What is important to you in your life?
I have always been driven by my passion to support social change; to improve the lives of the poorest people, no matter who they are or where they are. Therefore, I have focused my efforts on working on policy changes which can build a much more fair, just and equal world in which no one is left behind. So, inclusions, empowerment and agency have been the drivers behind my work. This has become even more important to me since I had my own family. I want them to have the same opportunities as other people and allow them to bring their talents fully to the world.
I believe everyone has something amazing to offer their families, communities, and society as a whole and they need to have the support that will give them the confidence to succeed in their endeavours.
Why is exercise important to you?
Exercise is how I make time for me. It gives me time to think, push myself physically and challenge myself beyond my professional life. I love it. I am always in awe of the human body and what it can do. Through exercise I keep active and moving, while my professional work often requires me to be stationary for long periods of time, especially when I am travelling; it helps me manage my jet lag better, feel less sluggish, and sleep more soundly. Exercise helps me still my busy mind. The sense of achievement I get, helps me keep positive, focused and energised. I am a firm believer of the mantra ‘healthy body, healthy mind’.
Has it always been important?
Yes, it has. My mum tells me I was doing circles around the living room at the age of 7 months. I was an early walker. I have always had a lot of physical energy and a thirst for life, exercise helps me channel in a productive way. I am a light sleeper and exercise also helps me sleep well too.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I recently started to take swimming lessons and am keen to become a strong front crawl swimmer. I would love to do my first sprint triathlon, but I am terrified by the swimming component. That would be a great achievement for me.
Who inspires you?
Women I meet in my daily life through my work – amazing girls and women who have tackled adversity, fought against the odds, traditional family structures and cultural expectations to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. I am always in awe of amazing real women. My grandmother was one of those women who grew up illiterate in rural northern India and was a refugee in 1947 as a result of the partition, she never showed fear, stood up for what was right and wrong and did not let the fact she was a illiterate woman in a patriarchal structure hold her back.
Can you give our readers one exercise tip?
When travelling have a short 15 to 20 min simple movement routine you can do in your hotel room without trainers, it will keep you strong as well as flexible and ensure your tight muscles get a good stretch. This is becoming more and more important to me as I age. I have 6 movements I do every morning which help with core stability and stretches my back and glutes. I carry an exercise band with me to help with resistance stretches and exercises.