Naushin Sheriff smiling and addressing her IIS colleagues at the gathering of IIS 40th anniversary (candid)

Naushin at the IIS’s 40th Anniversary event in 2017, which she project managed.

Naushin Shariff

Projects and Events Coordinator, Department of Academic Research and Publications

My mum is my greatest source of inspiration. She’s taught me that kindness is the noblest weapon, and that no matter how tough life may get, to continue fighting and never give up.

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s a typical day like?

My role is multi-faceted. I am the Projects and Events Coordinator in DARP which basically means that I manage the logistical organisation of DARP events (e.g. public lectures, academic book launches, workshops and conferences) as well as multiple projects within the Qur’anic Studies Unit. One of the largest projects that I am involved with is the Qur’anic Studies Series, which is a book series produced by the IIS and published in association with Oxford University Press. I develop author contracts and contributor agreements, liaise with external contractors and publishers, and generally act as the first point of contact for project and event stakeholders. I also develop and manage the departmental budget.

What was your path to your role?

My background is actually in law. I obtained my LLB from the University of Surrey in 2012 but eventually decided that a career working for a law firm wasn’t for me. Throughout university (aside from studying), I divided my time between working part-time in retail management, and volunteering as a case worker for the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). The work I did with the NCDV was where I found meaning. But unfortunately, paid opportunities were few and far between and so they depended primarily on volunteers to operate. After graduating from university, I landed an internship with the Department of Community Relations at the IIS for six months, working on the Leadership Orientation Programmes and other training programmes. Soon after, I applied and got a job in the Qur’anic Studies Unit (DARP) as an administrative assistant (maternity cover) for 12 months. I worked hard, taking on more responsibility and was eventually asked to stay on permanently as an administrator for QS. I later obtained an MSc in Management in 2019 and was then promoted to Projects and Events Coordinator in DARP.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in academic research/higher education?

Work hard and be organised! Working in academia is very challenging insofar as it tests your ability to multi-task and manage your time effectively. It is so easy to lose track of time writing a report or research paper and then look up, only to realise it’s midnight! So my best piece of advice would be to organise your time well, but also to be kind to yourself, remembering the importance of regular breaks in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Who are the women who inspire you?

My mum is my greatest source of inspiration. She pretty much raised me single-handedly, all the while holding down a full-time job. To me she dominated life – she’s superwoman! She’s the kindest person I know and despite not having much herself, she continues to have the biggest heart. She’s taught me that kindness is the noblest weapon, and that no matter how tough life may get, to continue fighting and never give up.

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