Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Advertising's Amazing Amazon

Mahgul Jawed, General Manager, Interflow Communications, in profile.

I remember the first time I rang up Mahgul Jawed to discuss a campaign I was covering for Aurora. During my conversation with her, not for a second, did I feel as if I was talking to her for the first time, and I am quite sure that anyone who knows her will agree that she has the gift of winning people over instantly with her affability and charm.

During my subsequent conversations, I retained the same impression of her, even though I hadn’t yet met her in person. When the opportunity finally arose to meet and profile her, I looked forward to it immensely.

Jawed is currently General Manager at Interflow Communications, an agency she was reluctant to join two years ago, when the offer came her way...

“Finally we meet!” she says, as she walks into the boardroom and finds me sitting there.

“Let’s go sit somewhere else.”

Soon, we are settled on the couches at the entrance.

“Don’t begin the interview right away; let’s get to know each other first!” she says with a warm smile.


A tomboy and very athletic, playing street cricket with boys, cursing them, grabbing them by the collar and occasionally beating them up came naturally to Jawed. She is very proud of the cricket certificates she was awarded declaring her: ‘Woman of the Match’.


Jawed is beautiful inside out; her cheerfulness and positive energy radiates around her.

Born in Ismir, Turkey, Jawed is half-Turkish and half-Pakistani. She is the third of five children who grew up in a big, multicultural household, following the separation of her parents when she was very young.

“It was a case of two sisters marrying two brothers, so although my mother went back to Turkey, we had our aunt to look after us.”

Shortly afterwards, her father passed away and all five siblings were raised by her maternal aunt and uncle (they also had a child of their own).

“My aunt took care of all of us then; now, she has six children to look after her and we spoil her rotten!”

Remembering her childhood, she says it was pretty much ‘a mohalla’ living, where all households knew each other. A tomboy and very athletic, playing street cricket with boys, cursing them, grabbing them by the collar and occasionally beating them up came naturally to Jawed. She is very proud of the cricket certificates she was awarded declaring her: ‘Woman of the Match’.

Realising that studies were not her cup of tea (she enrolled at a university but dropped out later), she gave up the idea of ‘acquiring a degree’ and started working at 16, after finishing college. It is only recently that she finished a Management Development Programme from LUMS, which according to her is an ‘express MBA’.

Her first job was at BITS (Beyond Information Technology Solutions), which was founded by Zaheer Alam Kidwai and Sabeen Mahmud, both of whom Jawed loves as her own.

“They embraced me at a very young age and they had a lot to do with who I am today.”

Her first break in advertising presented itself in 2004 with an offer from Prestige Grey.

She considers both Jamal and Kamal Mir to be “fantastic people”.

Although she found the environment strict, she learned much about advertising.

“Production was a big thing and being part of any shoot was a big deal. If you were allowed to be on set, you thought, wow, I must have done something right!”

A year later she moved to Contract Advertising as Creative Group Head. She started with a small team of 10 and according to her it was thanks to the team’s hard work that within four months, they had expanded to 65 people. During her time at Contract, she launched brands such as Mothercare, TPL and LG.


Interflow has no affiliations now and is going back to a full-service model where everything will be done in-house within divisions; IC Films (production), IC Newton (media), IC Life (digital) and IC Wellness (health communications).


The same year Jawed got married to actor-cum-marketing and advertising professional, Faris Khalid, whom she met when she was part of the comedy troupe ‘Black Fish’ and by the end of 2005, the couple left for Dubai.

It was when working for SixG Consultants (a marketing consultancy firm in Dubai), as Creative Manager that she learned a major lesson. During a meeting, her boss bluntly told her that in a place like Dubai, there was no such thing as a creative.

“If you can read, write and observe, it’s a given that you are creative. But can you sell; take risks and be the person behind and in front? In Dubai, this is what matters.”

It was this comment that changed her attitude towards work.

She eventually became Business Director at SixG and worked there for three years

A brief stint at an advertising agency was followed by a year of unemployment, which for Jawed was nothing short of a nightmare. Desperate to work, she began selling real estate and did financially very well as a result.

“The only disadvantage to working in real estate is that you do not earn all the time. Real estate is a bubble; you can earn very well while the boom lasts, but when there is a dip, there is nothing.”

A job opportunity for her husband brought the couple back to Pakistan in 2012. Before she could even settle in a new house, she received an offer from Prestige.

“Did you join as a creative?”

I ask her.

“Jamal asked me if I wanted to go into creative or client services.” She gave him the same spiel she had got from her boss at SixG. She told Jamal: “Creativity is a given… let’s see how much better we can make the business…” And so she joined as Account Director.

However, a year later she left Prestige to join Green Man’s Ark (Adcom Leo Burnett’s digital agency).

And then a year later, Mansoor Karim, who had offered her a job at Contract, asked her to join JWT Pakistan as Group Account Director. Then a year later, Karim resigned from JWT and asked her if she would join him at Interflow.

To this, Jawed remembers laughing out loud: “Who would want to go to Interflow?’I’m TOO COOL for Interflow.”

Karim asked her to think it over. In his view, Interflow needed a boost and it would be a good challenge.

Jawed knew that leaving an exciting, fun and safe job at JWT for Interflow would be stupid. Yet, at the same time she also knew it was still too early in her career to play it safe and not take risks.


When not playing the amazing Amazon at Interflow, Jawed loves to cook, listen to music (especially qawwalis) and travelling. With brothers and sisters living in London and Dubai, both cities are a second home for her.


“I have never parted with anyone on bitter terms. It’s always been amicable. So I took the gamble, because I knew if it didn’t work out, I could always go back to the places I worked at earlier.”

Playing safe is not something Jawed believes in.

As it turned out, Interflow’s challenges were multiple; bad financials, employee retention issues, salaries not paid on time... Two years of hard work and Jawed says that none of these problems exist anymore.

Interflow has no affiliations now and is going back to a full-service model where everything will be done in-house within divisions; IC Films (production), IC Newton (media), IC Life (digital) and IC Wellness (health communications).

Although Jawed says it was fun working in multinational agencies, one of the issues is that most of the work revolves around adaptations. Interflow, she says, is focusing on local clients and: “there is nothing better than working for local clients and one must never underestimate the strength of local brands.”

In her view, if by the end of this year all goes according to plan, nothing will stop Interflow from becoming the best ad agency in Pakistan.

When not playing the amazing Amazon at Interflow, Jawed loves to cook, listen to music (especially qawwalis) and travelling. With brothers and sisters living in London and Dubai, both cities are a second home for her.