money regardless of your income and has since become a huge part of my DNA.

What do you think local businesses can do to support nonprofit organizations?

I think local businesses can support nonprofits by making social impact as important as any other initiative or businesses strategy. I actually think of it in a similar sense for an individual. Many businesses and people think that they need a lot or “can wait” to show support but I don’t think that’s true. There’s value in businesses being involved early and besides having a direct impact, it spreads a culture of giving and I am a big believer that it comes back tenfold.

What for-profit companies (local or national) are currently doing an exemplary job of being socially responsible, in your opinion? How?

This is an easy one for me. Andela. Andela helps companies scale their engineering output by providing distributed tech talent with a focus on growing that talent across Africa. Andela is as mission driven as a for-profit business gets with a saying that brilliance is evenly distributed throughout the world If you haven’t already guessed, I work at Andela :). I also love the team at Ellevest. Ellevest is providing an investment platform for women with a mission to close the gender investing gap. It is specialized to women’s income and life cycles which is incredible.

How can we make it easier for everyone to have a social impact?

Generally, I think people want to be involved more and want to have a bigger impact on things they care about. Many of my friends want to get involved and just don’t know how. I felt and still feel the pain while being new to Austin. My advice for nonprofits and other organizations that are looking for assistance is to go “on the road.” The WeWork my office is currently in has hundreds of small companies that don’t have as easy of an outlet to get involved as someone at a bigger company. Why not come do a 15 minute presentation where you’re guaranteed a large audience that will likely convert to a donor/volunteer?

About Andela

Andela scales high performing distributed engineering teams with Africa’s most talented software developers. Andela is focused on bridging technological skills gaps across the globe by building an inclusive, international ecosystem.

About Ellevest

Ellevest is an investment platform built by and for women with the mission of closing the investment gender gap. Ellevest helps women invest by building portfolios that invest in companies that benefit women, and formulating algorithms personalized for womens’ investment needs.