ADB Women Balancing Professional and Personal Lives: Shaista Hussain

Video | 8 March 2019

Shaista Hussain, like many other women working at ADB, balances the professional and personal as she contributes to the bank’s development mission. Find out how she makes things work.


My journey with ADB in headquarters in Manila started in January of 2011. We were a young family moving far from our home in Islamabad, Pakistan. My day starts early and each day comes with a different challenge. My work focuses on quality assurance of projects in the Central and West Asia Department.

[Let’s welcome also our colleagues from Tajikistan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Hello everybody!]

What I love about my job is that I get to work with people, with different cultures and backgrounds, and such diverse expertise to learn from.  I’ve been working in the development sector for almost 20 years now. I love that our work with ADB has a direct impact on the lives of the people.

I believe that women play a crucial role, and their inclusion provides perspectives in finding solutions to development problems we face. Working with ADB has provided so many opportunities for women like me to step forward and contribute through our expertise and knowledge.

My husband was a consultant with the energy team. After a couple of years, he joined the Pacific Department at ADB. We are happy to have this opportunity to work together. He and my friends here at ADB are truly my lifeline in Manila.

I love that I get to do so many things in a day because ADB allows me the flexibility for both my personal and family life.

ADB building, for example, has everyday facilities that ease the balancing act like banking, laundry, supermarket, pharmacy, ADB Medical and Dental Center, wellness and fitness facilities like the gym and the court.

My two kids, well big boys now, are now aged 17 and 11 years old. They practically grew up here. My youngest was just 2 and a half years old when we first came to Manila. I love how my boys have embraced culture and food here in the Philippines, while maintaining their Pakistani identity.

The diversity they have experienced here has grown their horizons and personalities. The work-life balance at ADB has provided me with the leisure of time to enjoy some quiet moments with my family, share their interests, and for all of us to enjoy some meaningful moments together.

For the love of literature and poetry, we started this reading club where our friends from Pakistan, India, and Nepal get together. Such evenings are a great respite from our daily routine and all the work pressure.

My family and professional life are certainly richer and more meaningful than I thought it would be when I started this journey.

Moving to Manila was such a big change for all of us but it has really worked out for my family, and for that I am truly grateful.

I am Shaista Hussain, Results Management Specialist at the Asian Development Bank.