We Have Just Turned 20!
iris communications, a leading provider of market research and brand activation services is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The company has transformed from a two-person startup into one of Pakistan’s trusted enterprise that has been working with top national and international clients. iris was founded in 1997 by two besties, Huma Maqsood and Maryam Wazirzada in their hometown, Lahore. At that time, their vision and dream was to do something unique that would certainly make a difference in the world they live in. Both Huma and Maryam being university students at that time decided to jump into this challenge head on and since that day they have never looked back. It has been a long journey but worth the challenge with immense learning along the way.
According to Huma and Maryam, iris’ anniversary means more than just two decades of providing marketing consultancy to clients. It has been a relationship building opportunity where the growth of their company meant the growth of relationships.
“Our purpose is to serve our clients as true partners so that they can make the best decisions and execute the best plans to achieve their goals. It has been truly rewarding to have had the opportunity to carry out iris’ mission each day for the last 20 years.”
iris has exponentially grown since its beginning in terms of the size of the company, depth of their hearts and paradigms of their minds. Huma and Maryam at this milestone feel humbled and privileged to have worked with wonderful people especially their iris family. “Our mission is to grow this trust and be able to touch people’s lives with the work we do.”
Focus on our people – The team behind iris’ success
iris is one of the best places to work for where talented, passionate and empowered people are equipped with confidence to accept client service challenges. iris has a long-term focus on developing and maintaining a workplace culture, where respect and a true understanding of the clients’ requirements is a key to success. We honor our team members at all levels who stand out in their efforts by providing an extraordinary client experience, work environment and a shared culture of success. iris’ core values are modeled from the top down taking into account the views of their trusted team members. Throughout the years, iris been busy developing its team with numerous different trainings, tailored for each department’s needs. Since its inception, iris has inspired change in the marketplace and the workplace.
Huma and Maryam broke through the glass ceiling placed on women in business
The two best friends have carved a niche for themselves in market research and brand activation that have largely been male dominated in Pakistan. Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan are usually stereotyped into businesses that are feminine in nature and most look at them as a misfit in other fields. Breaking this stereotype, Huma and Maryam showed what resilience and hard work can create, a sustainable business with highest standards of business ethics and quality output.
“Women are the most incredible multi-taskers, which can make them great entrepreneurs. They can integrate work, family and personal commitments with an ease and grace. They have an inherent potential to reach out and impact lives and difficult situations. Moreover, it is crucial to understand where their heart and soul lie. We should always remember to explore, learn and succeed on our own, by taking calculated risks. Creating a balance is the name of the game – work & life…” shared Huma & Maryam.
Entrepreneurial leadership, regardless of gender, is a calling and a responsibility. Being women who have broken through the glass ceiling in the corporate Pakistan, they have experienced some unique challenges throughout these 20 years but none of which were sorted with their integrity, perseverance and constant effort.
Here, are the biographies of Huma and Maryam.
Managing Partner-iris communications
Maryam Wazirzada is iris’ co-founder and managing partner. She has more than 20 years of marketing experience with specialized expertise in brand activation and management training. Maryam’s passion is understanding human behavior—whether in the marketplace or the workplace. As a certified trainer for Franklin Covey, she has worked with some of the region’s leading companies to tap into their employees’ deepest motivations and empower individuals and teams to peak performance. As a marketer, she has designed some of the industry’s most innovative and effective market research studies, both qualitative and quantitative, to uncover insights into consumer behaviors and preferences.
Maryam leads iris’ training and human resource functions, customer care, and promotions planning as well as iris’ corporate administration and finance. Along with her business partner Huma Maqsood, Maryam co-leads the mystery shopping department and the business development and client relationship management functions as well.
Maryam appears frequently as a speaker and panelist at high-profile national and international conferences, and is a guest lecturer at the graduate school of Lahore School of Economics. She earned her second master’s degree in business administration in 2011 from the University of Melbourne.
Managing Partner-iris communications
Huma Maqsood is iris’ co-founder and managing partner. She brings more than 20 years of leadership and expertise to iris core competencies of research, training, and brand activation.Huma is responsible for overseeing all aspects of sales promotion and research activities. She also leads the qualitative research department, designing and implementing complex studies for some of Pakistan’s best-known multinational corporations due to her keen interest in understanding consumer motivations and how they shape behavior and preferences. Along with business partner Maryam Wazirzada, Huma also co-leads iris’ mystery shopping research unit and the firm’s business development and client relationship management efforts.
Huma is responsible for overseeing all aspects of sales promotion and research activities. She also leads the qualitative research department, designing and implementing complex studies for some of Pakistan’s best-known multinational corporations due to her keen interest in understanding consumer motivations and how they shape behavior and preferences. Along with business partner Maryam Wazirzada, Huma also co-leads iris’ mystery shopping research unit and the firm’s business development and client relationship management efforts.
Prior to co-founding iris, Huma had a successful career in diverse management roles. She was part of the World Bank Task Force on restructuring the Punjab Education Department, serving on the research team that studied the entire primary- and middle-school system. As a manager with Tetra Pak Pakistan for three years, she demonstrated her leadership skills by overseeing the process of ISO 14001 accreditation, an internationally recognized framework to manage the short- and long-term environmental impacts of an organization’s products, services, and processes. Tetra Pak Pakistan was the first organization in Pakistan to attain ISO 14001 accreditation.
Huma is a certified trainer for Franklin Covey and has taught graduate-level courses at the Lahore School of Economics. She earned a second master’s in business administration in 2011 from the University of Melbourne.