Episode 20: With Nazia Sharif, on pioneering diversity within the intelligence and technology sectors

Episode 20: With NAZIA SHARIF, on pioneering diversity within the intelligence and technology sectors

As the title suggests, this podcast is all about unearthing a new perspective on risk.

My guests are experts in their fields where they impact risk either directly or indirectly. My interviews aim to lift the lid on risk and rip it apart to give you a whole new perspective on it.

My name’s Lisa Sisson and I am founder of risk consultancy, Unearth. I’m also becoming known somewhat as a “Risk Rebel”.

At Unearth we believe that risk starts and ends with people. Equally, we believe that opportunity starts and ends with people. So if you’re not looking at risk with, through and by your people, then you are not only leaving your organisation exposed to risk, you are also not opening up the opportunities that a people-centred risk strategy will deliver.

Diversity is a topic that comes up regularly. The need for strong women to have the courage to step forward and help build a pathway for themselves, and others.

Well today, we are talking to a ‘trailblazer’, being a first-generation Pakistan American woman who had the ambition and focus to join the FBI, yet it would seem life had other plans. Meet Nazia Sharif and hear about her remarkable experiences as an FBI Intern and how life opened up a new direction and world of possibilities and opportunities, within the private sector.

Today, Nazia Sharif is the Chief Operations Officer at Next5 Inc, a business intelligence and strategic advisory firm focused on emerging technology and geopolitics.

Nazia holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science and Criminal Justice, speaks four languages, as well as a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Criminal Justice and Sociology and prior to her time at Next5, Nazia served multiple roles at Haystax.

Haystax provides patented AI-backed software to assist the public and private sector in risk management ranging from detecting insider threats to planning law enforcement operations. During her time at Haystax, Nazia was an analyst focused on insider threat and continuous evaluation; she helped develop a pandemic response solution; was the project manager to multiple customers; managed the company’s facility clearance and was promoted to Chief of Staff to the CEO.

So, join us as we discuss Nazia’s remarkable and inspiring story, including:


  • Serving in the FBI for a year working in Counterintelligence and the Field Intelligence Group.
  • Growing up as a first generations Pakistan American.
  • How September 11 changed Nazia’s perspective and drive to be in the middle of the change needed.
  • How one person’s leadership changed her life.
  • The joy and challenges of being a high performer and parent to twin-boys.

Connect with Nazia

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