Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Humaira lived there until the age of 20. “Growing up, there were certain expectations of what I could do and couldn’t do, as a woman,” Humaira laments. “I was either supposed to be a doctor, scientist or lawyer. Otherwise, the other option was to be a housewife, but I never was quite to conform. I was a bit of a rebellious soul.” A few efforts were made to have Humaira married off, but she resisted. “I made a deal with my father, that after high school if I get into the best school for software engineering, that they would support my education and drop the idea of marrying me off. And I did get into that program. Not only did I get into it, but I also ended up having the highest GPA of my class.”
Her family had the opportunity to immigrate to Canada about 13 years ago, and Humaira continued her studies in Toronto. “In my computing science program at York University I was the only woman in a class of 160,” she recalls. “I was new to this country, of a different culture, and I was the only female in the program. I ended up dropping out of the program. That was my first experience with isolation.”
Humaira moved to the Lower Mainland about 8 years ago, where she again experienced loneliness and isolation. “It was tough to meet people in Vancouver,” she observes. After about a year in Vancouver, Humaira moved to Victoria, where she currently resides with her spouse and children.
“After having my second child, I started to feel really isolated again, especially around the time that I was ready to go back to work,” Humaira recalls. “A lot of my friends had decided to stay-at-home, and so while we had a lot in common as moms, I also felt a little disconnected because I was an entrepreneur and had some struggles with going back to work, and I had no one with similar experiences that I could talk to.”
“I refused to believe that there were no other women near me who were going through similar experiences, but there was no way of connecting to them, so I decided to develop Locelle,” Humaira explains. “Whether it is having a baby, moving to a new place, dealing with an illness, your friendships can change, and we should be able to connect with people who are in similar life stages as us.” Simply put, this is what Locelle does.
Humaira has clearly overcome stereotypes and gender role expectations as an immigrant South Asian Canadian female, to become a successful entrepreneur. She notes that she has found inspiration from other entrepreneurs and hopes that she can, in turn, be an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs. “I have overcome a lot of fear and self-doubt, and I really feel unstoppable,” she advises. “I feel if I can overcome the many challenges I have faced, that other women can absolutely do it too.”
To learn more about Locelle and to download the app, visit the website at locelle.com or download from the App Store or Google Play.