Meet the judges—Fareeha Usman

In our Meet the judges series, we’ll be chatting to some of the cloud tech experts on our judging panel to find out more about their experience, their passion for cloud tech, and what they’re making a beeline for at the awards ceremony buffet… 

Fareeha Usman is an ONS Census Purple Plaque holder, multi-award winner, philanthropist and an Entrepreneur for Good.

A global voice of authority on gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, she is the Founder of Being Woman Charity and the mind behind the food sharing app Share Karo, launched to provide an integrated system to distribute food and essentials for the people in need.

Winner of We are the City Rising star, Dynamites Rising Star, Great British Entrepreneur for Good and a Highly Commended Charity Leader of the year 2020, she also sits on Board for YMCA Northumberland and Health Watch Northumberland.

Fareeha is also the founder of Being Woman, a much-needed organization amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities, and aimed to create a sustainable response to current challenges by building resilience in our communities.

Find out more about Fareeha. 

Which category are you most looking forward to judging and why?

Definitely Tech for Good; personally I’ve been involved in the charity sector with all my heart for quite some time now, and I’m a staunch believer that there is still so much that can be done to improve the charity sector with the use of digital knowledge and technology.

In my organization, we’ve simplified so many problems that once existed in our area with the help of technology, and I would love to see more entrepreneurs and what they’re doing improve the lives of people that they’re serving. 

Outstanding Leader of the Year too. It takes a lot of courage and sacrifice to be a leader. One has to go out of their comfort zone to make sure they are standing upfront for any problem that might arise, and to make sure they steer their team to success. Being awarded the Census Purple Plaque, Highly Commended Charity Leader Of The Year and Asian Business Connextions Third Sector Award myself, it would be an honor for me to judge this category and appreciate the tireless efforts of our people.

Finally, Diversity and Inclusion Employer of the Year. Diversity and inclusion have been proven to make organizations better workplaces, and also are known to generate more profits. But only having a couple of employees who look different from each other is not diversity; celebrating their differences is the key to making everyone feel at home.

I have personally worked at a grassroots level to research how diversity, equality and inclusion can be utilized in the business world and how we can overcome the obstacles that come with it.

Working with Dynamo North East in the capacity of leading equality, diversity and inclusion innovation, this category is an especially attractive chance for me to connect and empower the organizations who are working towards promoting EDI in cloud technology. So it would be a great opportunity for me to apply my knowledge and provide the best possible feedback based on what I’ve experienced working in this area.

How has cloud technology made an impact on your life, or within your business?

Cloud technology has been a game-changer for my organization; it’s given us an edge to control and manage our resources, data and finances. Moreover, it’s improved the way our organization operates on a day-to-day basis.

It’s saved us on costs, but the most desirable feature is the simplified convenience that comes with cloud technology. We can be anywhere and still have access to data that is super secured, and we only need a device and internet connection to get hold of it. I would also like to mention the digital confidence it has given my business over our competitors.

"Let’s build a fair and inclusive society where cloud technology is accessible for all leaving no one behind."
Fareeha Usman
Being Woman

How important are awards in promoting diversity and inclusion, especially in sectors like tech?

The tech industry is not only progressive, but it can also be very creative leading to innovation and for that I believe reaching out to different people and appreciating the diverse range of talent that they possess is essential. One way in which it can be done is by recognizing their efforts, hard work and abilities through awards.

This not only motivates the individual receiving the award, but it also inspires other people to come forward and prove themselves. Most importantly, it establishes a strong foundation of trust with people when they see individuals like themselves being awarded and acknowledged.

These awards are all about celebrating what's happened in the last year; what kind of developments are you expecting to see in the cloud industry in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to seeing more leaders, more profits and innovations in the industry. Let’s hope that within the coming days the user interface becomes easier and more understandable for everyone, including the neurodiverse community and people with language barriers to overcome.

Other than that, free online courses and certifications should also be provided to make sure that we all are excelling together as a community. Let’s build a fair and inclusive society where cloud technology is accessible for all leaving no one behind.

You're at an awards ceremony; what food are you making a beeline to the buffet table for?

"I personally love to try cuisines from around the world that bring new tastes and colorful traditional cultures of different parts of the planet to the table.

"So, I might run to something on a menu which I have never tasted before; I'm open to tasting food which represents a diverse combination of textures and delicacy."
Fareeha Usman
Being Woman

What do you think the biggest opportunity will be for organizations in the cloud space in 2022? What will be the biggest challenge to overcome?

Since we’re seeing an increase in the number of enterprises using the cloud space every day, especially after the COVID-19 crisis, I think the biggest opportunity for organizations would be the facility of managed services given by service providers to their customers.

The services that are in great demand include backup and recovery procedures, maintaining organizational and cultural changes, and forming a cloud strategy and roadmap. For these, managed services providers must try to decipher the worst of the complexities of cloud transformations from companies, giving them the headspace to focus on their applications and business operations, rather than workload integrations.

The biggest challenge however in my opinion would be the uncertainty on the ROI; many organizations are steering their way to cloud computing, and a considerable percentage of those organizations are unaware as to whether they’re making the right decision or not. Other than that, lack of technical expertise and knowledge can also prove to be a hindrance, as there are chances that the advantages of cloud space will not be fully utilized by those individuals.

If you were to win an award yourself, perhaps for a secret talent, what would it most likely be?

If I could, I would love to win an award for my team that could benefit our work more in the charity sector; something that we’ve given our blood and sweat to. I would like my team to be recognized for the hard work and dedication they’ve shown to serving their community in the most challenging times.

I’d be humbled if we were able to get recognition in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in North East through tech and innovation, and successfully having cultivated a digital presence through our food sharing app, which is now used by over 5.000 people in Northumberland and has distributed over 25,000 free food and essential boxes in just one year.

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