Nausheen Ahmad chat. Law, ethics & contract management trainer
Nausheen is a Barrister at Law who provides law training and has expertise in maritime law, governance, and compliance, and has founded her own firm the ‘Legal and Governance Advisory‘,
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself Nausheen
I finished my schooling in Pakistan and went to the UK to Kings College London to read Law at undergraduate level.
I then completed the Bar Vocational training, as a member of Gray’s Inn and later did an LLM from the University of London specializing in Maritime Law.
On my return to Pakistan, I was enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court and joined a commercial law firm.
In addition to developing a commercial law practice, on a pro bono basis, I was working with gender rights groups.
After a few years in private practice, I joined a petroleum company as in-house legal counsel.
In 1988/89 the Pakistan market was new to this concept and moving in-house was considered an aberration.
I have worked for various companies in-house over the last 30 years and can safely say that I was a pioneer in a role that has now become critical to the management of corporates in Pakistan.
During my 30 years in the industry, I have worked in Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, Unilever Pakistan, ICI Pakistan Ltd and HBL, which is Pakistan’s largest private sector bank.
At ICI and at HBL I was Company Secretary in addition to being Head of Legal.
I have had the privilege to have witnessed and implemented important corporate governance changes including the introduction of the electronic depository system and I have served as a Board Member of the Central Depository Company (pvt) Ltd.
I have also served as a Board Member of the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
My work experience has inculcated a strong understanding of the value of governance and compliance to the success of businesses.
In 2021 I, therefore, founded my own law firm called the Legal and Governance Advisory.
The practice areas are Corporate restructuring; Board management and matters and Organisational Management.
Additionally, I serve on the Board of some large public listed companies in the following industry sectors:
- Banking and Financial Institutions
- General Insurance
- and large-scale manufacturing.
On a pro bono basis, I advise a local nonprofit Child Life Foundation which runs pediatric emergencies in large government hospitals.
I am also a UK-accredited Mediator and Master Trainer. I have recently completed a 3-month course from Harvard Law School on Conflict Resolution and Negotiation.
2. How did you get involved with freelance/corporate training?
In the early 2000s, the corporate Regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SECP) introduced the requirement for Boards of Listed Companies to receive 40-hour director certification training.
Two institutions in Karachi ( the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance and IBA, a business school) were accredited by SECP to deliver this training.
PICG was supported by IFC to develop its training material, however, the course for IBA is locally developed. I am a trainer with both PICG and IBA.
I also conduct periodic training of judges and lawyers in mediation and am a founder of the Dispute Resolution Forum at IBA.
I was invited to become part of the international faculty of CEDR, UK, and through their reference, I have conducted training for ITC ILO ( Turin).
During the Pandemic, as classes were online, I became visiting faculty at 2 business schools in Karachi (IOBM and KSBL).
From the platform of LGA, I now conduct training for companies on:
- company secretary skills and development
- effective contract management
- diversity and inclusion and anti-harassment.
My focus is on laws-related training but also because of my background as a mediator I conduct communication skills and negotiation skills training.
My training offerings especially with regard to corporate governance and diversity are rooted in a need I perceived as in-house legal counsel.
These training sessions have been well received. I am now rolling out 2 longer courses which are a combination of classroom-based training and work-based projects focused on company secretary development and strengthening of Boards.
As a trainer, I believe in experiential learning and practical content. I seek to constantly innovate and offer novel content in the Market.
3. What subjects do you provide training on. Your top 5?
a) Company Secretary Development course
I run company secretary training for current and aspiring company secretaries to enhance their understanding of their role as compliance and governance professionals and as assistants to the Board of Directors.
b) Diversity and Inclusion Training
The Regulators have issued various notifications setting quotas for women and disabled persons and requiring listed companies to formulate policies to strengthen diversity in the workplace.
This course focuses on the business case around diversity, regulator requirements, and strategies.
c) Anti-harassment Law Training
This training develops a detailed understanding of the laws and strategies around implementation in the workplace.
d) Code of Ethics Training
This is customized for companies and is designed to enhance awareness of the importance of following the Code of Ethics and related policies like Whistleblowing.
It also enables a deeper understanding of the provisions of the Code of Ethics and its practical application to workplace operations.
e) Effective Contract Management for Non-lawyers Training
The course starts with the basics of the Contract Act 1872 and then moves on to specific Contracts and codes e.g. FIDIC, Incoterms, etc.
There is some introduction to communication and negot
iation skills and to conflict resolution options including mediation.
4. What are the biggest challenges as a trainer?
I am late to the party and I am a practicing lawyer who also does training. Therefore, I am not a professional marketeer of training.
I am competing with more seasoned generalist trainers and have to convince clients that for some training there is a value added in moving from a non-specialist to a specialist trainer.
Whilst I have not found it difficult to attract training work, however, securing appropriate charge out rates commensurate with my profile, remains a challenge as well as ensuring timely payment.
I normally try and offer training through a university or training institute so that I do not have to pay for logistics upfront.
Convincing clients to invest in staff development, especially for specialized roles is a challenge, especially following the pandemic.
5. What is your favorite part of being a trainer?
In executive education, the participants bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the course, and therefore the discussions are nuanced and diverse.
As the training is linked to the participants’ professional careers, they are generally interested, and therefore interacting with them is fulfilling.
I am passionate about the areas I currently train in, governance, D&I, and mediation being examples and therefore training is an opportunity not just to impart knowledge but also to inspire the participants about subjects that I believe are important.
For me, public speaking is an acquired art and I find online interaction more challenging than physical meetings.
However, I speak from my experience, both good and bad and remain authentic and I think participants respond to that.
Often participants remain connected through Linkedin.
6. How do you identify the training needs of the employees or people you train?
Some of the courses that I self-promote have been designed based on my years of experience as in-house legal counsel.
In other cases, I develop the training in response to a request for specialized training by a company.
7. Your one tip on how to be a good trainer
Show respect to the participants recognizing their unique experiences and professional expertise. Build on that to create opportunities for learning.
Also, be open and adopt a continuous learning approach.
8. Can training be a tool of change?
My training is focused on the corporate governance area and is designed to connect my legal knowledge with my management experience.
I believe that compliance and governance are critical for business sustainability and success. Therefore, my personal objective in providing training is to convince participants of this and to impact on future business practices.
9. Does your organisation undertake CSR initiatives?
The Legal and Governance Advisory is a new initiative, however, personally, I have always been committed to gender rights initiatives and more recently have been a vocal advocate of Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
I undertake mediation training for judges and advocates and recently have edited a book titled ‘ Criminal Abuse of Women and Children’.
On the LGA platform, I am also now providing communication and negotiation skills training pro bono to a number of non-profit organizations to develop capacity.
10. What do you like to do outside of work?
For the first time in my life, I have actually started exercising: swimming and stationary biking recently.
It’s an achievement as I would totally categorize myself as a couch potato, happy with my nose stuck in a book or watching a film on my Ipad.
Luckily in Pakistan, I can now subscribe to Netflix as well as Mubi.
And of course, like 50% of the tv watching population, I have discovered Korean tv fiction.
As a family, we have always enjoyed traveling. I was at university in London so that’s a mandatory stopover on the way to anywhere, the US as my sister lives there, Europe, which we love for its history and culture.
But, I think the highlight has to be Japan.
Our daughter was working with the United Nations University and we visited her there.
The beauty of the place but also the courtesy of the people left us humbled.
During the Pandemic, we have become domestic travelers and Pakistan’s northern areas are majestic. I hope to be able to visit Africa and for my husband, it is the Central Asian states.
You can contact Nausheen in the following ways:
Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.