Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.


Founder-Speaker-Author-Consultant Iqbal Atcha

To know more about him

Brief us on your work whereabouts

I live in Hanover Park, IL (a suburb of Chicago), but my clients are all over the world. I've travelled internationally to Malaysia, Pakistan and the United Kingdom and I'm expanding my reach into China, South Africa and Ireland over the next few years. I have travelled throughout the United States and have visited over 130 cities.

What are the awards and titles that you have earned so far?

Over the past 15 years, I have studied hard and worked hard to achieve several degrees and titles. The list of awards and titles are extensive and can be found on my LinkedIn profile but my most notable achievements include:
a. Bachelors of Pharmacy degree
b. Master's in Business Administration
c. Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG) and Advanced Leadership Bronze (ALB) in Toastmasters International
d. 2nd degree Certified Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do

Why did you choose to be a speaker?

In 2002, I attended a pharmacy conference and was mesmerized by the keynote speaker (Vivian Quiring). She had a certain charm, grace and poise about her and her ability to connect with the audience was something I had never witnessed before! My experience up to then had been that most pharmacists were dull and lifeless but this keynote speaker spoke with passion, sincerity and with an intent to motivate her audience. I knew I wanted to be just like her.

How does it feel to be an achiever at such a young age?

I've never looked at my age as an asset or a liability when I achieve my goals. I'm simply the kind of person who would set my mind on a goal and then work obsessively to achieve it so I never gave much thought of how young I was when I achieved these goals. I still have a lot to learn (and a lot to teach) and I'm hopeful that I have another 5 decades to do it.
iqbal-atcha,international speaker
What are the roles that you are playing right now (in professional and personal life)?

a. Professionally:
i. Founder-Speaker-Author of Converging Worlds where my team and I work to build bridges between human beings by exploring and sharing the beauty of various cultures, faiths, foods, languages and music through education.
ii. Speaker-Author-Consultant of Atcha International where I help professionals, executives and entrepreneurs advance their career, build better brands and create exceptional leaders within the corporate world and community settings

b. Personally:
i. I am the NW Division Governor of Toastmasters International - District 30 where I lead of team 6 great Area Governors and help members in 28 clubs to become confident speakers and gregarious leaders

ii. I am a husband to a gorgeous, loving and supportive wife as well as a father to three children and a son to my parents who live next door

Do you feel every person needs a mentor? If yes/no why do you feel so?

It is common to feel strong, independent and self-reliant but in reality, no one can do it alone. Yes, having a mentor is a necessity in life but finding the right one can take time. Some find their ideal mentor within their family (e.g. father, mother, uncle, aunt, cousin) but they can only take you so far. I have found that having 1 - 2 mentors in different areas of my life at different times have helped me grow tremendously. You should always be on the lookout for someone who can help you go farther in life, both professionally and personally

Challenges! I am sure you must have faced many. Which was the most challenging situation that you are proud of having faced and overcome?

Challenges and failures are great learning lessons. I've had many but the one that has helped me grow the most is becoming a father at the age of 20. Any man can help make a baby, but it takes a man to raise a child. When I realized I was going to be a father, I had to grow up, and that too, quickly. I could no longer live in the moment and it forced me to realize that in life hard decisions need to be made. They were not easy to make but with a strong family behind me, I helped raise my son, send him to school and become successful.
As a speaker how do you define "Broad-mindedness" to today's youth?

"Broad-mindedness" means listening to another person's viewpoints without judgment. Thich Nhat Hanh says that we cannot achieve peace because we cannot tolerate to listen to someone else with a contrary view. Take it upon yourself to sit quietly and listen to others, even those whom you disagree with. Whether it is a minute, an hour or a day, learning to silence your thoughts and listening to someone else's can expand your own horizons and help alleviate the suffering of others.

As an author, which side of the world looks messy and which looks beautiful (not geographically)?

I find beauty in the smallest of details. It is the time and attention we spend in making ourselves and our beliefs look beautiful to us that invites others as well. When people rush to complete something without care or without pride/appreciation, they do themselves and their beliefs a disservice. We are judged on how well we present ourselves and how we conduct ourselves in a professional manner. When writing a book, it takes time and countless number of edits to produce something that has value. That's good. Never rush to complete something simply to mark it off a checklist. Enjoy what you have labored in making.

Your message to our readers

Learn who you are and be comfortable sharing it with others. Have standards that you live by and hold yourself accountable to them. Ultimately, you will rise above the trials and tribulations and you will lift others in the process.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 19th March 2014.

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