With a network of around 750 Fellows from 95 countries, the Atlas Corps family is growing every day. It is time to look back and to showcase the achievements of our amazing Alumni. Today we want to talk with our Alumna Hira Saeed (Pakistan, Class 31, Host: Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship). After serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hira returned home to focus on empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to Hira in founding CaterpillHERs which provides women entrepreneurs access to the early-stage business curriculum and mentorship. We wish her the best with this exciting work!

Name: Hira Saeed

Home Country: Pakistan

Current Organization: Digital Doers and CaterpillHERs

Role at current organization: Founder

Social Issue have you worked with: Supporting women entrepreneurs

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional accomplishments?

Atlas Corps Fellowship made me realize that the underlying issue of women’s economic empowerment is universal to all countries in the world including the US. The call for change in every country is the same with different names hence the collaboration between the countries is necessary. In some countries, women entrepreneurs are only mentored but not funded. In some parts of the world, access to funding and funding itself is nowhere to be found. This is why I partnered with my host organization to bring a program to my home country and it’s all because Atlas Corps paved the way for me.

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your personal accomplishments?

Apart from all the subtle changes in my personality, the biggest shift was in my perspective. For the lack of better words, I see things differently now. My horizon is wide and unbiased, and most importantly, I believe I came back different yet better.

What are major highlights of your professional journey since you have finished the Fellowships?

Having finished the Fellowship, I have a better understanding of local issues from a global perspective. This change in perspective and experience with the Miller Center as my host organization gave me the skills and networks I needed to launch CaterpillHERs.

As an Atlas Corps Alumni, how are you a better social change leader?

My understanding of the world and its problems has been changed for good. I am more empathetic and aware of the issues that need to be addressed. My approach to solve social issues is now ‘me before you’ because, to be very honest, I cannot preach what I do not practice myself.

What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?

My favorite Atlas Corps memory is the bagels at the Global Leadership Labs. I used to hate seeing those large trays of bagels, and now I miss them 😀

What advice do you have for applicants and incoming Fellows?

Be like water, this year will shape you!

For more about Hira’s work at the Miller Center for social entrepreneurship, check out her blog

More about Atlas Corps

Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 750 professionals from 95 countries who have served at 300 organizations.

Interested in becoming our Fellow? Apply now at apply.atlascorps.org.