When this mother-of-two isn’t travelling between the UAE and UK working to help and empower Muslim women, the CEO is giving speeches and advising the Mayor of London.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS?
Resilience, drive and determination, as well as faith in your own abilities, because other people will criticise you, but they’ll never take away who you are.
WHAT PART OF YOUR WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Empowering women through my NGO called the JAN Trust. I want them to live up to their full potential in spite of the personal struggles and discrimination they may face. Also, working as a specialist advisor to the Mayor of London on Countering Violent Extremism.
Describe yourself in three words…
Determined, Empathetic and Resilient.
WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
My mother, who consistently showed drive, determination and was a force of nature.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Don’t worry about what other people think, do what makes you happy. Follow your passions, travel and experience the world. There’s a big world out there!
THE VALUE YOU MOST ADMIRE IN YOURSELF?
Resilience. I have had many knock-backs in life, from losing my parents to surviving the July 7th 2005 London bombings and then having to prove the NGO I lead is doing great work, because working with minority and Muslim women isn’t always construed as worthy as other causes by some people.
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE?
Originally a doctor, then I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
WHO IS YOUR CAREER ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
My mother, who despite obstacles in life such as being forced to leave Uganda because she was Asian, facing Islamophobia and racism in the UK, became involved in politics and played a key role in her local community.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Making a difference with my work, helping those less fortunate as well as inspiring others to better themselves.
feeling that life is good and being content in the moment.
THE FILM THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
The Pursuit of Happyness taught me that no matter what life throws at you, your loved ones are the motivation that gets you through the hardships.
Not spending enough time with my children and missing out on those special moments, because I was so focused on my job.
My greatest joy is
My husband and children.
DEFINING CAREER MOMENT?
When I was awarded an OBE, a Queen’s honour, in recognition of my services to community cohesion and interfaith dialogue which was presented to me by Prince Charles in 2015.
WHAT KEY LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNT?
Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This has been taught to me by life experiences.
FAVOURITE MOTTO YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY AND WHO SAID IT?
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” – Muhammed Ali
From Harper’s Bazaar Arabia’s January 2022 issue