Faryal Khaleel is a corporate lawyer, having over 14 years of work experience as an in-house legal counsel for multinational/local private & public sector banks in Pakistan.
As a pioneer in-house legal counsel in her region she faced challenges due to the new concept and fewer women in the legal field back in the days when she began her career. However, she established trust with the internal clients of the companies she worked for, saved company’s cost by doing maximum legal work in-house while aiming at protecting them from potential legal implications. She is known for her flexible and adapting approach, meeting short timelines and finding quick solutions.
Faryal was brought up in a small nuclear family. Her father was a seasoned banker while her mother was an excellent home-maker. Faryal belongs to the first generation of working women in her family, “transitional generation” as she calls it. In generations before her roles were quite gender specific, the concept of girls getting higher education and having a career was still so rare. However, her parents believed in giving their daughters the best of education and encouraged them to have career goals. After the untimely demise of her father Faryal and her sister had to take on the responsibility of being the breadwinners for their family at a young age, while their younger brother was still studying. Faryal’s journey from working to earn a living to loving her work had many highs and lows, her consistency and faith in God kept her going, as they say it is in the most challenging times you realise your true potential.
Faryal believes that discipline and time management are key to maintaining a good work-life balance. A support system in the form of family and friends can make one do wonders. It is unfortunate how careers of women in her society are often considered less important than their male counterparts, yardstick of women’s success remain their family life no matter how much they achieve on the professional front, working women are made to feel guilty for not being good home-makers, despite giving their best to work & home. Also, women’s commitment towards their career is still underestimated, no matter how required it is for a woman to have a professional identity and being financially independent, it is generally assumed that women are taken care of by the men in their families and their career is just a matter of choice and secondary to the role they are meant to be in (home-maker), while things are changing now, Faryal feels she being the “transitional generation” had to bear the brunt of it the most. But she believes they have paved the way for younger girls, making society more accepting of working/ambitious women. Faryal believes women are capable of perfectly balancing their personal & professional lives, all they need is support and encouragement from their loved ones.
Faryal praises the banking industry in Pakistan for being supportive towards women, offering safe and healthy work environment, long paid maternity leaves, workplace harassment policies etc. She notes that breast cancer awareness and International Women’s Day campaigns are also prevalent, and many organizations have a high number of women in leadership positions. Faryal suggests that creating a gender-balanced workplace requires fostering an equitable and unbiased work culture where women’s achievements are encouraged and respected. She also recommends initiatives such as impartial mentorship, employment opportunities for women returning to work after a long gap and workplace day care, to help women sustain their positions.
Faryal’s late parents are her greatest inspiration, their enlightened thought process and urge to make their children self-reliant, confident and strong individuals, regardless of gender, has inspired her. She appreciates her parents for teaching her empathy and the real purpose of one’s existence, enabling her to fight her way through the superficial and stereotypical norms of society.
Faryal values taking time off during the weekend to catch up on sleep and to spend time with friends and family. She enjoys activities such as yoga, meditation, reading, watching movies, and practicing her religion. Faryal also loves spending time with her pets and is passionate about caring for stray animals. Any activity that helps her relax from her hectic routine brings her happiness.
Faryal’s strength lies in determination and honesty towards her work, while her weaknesses include investing too much on unworthy situations and not choosing her battles wisely. Her passion is to be the best version of herself in every capacity, feeding on and spreading positivity, to be a source of strength and pride for her loved ones, using the resources she has been blessed with to alleviate and lift others, at the same time not burdening herself with unreal expectations or striving for perfection.
Faryal has achieved many milestones in her professional life, that includes contributing to the launch of many conventional & Islamic banking products, providing constant legal support to the growing Digital Banking. Furnishing cost-effective legal services to some leading banking companies including their international branch offices. She is an Advocate High Court and has received several awards and recognition for her contributions, such as being awarded by the World Bank Group and being recognized at the LexTalk World Conference Singapore 2022.
Faryal’s mantra for success is to find inner contentment, giving best in everything with utmost honesty and let life unfold. Do wrong to none, repent if you do, pray, love, dream, spread hope, happiness and positivity. Respect your parents.
Faryal wishes every woman gets to explore/utilise her complete potential and she is able to do so without any guilt or fear of loosing anything in the process. Whatever a woman chooses to become, a home-maker, a mother, professional, a business woman, or all of it! the choice should be hers, at all stages of her life.