Learning How to Lead

Fahad Mughal campaigning
Fahad Mughal campaigning

Fahad Mughal is passionate about Edmonton. Initially arriving in Toronto, Fahad made the journey west to Edmonton for more opportunities. Comparing the two cities, he felt Edmonton had better services and more opportunities. However, when he told some friends he had moved to Edmonton, they said “oh, I thought you moved to Canada.” They had never heard of it.

Fahad believes Edmonton should work towards building its international reputation, citing Toronto and Vancouver’s respective film industries as something that brings them international attention. It’s one of many reasons Fahad decided to run for… Mayor of Edmonton.

Back in 2011, Fahad was the recipient of a loan from IAF which he used to take a Business Analyst Certificate Program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Fahad ended up volunteering for the International Institute of Business Analysts and it gave him his first taste of public service. With his career now on track working as a Business Analyst for the City of Edmonton, he felt he had the time to finally give back.

Initially he thought he might volunteer on a campaign, but looking at the other candidates, Fahad noticed that no one seemed to be running on the idea of transparency. Ultimately it was transparency, and a passion to improve Edmonton’s international reputation, that became his platform for the election.

There was just one problem, he had never run for office before. Admitting he didn’t really know what he was doing, he decided to plunge in head first anyways. He is glad he did because he gained valuable experience, increased his knowledge on the election process, and also about himself.

“I thought I would hate being in front of a microphone, but it turns out I love it. My communications skills are now 1000 times better.”

For Fahad, each conversation was a new learning opportunity and he uncovered many new issues he had never considered. For example, after visiting a senior’s home he learned how un-cleared sidewalks in winter hindered residents from daily tasks such as being able to get out into the community, do shopping, etc. They told him how they felt their voice had been neglected, and that no other candidate had ever bothered to ask them about what the city could do better. He felt especially proud of this.

Finally, he was pleasantly surprised to earn votes from total strangers, and a bit disappointed that some he thought would support him, didn’t. Fahad says that’s just how politics is. In the end he earned over 6,000 votes, garnering him 4th place which he considers quite respectable considering he had zero public profile before running. When asked if he wants to run again he says, “Definitely, the whole journey was a great learning experience.”

Stayed tuned, for Fahad Mughal may soon become a household name in Edmonton and beyond.

To read about Fahad’s experience with IAF and how he reached his employment goals, read our previous profile of Fahad here.