How long have you lived in the borough?
I grew up in the Borough so it’s been around 27 years in Windsor and I went to school at Haileybury which then merged with Lambrook.
How long have you been a councillor?
I was elected in May 2015 so I have been a councillor for 2 years now for the Conservative party.
What made you want to become a councillor?
I wanted to become a councillor to carry on my father’s legacy of serving the community and helping others. My father has been running the Best One shop on Longmead Road for more than 20 years but he recently stepped down. I use to work at the shop on the weekends and customers would often complain about local issues like the roads and litter but I never knew how to fix the problems. I knew that I didn’t want to stay working in a shop so I thought the best way I can contribute to the area I grew up in was to try and influence the decisions that are made. I also found that there weren’t many opportunities for young people in Dedworth and that decisions often ignored the views of young people.
What have been the highlights of your role so far?
I have really enjoyed working with my fellow councillors and members. One of the biggest highlights aside from winning the election is listening to the views of my local residents in Clewer North. It may not sound like a highlight to some but my local residents elected me and through them I have had the pleasure of working on a range of issues from TPO’s, planning permission, and development to speeding, housing concerns etc. I suppose the new Astro Turf was an achievement, the new planters, the waterfall and the annual Christmas tree are all great things as well as our continued investment into the ward especially in relation to road resurfacing and lighting which was untouched for a decade until I took over.
Are there any parts of the role you don’t enjoy?
Not really. Sometimes it can be frustrating to hear people say councillors don’t do much. This job takes up a lot of time and it involves dozens of meetings taking place behind the scenes between different members and officers which of course for various reasons are not all public. The general public see the end result but not the entire process unless they have been really active and attend some of the open panels.
Do you have another job?
Yes. I use to work at the shop on Longmead Road but my main work is in corporate law. I work for a city law firm managing a team that oversees private equity and corporate finance transactions. Most recently, I started moving into property and the tech sector. The latter more as an angel investor.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Aside from politics, law and business, I mentor young people to help them raise their aspirations both in Windsor and in London. At the same time, I work closely with organisations like the Patchwork Foundation to get young people involved in politics.
In addition to this, I have spent the last 10 years working in the interfaith sector and I founded London’s first Interfaith Summit which brings people from different faith backgrounds together to break stereotypes and to build a better understanding between communities. I have been lucky enough to be given a blog on Huffington Post in this respect. I have spent a lot of time working with Three Faiths Forum to help shape the narrative around the interfaith debate which I believe is really important for a cohesive society. We all live and work together and share the same spaces but sometimes the media creates an element of fear to make profit when there is nothing to be afraid of.
What is your main aspiration for the Royal Borough and its residents?
My main aspiration for the Royal Borough is to see it be able to provide a variety of services efficiently at low cost and within budget to the electorate. I also hope RBWM can be creative and look to tap into the tech startup sector to use the skills young people in the Borough have. Ultimately, I would like RBWM to be seen as a model Borough that sets the standard for other Boroughs by running smoothly and efficiently. This Borough is quite prestigious with the Queen and the Prime Minister here so there are a lot of expectations on us.
What is your favourite place in the borough?
Other than my shop (joke), I always enjoy going for a run along the Long Walk/Windsor Castle - nothing beats that!