Zarmina nasir. Pakistan.


9 May 2024

To kick off the first interview in our Around the globe series, we sat with Moulis Legal chief executive officer, Zarmina Nasir, to talk to her about how her ethnicity and cultural background have assisted in her leadership role within the legal and business space.

Tell us about your role at Moulis Legal and your journey to get to where you are?

I am the Chief Executive Officer at Moulis Legal. I have always had a focus on developing a leadership profile in different contexts. I came to Moulis Legal with internationalised experience, from non-for-profit to communities and businesses. Throughout my career, I travelled a lot around Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe and this provided me with an understanding of cross-cultural needs and the unique perspectives that are brought from having worldly experiences. With this experience, I add to Moulis Legal my own “international flavour.”

Where are you from and what ethnicity do you identify with?

My heritage is in Pakistan, a country that is full of ethnic diversity. In each of its provinces, you will find different lifestyles, norms, cultures, and traditions being celebrated, but uniquely held together together by their commonality. From childhood I travelled a lot, and continued to do so through to my career. With this exposure I learnt to adapt, and when I ended up settling in Australia, this international background and adaptability, allowed me to understand different business practices within Australia and also to identify and make the most of the similarities between them. 

What are some of the traditions and customs within your culture that are most important to you?

Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar and something that I personally embrace. It involves a month of fasting, worshiping, service, communal gathering, and spiritual development.

Do you think those traditions and customs impact culture and business and the integration of the two?

I think so, yes. It is seen at Moulis Legal - this welcoming culture and hospitality and understanding of the importance and the effects of traditions and customs such as Ramadan, Chinese New Year, among others. I think being more aware of the different cultures and how customs can impact our services is crucial. It can provide lawyers a better understanding of the accommodations that may be put in place for clients and team members partaking in Ramadan, for example. This way, our people can see that we see them as a partner in the process, rather than transactionally.

I value my extensive global experience and it has helped me in existing in cross cultural contexts, along with appreciating the common spaces shared. It is important that in the law, we have respect for such differences and values, and incorporate them into our responses to clients.

Within your native country, what are some of the standout businesses and/or brands?

Within Pakistan, there are a lot of high quality local artisanal-type businesses, with considerable promotion of small market agribusinesses and food outlets. Supporting the local food and heritage is a big part of the brand of Pakistan, involving a lot of pride and appreciation. Alongside this, Pakistan’s clothing and fashion industry, which are thriving and growing with incorporation of big global businesses.

what challenges have you faced in your career up to now in the diversity space and how did overcome them in order to fulfil your role?

When I first migrated, I found understanding the difference between a student, tourist and being professional different. Alongside this, bias towards the culture is something I picked up on and understood that the lines get blurred on some occasions. But I was able to utilise the tools gained from the experience. The western background experience I have proved to be beneficial for adapting to the culture around me.

With your experience, what does diversity and inclusivity in the workplace mean to you?

I believe it means equitable opportunities for everyone. Within a law firm, you will always come across people from diverse backgrounds and embracing this diversity can be of value to the service you provide. It allows clients to experience the best possible service in a way that is personal because of that deeper understanding. There is strong evidence that diversity and different cultures enrich perspectives through varied life experiences, trickling down to contribute to achieving great outcomes in the workplace.