Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Now I have known Narmeen for at least 5 years and to say I am in awe of her journey throughout 2020 and 2021 is an understatement. Having previously worked together at a staffing agency in London, I know the strength, resilience, and passion Narmeem has. Her path has faced setbacks, criticism, mental health challenges, charity fundraising, redundancy, pandemic travel and now a business owner - and that's all within the space of a year.
Narmeen has become a speaker, a clubhouse expert, a freelancer in demand and a fabulous podcast host of Desert Island Events to name just a few of her achievements. With big things on the horizon, I wanted to sit down with her and find out more about her journey and how it brought her to where she is now.
Narmeen, welcome and thank you so much for sharing your story today. You have had an amazing year and so much going on. Tell me, how do you feel after as you reflect on the year you've had?
Honestly, I am just amazed a the journey I have been on, how much has changed and how far I’ve come. Looking back makes me emotional because I never thought I would be in the position I am in now and I am just so so so grateful to be here and to have had this journey. Each day when I think I’m behind on my plan or goals for the year I stop and reflect and it fuels me to continue what I’m doing. It really is true, you never know where you will be in a years time and I’m so happy about how far I’ve come. Even looking back a few months, I went from no work to getting an incredible contract in mid-February and now here I am, renting my own office in London as an investment in my future! Who would have thought eh?
I can't speak to you and not address mental health. We're both big advocates for better mental health and normalising the topic within the industry. You have spoken openly about it over the years, blogged some of your journey and spoke on panel events about it. Looking back, do you feel it's helped shape who you are and how you've got to where you are today?
Mental Health for me is something I’ve struggled with for over a decade so it really has been a part of who I am for a large part of my life. There are so many factors that have contributed to this - being Asian British, coming from a religious background, sexual assault and never really knowing who I was as a person which has been parts of my struggle. Learning to live with my mental health and finally recovering in December 2019 has definitely shaped me into who I have now become and the growth I am still stepping into. Until I finally unblocked some obstacles in my path and changed my perception, whilst still getting medical help, I wasn’t able to recover and be who I am now.
You've been on quite the ride through 2020. You raised money for charity through the pandemic, took redundancy, travelled somewhat and came home as a business owner, podcast host, speaker and creator. What was the turning point for you in going solo? And, how do you make sure you keep your mental wellbeing a priority with so much going on?
Firstly, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this had it not have been for my mental health recovery. Starting 2020 was still a challenge but it was something I was more prepared to take on being mentally healthy at long last. Of course, I hadn’t predicted the pandemic and the goals I had for the year completely changed, not exactly overnight, but quite quickly. From aiming for a promotion and seeking a new role at the same time at the start of the year, I was grateful I was furloughed to have some sense of financial stability at the time. I didn’t want to relapse back into my depression and anxiety so I filled my time and found ways to continue moving forward. From the massive charity project (which got me shortlisted for an Award for Excellence!) to then being made redundant, I kept looking at ways to move forward without falling backwards. Redundancy was definitely the turning point for me I guess as I no longer had a job and my career was something I was really focused on. Throughout the pandemic, I had done so much for others which of course was helping me mentally but it was a shock to the system. I took a break by going travelling and that's when inspiration really kicked in for me. It was a tough time because of the way I had been treated previously having been put down, held back and having my career worth questioned, I didn’t feel ready or comfortable applying to work for another company. I think subconsciously I was telling myself going solo was the move I needed to make not only for my career but also wellbeing. Everything I had done from redundancy onwards was always about putting myself and my mental wellbeing as a priority.
You are really kicking those naysayers to the ground, well done you! If you could say, what would be your favourite project to date and why?
I have done so many amazing projects it's so hard to just pick one! I loved working in Turkmenistan for the 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games - I was abroad for almost 2 months! Also, the charity project on furlough as I was giving back to the community and project managing a huge project and my current contract that I can’t say too much about but its all virtual!
I'm intrigued Narmeen, we have heard from some amazing guests over on your podcast 'Desert island events' but we are yet to hear yours. Please don't keep us waiting any longer! What is your no limit, money can't buy event that you are dreaming to create?
You’ll just have to wait and see for this one! My dream event will definitely be announced at some point this year...
Fair! We look forward to hearing more in the future. Narmeen, I don't know where you go from here. What's next on the horizon?
There is just so much! I definitely want to get the personal development book club and subscription box launched and build on that. Maybe a course on Clubhouse as I’m asked about it so much and then a new industry awards because you know how I like to disrupt the industry; I see a gap in the market and I am going for it. Also, I would love to be named on a 30 under 30 or tomorrows talent kind of list, just manifesting that!
Thank you so much for sitting down with me today, to end. What would be your top 3 tips for someone struggling with mental health and not knowing their next steps?
1. Reach out! If you’re not comfortable speaking with work, try friends, online resources or just a doctor. Whether its medication or talking therapy or whatever it may be, there are many ways to get help 2. Put yourself first - there is always going to be another client/project/event but there is only one of you. It’s not selfish to put yourself first especially when it is exactly what you need. 3. You are not alone. There are so many incredible people in and outside of the industry who have been in your shoes. It's ok to not be ok. Wow, what an incredible guest to have on my blog. You can find Narmeen on Instagram/Twitter/TikTok as @eventsnarmeen & @Desertislandevents @hospobookclubs and over on her website at www.NarmeenKamran.com.
Thank you x