The people who inspire my life and career

Looking back, there have been many people who have come and gone in terms of friendships and professionals I look up to for career and personal development as I forge a career in the media and analytics industries.

I could name everyone that has made a significant contribution to my life but there are some exceptional people that have been the best industry professionals and friends who I regularly keep in touch with on a regular basis in my life.

Libby Maher

Where do I even begin? I first met Libby on The Challenge in July 2012 whilst in the same wave in Birmingham. However, we were in different groups but we always had maintained good contact nonetheless.

Five years on, our friendship remains as strong as ever. A lot of firsts I have done over the years have been due to Libby making me feel comfortable in my own skin whether that is going into new venues and places or overcoming childhood fears such as dogs and being able to confidently face those fears head on.

There is good reason why she is my number one best friend of all time and its because we understand that whilst our career paths are completely different, we are willing to help each other out to achieve our long-term career goals.

Pablo Gomez

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It’s kind of a revelation with Pablo because I first got to know him in the Tableau community through his work which is incredible on Twitter. Since then, we have been best friends which finally came full circle when I met him at the London Tableau User Group in July 2017.

Originally from Argentina, Pablo is one of my closest friends in the London Tableau community. Whilst we share our love of data visualisation very fondly, we both love motorsport, in particular F1 in which I try to find some datasets that we can viz with!

Also, he is incredibly helpful with my graduate job hunt in which he tries to get me in touch with potential Tableau Developer jobs. If you are looking for someone to look up to in the Tableau community, Pablo is someone I recommend speaking to 100%!

Lawrence Marshall

The last two years at university, I got to meet a lot of very colourful characters and personalities who inspired me to go the extra mile, but if I had to pick one gentleman who has provided so much laughter and fantastic moments during those years, it would have to be Lawrence.

I first met Lawrence whilst playing Touch Rugby in 2015 and instantly got on with him. As I was the Sports Sub Editor for The Scratch in that time, I got to develop a lot of close friendships with the sports teams and Lawrence was no exception to that rule.

Whilst we were on different degree courses, Lawrence and Men’s Rugby gave me a sense of belonging because as I never played university rugby union, I got to understand far more about the sport from a mental and psychological standpoint. There’s absolutely no doubt he will be a very successful businessman rest assured!

Emma Brooks

During my three years at Birmingham City University, I have met some remarkably inspirational people. However, there was one person that stood out in my first year who was studying in her final year of her degree, that person was Emma.

Emma is my voice of reason and such a lovely person to have a chat with. Whenever I have felt upset or genuinely frustrated, she always brings great discussion and a touch of positive energy to me. The amount of times I have come up to her via text or in person have been so invaluable to my life and career.

Even though we have both graduated in different years, our friendship remains tight-knit and full of very warm humour that’s sure to keep us going through the good and bad times in our lives.

Fiona Wild

A picture speaks a thousand words. As this friendship reaches three years in a few weeks time, I can safely say this lady has been an absolute superstar. Always happy to see her with the spare time I have and it was no different at #TeamBCU Awards last night. You have put up with my endless chats about Noel Gallagher, Suede, Thin Lizzy, data visualisation, motorsport among other things but you have always been by my side through the highs and lows of this friendship during these three years at university. I will definitely raise a drink to you as I head to Portugal for a well-deserved week off but you will always be the same woman I know and love. It would be good to put lots of pictures on my travels but this post only needs one picture in appreciation of what an awesome friendship we have had so far and we have so much more to come! Never change @fiona_wild because you are one of my all-time best friends. The comments you made last night meant so much to me that I cannot wait to catch up when I'm back from Portugal next week. All I can say about you Fiona in two words, truly exceptional! ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Umar Hassan (@tworandomumars) on

This friendship has come under leaps and bounds over the past couple of years and I have to thank Libby for introducing me to her. A genuinely kind individual who cares for everyone, that is Fiona of course.

I have learned so much from Fiona in terms of maintaining friendships because in the past, I lacked maintaining a healthy friendship. She has helped me to realise that its okay to get things wrong and its better to have a calm approach to dealing with drama than get involved in situations that don’t involve me at all.

As we don’t meet up as much anymore, I still hold Fiona in very high regard as a friend and an inspiration to people that you should never ever give up and that the tough situations only help to grow that friendship further forward.

Indrani Datta

As I came to the second semester of my second year at university, I was still full-steam ahead as the Sports Sub Editor for The Scratch. I was covering the BCU Cheerleading team training session in which I came across their Captain and instantly we clicked as friends. That girl was Indrani!

I could not possibly list everything to say about Indrani because it would take all day doing so but she has been so supportive towards my career. You very rarely come across people who have natural talent for their profession and she has that knack to believe in her own abilities.

You can get through the long hours of dissertation and studying, but I have full faith you can do this Indrani. You are an inspiration to me and other people who have supported you over the years and I have no doubts you will be successful in your chosen career.

This was incredibly tough picking six people who I felt were inspirational both professionally and personally in my career. Thank you for moulding me into the friend and professional I am today, I could have not done it without all your advice and support!

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