Spotlight: Fareeza Ibrahim

Fareeza Ibrahim
Fareeza Ibrahim

YSEALI members are making a difference. In the coming weeks, we will feature young leaders across the ASEAN region who have participated in YSEALI programs and show how joining this community has helped them grow professionally and personally.

Fareeza Ibrahim, 26
Malaysia
Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Manager, Southeast Asia Network for Development at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs

Fareeza Ibrahim thought she had it all figured out. She would get a degree in communications and land a job at one of the top PR agencies in Malaysia — and she did. But Fareeza quickly realized: “My job did not make me happy.” She wanted to give back to her country, so she joined Teach For Malaysia, where for three years she recruited college graduates to teach in low-income communities across the country.

YSEALI introduced Fareeza to think tanks earlier this year, and today, she works at one focused on economic freedom in ASEAN countries. She hopes “that in five years I am able to look at trade policies in ASEAN and say that I played a part in making that change.” Looking back, Fareeza says that one of the biggest lessons she has learned is that “you can plan as much as you want, but often life takes you down a different path.” The most important thing to learn, she says, is the “ability to adapt to change and to make the best of every experience.”

Fareeza’s tips for success:

  • Take time to understand who you are as a person and what you value the most.
  • Speak to someone who has done it before and ask them what they would have done differently.
  • Think of who you want to be in 10 years — plan out the steps you will need to take from today to get there.