During the coming months we are featuring many of the Woman Who Achieves Finalists, Winners and Sponsors in our Friday Feature.

Introducing Leyla Okhai, Founder of Diverse Minds UK Ltd  and joint Winner of the Woman Who Achieves Solopreneur Services Award 2019.

We asked Leyla our Friday Feature questions and here are her responses:

Name: Leyla Okhai

Business Name: Diverse Minds UK Ltd

Twitter Name: @diversemindsuk

Who is your role model and why?

Missy Elliott what a woman! From witnessing and being at the receiving end of terrifying domestic violence as a child and abuse at the hands of other family members she has gone on to lead hip-hop sales in the late 1990s to early 2000s with the most albums sold worldwide. She is a philanthropist, has an honorary degree and has been a shining star to so many. Adversity has not stopped her. 

What’s the worst job you have ever had?

When I was 17 my Saturday job was working at a chain health and beauty store. It was terrible pay, no-one was very happy and the customers were very rude. It taught me what to value in a workplace form a young age!   

What’s the best business advice you have ever received?

Don’t panic about getting work in, do your best and the work will come from my coach Jenny Garrett. Also, my business mentor Mike Jennings said to me, I think it’s time you seriously think about quitting your job, but you will know when the time is right and you will stop being scared. He was totally correct!   

What is your proudest achievement in business?

Delivering a keynote talk to 200+ staff at University College London’s (UCL) Library staff conference about being the best you. I enjoy public speaking, but looking up in an enormous lecture theatre to see all those people was overwhelming. However, I got through it and had some great feedback. 

What is your favourite business book?

Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark. It covers all bases, provides lots of examples and sound practical advice. 

and just for fun…

Which personality or business person would you invite to sit on your dream Board of Directors and why?

It’s a tough one, as there are so many people I would love to invite. I think it would be Serena Williams for her insight, tenacity and resilience. I am sure she would see the blind spots I cannot. 

If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

It would have to be Mulan. 

Tell us an amazing fact about you, that not many people know?

Not sure how amazing it is, but unique – perhaps!  I was on one of the last Kilroy shows with my student union colleagues talking about sexual violence against women and what can be done in universities to stop sexual violence in 2004. 


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