A creative, driven, personable and resilient mass media major, Saira Sikandar shares her journey of discovering her passion for the arts through her experience in social media and marketing, professional design, and photography. She discusses her background as a Kashmiri, second generation, Brooklyn-born artist and how that has influenced the career path she has chosen.
Interviewed by Mariam Khayata
For those who don’t necessarily know about the inspiring work you do in the community, can you mention some of the organizations you’re involved with and the work you do with them - Fedex, AutoZone, 901 Ummah, MIST, etc.. How does this work connect with your greater passion and what you perceive as your life’s mission?
I think my work is two sides of the same coin. So on one side I have my career which
involves social media management and content creation for the FedEx Institute of Technology and then I do public relations work for AutoZone. The other side of the coin is my passions - social media management and content creation for 901 Ummah, MIST Nashville and the University of Memphis MSA. They’re the same in the sense that I went to school for design and media marketing work, but I wanted to find a way to give back to my own community and not just corporations. I love working for AutoZone and FedEx, but being able to do that for Muslim organizations is when it feels worthwhile because it shines a positive light on a community that otherwise gets unnoticed.
My life mission is to continue the same coin. Inshallah my career will be social media management or public relations for Starbucks and I want to work with the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Seattle. I want to open up a homeless shelter funded by Muslims in Seattle. MAPS was just recognized for buying hotel rooms during the winter blizzard for homeless people living in tent cities. At first I had huge aspirations to move to Dallas, but they are not in-lack of Muslim leaders. My heart yearns to be in a bigger city and I love Seattle so inshaAllah, that’s where I will end up both to continue my career and my civic duty.