International Women's Day: Nilofer Merchant Interview
- 2 Min Read
Nilofer Merchant is a master at turning seemingly “wild” ideas into new realities. A bestselling author on innovation and collaborative work, a TED mainstage speaker, and the recipient of the 2013 “Future Thinker Award” from Thinkers50. Nilofer was also a keynote speaker at the recent HRD Summit 2018.
Nilofer shared her personal story at the recent HRD Summit event, she described how, at 18 years of age she was arranged to be married – she’d live in America from a young age, but the expectation on her to marry was always prevalent in accordance with her Islamic background.
However, Nilofer had her own plans; she had applied to university. “I was biding my time, figuring out how to get what I wanted, as well as meeting the needs of my family.” She then decided that she was the ‘product’ in this wedding deal and said to her Mother: “Since I am the product you cannot do this deal without me.” This resulted in Nilofer getting her much-desired education, but at a high price – she lost her family because she refused to the arranged marriage. Penniless, and without a family, Nilofer had to work four jobs and eventually got herself back on track. She spoke about what this time taught her: “In one of my first jobs I was in a meeting and I realised that no-one was making eye contact with me – I was ready to contribute, but I was not seen.”
Nilofer has achieved so much and is the embodiment of International Women’s Day and we are thrilled to share her exclusive video interview with HRD Connect: