A conservative family couldn’t stop Razia Begum from reaching for the sky
Razia Begum is one of the earliest employees of Stayzilla, an online marketplace for ‘Stays’. This Awesome Startup Employee is truly representative of the spirit of the company, according to Rupal Yogendra, COO, who has nominated her.
Rupal says, “Razia is unique in the sense that we have never seen someone quite as excellent as her at overcoming difficulties and challenges to push herself to grow further.”
Razia’s growth story is inspirational. She lost her father when she was very young and was financially supported by her brothers and mother. Since the family was conservative they discouraged her to go looking for work despite a financial crunch.
Though she did go on to do a basic BA degree, it did not help for her employability. This was the least of the impediments in her way but she was driven by the determination to scale challenges. Given the concerns of her family about working, she did spend six months at home post her graduation. Then her sister told her about Stayzilla and brought her along for the interview. She was offered the job.
“I joined in 2005 and the journey has been the best one of my life filled with ups and downs and lots of learning and growth; I love the company and my job,” says Razia.
Since this was her first job, she struggled initially, even with basic calculations and data entry. She confesses that she wanted to quit in the early days because but Rupal saw the spark in her and challenged her to stay, saying the company would teach her everything she wanted to know, if she had the guts and willingness to learn. Razia took on the challenge and is happy now to share tips on how to lead a team.
Razia is the Team Lead for Concierge and Short Notice Bookings teams at Stayzilla. She works on training her people to achieve their objectives and counsels them on how to solve customer issues satisfactorily.
“Razia brings to the company an infectious enthusiasm, immense capacity for hard work, strong empathy and an ability to always go the extra mile,” says Rupal. She shares with us an interesting event about Razia that is crucial to Stayzilla even today. Razia was a part of the early evolution of the service-driven concierge offering and it was she who had, many years back, suggested the two day prior check-in call to ensure a better experience for the customer and clarity for the hotel. “This call has today evolved into our concierge offering. Her sense of responsibility, empathy and leadership are all representative of the work culture, ethics and values at Stayzilla,” adds Rupal.
I love being able to work with people, facing new challenges and overcoming them and the scope for growth it has offered me,
Razia says.While she attributes her biggest challenge to her days as a newbie at Stayzilla in the face of domestic resistance to her working and, particularly, working late, the turning point was when she was moved to her first leadership role.
While managing team members, she became aware of her flaws, and that made her realise that she had to work on skills and develop them before she could balance this responsibility along with her daily tasks. She says, “Rupal advised me on this, allowed me to take some time off to develop and ensured that I came back stronger. Today, I lead two teams.”Today Razia is financially stable and has a very supportive husband. She has an adorable three- year- old and also supports her mother.
She recommends working at a startup to everyone. “I have loved this journey and would recommend it to anybody who is looking for a career filled with growth, learning and great people.”
When asked what it means to be a leader she says, “Being a leader requires the ability to understand your team. Only when you understand them will you be able to see what makes them tick so as to get the maximum out of them and enable them to grow.”
This is in sync with what Rupal has to say about the stand-alone qualities of Razia- her empathy, her understanding and her ability to always get more from people.
As a team leader, she has one important message for her team, “I always want them to feel like they have given their level best to the task at hand and keep working hard because the sky is the limit.”