Ramat Tejani

UK

Marketing Strategist and Chief Encouragement Officer – The Inspiration Box

Ramat is a passionate advocate for inclusion within business and beyond. She is skilled at navigating change and willing to embrace new opportunities and avenues for growth and collaboration. Armed with wide-ranging expertise and knowledge, Ramat is working consistently to ensure that women are able to thrive and succeed in business.

Who is your role model and why?

My first ever role model was (and still is) my Mumsy, Maire Tejani MBE. She was a force of nature in all that she did and a huge advocate of equality for women and girls. With 3 daughters she was adamant that we would let nothing hold us back, least of all our gender. She was passionate about making a difference in the world, no matter how small. Whenever I showed any doubt in a situation she would remind me of my brilliance. I now try to do the same when supporting others. You never know who really needs a little confidence boost. We lost Mumsy at the end of 2020. It’s been rough riding the wave of grief, but I plan to continue being a cheerleader for others in her name and honour.

“If I can believe something is possible, I can work on bringing it into reality.”

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

To be honest if 6-year-old Ramat was to have it her way, I would now be in a medical profession! I remember at primary school wanting to be a paediatrician – a doctor that specialises in looking after children. I had come to the conclusion that it would be the best job in the world. Why? Because it would allow me to help no only my classmates but also all other kids in the school. I quickly found out that I get squeamish around blood and so would have to find other avenues to help people en masse!

What would you tell your 18-year-old self if they could see you now?

For context, at 18 I was recovering from being hit by a car and feeling like my life is over. I would share the following with my 18-year-old self:

1) Out of your vulnerabilities come your strengths, don’t be afraid to share your true feelings about things.
2) Remember that it is okay to follow YOUR path no matter how different from the ‘norm’ it seems.

“The reality is that all too often there isn’t someone to look up to. In these situations I’ve decided to own and take up the space unapologetically.”

How has your personal journey informed the way you navigate your career?

I’ve faced several challenges in life, from the car incident to being made redundant 3 times in the space of 18 months to more recently dealing with severe PTSD. My biggest lesson has been about the willingness to embrace and navigate change. Change is going to happen in some way shape or form wherever you go, whatever you do. Being flexible enough to ride the waves of change will keep you in good stead. For me this means remaining curious and constantly learning new things. So rather than giving up I can think outside the box at potential alternative solutions. Another major lesson is around being brave enough to admit when you don’t know something and ask questions. No one wants to look like they don’t have the answers but in reality sometimes you simply have to ask (even if you feel silly for doing so). We can’t be experts in everything!

How has connecting globally with people in other countries/regions influenced your thinking or approach?

I grew up in East London, in a melting pot of cultures. This foundation meant that I have always considered others perspectives in the way in which I approach things. To add to this, I studied in the US for a year during my first degree and have travelled around the world for work. My biggest takeaway from all these experiences is that everyone is doing what they think is right based on their perspectives. My role is often to simply showcase other perspectives. Working and connecting with people from around the world has taught me new approaches and on occasion has completely changed my own perspective on things.

“Out of your vulnerabilities come your strengths, don’t be afraid to share your true feelings about things.”

How do you think driving inclusion in your region differs from other parts of the world? Are there unique challenges or opportunities?

I was taught that culture is defined as “the way we do things around here” which means ultimately the approach to inclusion within any culture (that of a company or a country) will have to be extremely nuanced. Being inclusive is the right thing to do. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy thing to do. Especially when things have been done in a particular way for so long. In some places it will feel like too much of a challenge. But as Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu once said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

We often reflect on how you “can’t be what you can’t see”. How far does this resonate with you and your experiences in business?

There’s definitely some truth to the phrase. It has been helpful to see people in leadership positions that I relate to. However the reality is that all too often there isn’t someone to look up to. In these situations I’ve decided to own and take up the space unapologetically. To be the version of Ramat I would have dreamed of being when I was younger. If I can believe something is possible, I can work on bringing it into reality. If it hasn’t happened, I can prove that it can and will. For me it’s also important to find ways to ensure that I am not the last. I share my experiences quite openly so others can hear and see what is possible. I mentor others so I can help others forge their own amazing paths in life. This quote summaries it perfectly: “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Remember that it is okay to follow YOUR path no matter how different from the ‘norm’ it seems.”