Katy Perry, Shawshank and Encanto: 10 books, movies and songs that I love with Humaira Ahmed
The founder and CEO of Locelle Digital gives us her picks.
Humaira Ahmed didn’t want to come to Canada. But, when her entire family packed up and moved to Toronto while she was in university, she reluctantly followed suit. Instead of continuing on the engineering path she had carved out for herself in Pakistan, Ahmed ended up majoring in communication studies at York University.
After working for a few different startups, she moved to Vancouver with her partner (“I hated it, people just aren’t as friendly”) and then eventually North Saanich, where she founded Locelle, a talent development platform built to advance women at work. Today, Locelle has seven employees and Ahmed recently was named one of Business in Vancouver’s top 40 Under 40.
For our new recurring feature, we chatted with her about her favourite books, movies and songs.
Art of Productivity by David Allen
As a startup founder, I find there’s always so many hats to be worn and productivity is always top of mind—how can you maximize that? That’s really changed my work life and home life to an extent. It’s definitely at the top.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This is more on the personal development side. It’s a pretty popular book—it helped me understand what a lot of underprivileged people went through and still go through. They made a movie out of it, but it had a lot of influence in my early career.
I feel like it was the first movie with all women in comedy roles. Not only did it do well, it helped launch a lot of these womens’ careers. So funny, and also bold in a funny way.
One of the newer ones. I just love the representation, the diversity. Obviously with the work I do plus having two kids, that movie is the best Disney movie I’ve ever watched. That’s definitely something that really impressed me.
Such a brilliant movie. Teaches you leader strategy—being smart, being kind, being good. All of those things, I loved that.
A lot of people haven’t heard of it, it’s about the tree of life. I watched it a few times to really understand it, and it blew my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Actually a Bollywood movie. It’s an incredible movie. I watched it probably the most out of these. It’s about three engineers and it’s very true about growing up in Pakistan and India, and how the pressures of education can get to you. It’s just a great movie, I always talk about this movie to anybody I meet that’s not a brown person.
“Dynamite” by Taio Cruz
Please don’t laugh. The first time I got my car in Toronto as an immigrant from Pakistan, that song had just come out and it always re-energized me. Even today I’ll play it before big meetings—it just makes me feel really good.
“Levitating” by Dua Lipa
Again, please don’t laugh. But COVID was obviously hard on everyone, and that was a song that kind of got me through COVID. Was a great song, still a great song.
“Roar” by Katy Perry
It’s a great song to sing with my kids. My daughters love it. It’s a dancing song that we can all sing and just have that family moment. It’s a powerful song.