My name is Rushma Patel and I work in Public Health as the lead for Health Improvement for Workplace Health at Hertfordshire County Council.
I am proud of my south Asian heritage. I was born and bred in Luton to parents who were born in India and Uganda. I have many lovely memories of growing up in Luton and one of my fondest memories is enjoying the street party to celebrate our Queen’s silver jubilee with jelly and ice cream. We were the only Asian family on our street then.
My parents’ drive and determination have played pivotal role in mine and my sister’s success. My mum came to the UK aged 17, young and newly married. She couldn’t speak any English and had no formal qualifications, yet she was driven to better herself and succeed in life. I believe this quality is instilled in me which I hope I have passed on to my 19 year old twin sons too. I live in Hertfordshire with my husband, who was born in Kenya, and my sons.
My parents always aspired for their children to do better than them. Both my parents believed in educating their children regardless of their gender. Thanks to their hard work and opportunities they gave me, I graduated with Degree in Health Science and Masters in Public Health.
I have worked in varied roles within a number of London and Luton Public Health teams.
My reflection on me as a professional; I am not someone who would normally talk about their achievements or sing their own praises. However, I realise that perhaps this trait can be a barrier to my success. My reasoning for this behaviour leads me to these questions;
· Is it something about being a south Asian, especially my generation, who prefer to stay under the radar? or
· Is it a lack of confidence on my part? or
· Is it questioning my ability and the way I vocalise it? or
· Is it a hokey pokey of some sort!!
However, I am pleased to say that working in HCC, I am fortunate to be in a role and team where I know I will be heard but it has taken me years to get to this point. So, don’t expect things to be given because you think you deserve it, ask for it. If you don’t ask you will never know what opportunities are waiting for you.
Keep at it…keep up the good work and realise your dreams.