FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Dynamic Computer Corporation CEO Farida Ali started her tech career while working for her father.
Ali had no technical experience in the medical and aerospace industries when she joined her father’s business but she proved to be a quick study.
“We were selling computers when Microsoft was just making games,” Ali said. “He was thinking about the future for women. Even back then he never really thought of it any differently.”
Fida H Bohra immigrated to the U.S. from India in the late 60s with just $10 in his pocket.
“He sold our house and purchased this. They had just started selling Apple computers and my dad believed everyone was going to have a computer on their desk -- and he was right,” she said.
When Ali finished law school and while she was pregnant with her first child, she approached her father about joining the family business.
“It’s kind of funny, right? No one really questions that when it’s the boss’ son. So, really, how I looked at it is -- You’ve got to perform. You’ve got to show up every day. You’ve got to deliver results in a business,” Ali said.
Her father appointed her CEO in 2007. The company sold 1,500 units in a year and under her leadership, this year, they’re on pace to sell 18,000.
“There were some people who thought that maybe I was just window dressing ... My dad has always been great at saying, ‘Nope. I’ve stepped completely away. She’s running everything.’ And having his kind of backing me up, was really important,” she said.
Dynamic connects hardware for medical and aerospace industries. Bob Werner worked for a global life sciences company and as a customer, he knew Ali before she was CEO.
“She’s hired really good people. She’s empowered them to do their jobs. She’s been down in the trenches. She understands what it takes to be successful and she’s still able because of that ability and that historical knowledge about how to get things done. She’s not afraid to get in there when she has to,” Werner said.
Ali said if you ever find that you’re the only woman in the room, don’t be afraid to act like a woman.
“We need to get over the fact that male characteristics are what leadership looks like. Women can be tough and competitive and smart. And still, still be women,” she said.