about

Career and Life Mastery

about HASSAN AKMAL

Welcome to Career and Life Mastery

Hassan Akmal is an American career and life mastery consultant, author, professor, thought leader, philanthropist, and former professional tennis player, model, and athlete ambassador to the United States. He is best known for his Amazon best-selling book—How to be a Career Mastermind™: Discover 7 “YOU Matter” Lenses for a Life of Purpose, Impact, and Meaningful Work and humanitarian work dedicated to Forced Migration and Health.

After over a decade as a senior leader in career services, he became the Inaugural Executive Director of Industry Relations and Career Strategies at Columbia University in 2017 and founded the Career Design Lab. In 2018, he served on the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) “Future of We” — Advisory Think Tank Committee and is a senior advisor to Graduway, a top 10 in Tech prominent start-up. In April 2019, he delivered the keynote address on the “Future of Career Services” at the Global Leaders Summit hosted by Graduway at UCLA. He also serves on several other prominent boards internationally.

Akmal began a new role as the executive director of the UCLA Career Center in February 2020, before transitioning to UCSD in September of 2021, and is currently helping lead an ambitious re-imagination of career services.

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Early life and family

Akmal comes from a family originally from South Asia. His parents, Muhammad (deceased), and Imtiaz, migrated to Clovis, California where he grew up. After his birth, his family remained in the United States. His parents worked as chemists.

Education

Akmal attended Clovis High School, graduating in 1994. He is an alumnus of the University of California (2001), Los Angeles, where he served on the top-ranked division one men’s tennis team that were Pac-12 Conference champions and as a team reached the finals of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship in 1999. Following completing his bachelor’s degree, he received admission to medical school but chose to decline to pursue a career as a professional athlete.

After competing in Davis Cup Tennis, he completed his graduate degree at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. His graduate track was forced migration and health with a focus in epidemiology. He completed his thesis on the psychosocial impact of conflict on children and graduated in 2004, wherein one of his proposed resolutions was the creation of a mental health development program in collaboration with Right to Play. This organization gives children a chance to become constructive participants in society through games and sports, regardless of gender, disability, ethnicity, social background, and religion. Consequently, he attended the Right to Play’s Athlete Training Forum in New York City on April 22-23, 2003 with some of the most notable names in sports including Tiger Wood and Wayne Gretzky.

In addition to English, he is fluent in Urdu and Spanish.

Career

Akmal’s career spans more than a decade of impressive trajectories. Early in his career, he became interested in global health and worked with multiple non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Later, he founded Invitation Relief, Inc, a 501 3 (c) organization committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by conflict and forced migration.

In 2008, well-versed in international monetary systems, he was hired as a financial advisor and business development manager of UBS Financial Services Inc., wherein he co-founded the Socially Responsible Investments Affinity Group to educate others about investing and on being socially responsible. He was able to expand this group internationally and use the growth to fund new initiatives geared towards decreasing the marginalization between the rich and poor on a global scale. Also, by working in the finance industry coupled with various exposures in health organizations, he acquired valuable knowledge and insights in the assessment and analysis of worldwide health relief which he used to propose sustainable action plans for the benefit of the underserved nations.

In 2016, he served on the External Advisory Board for Health Systems Management at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, and as a Loyola Chapter faculty advisor for Aahana, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to redressing social inequalities and empowering communities.

As a senior leader in higher education for over a decade, in 2018 and 2019, he spearheaded Columbia University’s “Career Week,” a five-day premier conference on the future of meaningful work — one of the largest career center events in the nation culminating with a Future of Career Services symposium.

As the UCLA Career Center’s executive director during the COVID-19 pandemic, Akmal has reimagined the UCLA Career Center’s operations including adding new technology and offering services over Zoom, a video conferencing app.

In 2020, Akmal has also stressed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, employers would still like to see that potential jobseekers have been actively developing their skills and keeping busy during the pandemic, but that having a gap in formal full-time employment would not generally be looked down upon.

Influences

With a heart for service and the ardent desire to commit one’s self to a greater cause, Akmal’s greatest influence was his father. He grew up to stories of displaced populations and the harrowing plight of refugees and orphans. His father’s teachings allowed him to understand what it means to live life meaningfully; “a life with a purpose” as he was often reminded to take advantage of the opportunities that come with living in the United States. Not for their family, not for himself; for the underserved communities in faraway lands. As a witness to the many fundraising events that his home community organized for the public benefit of the underserved, he learned the importance and influence of leading by example at an early age.

Personal life

Hassan Akmal Akmal’s interest in public health developed while he was working at the UMMA Free Clinic in South Central, Los Angeles. When the clinic was trying to align solutions for funding, his participation in the discussions and grant writing with different agencies in the local, state, and national levels exposed him to various concerns in community health planning. The clinic’s efforts eventually awarded them with federal funding as opposed to the public funding they’re getting in the past.

At the age of 28, when Hassan Akmal was pursuing his Masters in Public Health in Forced Migration and Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, he was almost kidnapped while conducting his internship with Plan Pakistan (Plan International) at the border of Kandahar in Afghanistan.

According to witnesses, Akmal was in the markets of Chaman called Quetta, with his co-researchers when he was approached by several armed men. They proceeded to take his wallet and were attempting to take him away when he miraculously escaped through the store’s front door.

In an interview with Akmal about the incident, this was what he said: “They probably wanted to hold me ransom to the Pakistan Tennis Federation. They were like, you’re the squash player. We have seen you on TV”.

Television

Akmal has appeared in a South Asian Friends television show and various commercials including for top south Asian fashion brands and Chaitime.com.

In May 2020, Hassan Akmal, the Executive Director of the Career Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, talked about Class of 2020 graduates are facing in a new economy in a CGTN America interview.

Books

Akmal, Hassan (2019). How to be a Career Mastermind™: Discover 7 “YOU Matter” Lenses for a Life of Purpose, Impact, and Meaningful Work. ISBN 978-1733559317.

Awards and Nominations

NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships: Finalists

2015 Hidden Gem Index Award Recipient: Hassan Akmal, Loyola University — How to Best Run Career Services

CHARITY-SELF-MASTERY

Unity through charity, understanding, and moral leadership

Invitation Relief is a Non-Profit 501 3 (c) tax-exempt corporation focusing on Forced Migration and Health.

Testimonials

RICHARD SAUL WURMAN
RICHARD SAUL WURMAN
CREATOR OF TED; AUTHOR OF OVER 90 BOOKS ON WILDLY DIVERGENT TOPICS; RECIPIENT OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FROM THE SMITHSONIAN, COOPER-HEWITT MUSEUM; CONTRIBUTOR TO GENIUS: 100 VISIONS OF THE FUTURE, A PROJECT SPONSORED BY THE EINSTEIN LEGACY PROJECT, WHICH FEATURES ESSAYS SUBMITTED BY THE 100 GREATEST INNOVATORS, ARTISTS, SCIENTISTS
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“Finally, an academic who focuses on learning—rather than education. I can’t type. This failure of mine has led me to recording my thoughts and having them transcribed. I decided not to take notes, which led to an enormous improvement in my memory connecting what I hear to other experiences and knowledge and a visual mental web of understanding. Both of these things have become a piece of the design in my life. This book is quite a surprise to me, not only because its author is an academic, but also in its endorsement of passionately designing your life. The big design problem is the design of your life. Not the design of a car, or a house or even a curriculum—it is the design of your life. What you do in your life takes up most of your day and that design should not be left to others. This is a book about participating in your own learning. It is a remarkable, passionate guidebook—dense, but easily absorbed because you hear this rather wonderous man talking to you as you read. It feels like he is sitting next to you and delivering this wisdom for your understanding and your memory without notes; without a typewriter, without the formality of the educational system, giving you a plan that leads to the design of a personal learning system. I particularly like his metaphors about tennis—I congratulate him on his efforts!”
JULLIEN GORDON
JULLIEN GORDON
OUNDER OF MASTERMINDS.ORG; FREEDOM FINDER AND BUSINESS COACH; AUTHOR, THE INNERVIEW
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“For most people, finding a job that gives them meaning is hit or miss. Hassan’s 7 Lenses take luck out of the equation and give you a crystal clear process to find meaningful work by starting within. What you do doesn’t define who you are—who you are should define what you do. This book will help you mastermind your next career move with intention by simplifying and integrating the wisdom and frameworks of the past into powerful imagery and step-by-step instructions.”
JOSHUA WALDMAN
JOSHUA WALDMAN
AUTHOR OF JOB SEARCHING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA FOR DUMMIES
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“This is not your typical career advice book. This book is about perspective and finding meaning in your life. The author has faced the barrel of a gun, literally, and has lived to give us the message: live your life on purpose, don’t’ wait. With practical tools and frameworks, like the Ikigai model, you’ll enjoy a thorough examination of the intersection of your life and your career.”
ALAN ST. GEORGE
ALAN ST. GEORGE
MASTER SCULPTOR; PRESIDENT/FOUNDER/CEO AT FACEMAKERS, INC. AND TITANICCLOCK.COM; CO-CREATOR AND OWNER, HAVENCREST CASTLE, SAVANA, IL
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“Akmal’s book counsels you on how to navigate with your GPS of passion, towards a meaningful life. To see with your heart and focus on your life’s purpose. He demonstrates how to navigate past the meaningless to what really matters: Love, purpose, and the art of living.”
DR. AYESHA AHMAD
DR. AYESHA AHMAD
DIRECTOR, GLOBAL HEALTH HUMANITIES HUB, ST GEORGE’S UNIVERSITY OF LONDON; LECTURER IN GLOBAL HEALTH, AUTHOR, AND CO-EDITOR OF HUMANITARIAN ACTION AND ETHICS
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“Through Akmal’s philosophy, we can see how to integrate our careers as our life-stories, that our work doesn’t define us but we define our work. We become our own story-makers”
BEN ROYCE
BEN ROYCE
HEAD OF PERFORMANCE DATA SCIENCE, GLOBAL AGENCY, GOOGLE
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“In a rapidly changing work environment where all generations are forced to adapt, Hassan provides timeless strategies into how to think about career and future prospects.”
JENNIFER SHIN
JENNIFER SHIN
WORLD-RENOWNED DATA SCIENTIST, ENTREPRENEUR, AND INFLUENCER; PRODUCT DIRECTOR, CONTEXTUAL, NBCUNIVERSAL MEDIA, LLC
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“In this book, Hassan shares the secrets to masterminding a career in today’s Gig Economy through the lens of his own personal and professional experiences. In sharing his story, Hassan shows the reality of ambitious pursuits: that life can present challenges at any moment and learning how to move past these obstacles can be critical for developing our career. Through the intimate details of his own challenges and his path to shaping his career, Hassan’s story feels relatable and provides a real world context for understanding how to become a Career Mastermind™.”
PEDRO MANRIQUE, PHD
PEDRO MANRIQUE, PHD
CEO, DRP SYSTEMS; AUTHOR AND INVENTOR; ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT; STRATEGIC ANALYST
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“The book How to be a Career Mastermind by Mr. Akmal, has the capacity to be a classic for many reasons. It includes the compelling world view of an elite athlete with compassion and a toughness of mind, that engages the reader throughout. The lessons learned are shared generously, they champion the vision of a Career Mastermind through a synthesized strategy that generates traction. Original, pertinent, and perhaps timeless; this book provides readily accessible pathways for professionals in various stages of development. The lens of positive mindset, coupled with building your alliance and career mastermind groups, are value added interpersonally and professionally. There is a lot to read and retain; however, the book flows with humor and ease, with snapshots of ‘career and life hacks’ that keep you stimulated, learning and moving forward with new tools and perspectives.”
ERIC DI MONTE
ERIC DI MONTE
TALENT ACQUISITION EXECUTIVE, NETWORKING STRATEGIST, D&I ADVOCATE
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“It is impactful to have Hassan, someone who has not only lived through harrowing challenges and has overcome tremendous odds, dedicate himself in sharing his knowledge and positive experiences so others will be motivated to ignite their own passion and life purpose.”
NATHAN CANNING
NATHAN CANNING
FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL STRATEGIST, PARADIIIGM, LLC
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“One of the most important books out there on career and life vision.”
MURWA FARAH
MURWA FARAH
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND CAREER AND LIFE VISION CONSULTANT
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“Akmal is a revolutionary in the fields of Career Services and Professional Development. He demonstrates the art of building a global alliance of positive mindsets, combined with—‘forward momentum’—that brilliantly masterminds career clarity.”
FRANCESCA LAZZERI, PHD
FRANCESCA LAZZERI, PHD
AI & MACHINE LEARNING SCIENTIST, MICROSOFT
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“While many of us are caught up in the habit of thinking about the next job we want, if we want a truly fulfilling life, we should be thinking about what kind of life we want instead. Hassan Akmal encourages you to take control of your destiny and discover a new way to look at life and a clear approach to unearth new opportunities that maybe were not possible. You will learn how to use your own Kantian life lenses to create value versus focusing on just a positive mindset where you look for the value in what the world is offering you.”
SALMAN AZAM
SALMAN AZAM
ESQ, ATTORNEY; ENTREPRENEUR; MANAGING PARTNER; COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
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“Akmal chronicles relevant personal experiences and provides an insightful primer on navigating the difficult path to career success in a challenging time.”
DR. MARTIN J. BOYLE, DM, MBA, CFE, LPD, CEB, CHS-III, DABCHS
DR. MARTIN J. BOYLE, DM, MBA, CFE, LPD, CEB, CHS-III, DABCHS
AUTHOR; SECURITY SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT; UNIVERSITY DEAN; PROFESSOR; CEO; EXECUTIVE CORPORATE PARTNER
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“Akmal demonstrates the true meaning of personal passion. He explains away the purpose of a life’s work, and how it impacts those around us. This book is exemplary standards for the leaders of today, who find themselves in an ever-changing environment. This book will be the ‘go-to’ career book of the next decade.”
AMMAR LATIF
AMMAR LATIF
PHILOSOPHER AND PROFESSOR
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“A pure creative visionary genius! Akmal transforms your global impact lens—enabling you to find your zenith or “Z”, and empowering you to ‘trust the truth’ within you: That cannot be sought, which grows not in heart.”
GREGORY COSTANZO
GREGORY COSTANZO
CAREER CONSULTANT AND EDUCATOR; DIRECTOR OF CAREER SERVICES
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“Akmal lays the foundation for taking your career vision and making it a reality. Each of his seven lenses will inspire your path forward.”
CHRIS MARSHALL
CHRIS MARSHALL
PRESIDENT, GRADUWAY NORTH AMERICA; FORMER ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ALUMNI AFFAIRS, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
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“A life changing journey complete with a roadmap. A must read for anyone at any point on their career path.”
NICOLE ARNDT
NICOLE ARNDT
CAREER CONSULTANT; INDUSTRY RELATIONS LEADER; WRITER
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“Akmal inspires us to design a life with no borders. He helps you reimagine your career trajectory as a passionate portfolio of living.”
DR. PAUL BAILO
DR. PAUL BAILO
EXECUTIVE - DIGITAL STRATEGY & INNOVATION, INFOSYS DIGITAL; AUTHOR OF THE ESSENTIAL DIGITAL INTERVIEW HANDBOOK AND THE ESSENTIAL PHONE INTERVIEW HANDBOOK
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“A must-read for anyone preparing for a successful, meaningful and wondrous career. Full of insights and helpful hints.”
DIANE SPIZZIRRO
DIANE SPIZZIRRO
SENIOR CAREER CONSULTANT, SUCCESS IMAGE; DIRECTOR OF CAREER EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
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“A model of determination in the face of adversity.”
MICHAEL OUDSHOORN
MICHAEL OUDSHOORN
FOUNDING DEAN OF ENGINEERING, HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY
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“This book is full of great advice and strategies for anyone looking for a healthy and meaningful career-life balance. It should be required reading for anyone graduating from college and embarking on their career.”
DAVID DABSCHECK
DAVID DABSCHECK
CEO AND FOUNDER, GIANT INNOVATION
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“Considering how much of our time we spend on our careers, it’s shocking the lack of innovative thinking in career guidance. Akmal effectively and inspiringly responds to this need with a thoughtful, creative, and enjoyable guide to achieving career success.”
TYRONE ROSS
TYRONE ROSS
MANAGING PARTNER, NOBLEBRIDGE WEALTH™ & ASSET MANAGEMENT SERVICES (NAMED THE TOP TEN TO WATCH IN 2019 BY WEALTHMANAGEMENT.COM)
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”Akmal delivers a great work—a compass for the wandering mind, looking for direction. While encouraging readers to find their inner ‘Ikigai,’ the author challenges the reader to follow the heart’s ambition through the art of self-discovery. A powerful read!”
ONIKA RICHARDS
ONIKA RICHARDS
SENIOR CAREER AND EMPLOYER RELATIONS CONSULTANT
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“How to be a Career Mastermind:tm: truly inspires Career Seekers to take ownership of their career. It empowers them to unlock their true passion and provide them with practical tools and resources to achieve their goals.”
TIYA MCIVER
TIYA MCIVER
CAREER COACH
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“A storytelling career guru, at his best.”
KAMINA SINGH
KAMINA SINGH
FOUNDER, HUMAN UPTIONS
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“Akmal reveals a vital guide for integrating a life of purpose with your career bucket list.”
GREGORY COSTANZO
GREGORY COSTANZO
CAREER CONSULTANT AND EDUCATOR; DIRECTOR OF CAREER SERVICES
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“Akmal lays the foundation for taking your career vision and making it a reality. Each of his seven lenses will inspire your path forward.”
MICHAEL A. ALVAREZ
MICHAEL A. ALVAREZ
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
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“An excellent melding of conceptual frameworks, theory, and practical guidance, with outstanding diagrams and visual models. This book shows readers how purpose and fulfillment through work is not only accessible, but distinctly achievable for those who wish to pursue it.”
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