The Happy Engineer Podcast

022: How Subtle Unconscious Bias Hurts Your Results with Farzana Chohan

If you were told girls don’t have brains as a child, how do you think that would affect you? Do you believe that all humans have inherent excellence inside them? What does unconscious bias actually look like day to day?

In this episode, you may get uncomfortable. That’s a good thing. Dr. Farzana Chohan has authored two books and is a globally recognized expert on leadership, the impact of mentoring, and challenges created by unconscious bias.

She was told girls don’t have brains.

Now she holds a Masters in Architecture, and Doctorate in Leadership & Organizational Transformation. And her story is every bit as transformational as it sounds.

You don’t want to miss this.

We talk about the hard stuff.

So press play and let’s chat… because you didn’t sign up for easy, you signed up for impact.


The Happy Engineer Podcast




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How do we take a conversation around some of the toughest topics in engineering and in the world today with gender, unconscious bias, with cultural differences in a global economy and a global company and marketplace –  how do we take those topics and various beliefs and challenges that we face around those topics and translate it back into something that provides meaningful value and happiness in our own life?

That’s the question that we need to answer right now. Otherwise, this entire conversation is what I would call passive. Passive action versus massive action.

Step one: start focusing on finding the excellence inside every single person, including yourself. Do you believe that every single person around you has greater potential, greater possibility and an inherent excellence inside them?

If you believe that, then let’s start focusing on finding it. Ask new questions, challenge yourself and others to hit new standards of performance and excellence at work, at home, in relationships – go looking for excellence. If you believe it’s there, then go start looking. And I promise you, you will find it.

Where your focus goes, energy flows. Start focusing on finding excellence. And if you want to be a change agent for good at work at home in your own life, do what physics teacher did for her. Take a stand for someone in your world who is not living up to that inherent excellence and potential inside them, and believe in them at a level greater than they believe in themselves.

What does that actually look like? See, we often have these great ideas, these great concepts, and what I just gave you is a great concept. Hey, believe in someone else more than they believe in themselves. Great concept. But what does it look like on the court? What does that look like in the arena of your life?

It is really important that we take concepts out of our thinking brain and actually start asking ourselves, what will it specifically look like in the arena of my life? I want to invite you to specificity. So leaving this conversation today, what exactly, what specifically, will you do? What does that conversation look like? What does that actually become in the experience day to day of your life? If you don’t have that answer specifically, then you haven’t done the work yet of applying and implementing this. 

I want to dig-in to one more area here. It’s this question of the mental barriers and subconscious biases that show up in our life in subtle ways.

I believe that what Farzana is sharing with us is extremely transformational. When you begin to realize what’s projected. What’s in the media and what’s getting all of the attention around these big, tough, gnarly, controversial topics is the stuff that is bold and in your face and being measured.

And the reason for me, I’ll just speak for myself, here – the reason that it’s so hard to connect with so much of the media and the stories around this is because it’s made extreme, it’s made flamboyant, it’s made loud and bold so that it will get your attention. It’s well-intended in many cases, but to get your attention, it’s taken out to the extremes and then you say, well, I don’t do anything like that in my life.

I’m not that bad. I’m not the boss who says that absolutely ridiculous thing. I’ve never treated a person from that culture in that horrific way. I’ve never treated that gender in this absolutely unacceptable way. Therefore, I don’t have a problem. This to me is the key to research and work. 

We only identify in contrast to these extremes, but the truth of where these mental barriers and biases show up is in the subtle small, everyday behaviors that you don’t realize. And I want to give you an example, a very honest example from my own life and business here at Oasis of Courage, we have an extremely powerful and transformational eight week coaching program for engineers called the lifestyle engineering blueprint, and we have had incredible results.

All walks of life, engineers at all levels, and it’s just awesome what we’re accomplishing. But one of my clients, a woman in engineering who is now absolutely crushing it, she’s already gotten her promotion to the director level. She’s just absolutely an incredible client. When she went through the program, she reached out to me and said: Hey, did you realize that you almost exclusively quoted men on your slides and in your presentations that are part of these training modules? Upon further review, she was absolutely right. The majority of those influences and people who I’ve referenced and quoted in some of the various training that I do were men, by the vast majority. 

She made the comment not to say ‘Hey, this is a huge problem’. Or ‘it took away from my ability to experience, change and transformation’. But simply to point out, look, if you would bring more female voices into the training, it would help me to feel more empowered and connected to what we’re doing and not be triggered in a subconscious way that I’m in some out of place minority here.

Wow. I was extremely, extremely grateful for the courage and the gracious spirit that she had to bring that to me. The generosity she had to bring that forward so that we can make those changes. There’s no reason in the world not to have brought all these other voices in, but it’s a subtle subconscious.

Bias even exists inside of me, and I just confess that to you. I’m not perfect in these areas. It’s something that I never would have noticed if she hadn’t brought it forward. There are probably a thousand more subtle things happening in my life that I am yet to uncover and change. And don’t forget you are in the same boat.

So, whether you agreed or disagreed with Farzana on any of the specific issues is irrelevant. That’s not the point. Your agenda is the agenda. What I want you to recognize is that subtle subconscious actions and behaviors and thoughts and beliefs and mindsets are present in all of us. If we want to create a change in our own world and in the world around us, be open and coachable to uncover those things and take action to change it.

 I want you to ponder that. I want you to ask yourself hard questions around that and get help and coaching if you need it. If there’s people around you or areas in your life where you’re unhappy with the results, don’t go for it alone.

Like Farzana mentioned, we’re so blessed to have the resources and the partners and the coaches available to us. So let’s use them. Hey, what is your life blueprint? If you don’t know the answer, let’s get clarity for you. I would love to be a part of that journey with you here on the podcast and in our programs, reach out to us any time.

But until we connect again, as always, let’s do this.

Previous Episode 21: Discover Self Observation with Jay Abbasi




Dr. Farzana Chohan is a multidisciplinary leader who has continually captivated diverse audiences with her work in architecture, international nonprofits and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

She’s authored two books.  The first, “Subtle”, around unconscious bias, and a second, “Leadership in Women: Thrive.”  Dr. Farzana is a globally recognized expert on leadership, the impact of mentoring, and challenges that are created by unconscious bias. 

She was told girls don’t have brains.  Now, she holds a Master’s in Architecture and a Doctorate in Leadership and Organizational Transformation.  Being raised in urban Pakistan, her story is every bit as transformational as it sounds.

Dr. Farzana Chohan has created an intuitive framework of “Optimize Excellence” to guide and answer the challenges faced by Leaders and Companies alike.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Happy engineers. Welcome back. Another incredible conversation is about to happen. I just know it and I’m so happy that you’re tuning in and Dr. Farzana thank you so much for making time. The work you’re doing and what’s in your bio. We could probably go for three or four hours today and just telling the stories and the experiences and the things that you’ve learned and the wisdom that you have to share with our engineering listener.

[00:00:31] But I can’t thank you enough for making time to be with us today.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:34] Farzana Chohan: Zach, thank you for having me on your podcast. It is and very interesting name of the podcast, and that was, uh, ear catching for my ears

[00:00:42] Zach White: I just want to jump right into the heart of your work. Optimize excellence. It’s a phrase that any engineer would hear and it just triggers for us like optimization and an excellence in the work that we do. And so tell us a little bit, like, what is it, what is the foundation of what you’re doing and what optimized excellence is all about?

[00:01:03] Farzana Chohan: . I, my background is in architecture and, uh, I have worked in different parts of the world, actually studied in different parts of the world. But what led me to optimize excellence is a lifelong experiential journey.

[00:01:18] My first encounter on job sites was when I was basically, not acknowledged as someone who has a technical background or is an architect or who should be listened to for any reason what a twenty-five year old. Young girl can tell all these other, uh, uh, other gender on job site. But what I have noticed, uh, is how people, have their own skillsets and their excellence in.

[00:01:45] So going back to that point that I have worked in different parts of the world, and I have actually gone to a range of skillsets and creates people in those skillsets and those traits from a very high end corporate leader, as the owners of the. To the, uh, people working on carpentry and mechanical and electrical, who don’t have degrees who don’t have backgrounds, which we will label as having a high level of quality or competency, but they had something, they had excellence in them.

[00:02:20] There is an inherent excellence in human beings. It doesn’t matter what your qualification is, what your degree is or what economists or ethnic background you come from. They all tried to help each other and to newbies also. So I have been actually helped by those people. So that was, uh, that has been a professional experience in healthcare architecture and complex projects.

[00:02:45] But then moving on as I, uh, uh, had more experience. I became leader. I became leader in architecture. I became leader, a volunteer leader in nonprofit, international, nonprofit, and I saw a constant theme of excellence, human excellence, trying to be good to each other and provide a better life, uh, a joy in interactions in management and whatever they do.

[00:03:10] And I started thinking about it that when we have so much, uh, human centeredness in our. Y our wall is still in turmoil. Why we don’t, uh, acknowledge it more, uh, openly, more in a more holistic. And that is where the idea of optimized excellence, uh, came in. I have, along with that, I have done my research on leadership and mentoring.

[00:03:32] So I wrote down two books and both of those books are really deeply thought provoking. One is the concept of leadership in women, acknowledging that women have inherent characteristics of leadership mothers, especially do along with all other women who are working in very technical fields and they have not been.

[00:03:50] recognized in 18th, 19th, and 20th century, and even in 21st century and then the root cause of our unconscious biases. It is easy for me to tell someone, oh, you are biased. You have. Uh, different isms in new racism, sexism who you name it and intellectual ism. You see also in Islam. But when I am pointing a finger to someone else, my other three fingers are pointing to me.

[00:04:15] Those are the, that is the unconscious bias, which I call setter. So I wrote that second book settle and good. The books started at the same time in. For 1314, I started writing them. I did my own research on those topics and I published the book leadership in women first. And then, uh, I, it took me a long time to publish your setup, but the common thread, uh, with your question and what, what led to optimize excellence is, is that we have excellence in us and we need.

[00:04:48] Bring it to the highest level. It is exactly same. What you have talked about. We are happy engineering podcast that how we can achieve that excellence. My cake is that you have excellence. We need to reflect on that excellence, what it is, how I can, or how we can guide each other in achieving that excellence.

[00:05:06] And and acknowledge. And, uh, each other as a human have accident. Yeah. 

[00:05:12] Zach White: Wow. I mean, there’s a lot here. This is awesome. So let me jump in because if the engineer listening is like me, it’s like, there was probably a dozen points in there. I was like, Ooh, I want to know more about that and that and that and that. So if I go back to, you said, I saw, and I began to experience the common thread.

[00:05:35] Humans having an inherent excellence in them and a desire or something that was happening to, to want that to come to the surface. Can you take us back to the specific moments that you may remember where you first became aware of that you first started thinking that thought, what was the. Situation or the interaction that began to lead you to see this is true about humanity.

[00:06:07] There is an inherent excellence inside of everyone. Can you tell us about one or two of those moments? And then 

[00:06:13] Farzana Chohan: I met him, but, uh, what is in my memory is one way to early on. So I was fresh graduate out of architecture. I will admit, I don’t know all the details of how to do the, put the woodwork together.

[00:06:28] Correct. So I designed something on paper. I wanted it to look like that. And we gave that a two, the on job onsite to carpenter to be. And he was very confused and he said, what do you want? And I said, it’s in the drawing. And he said, no drawing is not right. If I build it accordingly, that detail of the, uh, canopy will look very funny and out of a scale.

[00:06:52] So of course I was embarrassed. I was supposed to be, uh, uh, higher up than him, a carpenter on a job site. And I said, okay. I tell me how, how to do it correctly. I want to understand the detail. And he gave me his time. He spent a few hours with me, explained to me that what I am showing on 3d and how I want to get it built to look like I have to do my, uh, drawings differently and I have to proportion it differently.

[00:07:22] So I learned a great lesson from a carpenter. Whom we will not even invite in our offices for a meeting. Uh, and that’s what tells me that humanity. He was not looking at me from, uh, from different boxes. Uh, but maybe we, uh, as an elite professional, sometimes look at people from a different perspective.

[00:07:45] That is one example. Another example is very early on. I was in ninth grade and my, I failed my maths and physics test 

[00:07:54] Zach White: connect. We all have one of those stories. 

[00:08:00] Farzana Chohan: My teacher asked me, uh, why you did notice study. And I said, what’s the point of is studying maths and physics. I will never become an engineer. I will never be going to any technical.

[00:08:12] Why do I need to waste my time on it when I have to get my, basic degree. And then, uh, I will live traditionally get married and have children corrected. And she, I still remember her face turned red and she said, why you don’t have brain? And I said, yes, that’s what I’m told. I don’t have. Uh, girls don’t have brains.

[00:08:32] Girls cannot learn maths or physics and her color turn more red. As she got really upset. And she said, what I have seen in you in LA last month, you have a great brain and you, if you are in my class, you’re only going to listen to me. You are going to spend an hour after every, uh, after classes every day.

[00:08:51] And we will, uh, I will teach you maths. And here I am few decades from there. I can not forget my Ms. Sasha. I am still emotional about it. That where I thought I cannot learn maths and physics and, Home. I need to find the teacher who I need to find a game. She thought that excellence in, in, in, in, in a human being.

[00:09:10] Uh I’m and I’m sure she has done it both from a girls and boys. And so yes, those are the examples 

[00:09:16] Zach White: of human excellence. I’m moved by that and it’s so amazing in life. When someone takes a stand. For you and believes in you more than you believe in yourself and for the engineer, the leader, listening.

[00:09:33] If you’ve never had someone do that for you, you may not really appreciate what Donna is saying here, but for those of you who have. Just remember to let that gratitude, fill your heart for that and do that for someone else, you know, take a stand for someone else’s potential and excellence for Donna. Can you set the stage for us a little bit?

[00:09:54] Because there were some really difficult things that you just mentioned about being told. You know, or at least the culture around you telling you that girls don’t have brains what you grew up thinking and believing about what was possible. Could you tell us a little bit about those childhood years and culturally, what was going on, where you were and maybe address, you know, do you feel like that is unique to where you were in the world or that time period?

[00:10:20] Or do you think that’s still very common and what’s the situation today? 

[00:10:27] Farzana Chohan: Actually, um, that part of the world, especially when we are part of when we are in Indian subcontinent, India and Pakistan, including, um, my parents were born in India. They were very young when their parents migrated to Pakistan. Uh, I am from Pakistan.

[00:10:34] It is very urban. It’s not, it’s not very conservative or Girls to get education. Uh, I lived my entire life like this. Uh, so girls do get education, but the patriarchal mindset of the society is that girls are suitable for certain things. And boys are suitable for other functions. So that was during that time.

[00:11:00] It is not as much right now. So that is a uniqueness of that part of the work, but what girls are suitable and in patriarchy, this is not a gender issue. I don’t think it’s men versus women. It is more a patriarchal mindset that girls are good in. Uh, home, uh, uh, home care or home economics. So, oh, if you want to study really, you can go and do a PhD in home economics.

[00:11:25] There is a degree in there. Okay. Or you can do teaching or you can do medicine. Uh, those are the functions which girls are really encouraged to allow. So when, but paradoxically in my family, I had a lot of brothers and my family did not see us from the lands. Uh, boys or girls. Uh, and my father actually encouraged me to go into architecture because he wanted his daughter to have something different and unique, but something which is desk-based.

[00:11:53] So that’s how I ended up in architecture. Um, and there is longer story around it, but, uh, to answer your question, um, it is not so over there, uh, it, girls are 52% population. And in architectural schools and engineering schools also, there is 50 or 51%, uh, gulp, uh, students. Uh, and that is a common scenario.

[00:12:17] Move over here also in not. So it is not so, but in, so education-wise, you can get education, but when it comes time to get into the profession, here I go back to my story. When I graduated after a five-year degree in architecture, we were six in our class, three, never started working. They got married the next week.

[00:12:38] And they did not have an opportunity to work in the profession of architecture. To later when they got married and the, because of the family, uh, uh, expansion, they decided they don’t want to work. So I, I never got married, but I never stopped working either. Um, but culturally, there are still some paradoxes around women working in, um, millwork environments.

[00:13:02] It’s culture. It’s, it’s a patriarchal mindset. 

[00:13:07] Zach White: This is a challenging conversation for a lot of people to be a part of. And what I’d love to do is then. Because you wrote an amazing book about leadership in women, thrive and I’ve really loved the title. I love what I’ve had time to dig into in there.

[00:13:23] Would you just bring to the surface for us of all that you’ve learned and studied and researched and pulled together around this concept of leadership in women? What is the message? What’s that core message that women in engineering need to hear today from your perspective. 

[00:13:43] Farzana Chohan: So this book is for women who are in engineering and is tempered professions.

[00:13:44] Um, what I realized working in two different parts of the world in our, in, uh, north America, Western world and Eastern world. That women are not taking, uh, seriously when they are. Uh, and in those leading positions, project managers, project leaders, and they are kind of ignored. And you can understand that in some other professions, but in highly technical professions, like engineering, mechanical structure aeronautical, I was unable to fathom why it is.

[00:14:15] That led me to do some research. And from one of my professors in, um, in my doctorate of management courses, he said, uh, oh, the mother of man management is, uh, uh, Mary Parker Foley. And I said, what do you mean? And he said, you have never heard of her, he, her name. And I said, no, you are the first one. And you are actually saying mother of management instead of father of management, that is important, distinct.

[00:14:39] And through him, I got to know about this amazing woman in our late  19th, in 19th century, 20th century, 19th century, who has come up with all the ideas of community centers and whatnot in America, but she was never acknowledged and recognized in America. Her work is more known in, in Britain and that’s where she gave more, uh, lectures.

[00:15:05] She is another hidden figure. Like we have, uh, Catherine Johnston and all those other Hume, uh, human, uh, computers who work at NASA and help in getting, uh, um, men to the moon connect woman behind men to the moon. But we have not heard about them. So that put me on, uh, our research for where are these hidden figures in all other professions, uh, whom we don’t know.

[00:15:30] And leadership in women in is capitalized. It’s not a mistake in English or grammar. A lot of people, they go, I don’t know English, but in is a derivative of inherent inside you within you. So the four characteristics we talk in today’s modern leadership world is emotional intelligence, empathy, grit, and resilience.

[00:15:54] Sec, you have a mother, you have a grandmother. Tell me, have those women not showing you those, uh, capabilities and competencies of leaders. Throughout their life. And they come from very difficult times of wars and, and, and evolution of life for them from where they were not able to work to the point where a woman good or bad, they still have voice.

[00:16:17] Correct. If there is work need to be done. But leadership in women concept is about acknowledging the inherent traits of. Uh, which has been there all the time and not even in, uh, not only in family life, but in all highly complicated technical fields. And I want people to be able to read and reflect upon that and that other women and especially engineered women, uh, thrive in their fields.

[00:16:46] Zach White: And to touch those four points. I know we won’t be able to get deep into all of them, but emotional intelligence, empathy, grit, and resilience, and the heartbeat of the message here being these things are in capital. I N intrinsic inside, um, each and every woman as a leader to possess and exhibit these with excellence.

[00:17:11] I’m curious. Farzana you know, for the men. What is what’s the perspective or how do we need to look at this and the spotty of work from the male point of view? Is there something that we would want to understand that’s distinct or different or similar, or are we just asking the wrong questions entirely?

[00:17:33] Can you . Maybe help us out for, for the men who are listening? Like, okay, well, those are all great qualities. I want those qualities. Are they inside me? What do you think? How should, or what would you encourage? So great question. 

[00:17:46] Farzana Chohan: And I was about to interrupt you because I thought I was not done to come to this point.

[00:17:52] I think. In our societies. This goes to the idea of the second book and our societies. Uh, when we evolve from aggregations or agricultural society to more, urban society, we still brought in those times of aggregate Korean society. Where a woman needs to be in the case or inside. And, uh, that lead to this mindset.

[00:18:14] I don’t think in terms of the feeling or capabilities, there is a major distinction between men and women’s capabilities and competencies. Women have not been acknowledged for their grit, for their resilience. For example, men has always been poor and they are mentally, they have to be modules. So they only showed them.

[00:18:37] Resilience. There is strong, powerful site. They don’t show their empathy. They have empathy, they don’t show their emotional intelligence. They have emotional intelligence. Let me qualify this with an example. Do you think if I am talking to you, uh, here, uh, in this part of the world, it just happened because of everything I have, no, there is a list, a line of men who have helped me and supported me starting from my father, my brothers, my uncles, my Dean at a school of architecture, my, uh, bosses, my professors, all of them.

[00:19:13] Do you think they did not had enough emotional intelligence, enough empathy to guide help someone in that regard, along with the women? They do. So two men listening to this conversation, I think men and women both have the competencies and characteristics, which makes them great and good reading. But we have mostly associated the word leader and men as a synonym, we have not done a with women and leader, and it is time . For us to, to get rid of those barriers, those mental chains, which we have been given as part of social conformity.

[00:19:52] And, uh, and, uh, and then, uh, we can, uh, look towards the society. Which will be more equitable. Men do it all the time for their own own daughters and for their own, uh, sisters and significant others. And I think we can make it a new, uh, evolution of mindset and, and get, get past those. 

[00:20:11] Zach White: Really powerful. And I know And I know the engineers listening, you know, the tough conscience, but I think there’s going to be some amens and hallelujahs for that, that statement you just made. for Zana, you, you touched on something then that really opened. The other big bucket of work that you’ve spent so much time researching and writing about, which is the subconscious mind and these mindsets. Could you tell us, you know, and, and this is, um, this is a high calling in this question, so take it in whatever direction you want, but what is the most.

[00:20:33] Interesting or important nugget of understanding about our subconscious or the unconscious biases that we may have. You know, this is a specific domain with men and women, but it also applies in so many other areas of life. Can you help us shed some light on what we want to be aware of and how to begin, you know, uncovering and, and making changes.

[00:20:58] And our mindsets and our subconscious, whether it’s with our beliefs about leadership and men and women, or any other unconscious bias that may be present. 

[00:21:09] Farzana Chohan: So the premise of subtle is that we have heard a lot, especially in last five to six years in north America, we have heard a lot about racism and, and a few other reasons associated with it.

[00:21:23] That is all true, but what is the reason behind it? And I can, I can, as I said earlier, I will say, oh, he or she is white. That’s why they behave that way. Okay. Or vice versa. They are not white. That’s why they behave that way. But even if I am not white and I am looking at someone non white, I will have both similar as.

[00:21:47] It means that we all carry our unconscious biases and we display them in very, very subtle way to each other. Now, if that is part of us as an individual, what is. I mean, how can we just say that the other person is responsible for it and I am the victim and someone else is a Perpetrating that a thing on me. I am also doing it to someone else. Correct. I’ll just use my own example in that regard and until, and unless we become self-conscious and aware of our subtle unconscious bias. We will not see any movement in transformation or moving towards, uh, reducing the unconscious biases. We cannot change anything, uh, right now overnight.

[00:22:36] And I don’t use word change easily. I want us to be transformed in a better human being, a better version of it. Now, certain looks at what has brought us to this. there are many reasons, but the main one is that we are part of a society in, in any part of the world. We are part of subculture and then a macro and micro cultures.

[00:22:59] And we have conformed to what socially is given to us. You should dress like this. You should behave like this. You should speak like this. And, and if you are not doing it, you are out of the, uh, group. say you are an outcast or excluded from us? Um, so that’s the message of subtle. I see this a lot in the profession, especially in engineering and technical fields.

[00:23:21] Uh, where, for example, right now it is a virtuous. That we want to have more minorities and, uh, and, and have gender balanced, meaning if there are, um, a lot of men, we will have some women also, but is, are you really including them in your inner circles? Are, do they belong to your companies, to your organizations, to your professions, or you are just riding the tide right now.

[00:23:46] And as soon as people will forget, it’s not in the news, we will go back to our old. So settle helps you in guiding through that process and that internal transformation of your car, rather than doing it on this. 

[00:24:01] Zach White: So, let me see if I follow. Cause this is a really powerful distinction that you’re making between what is out there in the media or the bold statements around these difficult topics and subconscious biases versus the subtle manifestation of that unconscious bias in my own every day, life and actions.

[00:24:23] So measuring a percentage. Gender male, female, you know, or, you know what we’re talking LBGTQ or these other areas and looking at stats and attempting to balance or create new numbers and the news and the media. And that would be the bold thing we might see, but the. Moment of, well, I still only hang out with all the men on my team and we don’t invite the women on our team to lunch.

[00:24:52] That subtle moment is where that unconscious bias actually manifests and creates and perpetuates. The problem is that 

[00:25:01] Farzana Chohan: yes. So let me give you a, an example. EIU will not like. American Institute of architects is 150 year old organization. You can go on their website and see it. Okay. They have many, many, many, many members.

[00:25:18] Okay. They have done a lot of surveys and actually they cannot dislike me. It’s from their own studies. Okay. They have done a study, I believe 2014, 2015. And it is titled as where are women in architecture? Right now in the school of architectures in USA, 51% are female is to them. Okay. When you look at, as soon as they graduate, it is 40% when we started working in professions.

[00:25:45] So forget about the Eastern world. This is, we are talking about Western world 25% get to the point of licensing. Okay. In a few years, When you look at the architectural firms into and proper leadership, it is hovering between eight and 10%. Okay. So in juniors, bear with me eight and 10% in 150 years, how many, many hundred more, how many hundred more years it will take to have that 50% in the top leadership to reflect 50% women students 495 or around that.

[00:26:19] Okay. 

[00:26:19] Zach White: 495 and that’s, uh, that’s an estimate based on

[00:26:28] Farzana Chohan: I am just making a loan. Okay. If they will come and tell me that, oh, I am wrong. It will be done in eight to 10 years. I will be happy to be wrong, but prove me wrong please. American Institute of architects, which actually leads to a difficult, different, difficult question. If this is the situation in an elite profession, which is supposed to be creative and innovative, and the organization which represented as, and is considered to be the top most in the world.

[00:26:59] If, for Institute of architects, what hope do we have of inclusion for women in engineering and architecture, anywhere else in the. And by the way, I think it is the same similar statistics for engineers, engineers, women in engineers also. And I have done a session around that too, but just think about it.

[00:27:17] What are the barriers of improved, especially when it comes to acknowledge women in engineering and architecture as leaders 

[00:27:27] Zach White: for Zana, I’m going to ask you something that’s a little bit. Provocative because I so respect your perspective on this from the work that you’ve done. And, and it’s something that pops into my mind.

[00:27:40] And so I think some of our listeners may, you know, feel this as well. And I think it gets the unconscious bias of my own that that’s manifesting. So I just really want to put this on the table to say, okay, why does solving that math? And it being fast and happening now. And what, what’s the, what’s the problem, you know, sack, we’re here to talk about the happy engineer and just how to be successful.

[00:28:04] And why are we in this conversation about subconscious bias? like, how does it impact me in my life? Whether I’m a female engineer who’s happy or, or a male engineer who’s, who’s happy and we’re just want to keep going. why does this question really need attention in order to. Create what, like, can you just maybe address that a little bit?

[00:28:24] I know it’s a deep question and I don’t want it to come across 

[00:28:27] Farzana Chohan: as, but like having equality having yeah. Yeah. You know, optimizing excellence. What, what matters? 

[00:28:36] Zach White: Good, good point. Yeah. And I think maybe the, the question is for me as an individual, we talk about what is a big societal challenge and problem.

[00:28:45] When we look at these subconscious biases and how they impact. The pursuit of excellence for individuals. So if you took it down to the individual level, like for Zack, why does it matter for me to understand what you’re talking about and to choose new . Actions or new, you know, a new approach in my life as a result of this, 

[00:29:09] Farzana Chohan: this is a very good question, Zach.

[00:29:11] And actually this goes to the heart of. Right now, according to the statistics, the water population is close to 50, 51% of women all around the world. So they are not a smaller percentage. They make a cigarette, they may coffin half. Okay. Regardless of the orientations, we are not, uh, we are not going into that, but that means that if 50% of the world’s population is under stress, unhappy.

[00:29:38] That 50% is directly related to the other 50% of the gender, whether it is your daughter, your mother, uh, your sister, your significant other, if they are having challenges, if they go through what we have heard in the past, or now, how will you feel as a man? Um, it will definitely cause a stress on us.

[00:30:01] So for the sake of the happiness and the joy in our world, we need to get rid of our old paradigms, old mindsets . And become com arrive in 21st century and move forward from there. If we will continue to be shackled by our old mindsets, we will not be able to do much more in terms of happiness and joy for each day.

[00:30:27] And we all are humans and we all have same capabilities, same emotions and same excellence’s Mo bringing them together. We’ll make our world a better place and a peaceful and a joyful. That’s what I 

[00:30:42] Zach White: love that. I love that. Thank you. So, I mean, again, I, I just love the power of what you’re saying. What I agree with wholeheartedly is that we don’t create an experience, a true next level of success and happiness in our own individual lives in isolation, from the communities and the.

[00:31:03] There’s an accompanies that we are a part of. So if you’re surrounded by people who are not able to lean into the fullness of their own happiness and experience and excellence, because of those things, holding them down, you’re not going to experience. It’s possible in your life as well. And I think that is one of our beautiful things to remember and, and leans into a generosity around this.

[00:31:27] Why it matters to me is, you know, when others move up and are happier, it allows and opens the door for my happiness as well. I think that’s amazing for as Donna. I would love to just keep going here. Oh, go ahead. Yeah, please. 

[00:31:38] Farzana Chohan: I’m saying there is an old saying, what goes around, comes around. If you are spreading happiness, you will get happiness.

[00:31:43] If you are doing it otherwise, it will lead to the misery. And we don’t want to be in misery. 

[00:31:50] Zach White: Oh, there we go. That’s like the quote of the hook. Like we don’t want to be in misery anymore for, as on. I want to go deeper into all this, but I just to be respectful of your time today and we’ll have to have a part two sometime to keep going.

[00:32:03] Cause I know this probably stirred up a lot of things inside of the engineer, listening regardless of their background or current experience in life. But we always end in the same place. I’m excited to hear where your heart and mind takes this. Great engineering. It’s like great coaching and just great living that the questions we ask really matter because the questions lead and the answers follow.

[00:32:31] And if we want better answers in our life, we want to ask better questions. And so if the engineering leader, listening to this conversation wants to experience more happiness in their life, in their journey. What would be the best question that you would lead them with today? 

[00:32:50] Farzana Chohan: Very simple for engineers.

[00:32:52] What is the blueprint of my life now, and 10 years from now and 10 years from now and 10 years from now. So try to figure out your blueprint of life. 

[00:33:03] Zach White: Okay. What is the blueprint of your life now? 10 years from now, 10 years from announcing. Now that is awesome. Awesome. Farzana thank you so much again for making time to be with us today.

[00:33:18] And I know people are going to want to explore your writing and your work and get connected with you. So would you share for just a moment, how can the listener get more of you in their lives? Where should they go to, to find you and connect with you?

[00:33:34] Farzana Chohan: Thank you for listening to me and thank you Zach. For great thought-provoking questions. Uh, you can visit my website, uh, WW dot dot com. And other way to get to there is, uh, optimize So the word optimize and optimized I’m also on LinkedIn and the books are on Amazon.

[00:33:56] Uh, both subtle SubT, Ellie and leadership in women. And I wish you all the best I am looking forward for you to optimize your ex. 

[00:34:07] Zach White: Oh, fantastic. So I will absolutely put links to all those places for, as Donna just mentioned into the show notes, which you can find, uh, at Oasis of, where you always go to get connected with the show and our guests.

[00:34:20] So please go check out and purchase her books. I think again, just written from the perspective and the mindset. At if someone who comes from that technical background in architecture and understands the thinking, but also the, the broad global lens of culture and experiences that presenta brings is really powerful.

[00:34:38] So please go buy her books, check out her work and . Connect with her, uh, presenter. Thanks again. And I can’t wait to take a deeper next. 

[00:34:47] Farzana Chohan: Thank you