Basirat Razaq-Shuaib

Country: Nigeria
Sector: Non-profit - Other
Job title: Founder & CEO
Subject of study: Finance and Investment
Year of graduation: 2009
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

The Winford Centre for Children and Women

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After I graduated, I got a job at United Bank UK in 2010. I worked there for 7 years rising to the position of Deputy CFO. During this period, I also founded The Winford Centre for Children and Women to support children with developmental disabilities in Nigeria as a way of giving back to my home country. In 2017, I resigned from the bank and started consulting as a finance expert for SMEs. I went on to launch an online bookkeeping course in January 2018. In July 2018, I decided to work closer to the people I serve to create more impact. So now, I run the charity full time and offer finance consultancy services part-time. In April 2019, I published my first children’s book “I AM NOT NAUGHTY” which has been ordered from 3 different countries so far. I also do book reading sessions at primary schools to teach children about empathy, kindness and inclusion.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

In 2016, I felt the urge to do more and be a person who impacts lives positively. I always knew I would run a charity but the area of focus was unknown until I heard an exclusion story about a boy with disabilities in Nigeria. From that point onward, I pledged to be the person who will change the landscape of special needs provisions in Nigeria. Now we are about to launch the biggest online store providing learning aids and training to support children with developmental disabilities in Nigeria. What I enjoy most about the work I do now is that on a bigger scale, I can reach out and help more people either in the social good space or in the finance space. I am deeply motivated by knowing that my words and actions can encourage someone out there not to give up. Knowing that I am solving a global problem (inclusion) and helping people who may never be able to repay me are two things I find truly fulfilling.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The beautiful landscape and the warmth of the people.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I wanted a top ranking University in the UK where I could learn and immerse myself fully and the reviews for the University of Exeter were excellent.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Having the following skills have taken me very far in life: Tenacity, proactivity, flexibility and adaptability, social/ soft skills, team building and participation, excellent communication and critical thinking. In my experience, to achieve some level of success in life, you need to do the following: 1. Be very clear about your expected outcomes. e.g what you want out of a relationship, what you want out of a program, what you want out of a job, what you want in life. 2. Write down your goals and keep them within view at all times. Remind yourself constantly of your “why”. 3. Build technical competence. Invest in your learning 4. Pursue your dreams without shame. No one will care about your cause until they find you committed and worthy.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

1. Don’t wait for a perfect start of organisations reaching out to you. Be proactive and reach out to them. 2. Volunteer to acquire new competencies. 3. If you are in the finance field, stay up to date. The rules are always changing and you don’t want to be lagging. 4. Keep learning and improving yourself. No one can take what you know away from you. 5. Take a basic finance course to understand money because money is an enabler. 6. Network, meet new people, develop genuine relationships and be a person of value.

What are your plans for the future?

Impact more lives. There is still a long way to go in terms of creating an inclusive society so I will be teaching, speaking and writing to promote inclusion. I will also continue to create enabling platforms for affected children and families.


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