How have you been, Zubeda?
It's been a tough few months with various work commitments and general busyness. I’ve been travelling a lot, contributing to major international discussions on counter terrorism and extremism in Westminster, Washington DC, New York and participating in radio and TV debates alongside delivering projects. So it’s been hard to carve out time for the Fellowship, but I’m now working on my research and I'm determined to ensure I secure a secondment opportunity with a company such as G4S, Serco, Capita or similar. These types of private sector companies are heavily operating in the social justice arena but their involvement remains largely misunderstood.
What has been your greatest challenge?
As my co-director Laura has been on maternity leave, the business (ConnectJustice
) has needed to be kept afloat and functioning which has meant that time is even more precious at the moment.
How has your leadership been having an impact on those you work with with?
A big success has been raising over £8,000 on Crowdfunder using just my contacts for a film project featuring stories from former extremists. The fundraising is only one part of the process, and now the delivery (and remaining in contact with the 92 people who donated) begins.
One realisation that I've noted is of the need to step back and slow down when pursuing and asking (funders, projects, the next shiny thing) and perhaps to gather thoughts through silence. There is an element of power -and leadership - in this, because it creates the space for others to contribute or provide a suggestion using this silent space.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
Pitching for support was never something I had done before, though I’ve shouted lots of advice at the TV when watching Dragon's Den. I've been surprised by how many times I've had to pitch for various interviews since starting the Fellowship - from a 60 second pitch for the E-Spark hatchery, to one for the crowdfunder, and each time I appreciate how hard it is and combine personality in delivery! I’m definitely getting more confident and effective. It all comes back to having clarity, structure and brevity all combined.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme.
The importance of using networks to create that community of support should never be underestimated.