Jehan Ara is the Founder & CEO of Katalyst Labs which is a Startup Accelerator Innovation Hub and Women Leadership Fellows program.
She is the former President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) where she spearheaded efforts for over 20 years and was responsible for developing the P@SHA brand and creating linkages between P@SHA and local and international partners.
Jehan has vast experience in Marketing, Communications and interactive New media in Hong Kong, the Far East, the UAE and Pakistan. She is a motivator, an entrepreneur, a social activist and a strong propagator of extending the power and use of Information and Communication Technologies beyond pure traditional business, to empower and enable communities.
Currently Jehan serves as a Member of the PM's Taskforce for IT & the Digital Economy, as a Member of the APAC Content Safety Advisory Board for TikTok and is on the Advisory Boards of the Punjab IT Board, the Governing Body of the Sindh Digital Advisory Board and on the Industry Advisory Board of various local universities including Habib University and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). Jehan is also on the World Bank Advisory Group on Gender Diversity. She is a Board Member of the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and an International Expert for the World Summit Awards (WSA) which is a nonprofit research organization established to promote, assist, support, simulate, undertake and manage policy research and advocacy. She is an Independent Director on the board of the Central Depository Company and is on the Steering Committee of the Women on Board Allies and is on the Board of Trustees of the Karachi Biennale Trust. Jehan has recently been nominated for the Tamgha e Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan.
Advocacy through the use of cutting edge technology is one of Jehan’s passions.
Using Social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Podcasts and Twitter – Jehan has highlighted the need for harnessing technology to combat social problems, for empowerment of women and to advocate for policy and legislative reform.
In January 2015, Jehan set up The Nest IO – a technology incubator, accelerator and innovation community hub in Karachi with the support of Google for Entrepreneurs to help provide a platform for aspiring technology businesses in the buzzing city of Karachi. The Nest IO incubated 217+ startup businesses and created a strong community of young people.
Under her leadership The Nest I/O also organized the flagship innovation and entrepreneurship conference 021Disrupt/+92Disrupt which has become the go-to premier event that brings together startups, innovators professionals, investors and students on a platform to engage, learn and collaborate.