Adeel Ismail

Living with Purpose

Standing as the first Bachelors and Master’s degree-holder in his family, 27-year-old Adeel Ismail, has accomplished what many his age haven’t yet been able to. For one, the People & Culture Lead at COLABS (in Gulberg), has over ten years of work experience under his belt, not to mention the life experience and wisdom that comes with it.

Intelligent beyond his years, fiercely observant and soft-hearted to a T, Adeel comes across as someone made for Human Resource. Little wonder then, his foray into HR seven years ago.

Working since he was a teen during his schooling, Adeel’s consistency of character stems from his father, a man who has, and continues to serve a company for over thirty years.

“My father believes that God has made everything in patterns,” he says, “And within every pattern, there’s a solution in it. You just have to mull over it and carefully connect each pattern to eventually figure out your way in this world.” In an age where one doesn’t think twice about ‘jumping ship’ regularly from job to job, Adeel is more measured in his approach. Not one to fly off the handle, or have dramatic reactions, he functions from a space that stems from years of inherent emotional self-regulation.

“Everyone should have a sense of self-accountability. If you don’t have that, you’re as good as a dead man,” he says. “You have to learn how to draw the line between your personal and professional lives. Don’t take the energy of your work life back home and vice versa. Distracting the mind is so important. Also, training yourself to go with the flow of things, rather than reacting to situations is a game-changer.”

After his matriculation exams, Adeel began working at a coaching centre in Lahore and was the youngest campus in-charge where he managed over 200 students. Fast forward a few years and Adeel joined the University of Management & Technology (UMT) in 2016 as an HR Associate.

Adeel Ismail at COLABS

“Within three months, I realized this was something that I thoroughly enjoyed,” he says. “I was conducting interviews, interacting with over 30 candidates a day from the academic sector and was able to help people. It was very fulfilling. I can’t explain it. Doing things for others satisfies me on a very deep level. I’ve always been wired that way.”

Prior to making a career in HR, Adeel nurtured dreams of making a name for himself in fashion. But a program at the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) wasn’t something his father was keen on Adeel pursuing.

“I was always interested in clothing and how people style themselves. I used to love watching fashion shows on television,” he states. “Details are very important to me. I notice everything. If you ask me about a candidate I met years ago, I can tell you right off the bat what he wore on the day of his interview and how he carried himself. I like remembering little details about people.”

With a knack for reading people – through observation and intuition – Adeel has excelled at understanding the art of HR, from matching candidates to the right roles and also, quite literally, being able to read the room in a heartbeat.

Perhaps Adeel’s deep sensitivity towards people developed early on when he suffered a terrible injury when he was just a toddler. With treatment that lasted for months, apart from a medical goof-up at the hands of the hospital (where he was being treated at), Adeel’s survival was nothing short of a miracle.

But as he grew older, he constantly had a nagging sense of wanting to find his purpose. This has both frustrated Adeel, and has also made him very restless.

“God gave me a new lease on life,” he says, “I think that’s why I want clarity on what it is I’m destined to do and accomplish in this life. The thought keeps me up at night sometimes. I truly believe God has created each of us to fulfill some purpose or the other. Every single being on this planet has a purpose and I want to know mine.”

But the young HR professional is getting there, even though he might not see it clearly just yet. The very fact that he finds joy in being of service to others is indication enough.

“Every single person on this planet has their own way of looking at the world…they have their own set of beliefs and perceptions. Not just in HR, but generally, I firmly believe that you have to always strive to create a sense of ease for people, not barriers.”