Growing up in a diverse city like London helped, and I had a huge circle of friends and family for support.
My parents took us on holiday to Pakistan every year, so I had a very strong sense of culture and am very proud to speak three Indian-subcontinental languages, fluently!
I was always hardworking and knew that I wanted to work in Central London in marketing or advertising. After university, I worked in financial publishing as a marketing executive and my career progressed upwards from there. I also had three children and didn't stop to take any career breaks. Not sure quite how I did that, to be honest!
I have worked in many sectors including construction, energy, broadcasting and financial services; all very male dominated and often misogynistic. It was tough, but I always had a very positive attitude and just got things done, no matter what the challenge.
My advice to anyone wanting to follow their dream would be; don't be phased by anything. Just keep going and anything is possible.
There is still a need worldwide for more progressive mindsets and inclusive behaviours. For example, we only see 7% of women at board level in the UK, and even less representation from women of a multicultural background, and that's not because men are better than women; there are darker forces at play here.
I'd like to inspire young women and give them the confidence to shine and I hope that as a role model for Home Group, I am able to do this.
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