Basirat Razaq-Shuaib (Finance & Investment, 2009)
Investing in inclusion: Basirat Razaq-Shuaib – Founder/CEO of The Winford Centre for Children and Women
Alumna Basirat Razaq-Shuaib studied Finance & Investment and graduated from the University of Exeter in 2009. She now is the Founder/CEO of The Winford Centre for Children and Women which is a non-profit organisation registered and operating in Nigeria dedicated to supporting children with developmental and learning difficulties as well as empowering disadvantaged women towards the maximum fulfilment of their life potentials. She shares her career journey and insights, as well as the skills which have been most useful along the way.
So how did Basirat make the transition from graduate to CEO?
“After I graduated, I got a job at United Bank UK in 2010. I worked there for seven years rising to the position of Deputy CFO. During this period, I also founded The Winford Centre for Children and Women to support children with developmental disabilities in Nigeria as a way of giving back to my home country. In 2017, I resigned from the bank and started consulting as a finance expert for SMEs. I then went on to launch an online bookkeeping course in January 2018.
“In July 2018, I decided to work closer to the people I serve to create more impact. So now, I run the charity full time and offer finance consultancy services part-time. In April 2019, I published my first children's book "I AM NOT NAUGHTY" which has been ordered from three different countries so far. I also do book reading sessions at primary schools to teach children about empathy, kindness and inclusion.”
When asked why she chose this career Basirat said:“In 2016, I felt the urge to do more and be a person who impacts lives positively. I always knew I would run a charity but the area of focus was unknown until I heard an exclusion story about a boy with disabilities in Nigeria. From that point onward, I pledged to be the person who will change the landscape of special needs provision in Nigeria. Now we are about to launch the biggest online store providing learning aids and training to support children with developmental disabilities in Nigeria.
“What I enjoy most about the work I do now is that on a bigger scale, I can reach out and help more people either in the social good space or in the finance space. I am deeply motivated by knowing that my words and actions can encourage someone out there not to give up. Knowing that I am solving a global problem (inclusion) and helping people who may never be able to repay me are two things I find truly fulfilling.”
To anyone starting out on their career journey, Basirat advises to be proactive and reach out to organisations in order to create opportunities, and is a keen advocate of networking and continuous learning.
“Having the following skills have taken me very far in life: Tenacity, proactivity, flexibility and adaptability, social/ soft skills, team building and participation, excellent communication and critical thinking. In my experience, to achieve some level of success in life, you need to do the following:
1. Be very clear about your expected outcomes, e.g. what you want out of a relationship, what you want out of a program, what you want out of a job, what you want in life.
2. Write down your goals and keep them within view at all times. Remind yourself constantly of your "why".
3. Build technical competence. Invest in your learning
4. Pursue your dreams without shame. No one will care about your cause until they find you committed and worthy.
”To be successful it is also important to be open minded and flexible. The world is changing very fast and you must be able to think creatively to stay ahead. In addition I would recommend volunteering locally (and internationally if you can). It is a great way to gain experience and build a strong network.”
In terms of what’s next for Basirat she has no plans to slow down and says that her goal is to: “Impact more lives. There is still a long way to go in terms of creating an inclusive society so I will be teaching, speaking and writing to promote inclusion. I will also continue to create enabling platforms for affected children and families.”
Date: 16 May 2019