About Mohammad Anwar
I am the President and CEO of Softway. I started the business with my family at the age of 20 while pursuing my B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics at the University of Houston.
The youngest of five children, I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia to Indian parents from Bangalore. I attended high school in Atchison, Kansas, before moving to Houston for college.
When Softway began in 2003, it was a small company that created websites for merchants in Houston. It has grown to a Business-to-Employee solutions company that offers Culture as a Service (CaaS) through its Seneca Leadership experiences, Culture+ Digital products, technology, and internal communication services for clients across the globe. The company has over 200 employees in its offices in Houston and Bengaluru.
I am celebrated for creating and sustaining a humanity-centered culture at Softway based on the philosophy that love is a business strategy. However, there was a time when the company culture at Softway was so toxic that it almost caused the enterprise to fold.
I took full responsibility for the problems at Softway and knew that, as the leader, I needed to change for the company to survive. After deep introspection, I eventually turned the company around. From this experience, Softway created Seneca, a product that helps other companies change their workplace culture.
I live in Sugar Land, Texas, with my wife Yulia, a five-time Olympic medalist spring-board diver from Russia, and my beautiful children, Sufia and Moshin. In my spare time, I enjoys fitness and watching college sports.
You can find me online at LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter or contact me at email@example.com
Why Did You Become an Entrepreneur?
I was 20 yrs old and looking for a job while I was in my senior year at college pursuing my Computer Science degree. At that time back in 2003 – all the jobs for programmers were being shipped to India. And my family is originally from India and as an immigrant to the United States – I had to think if I needed to go back to India to pursue a career in technology or I had the opportunity to start a business in technology and leverage my Indian roots and begin a business where we would be able to hire developers in India and serve customers here in the United States. That’s how I began Softway.
How Do You Deal With Fear?
I recognize my fear first through introspection and then try to embrace the discomfort that is accompanied with fear and approach it vulnerably. I strive to have the courage to face the fear and or fear of failure and go forward it with a growth mindset.
How Do You Deal With Rejection?
I strive to understand the perspective from the other party through empathy and understand why someone may reject me or my idea. Through this I’m able to see how I may be able to influence in a way in the future leading to an acceptance state. I look at these opportunities to improve and strive to use these rejections as a blessing for me to get better and or improve myself and my idea.
What’s the Name of Your Company? What Exactly Does Your Company Do, How Do You Help People?
Name of the Company is Softway.
Softway is a Tech company focused on transforming of workplace cultures.
Our vision is to bring back humanity to the workplace. We help people by helping transform workplace cultures and environments – so people feel valued, respected, included and bring their full selves to the workplace and there by creating a sense of belonging and find purpose in their jobs leading to fulfillment and ultimately leading to business outcomes and success.
Name One of the Biggest Challenges You Have Faced and How Did You Overcome It?
As a leader and CEO of a company with 300 employees globally – I was faced with an existential threat – where our company almost went bankrupted. I was fortunate enough to realize that this was all my fault. My selfish attitudes and behaviors had lead to our almost demise. I had a realization that I as the leader of our company had created a toxic workplace environment for our team and that was the true cause for us almost becoming bankrupt. I was fortunate enough to have that realization and committed to transform to become a leader that serves our team and change my behaviors to that of loving and supporting our team. This ultimately helped us change the culture of Softway to that of culture of Love and support of one another. I am still on this journey, but this transformation not only helped us survive but thrive.
What Piece of Advice Do You Wish Someone Had Given You at the Start of Your Career?
I wish someone had told me that Profits and People don’t have to be at odds with each other. You can be human and take care of your people and make profits at the same time. Business Rationality is not at odds with Morality.
Who Are Your Biggest Influences and People You Admire and Why?
Tom Herman – Former Coach of University of Houston Football team. I was introduced to the Culture of Love from him.
Herb Kelleher – Former CEO and Founder of Southwest Airlines. He was able to demonstrate how Servant Leadership and Culture of Love – made them the most successful Domestic Airlines in America.
Name a Person Who Helped You Along the Way?
Chris Pitre and the rest of my Softway team.
What Do You See as Your Greatest Success in Life, So Far?
I don’t believe I have achieved greatness and I say this in a humble way. I believe there is so much more to be accomplished.
What Book Would You Recommend and Why?
Personally biased towards our own book – Love as a Business Strategy – :).
If I had to pick another book – it would be “When Millennials Take Over”
What’s a Personal Self-Talk, Mantra, Affirmation or Self-Belief That Contributes to Your Success?
Always look for the good in others instead of their weakness. and Look for the good news in the bad news.. This has helped me a lot!