Growing up, I was an academically oriented child and won a scholarship to study at McGill University in Canada which changed my life. Living so far away from my home country, Pakistan, without a support network taught me resilience and independence. I discovered a passion for international development and making a difference in the world and went on to work for different NGOs and the United Nations in Pakistan. I later won a scholarship to Oxford University to pursue a Masters degree in Global Governance and Diplomacy.
I fell in love while I was in the UK – with the country and with my then future husband. I lived in the UK for 6 years and worked for international development charities, including as a global humanitarian campaigner for Oxfam, work that involved designing and coordinating global campaigns around short term issues such as humanitarian crises as well as longer term campaigns to support issues such as peacebuilding initiatives in conflict countries. I now also hold dual Pakistani and British citizenships, identities I’m very proud of.
In 2013, my husband was head hunted by the largest bank in Dubai and we packed our bags and moved over to Dubai with our little son, ready for a new adventure as a family. I found work with the UK Trade & Investment team (now Department for International Trade) at the British Embassy Dubai, work which I thought was meaningful and the work environment was similar to what I had been accustomed to in the UK. I then moved over to the BCB as a Trade Manager heading the retail sector, essentially a promotion. The geek in me has enjoyed the steep learning curve moving over from the non-profit world to government and then corporate sector. In the last two years, I have advised hundreds of businesses around their export expansion strategies and assisted many companies in successfully launching in the UAE. I take immense satisfaction when a client is happy with the service received and knowing that the work we do contributes to the UK’s economic growth through exports and inward investment.