Ayesha Hamid

Ayesha Hamid traveled from Dubai to the Bay Area to learn more about her job options, and herself.

As an Infrastructure Service Integration Specialist, Ayesha partners with various departments to ensure the needs of business and other IT partners are being met.

I think I was one of the most unusual kids in my family. That's what my mom thinks anyway. Maybe it’s because I was a huge tomboy. Growing up in Dubai with three sisters, I was determined to be the son my father never had. But growing up in a community where women were discouraged from attaining higher education was limiting and I was determined to prove myself.

I moved to the Bay Area to build a better life for myself and save my marriage. Eventually, it was time for me to get out of it since it was beyond saving. It was a hard decision, but I knew I wanted more for myself and being married to someone who kept putting me down made it easy to believe that I wasn’t capable of anything more in life—I knew I needed to get out of that situation.

My first manager once said to me, “Life shows in the eyes, and I didn't see any life in you when you first came to Genentech. You smiled a lot. You always smiled, but there was no life in your eyes.” Work became my safe place. The people here helped me realize that what I was raised to think of as weaknesses were actually my strengths—they taught me that I can't go back into the past and undo mistakes, but I can learn from them and share those experiences with others. I’ve been encouraged to step into management roles and have begun exploring the possibility of becoming a career coach.

It’s true the Bay Area is pretty open-minded, but I still get questioned a lot about my scarf, which very clearly calls out that I’m Muslim.The option for me to take it off is always there, and sometimes tempting, but I just can't bring myself to it. It's not only my identity but it's a part of me and without it I feel like people won't be able to see the real or genuine Ayesha. I’m glad to work in a place that celebrates diversity and where I never have to worry about changing my identity in order to show up to work.

Learn more about Ayesha's journey to Genentech here.