Leadership Breakfast with Duriya Farooqui

On Friday, July 22, we hosted Duriya Farooqui for our monthly Leadership Breakfast. Farooqui currently serves as the Executive Director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a partnership between the City of Atlanta and its top business leaders. Prior to joining ACP in May 2016, Duriya was a principal at Bain & Company, where she worked with corporate executives across several industries to deliver high impact results. Her management experience spans the private and public sector, including seven years with the City of Atlanta. Duriya served as the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Atlanta before 2014, managing all operating departments and agencies that represented a budget of about $2 billion and over 7,000 city employees.

Passion is perhaps one of the greatest factors behind her success.

You can be a teacher, a doctor, anything, but you got to be the best at it.

For Duriya, it’s just as important to be passionate for your work as it is to be passionate about making a difference. Originally, it was teachers that she felt were most impactful, but over time she shifted her life work towards fighting for the impoverished.

“Poverty is a tradeoff,” she says. “It’s about the choices and tradeoffs you make in your daily life.  Do you have the right to freedom or access? These are experiences people have, but I don’t believe that poverty here is less egregious, less dangerous than the poverty there [Pakistan]. I think there is something egregious about being in the richest country in the world and having that experience.”

Farooqui spoke candidly about perspective. Her past experiences working in government supplied her with amazing stories that felt appreciated in recent days of unrest. She was forthwith and balanced in an analysis of poverty and strife in the city, as well as humanizing to the police forces that work for the city daily.

Farooqui concluded by emphasizing the importance of building a powerful coalition to make an impact in the community. She spotlighted the importance of leaders and gave tips on how to be and build better leaders. “To be an effective leader - and grow leaders - it is so important to give people stretch opportunities -- you basically raise the game of everyone around you.”