June’s Alumnae Spotlight highlights some of the amazing things our Soror, Amreen Panjwani is up to! Read her story & the advice she has to share!
What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently working full-time at Fannie Mae in the Operations & Technology division, specializing in forecasting, capacity management, and budget analysis. I am responsible for collecting data from the different business units, measuring the total influx of volume on all activity, and comparing available resources to forecasted required resources based on rate of efficiency, availability, and multiple other factors. I use tools that include Excel, Tableau, and IBM software to analyze the data and paint a picture of forecasts in each business area on a monthly basis. Additionally, I’m going back to school part-time in Fall 2016 for a Masters in Statistics at American University in DC. Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. gave me confidence, an opportunity to be in a leadership role, taught me organizational skills, and how to work with others on building relationships and expanding my network. These are all skills I use in my current role and I believe it has given me an advantage over my peers because I was exposed to these skills early on, able to practice them, and have now excelled at them in the workplace.
What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
One of my biggest challenges was finding a job straight out of college. I didn’t start applying until the summer I graduated in 2010, during the financial crisis, and I had no internship experience. I was then looking into the Actuarial Sciences field, but had no available resources at George Mason University that told me I needed at least 1-2 actuarial exams before I could land a job. Little did I know, nobody will distribute this information because you’ve got to do your own research. I struggled for 2 years to find a job and worked some odd end jobs including working at my dad’s gas station, at a marketing firm on commission, and Gold’s gym. I considered going to grad school and was about to in October 2012 when a position opened up at Fannie Mae and a fraternity brother I went to undergrad with told me to apply since he was leaving the company. I applied, showed up 2 hours late to the interview (due to NOVA traffic), but certainly impressed them because I landed the job in less than a week. I certainly don’t regret the struggles I went through to find a job because I realized my downfalls such as not applying early on, not having any internship experience, not knowing anything about the actuarial field before jumping into it, and overall just not being prepared for life after college. From my past experiences, I can say today that I’m so much more grateful to have an income and pay for the roof over my head. I realize that it takes time to develop a career that integrates your strengths and desires. It certainly doesn’t happen over night, and I don’t expect to stop trying any time soon.
What is your favorite part of the business/work/company?
I love the continuous opportunity to learn and grow in my division. I have spent a lot of time building relationships with people in my group so I am constantly seeking information from others. I work with people who come from many different backgrounds that include banking, non-profit, government, and more, so everyone comes with a different perspective and fresh ideas on how we can simplify processes in the workplace
What is your work/life balance?
I am at work from 8 AM to 4 PM almost every day of the week, and occasionally an additional hour or two during the week if I have an upcoming deliverable. My manager is really supportive, and so is Fannie Mae, of a work-life balance, so he actually discourages that we work overtime. During the week, I am mostly occupied with volunteer activities through my mosque. I am currently a financial coordinator for all the religious education centers in my region, I edit region newsletters on a bi-weekly basis, and I connect professionals in our community with like-minded backgrounds. If I’m not doing any of those, I’m usually catching up with friends, flag football this summer, and date nights with my fiancé. On the weekends, I am pretty much booked with activities from social to volunteer to family. Living life to the fullest!
What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
The benefits of joining an organization that has the same beliefs as you are impactful because although you may be working with people who come from different parts of life, the group of people will come together to raise money for charity, empower women, support each other, and provide resources to each other for a greater cause. You are ultimately joining a community who will always have your back and support your decisions; a community that will stand by you when you make mistakes and help you fix them; a community that will stay united and genuinely be happy for your achievements.
What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Do your research in the field you want to get into, including checking to see if it’s an up-and-coming field, what are the skills required to be in that field, and where is that field going to be in the next 10 years. Your first job may not be your dream job, so continue to search for your passion and do what you love. Most importantly, build relationships! People will help you if you just ask.