[NEW!] 10 questions with.. Laraib Ali Khan - senior consultant in defence policy @ Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, DC
Hello #supergirls! We hope you are starting to get used to our new blog series - "10 questions with.." - talking to girls who are R.O.C.K.I.N.G. it!! We are SO excited about some of these stories and the incredible journeys that we believe the whole wide world needs to be notified! We are here to ask them about their careers, how they got where they are, how they spend their free time, we want to know it ALL!
THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW IS WITH LARAIB ALI KHAN, WHO IS A SENIOR CONSULTANT AT BOOZ ALLEN, A TOP MANAGEMENT CONSULTING FIRM SPECIALISING IN GOVERNMENT-SERVICES. WE HOPE YOU FIND IT INSIGHTFUL!
10 QUESTIONS WITH ... LARAIB ALI KHAN
Hello Laraib! So happy to get to have a chat with you. Would love to know more about you and your background! Have you always been living in Washington, DC? If not, since when and what are your favourite parts about this city?
No, I haven’t. I was born and raised in Pakistan until I was 11. I moved to Chicago and grew up there. I moved to D.C. last year and have lived here ever since.
I moved here because I was working as an intern at The White House. Shortly thereafter, I worked as Political Appointee by the Obama Administration at the Department of Defense in Security Cooperation. I am currently a Senior Consultant in defense policy at Booz Allen Hamilton.
I love D.C. because it’s a vibrant city – there are many smart, fascinating people and they are all working towards change. The passion and political acumen here is entirely unmatched with any other city I have ever lived in.
Your job sounds really exciting! Please tell us more about what you do!
Thanks! I work as a Senior Consultant on defense policies at Booz Allen, which works on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense. I get to work on many amazing projects – it’s an incredibly empowering feeling to know that the work I do has tangible results. It’s amazing to see the difference we are all making.
That sounds absolutely fascinating! How did you get to do this?
I have always been interested in foreign policy and international security, including defense policies. When I was working at the White House, due to the nature of some of my projects, I realized that there was a genuine need for people from varying background to get involved in defense policy work. I researched, talked to many amazing women who mentored me, and found a path, that luckily, worked out.
What do you find the most exciting about your work?
By far, seeing the impact we make. The work I am able to do is incredibly interesting but seeing the changes is the most rewarding experience.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced in career or life and what helped you overcome them?
The defense and national security industry is not especially diverse. It can be challenging at times to be assertive in a room where the demographics are not diverse. However, what has helped me overcome these difficulties is being surrounded by a positive and supportive network. I would say that if you love what you do, you must become resourceful and seek out relationships and mentorships around you in order to continue on your path. As cliché as it may sound, President Obama was correct when he stated “No one walks the path of success alone”. Find people who encourage, inspire and help you. Focus on your strengths and be true to your passions.
What do you like to wear at work? Do you have any favourite pieces?
This is a good question – I find that the fashion industry is really lagging behind when it comes to working women. I usually like to wear dresses and heels to work but many times find them to be unprofessional. My go-to outfit is usually a knee-length dress with 2-in heels (have to last all day in them!).
My favorite pieces are my dresses from Zara – both are white and very comfortable, yet fashionable. I am really into ruffles these days so I love that these dresses are able to remain professional but incorporate some style as well.
What’s your off-duty style?
I love dresses, skirts, tank-tops and off the shoulder tops. I like to be comfortable but trendy as well. I love bright colors and florals.
What is your favourite Changing Factor bag?
The small, yellow one! It’s a beautiful color. I have it in grey and love it and get many compliments. My next purchase will definitely be the yellow hand bag – it’s gorgeous.
Now when it comes to having fun… what do you like to do in your free time??
I like to travel to scenic places. I love poetry and meditation. I also like listening to music. I also really like learning about astronomy and going out with friends for drinks.
Share with us a favourite piece of advice, quote, or saying of any kind!
I have many! But one that has been resonating with me lately is this: “Many can walk the path with you, but no one can walk the path FOR you”. I love this advice – it reminds me that despite all the noise around us, in the end we must follow our own voice and heart.