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Imran Sanaullah: What was it like to win?

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Winning the Naz Bokhari Award has opened doors that would have otherwise never been open to me. Having the support of the foundation and the Bokhari family in the past year has driven me to do things that I could not have dreamed of.

I have been given the opportunity to meet some of the most powerful people in the UK, which has inspired me and shown me that I have the ability to do anything I wish. Some of the people I had the opportunity I had to meet were;

His Royal Highness Prince of Wales
Her Royal Highness Princes Badiya bint El Hassan
Mr Speaker, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP
Deputy Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Prior to winning the award, I would have never expected to meet such people, but it showed me that hard work could get me anywhere I wanted. Winning the award also gave me the chance to work in two city law firm which has allowed me to expand my career prospects and goals. The first firm that I was given an opportunity to work at was Piper Smith Watton LLP where I was given an insight into property law and the real world of solicitors. I addition to that, I gained a place on the Legal Ambassadors Programme from Mosaic and Edwin Coe LLP.

At the end of the scheme I was chosen as one of the two people to gain work experience at Edwin Coe. It was brilliant experience to be working in one of the top 100 firms in the UK, and the guidance provided from the solicitors at the firm has been unbelievably helpful and motivating. The foundation has not only supported me with my professional and career aspirations, but has given me all the personal support I have needed in the past year.

Looking back at the last couple of years, two distinctive factors stick out for me, the places I have had the opportunity to go and the experience I have had because of winning the award. Some of the most memorable places I have been in the past year are;

Sandringham Estate
Clarence House
The Foreign Office, White Hall
Houses of Parliament
City Hall

One of the main pieces of experience I gained was in October 2012. The first most memorable experiences I had was in October 2013, Boris Johnson’s Eid party in City Hall. I was told that I should get a picture with Boris Johnson and thank him for his letter of congratulations. This was completely out of my comfort zone, as it was the first ‘high profile event’ I had been to. I eventually built up my courage and done it. Since then, I have not been scared or intimidated by speaking to high profile people and it showed me that if you want something, you have go out and get it yourself, or “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. In addition to this, in April 2013 I was asked to make a speech at the Naz Legacy Event. I made the speech in front of 200 people (which included HRH Princess Badiya, Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan MP amongst others). Despite feeling apprehensive, it helped me develop my public speaking skills and gave me greater feeling of self-belief. This also motivated me to then run for the Vice President role in my University Law Society, which I successfully won, with the support of the foundation.

Due to all the support and opportunities the Naz Legacy Foundation has given me in the past couple of years, it has brightened my aspirations for the future. As a result, I have been invited to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide my personal outlook and views, as well playing key roles in other projects and organisations for the coming year. Ultimately, because of the support I have received from my mother and the Foundation I have been able to do these things, and because of them I truly feel like the ‘world is my oyster’ (even if it does sound like a cliché).

It is easy to become negative and scared about the future as a young person, but the foundation has shown me that anything I want to do is possible, as long I am committed and work hard. The last year has shown me that the foundation is qualifying, if not exceeding the saying of Mr Bokhari; “It’s not what you do in your lifetime that really matters, it’s the legacy you leave behind for the next generation to follow that makes a difference

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