Hello there! My name is Namrata Sarmah, originally from India, and happily settled in London.
My career journey started in 2008 as a software engineer in Bangalore (India) at a top global consulting firm. Life took an interesting turn when I won the British Council Scholarship in the year 2011 and took a plane to Manchester (UK) to pursue my Master's degree. That one year at Manchester Business School was the most fruitful year of my life. I love academia and continuous learning, and would go back to University any given day, if I had a choice.
Life after Manchester turned out to be even more exciting as I started my Product Management career in London in 2013. Armed with an engineering degree and a business degree, I found my true calling in the world of Product. In the next few years I rose through the ranks from Business Analyst to Product Manager to Head to Senior Director. It has been a hectic ride, but extremely enjoyable. Along the way I changed jobs several times and got to experience several industries - IT, FMCG, Telecom, Media Production, Healthcare, Beauty, and Broadcast. It's a long list and brought along with it several opportunities and learnings. I have been fortunate enough to work with large multinationals, mid-sized firms, and innovative startups within my fast-paced career of 12 years (and counting). As I said above, its been busy :)
I am a restless person and have always been this way since childhood. Knowledge and challenges excite me. I love to venture into the unknown and find my own way out. I have always been that kid who would never follow the rules but attempt their own way of solving problems. I also don't take No for an answer too easily. Persistent, assertive, bold, yet approachable - that's probably the best way to describe me.
In 2015 I pursued an Executive Management Programme at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School. Going back to 'school' was my dream, and I was thrilled with the golden opportunity. Shortly after that I realised that leadership is utterly useless if there is no 'purpose'. I practice a democratic style of leadership driven by purpose. I love to work on projects that impact society, communities, and young people. It's extremely rewarding.
I started my portfolio career in 2018 when I landed up my first Non-Executive Director (NED) role at the Middlesex Learning Trust. It's a multi-academy trust consisting of two 'outstanding' state secondary schools in North London. Very recently I have taken up another NED role with an AI start-up called Skein.
I am a seasoned public speaker and have been speaking at several Tech & Leadership conferences over the years. Public speaking comes naturally to me; I was a talkative child, and continue to be so.
My mentoring journey started in 2012 when I started helping/advising new students at Manchester Business School. I loved giving my time to causes that would benefit the students, and realised that I do possess lots of empathy and listening skills. I am a voracious reader - a Malcolm Gladwell addict! And I use some of that wisdom in my mentoring sessions. The key skill of a mentor is 'empathy'. Understanding human emotions is no mean feat. A good mentor is a guide as well as a critic.
I mentor organisations too. I am an Advisor at two start-up incubators in London called Antler and Virgin StartUp. I am also a corporate mentor to the current MBA cohort of London Business School.
I became a mother in 2017. It was exciting yet daunting. I considered it to be a new venture and put my heart and soul into it. My baby is now a cheeky 2-year-old! Being a mother has definitely made me more resilient, smart, and empathetic. It is no less than doing an MBA all over again..
Motherhood taught me a lot, and I yearned for a support system around me. That's how The Career Mums Club was born. It is now a network of 1500 career mums in London who juggle their high-powered jobs with their demanding families. Being an immigrant, I don't have any family here, so our friends/community became our chosen families. It's a blessing!
Very recently I was referred by someone as a young BAME leader. I had no clue what it meant, and so I researched about it. I read and read, and was shocked to find that there's only a handful of us in top jobs in the world's leading organisations. How is that fair? No, it's not. And this must change! I founded The BAME Leaders Network to connect the current and future BAME leaders across the globe. I truly believe that unity is strength, and if we want to grow, we must grow together.
2020 started on a very positive note as I got the opportunity to do a Global Leadership Programme at Harvard Business School. It was a residential programme with several executives from across the globe, and the opportunity to learn, discuss, and debate were phenomenal.
If you're still reading About Me, I'd like to say that The Career Mentor is my little side venture to take my mentoring projects to the next level, give it some structure, and ensure that it remains accessible to all.
My mentoring sessions are designed like an hour long 'Coffee Break'. I am happy to do it face-to-face or via phone or video conferencing. I shall not give you any frameworks; only tactical solutions to solve your problems. My focus is on the 'how' of things, rather than the what!
Rest assured, there'll be no judgements. Only a trusted sounding board :)
Feel free to reach out for any question you might have. Thanks for reading!
[P.S: As I am in full-time employment, the sessions would be held in the evenings or weekends only.]