Entrepreneur, computer scientist, mom
Ghazal Qureshi is a problem solver. When she wanted whimsical, quality
outfits for her children, she designed clothing and founded Ghazal Q to sell
Three years later when she wanted a space for her children to explore and
create, she launched Imagination Campus.
Four years later when she wanted after-school programs that stimulated
her children, she founded IDEA Lab Kids.
“I wanted my children to be involved in things that expanded their horizons
and opened their minds. I have three kids with varied interests, which
meant driving all over to take them to activities. IDEA Lab is a one-stop
shop under one roof,” said Qureshi.
A former software designer, Qureshi has a bachelor’s degree in computer
science from the University of Houston. Years spent in project
management for Boston Market and founding her first two companies
taught her about business.
“Imagination Campus and Ghazal Q were necessary in this journey,”
explained Qureshi. “They taught me many things, among the best lessons:
2. Block out the noise, the naysayers.
3. Find your passion.
“I was a computer scientist. I was also passionate about spending time with
my kids and doing things that allowed them to grow into amazing human
beings. I chose to leave my high-paying job to work on something that
excited me as well as benefited my kids.”
IDEA Lab Kids (IDEA stands for Innovate, Discover, Explore,
Achieve) started in 2011 in a rented space with 11 camps. Demand helped
it expand to other areas of Houston. Now franchises have popped up
across the U.S., Canada and Oman, and other locations are pending
Running a rapidly growing company challenged Qureshi as she worked to
build creative activities in the arts, science, engineering, math and
technology while parenting three children, Arianna, Kinza and Ayman, with
her husband, Shams Siddiqi.
“To be honest, there has not been much time to relax in the last few years
as we were building the programs. Only recently have I been able to find a
good balance,” said Qureshi. “Currently my relaxation involves spending
time with family, reading and playing in the Innovation Lab.”
Qureshi also just launched IDEA Lab STEAM Academy, a nonprofit organization to
allow her to bring these programs to under-served communities.
“Each child deserves the same chances,” said Qureshi.
Next, she’s looking at exploring how to deliver training to remote areas that
might not have access to the internet or computers.
“I am always thinking of the IDEA Lab kids as my own. I want them to leave
with what I would want my own kids to leave with – something spectacular,
something unique, something that allowed them to apply critical-thinking
Despite numerous accomplishments as an entrepreneur and software
designer, she cites family “and their support through the initial rough times”
as her first source of pride. She’s also thrilled by “the number of lives that
we have touched in the communities and the hard work of all the
passionate people who work to make this magic happen.”
Qureshi’s problem solving for her children has now helped countless
children discover art, math and science at 14 IDEA Lab Kids locations
“I chose to create programs that will extend my kids’ horizons and in turn
created something that all other kids were able to benefit from.”