Zara Mohammed is a Law & Politics graduate. She is currently a third sector consultant. In 2018, she was the Assistant Secretary General at the Muslim Council of Britain as well as the head of Media and Communications for the Muslim Council of Scotland. In January of this year, she became the MCB’s youngest and first female Secretary General.
How did you get started in your career?
I studied Law and Politics at Strathclyde University, followed by a master’s degree in Human Rights Law. I have always been really passionate about community change and advocacy for minority communities. My faith has inspired to go for opportunities that align with these goals and that help me be of service to others. I then had the opportunity to join the MCB Leadership team in 2018 and was grateful to be across so many critical areas such as policy, media and community engagement. After this experience I ran for election and was blessed to be elected as the Secretary General of the MCB, the first female and youngest too.
What is a highlight of your career?
Being elected to lead the largest and most diverse Muslim representative organisation is a huge honour. Although still newly elected, I see so much potential for good and change that can be made to benefit the whole of society. There has been so much positivity and encouragement that I feel excited about the future and the difference we can all make together.
How would you describe the type of work that you do each day? Why is it important?
There is no ‘normal’ day in the MCB, my time is split between strategic and operational work. Underlying all of this work is to ensure the MCB is effectively representing Muslim communities; ensuring we are diverse and inclsuive in our approach, that we tackle issues like islamophobia and that we continue to lead our communities through this pandemic with the support and services they need.
What does an average workday look like to you?
No two days are the same in my job. Each day comes with its own challenges and opportunities alike. Before I start my day, after morning prayers, I like to go for a short walk to see the ducks in my local park, this is really refreshing and helps me clear my head.
I will then have my morning check in calls with various teams to align priorities and prepare for the day. I will then have stakeholder meetings, these include political representatives, civil society bodies, community groups and of course members. Some days I will also do media interviews, podcasts and events, including submitting evidence to Parliamentary committees. After all of that I usually have a nice strong cup of tea and take a big deep breath!
What has been the greatest hurdle for you to overcome in your career?
Being elected and leading with the ongoing pandemic makes for challenging circumstances. It is important to deliver our work but also keep in mind the personal difficulties staff and those we work with may be overcoming. Therefore ,wellbeing is an important part of this work as is being resilient and dynamic to changing situations.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love meeting new people and building relationships. I feel there is always something new to learn and opportunities to work together which would not happen unless you take the time to get to know people.
What are your plans for the future?
It’s difficult to know what exactly life after the MCB looks like but I certainly hope to continue to make a difference and be of service to humanity insha’allah. I shall see where the journey takes me and let you know when I get there.
How do you unwind?
Well, I do love to treat myself to a samosa, desi chai and gulab jamin after a hard day at work (but that’s top secret)