This edition’s female achiever started her remarkable journey as a researcher; working for Government organisations such as Women’s Aid, Housing Association and NGO’s. She is currently Director for a domestic Violence charity, called Staying Put that has supported over 50000 men, women and children over the last 15 years. Whilst other charities and voluntary organisations are struggling to make ends meet, thanks to the strong leadership skills of its Director, Staying Put is going from strength to strength now growing its network and support outside of Bradford. In 2015, she set up International Intervention, Rehabilitation and Protection (I-RAP) a charitable secular agency working with children and young people at risk if Child Sexual Exploitation. Let’s meet our female achiever this edition – Yasmin Khan.
Tell us a little about yourself, what do you do?
I love my family and work. Currently I am employed as head of a domestic abuse charity in the North of England. I have over 20 years’ experience of leading on women’s rights/gender based violence, services to young people aiming to raise aspiration, education training and working around mental health. As a feminist I am passionate about equality of opportunity and human right issues and regularly campaigns for change.
What has the journey been like to get yourself in to an executive position?
It been a very tough journey making many sacrifices on the way, trying to balance work and bringing up a family has been tough but very rewarding.
I never forget why I do the work I do, I always put survivors at the heart of my decision making, this ensures I remain true to my values and those of my organisations.
I am a grafter I love taking on lots of challenges and I always deliver to high standards. In my mid-thirties, I took on a senior executive position and the completion of the MBA gave me the confidence to be the critical and assertive leader gaining confidence to lead organisations though challenging periods of great change.
What made you choose to work in the voluntary sector, rather than taking on a more ‘traditional’ profession such as being a doctor or lawyer?
Working the VCS is a natural fit for me. There is less bureaucracy and as I am passionate about social issues I am able to make impact quickly, without the red tape hindering this.
It’s a tough time for charities and the voluntary sector, with austerity and cuts. How have you managed to be successful in growing your organisation, whilst many are closing down during such tough times?
I am visionary leader and a strategic thinker it was natural for me to forecast and plan for the future this safeguarded us during a period of austerity. In fact, we grew 50% last year and have grown again 50% this year. I work in an ethical way I have secured the sustainability of my organisation and of sister organisations enabling us to effectively safeguard the most vulnerable people, whom we have the honour of serving.
What’s the most difficult challenge you have faced within your organisation and how have you overcome it?
I have overcome many challenges; the most difficult was when I joined the organisation over 10 years ago. We had lost all contracts and had 6 months funding. I came into the organisation and secured its future and now we are one of the largest providers in the North of England safeguarding over 3,000 survivors each year.
What or who has been your greatest influence in your work and why?
My parents especially my dad, he was a passionate about supporting people who out of no fault of their own were disadvantaged. He was a great believer in charitable work and passed that passion onto me.
I do not like injustice and when I see injustice it puts fire in my belly to do something about it.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
That’s a difficult one, the most moving was winning the inspirational Womens award in 2015, it wasn’t about winning the award, it was the fact my colleagues had nominated me and believed in my leadership.
But I would say my biggest accomplishment is setting up I-RAP as I know that this work will safeguard thousands of children and young people worldwide.
What one thing have you learned through your career that has served you well over the years?
You have to have passion and drive but above all always work with integrity; if your people know this they will work with you above and beyond what is required of them.
Finally, what’s the best advice you have received in your career that you wish to pass on to our readers.
You must have passion; you must believe in a cause and never undertake a job you do not love every day.