fbpx

EXPLORE OUR

SheCanCode Spotlight Series: Azra Jivraj, School Director, Logiscool UK Online

COMMUNITY MOSAIC POST PLACEHOLDERv2(opt)

ARTICLE SUMMARY

We sat down with Azra Jivraj to talk about pivoting her career, her role models, what she’s most proud of and her advice for other women in tech.

AZRA JIVRAJ IS UK MASTER FRANCHISEE OF LOGISCOOL.

Azra Jivraj, School Director, Logiscool UK Online

Logiscool is a fast growing franchise network providing after-school education and summer camps to over 140,000 kids in over 32 countries.. We teach children computer programming skills and computational thinking in a fun, interactive and creative way.

Logiscool’s mission is to make computer coding education available for as many school age children as possible.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED? 

My current role results from the classic ‘Covid pivot’ as I am a qualified optometrist and have been registered with the General Optical Council to practice since 2002. However, an unexpected interest in technology and in particular, teaching children how to code, came about during the lockdown.

My eldest son (9 years old), whilst being home-schooled and restricted from outdoor pursuits, signed up for an online coding course which ran once a week for 4 weeks as a way of passing the time. I decided to broaden my knowledge at the same time, and so sat through the lessons with him. Not only was I impressed with his engagement and logical thought process of breaking down problems into bite-size issues, but these sessions were also a real introduction to the world of technology for me and got me thinking about the direction in which I took my career. I felt that his future was going to do things with technology that we can only imagine, so what I could I do to support him and the children of tomorrow?

Little did I know that the pandemic would lead to a whole new interest and passion in STEM for me and my son. After some research, we came across the fantastic Logiscool Ltd in Hungary and soon after discussions started. Months later we decided to go ahead and bring this cutting-edge school and way of teaching tech to the UK, and I have never looked back.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE? 

As the Master Franchisee for Logiscool UK, I represent the brand in this country and fully believe in the concept to educate the world of programming to the next generation of kids.

With the evolution of technology, it’s clear that those learning from a young age can master the skills in a shorter period of time and the bigger picture is that this can lead to a wide range of education and career options, ones we maybe don’t even yet know exist.

Whilst part of my role is to lead Logiscool UK and support our franchisees (current and future) with their own businesses, I also own and operate a school in Buckinghamshire. To do this I need to ensure I am up to date with changes and trends as well as constantly learning, trying, testing and improving resources and systems. By doing this I know we are offering the best experiences and learning to our students, and I am confident and feel empowered when speaking with a wide range of stakeholders both internally and externally.

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

For me, it is Reshma Saujani who is the CEO of Girls Who Code. Having listened to her podcasts and Ted Talks, I resonated with her mantra of taking risks and pursuing passions, for example, it’s important to shed the fears around failure. One of her most compelling statements for women is “It’s in our own hands to crash through the glass ceiling.”

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR? 

While I had a fantastic career in the world of optometry, what I am really proud of is the fact that I followed my instincts and stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped into the entrepreneurial world of Franchising and STEM.

I’ve had great support from my family and friends and love the constant learning this brings to me.

If someone had told me on 01 January 2020 that I would now be running a coding school for kids there is no way I would have believed them, but I am and I am confident that this is just the beginning of something big.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORKDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 

At the moment, I am hands-on running my own school and supporting our other Franchisee in the system.

Typically, because of my children, I tend to review my day before the school run and when I return, I am focused on staff and partner training and engagement. This allows me to receive feedback from others as well as guide them on the current protocols and best practice for teaching our curriculum.

I usually follow with marketing and sales building activities where I will meet with our agency partners in PR and social media to align on strategy so we can convert at a local level.

Mid-afternoon is when I feel most productive, and the day is in full swing and a time when I can manage emails as well as talking to prospective and existing parents about the benefits of coding for the children and listen to their feedback.

It’s been important for me to find a balance between being fully absorbed in the venture and being present with my family whilst my children are still young.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN YOUR FIELD? 

Women in franchising tend to have good interpersonal skills, which are crucial to managing teams and networking within the industry alongside other franchisees. Our global Franchisor, Logiscool Ltd, is a very detailed orientated brand which resonated with me and my ability to look at the minutia as well as the holistic picture. As a franchisee, it’s also important that you are naturally collaborative with others to help find solutions. Finally, a prudent approach to finances and risk-averse nature sits well within franchising, which requires adherence to the set business model and processes.

In terms of working in tech, I haven’t found there to be particular barriers, but I do think that it is still very much considered to be a sector for men and this needs to change, and I am proud to be part of that change in the tide of STEM representation.

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, OR HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE? 

As a woman and working mother, the only limitations on my professional life have come from my belief that I should be entirely focused on raising my children and that my career has become a side hustle to continue seriously at some point in the future.

As my children get older, and now that I am running my own business, I feel like I have real clarity and purpose about the direction I am taking and that in itself gives me the confidence to move ahead and reach my goals, and hopefully exceed them.

Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

I think it’s common for many of us to experience moments of doubt or stress relating to work. The first thing we must do is to build confidence in our skills and abilities; for example, when I began the process of setting up Logiscool UK and supporting our first franchisee, alongside building my own school, I couldn’t find enough hours in the day.  My solution was to talk it through with my Global Franchisor and family, to whom I was able to delegate tasks and obtain support.

Further, I was being critical of my own work, quite early on and it was important for me to show myself the level of compassion that I tend to display to those around me when showing them the same understanding.

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED? 

What I would say is to remember that you have skills and knowledge that others need and will value in the workplace and to let that fact empower you to move ahead. In addition to this, only you will do something in a certain way and only you will bring your ideas to the table. This is priceless and can make you feel really confident when applying for roles and attending interviews.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to look at your CV and reflect on what you have achieved to date, writing them down if you need to take stock and appreciate your growth and what you have to offer.

If you find the overwhelm is too much, speak with a family member or friend and get to the bottom of what’s bothering you so you can find a path ahead.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY? 

I think the benefits are financially and personally rewarding in both the franchising and tech worlds. By investing and starting your own business, you are in the driving seat and have the control to shape your work-life balance, growth aspirations and earning potential. Here at Logiscool UK, we have opportunities to be part of our expanding network of franchisees, where the support is on hand from both our team and the global office which means you can follow a proven model for success in the kids Edutech sector while making your school your own.

Don’t be put off by finding out if a new role or venture is for you, instead see it as a chance to grow in a field, you might have thought was out of reach in the past. Go for it, the sky really is the limit.

For more details about the school and how to become a franchisee, go to the Logiscool website.

CAREER BUILDING RESOURCES
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL
RELATED CONTENT
RELATED CATEGORIES
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

RELATED ARTICLES

We're shining a spotlight on the fantastic Pooja Garg, Managing Principal at Synopsys Software Integrity Group. Pooja chats to us about her role models, what...
Ildiko Almasi Simsic is a social development specialist, author of What is a Social Impact? and Founder of E&S solutions which has developed the world’s...
Explore the inspiring journey of Linh Lam, CIO at Jamf, as she shares pivotal moments and strategies that led to her leadership role. Discover the...
Meet Amelia Lowe, Vice President of Operations at SquareTrade, an Allstate Company and hear all aobut her journey.