“The whole process of mentoring is a journey. We go on a journey together,” Murtaza Mavani sums up his experience as a volunteer.
His personal journey traces back to a period of upheaval in Uganda during the 1970s, from where his parents were forced to leave as refugees. After moving between different refugee camps, they eventually settled in Peterborough. Murtaza grew up in an Islamic household that believed in “togetherness”, in helping each other out. He describes it as a “mindset” that’s stayed with him and that complements his faith; “I try to be as good a Muslim as I can be”. This moral imperative and his experience of being supported during his career is central to his ethos.
“I have benefited from the generosity and ability of others", he says. "If I can help others then why not? It’s a win-win”.
He worked hard and got a place at Birmingham University studying Chemical Engineering, joining the pharmaceutical giant GSK in 2001. Now he’s focused on the business end of the supply chain, “Capital and Technology” working in Consumer Healthcare.
GSK has a history of encouraging mentoring within the company and a long partnership with Reach Volunteering to boot, through funding volunteer placement services. A few years ago Murtaza worked at the GSK Consumer Healthcare offices in New Jersey (USA) where his role became more global and commercially focused. There was a lot more emphasis on building strong relationships around the world. “Those conversations evolved and turned into friendships and mentoring on a formal basis,” he explains. This was an experience that opened his eyes to the transformative power of mentoring which eventually became the springboard for his leap into the voluntary sector. “I’ve been working for a long time and in that 20 years I have learned a few things. We’ve all been young and experienced challenges and obstacles and that’s where I can help – that one piece of guidance that cuts through a lot of red tape or apprehension and fear.”