Catalyst for Unlocking Human Potential (through Open Leadership)
Passionate about business, women’s empowerment, the environment, service and charity, Shabnoor’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to explore diverse fields, including learning, services and training operations, entrepreneurship, academia , management, leadership, organizational psychology, executive coaching, and organizational consulting.
Shabnoor grew up in New Delhi with supportive parents and three loving siblings, where she thrived in a nurturing environment that encouraged her involvement in various extracurricular activities such as theatre, music, outdoor adventures, and student exchanges. However, the patriarchical, culturally restrictive & limiting societal mindset posed challenges for wholesome growth and expansion in her early years and youth. Like for most women, this delayed the process of finding her true calling in human psychology and behaviors. This took longer to break free from the conventional stereotypes imposed on Indian women. However, her unwavering focus on self-development, self-awareness, increased risk-taking, continuous learning, academic pursuits, and multicultural exposure enabled her to overcome these barriers and eventually pursue her passion internationally. She now lives in Munich, Germany, with her husband Fayaz Pinjari and their two amazing kids Aydin (16) and Ayra (13). She delightfully shares that her core and extended family is the center of her universe.
Shabnoor Shah is committed to unlocking human potential. She has an innate understanding of human nature as an empath, which in turn got her deeply interested in psychology, neuroscience, the field of coaching and therapy, and organisational success and excellence.
Her defining moments were facilitated by motherhood,
followed by relocation and settlement in Germany, accelerated by international higher education in evidence based coaching eventually leading to ICF-PCC credential and other academic pursuits, and this was further enabled by joining Red Hat, leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions. At Red Hat, she discovered the world of open source technology, power of communities and open culture in driving digital and technological transformation. Notably, she played a pivotal role in defining the “Open Leadership” model, in collaboration with the open organization community to translate it from theory to practice.
In her business strategy, Shabnoor combines a visionary and futuristic mindset with a results-oriented approach, whilst remaining grounded in empathy. She leverages evidence-based practices, open and agile concepts, and inclusive decision-making to formulate strategies that set her apart and lead to tangible outcomes. She shares, “My rich, expansive professional experience, and relevant qualifications (MBA and MS in I/O Psychology), multicultural sensitivity, emotional intelligence, and a profound understanding of the power of teams and communities, helps me evaluate all aspects from multiple lenses and deliver solid outcomes and meaningful results.”
To her, business is both art, that is an expression of creativity and science, that is conversion of unlimited possibilities through experimentation and innovation. Her enthusiasm lies in innovation, creativity, collaboration, and applying principles such as open-source, agile, lean, UX, and design thinking. As an aspirational and driven individual, she finds joy in co-creating products, services, and experiences that facilitate transformative change and improve human conditions.
Driven by a deep sense of service, Shabnoor Shah is a staunch advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Red Hat. She is committed to empowering women, ensuring equal education and professional opportunities, and promoting the well-being of children and youth, striving to eliminate poverty, abuse, and hardships. She actively supports and mentors Sheetal Kalra’s Pifinity Education Foundation in India ( (www. pifinity.org).
As an organizational psychologist, consultant, and coach, Shabnoor values trust, empathy, and professional competence in developing meaningful interpersonal relationships. Her strengths encompass evidence-based and systems thinking, inclusive decision-making, risk-taking, collaboration, and maintaining an open and growth-oriented mindset. She embraces critical thinking, welcomes feedback, and acknowledges the importance of emotional intelligence while balancing her idealistic views with the realities of the world.
Despite the challenges she has faced, Shabnoor Shah’s continuous pursuit of learning and academic excellence has led her to acquire multiple qualifications, certifications and awards, including the ‘Psi Chi Lifetime Member’ issued by the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and the ‘Services Top Gun Award’ and ‘Red Hat People Team Catalyst Award’ at Red Hat.
In conclusion, Shabnoor Shah’s wisdom emphasizes that there is untapped potential within each individual and we must strive continuously to unlock it because our true competition is ourselves , not others. She advises individuals to “know thyself”, practice self-regulation, adopt progressive, open and agile ways of working, and embrace change because “that’s the only thing that is constant”. She encourages people not to hesitate to be different; to constantly challenge themselves, set high standards, take inspired action and “feel the fear and do it anyway!”
She believes that having a growth mindset and continuously developing skills, talents and competencies through life is vital for overall success and happiness. Shabnoor believes in an abundant universe and her sage advise for people is to not get fixated on materialistic gains because they are just one of the side benefits in pursuit of our higher purpose. Instead, seek joy, happiness, excellence, practice gratitude and riches will flow naturally!”