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Name: Saira Hussain

Business: Hussain Architectural Design Ltd, an architectural design firm

Industry: Housing, Construction & Real Estate

Location: Manchester, England

Reason for starting: When I graduated it was in the midst of the recession in the UK and, like the quote reads, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Being an architectural designer, I decided to do just that.

How do you define success? There is no secret to success, success is the result of hard work, consistency, commitment, preparation and learning through failure.

Related: Read about another designer here. 

Biggest Success: I have been nominated for over 15 awards in the last few years, including The Duke of Gloucester Awards, Red Rose Awards, English Asian Business Awards, and HAD has recently won two awards (Including Innovation in Urban Design Projects) in the Architecture and Engineering categories for Build Magazine.

Some of the highlights have been things such as interviews for BBC Apprentice along with being invited to take part in a Property developing program on ITV. One of our houses just recently featured on BBC House that 100k built.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? I was always told that the construction industry was “no place for a woman,” and I understand that women make up only 11% of the industry, facing massive barriers on a daily basis. However I feel both the image and culture of construction is slowly changing, and as a woman I will continue to work towards fighting for better conditions and more flexible working policies that allow both men and women with other responsibilities to work within the industry. I’ve recently started to carry out design classes/talks in schools and colleges to encourage young females to join the industry.

Related: Read about another women fighting stereotypes and making strides in construction here. 

Who is your most important role model? My mum. All her life she worked so hard so me and my siblings would have everything we needed to achieve our goals. In the architecture world, Zaha Hadid! Without a doubt. The greatest female architect that ever lived/lives! Also the first woman to win RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal

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