Mlle Batoul TAMIM

From: Lebanese living in Paris

Age: 27 years

Activity: 2nd year of Ph.D. in charity marketing at Le CNAM de Paris

My name is Batoul Tamim, I am Lebanese and I live in Paris. I am in my 2nd year of PhD in management sciences at Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, CNAM de Paris.

Driven by a humanitarian impulse and passionate about my research, I work on charity marketing, in particular, a concept called “cause-related marketing” (CRM) and “shared product“, which aims to encourage companies to donate all or part of their sales, whether product or service, to a nonprofit organization to support their cause and in return enhance the image of the company. The main objective of my research is encouraging all companies to support a cause of an association through development of a shared product. Indeed, engaging in charitable action has a significant impact in a world oriented towards economic performance.

For the moment, obtaining the doctorate degree from a French higher education institution is what I am focusing my energy on, side by side with my thesis supervisors. 

My other commitments are mainly of an associative nature, I am a volunteer with UNICEF with a mission to promote and defend the rights of children around the world. As I grew up in Bamako, Mali, my dream, is to be able to open my own association there in order to help African children in need. Acting to protect children is a priority since “all grown-ups were once children…” according to Le Petit Prince de Saint-Exupéry.

I am also the creator of a project promoting equality between women and men, which is based on l’ODD N°5 Sustainable Development Goals set up by the United Nations Organization concerning gender equality. This ongoing project aims to combat violence against women and girls.

Like all young people, I faced many difficulties that have made me the strong woman I am today. I try to stay positive and give the best of myself in order to get closer to my goals. I like to read and I write poetry from time to time as I have a rather poetic vision of life, poetry represents a refuge where I can express myself freely with the hope to be able to make a book out of them one day.

In love with French literature, the quote that motivates me is “Make your life a dream, and a dream, a reality” (again from d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).

 Caroline Michael Asiala

From: Michigan, USA

Age: 28 years

Activity:  Strategist at Uhuru Network

Originally from Michigan, I began my journey into the social impact space at Alma College where I studied Environmental Health. It was during my university days that I started to gain an understanding of the privilege I had grown up with. Volunteering and conducting research in a variety of fields in Sierra Leone, India, Mexico, and Ecuador, I was inspired by the people I met and the work they did to advocate for justice and equity. I wasn’t certain of much on graduation day in 2015, but I was sure I wanted to work in something that was making a net positive impact on others’ lives.

A month after graduating from college, I followed my heart to Quito, Ecuador. After a couple volunteer projects (one that was just ok and one that went pretty terribly wrong), I realized I needed to be more studied and strategic about my approach to career building. I began working as an intern for Asylum Access, an organization dedicated to making basic human rights a reality for refugees. With time, I was hired onto the regional Latin American team and helped build a new program to create private sector partnerships and employment opportunities for our refugee clients. I was fascinated by the potential of business to do good in the world, but knew I would eventually need to “speak the language” of business to form lasting partnerships. 

So, when an opportunity to work for the marketing agency, Centrico Digital, and lead their B Corp certification process was offered to me, I took it. Within a year, we had achieved B Corp status and were working to open a new branch of the agency, BCentrico, to serve nonprofits and purpose-driven businesses. It did not come without its challenges. Agency work is tough: it’s fast-paced and client-driven, so it can be very challenging to prioritize anything that’s not serving the immediate revenue-generating accounts. However, the leadership at Céntrico Digital was committed to seeing BCentrico thrive and we grew the portion of company serving purpose-driven organizations from 1.5% in 2018 to 23% in 2020.

In December 2021, Centrico Digital was acquired by Uhuru Network, in part because of the success of this work. As a Strategist at Uhuru Network now I’m getting a chance to expand the work done for purpose-driven companies and be a part of a larger organization that has the potential to make a much bigger impact on the world. I hope to lead that change, expanding the reach of our NGO and social enterprise clients, and make safe, well-paid, and fulfilling remote work opportunities available to more people around the world.

Fariah Nazir 

From: Dudley, West Midlands, United Kingdom 

Age: 19 years

Activity: Second-year student, studying LLB Law at Aston University 

When I was in secondary school, I really enjoyed History and English Literature and noticed that a lot of the skills I was using were very similar to the role of a lawyer. I did some research and found myself very interested in the work lawyers undertake and decided to pursue a career in law. Particularly, I liked how in depth the research is that lawyers undertake for their client. 

Success to me is being independent, happy with who I am and being able to share my experience with people who are like me and help them in their career progression. Being from the ethnic minority is something I am extremely proud of, and this has helped me find my motivation to succeed. When I decided I wanted to pursue a career in law, I found that there were not many ethnic minority candidates. Whilst this did feel very unwelcoming and daunting, I was determined to be different and help break the cycle. Diversity and inclusion have become such an important matter and I am proud to be part of this.  Being in an Asian community can be difficult especially dealing with stereotypes and double standards and I witnessed a lot of this when I visited Pakistan. This made me extremely grateful for where I am that I can become who I want to be and have the support network around me. I want to help inspire young girls to become the best version of themselves, constantly pushing to reach their true potential. Whilst there are many challenges, these are part of the process to help achieve something way bigger. 

My journey has not been easy. I have had many challenges which I have had to overcome. However, I look back and I am grateful for this, and it taught me valuable life lessons. From being rejected from my university choice, this was something which shocked me and took me a while to process. However, after completing a year at the university I am at, I can safely say this was one of the best choices I made. I have been given opportunities which I never thought was possible for me. I decided to make the best of what was given to me, and this helped me in becoming who I am today. Another challenge which I faced was being scared to explore the wider opportunities as I thought I wasn’t ‘clever enough’ compared to other candidates. This came as I had a lack of experience on my CV and trying to pursue a career in law, experience is essential. I found myself at times being hesitant to apply for insight days and work experience schemes because I felt I wasn’t good enough. I began dealing with imposter syndrome. Therefore, I decided to ‘start from the bottom’ and find ways to make myself more employable. This came from signing up to free programmes which helped individuals to build on transferrable skills, online internships which required no in-depth application forms, attending virtual law fairs and finally making a LinkedIn account.  From this, I became more confident to explore new things as I had developed the necessary skills. What I learnt from these is that whist it can be difficult finding internal motivation to complete assignments, applying for vacation schemes, always utilise what you have around you. The result will be worth everything you have been through. 

One of my biggest achievements has been being able to secure a variety of experiences to help showcase myself to employers and I am happy with how my CV appears. I am particularly proud that I am the President of Aston Law Society. As a committee, one of our aims is to help students become aware of the latest opportunities they can be getting involved in to kickstart their career. When starting my degree, I realised I needed experience alongside my academics to obtain a successful career. Therefore, I want to encourage students to get involved in as much as they can so they can become more employable. 

Looking into the future, I want to become a lawyer. I am interested in technology, commercial law and family law. I want to continue to become the better version of myself and push myself out of my comfort zone to explore new opportunities. I know that if I had not pushed myself at the start of my degree, I would not be in the place that I am today. I want to be an example for students who may be anxious about trying new things and hopefully, this will give them the courage to make the first steps in helping their career. I want to make the world a better place by giving underrepresented students the chance to develop themselves and raise more awareness that change is possible. I want students to feel inspired and not be put off by the pressure that employers can sometimes have on students in making them feel they are not good enough for a particular company. By having a welcoming environment, it can open the doors to many more successes. 

From being a quiet and introverted individual, I am proud to say that by moving out of comfort zone I have become the best version of myself and now have the confidence and motivation to pursue a career in law. 

Fariha Tasnim

From: Canada

Age: 24 years

Activity: STEM Advocate, Gen Y + Z Career Coach, Sustainable Tech Engineer 

Who you are – qualifications and traits, what defines you as a person

If anything, I’m a sponge. I’m always absorbing information around me and implementing what resonates into my beliefs, values and personality. You could say I’m in a state of eternal adaptation – and I like it that way.

  • Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life

I’m driven by two core elements – be fulfilled and make an impact. As long as I’m progressing with that intent, I’m a happy girl. 

  • The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome

My journey is the opposite of traditional. I like to call it the path of trial and error. Step one, try things. Step two, succeed sometimes. Step three, fail sometimes. Step four, learn, refine and repeat. I implement this mindset in everything I do, whether that personal or professional development. It’s not only widened my world view, but allowed my career to be incredibly diverse.

  • Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you

I’m a woman of color in STEM. It’s safe to say that my path is not the path of least resistance. But through the constant barrage of impediments, I’ve had the support of incredible communities by my side. It’s not only allowed me break through as a standout leader, but also advocate for people like me in the process.

  • Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to

Pride often elludes me, but The Cohort Collective is a standout accomplishment of mine. As a Gen Y + Z career coach, I fouded The Cohort Collective to support students who fall into marginzalized communities, equipping them with the mindset and skillset needed to accelerate their career development. I’m looking forward to building my firm and expanding my reach to champion the Gen Y + Z career.

  • Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams

Sometimes I think I’m an oxymoron because I love to plan spontaneously. So my future hopes and dreams are a question mark – your guess is as good as mine. But I’m okay with question marks, that’s what makes the journey fun.

  • How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place

Impact is subjective. You can change the world or one person. Either way, you’re making a lasting impact. I want my impact to come in the form of perspectives. The core of all human decision making is dependent on perspective – how you see things affect how you lead your life. So if I can help people think differently, I can help people lead a better life.

Meena Abdula

From: South London

Age: 19 years

Activity: BA Architecture (first year)

I am currently studying architecture at MSA. Before getting into MSA, I did Physics, Maths and fashion textiles for Alevels and a foundation in Art and Design and Media practices. I went into the foundation course with the intention of gaining knowledge that will prepare me for architecture school such as learning how to use softwares and becoming a better artist. The other reason I didn’t go straight into university after Alevel was COVID. I delayed my start at university in hopes of the education service getting better. Outside of studies, I enjoy running. Last year, I would do 15min jogs, in the park outside my house, about 5 days a week. I use running as tool to increase mental strength. It helps me understand how I can push through doing things I dislike for the greater good. 

Alevels were extremely challenging to me and currently, university is also as challenging. The hardest part is not allowing stress to decrease the quality of my work. Consistent runs are another challenge. Even though I was consistent, I would notice points of no improvement and sometimes a decrease in the improvement. Im also trying to teach myself to play the violin. There is improvement but it is slow. This is because I only invest 1 hour a week on it. That hour is a struggle but I believe with time it will become more enjoyable; I just have to be consistent and intentional. Other than that, fortunately or unfortunately I havent had many challenges. My biggest challenges at the moment are education and I like it that way. Putting most of my energy into education means that I am putting most of my energy into gaining knowledge and with this knowledge I can create a better world.

My main ambition is to please God. I aim to do this by acquiring knowledge and sharing it with the intentions of improving this world and the life on it. In my architectural path, this could be by finding resourceful ways to build and or create buildings that make us better. I am unsure of how the knowledge I gain today will help me tomorrow but I believe with the right intentions a link can be made. 

I was born in the UK but I left it when I was 3 only to return to it when I was in year 5 (9 years old). This meant that my childhood was influenced by my upbringing in the UAE and then Oman. This upbringing along with my Iraqi parents, gave me an interest in the arab world and the way they design especially when compared to the UK’s building designs and techniques. In general, the Middle East is filled with traditional and futuristic designs that look very different to the buildings in the UK. Climate and culture are factors for this difference that has always interested me. Having this comparative exposure has allowed me to understand the reasons behind the differences. In my case, this understanding exposed me to the possibilities of integrating Middle Eastern building technique for the benefit of the country I live in (the UK). This is one of the things I wish to integrate in my work whenever I see fit. The greater benefit of having a Middle Eastern background was the large exposure to Islam. Islam gives me purpose and guides me on what is right and wrong and for that I am extremly grateful. 

I believe I am yet to achieve greater things that I will be proud of but as of now, I am proud of my persistance and consistency in things. I have made a habit of small acts like reading before going to bed. This meant that there isn’t a day that goes by without improving myself. I am proud of this skill because I no longer rely on motivation to do them. As for future goals and ambitions, I want to succeed in architecure school. Apart of that is to be apart of the Venice Biennale fellowship programme. In this programme I want to expose myself to the variety of projects and exchange ideas with thoughtful creatives from all around the world. With these ideas, I aim to return with new trajectories on how to improve the way we build. In the long term, I wish to work for an Architecture firm that will include my opinions in majority of the process along with my team memebers. 

I hope that the future will be filled with exciting architectural projects that leave a positive impact on the users. I am currently focused on my future career in the professional world but above that I would hope to divert my attention to things that are equally beautiful such as having a family and caring for it. I dream to have a life filled with curiosity and the ability to act upon this curiousity. Lastly, I want to run a marathon at some point.

The way I wish to make the world a better place is through trying to be a better person myself. This automatically radiates to those around me and, though it may seem small, it makes the world a better place.

Sara Xhelilaj

From: London, England 

Age: 18 years

Activity: Pharmacology Undergraduate at King’s College London

My name is Sara and I’m an aspiring medical researcher- currently completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology at King’s College London. I enjoy how rewarding making a positive difference is and it’s through medical research that I hope to change lives.

I knew I was interested to pursue a career in scientific research when I became increasingly eager to plan and conduct my own experiments at secondary school. A close friend recognised this and I was gifted a set of Petri dishes and agar powder, which I used to conduct my own experiments in the laboratory during after-school hours. I gained an exciting sense of what working in the laboratory might be like, and it was a privilege to later complete work experience at Britannia House King’s College London’s Department of Chemistry. 

I would like to pursue a PhD and dedicate my time exploring the scientific world around me. I understand the commitment, determination and patience required to complete a PhD but the idea of contributing to humanity’s scientific understanding and bettering society because of it is beyond captivating. 

I’m grateful for the education that I’ve received, the support that has been given and the opportunities that lie ahead. I look forward to working with other researchers to ultimately revolutionise our understanding of medicine.

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