Faces of FuturU: Suhail Mirza, Executive Director

A photo of Suhail in a suit and blue tie

Today, we say hello to Suhail Mirza, Executive Director on the board at FuturU. In this article, we delve into Suhail’s role, his journey so far, and what motivates him to make a difference. 

Could you start by telling us about your role at FuturU?

I’m Executive Director on the board at FuturU. I have statutory duties as a director, but most importantly I’m here to leverage my network and know how in the healthcare sector to support the execution of our strategy, partnering with the team to meet business objectives. It’s all about building our vision for the healthcare workforce (and the benefit we can bring to health and care providers) and making that a reality, globally. 

How did you get into this role?

I’m a lawyer by training, but have been in healthcare for over 25 years – I was involved in a family business providing care to the elderly in the community. Over the past 20 years I have worked with investors and boards across healthcare and staffing. I have also been a writer and commentator within the sector. This includes the LaingBuisson UK Healthcare Workforce Report 2021, which I authored in 2021.

Through what I like to call some guided intervention, I connected with Stephen Pattrick, the CEO and Co-Founder of Newcross Healthcare, on LinkedIn a few years ago. Stephen invited me to host some Inner Wellness webinars to Newcross staff. It became apparent that we shared many values and the same vision for healthcare and I was invited to join the board at Newcross in 2022 before being asked to join the board here at FuturU. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

There really isn’t a typical day, and that’s exciting!

I wake up early and do my morning ritual, carving out time for contemplation and prayer which I do with my wife. Sometimes it’s a school run with my daughter. We have rabbits in the house along with two cats, so I like to make sure I spend time with them. I read everyday – in recent years typically 30-40 non fiction books a year. And I make a strong effort to get outside, even just for a few minutes.

During my working day, I might be writing an article, or meeting senior people in the healthcare sector. I work closely with colleagues at Newcross and FuturU, helping to drive our strategy forward. And I’m working on two important projects; the Voices of Care podcast and our Inner Wellness webinars. Each offers unique value to FuturU to really differentiate us.

Could you tell us a little more about your journey to becoming an inner wellness coach?

I’ve always been a positive thinker, but I’ve faced challenges in my life which led me to think that there are things in life we can’t just positively think our way out of. And I began to ponder, is there something more perennial, something deeper, that we can turn to that helps us to be self-loving in a healthful way, no matter what happens?

I searched around the world and came across the benefits of multicultural psychology and the psychology of spirit. I used this to heal myself and was invited to share my insights to leaders I know in different sectors, and eventually was invited to share them via webinars to support frontline NHS staff during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cutting a long story short, I now share my approach globally across many sectors, including healthcare, and of course to our learners here at FuturU. It’s an amazing privilege. 

What role does inner wellness have to play right now in the healthcare sector specifically?

There is a mental health crisis, globally. The estimated economic cost of that is 16 trillion dollars, and that’s not to mention the human cost. And in the health and social care sectors, we have significant numbers of staff unable to work due to mental health challenges.

It’s never been more important to support wellbeing and enable people to flourish. To quote Michelle Gorringe, if we don’t look after the people that look after us, how is that going to work? 

That’s why the work we’re doing at FuturU to deliver our inner wellness webinars to as many health and social care professionals as we can is imperative. Even if I make a difference to one person, it’s worth it for me, but we’ve been so fortunate to receive a fantastic amount of positive feedback from attendees saying such wonderful things. It gives me goosebumps!

Watch on-demand: Free webinar: Understanding stress and the role of inner wellness

What motivates you at work?

I’ve always wanted to help people. Through childhood and in later life “dark nights of the soul” I know what it’s like to feel not worthy, or not enough – and I want to make a difference in someone’s life. Really, that’s what we’re here to do at FuturU – we have the potential to help all these people upskill, feel better about themselves, and give better care. At the end of the day, your family, my family, your friends, one day they might need their care, and by supporting them, we’re playing a part in that. That’s hugely motivating.

What brings you joy at work?

I find joy on a number of different levels. When I spend time talking to a colleague on a Donut chat who I’ve not met before, that brings me joy. When I can help and contribute, that brings me joy. Anything that makes a difference to people’s lives. And I have joy moments every single day working at FuturU.

One of our values is Always Learning - can you tell us about something you’ve learnt in your time here so far?

I’ve learnt that you can dare to dream and think the impossible. Free universal access to healthcare training can be a reality. Steve Jobs famously said that ‘destiny belongs to the crazy ones’, and I’ve learnt that you can think outside the box. 

Some of us come from backgrounds where we’re afraid to make a mistake. I’m a lawyer by training – if you put a comma in the wrong place, that can get you sued! But if you have that attitude in a startup environment you won’t get anything done. So that’s a big lesson I’ve learnt. 

And I’ve also learnt that, with a little bit of love, know-how and passion you can make a difference in people’s lives.

What excites you most about the future of FuturU?

For me, it’s the idea that we can truly make a profound difference in the lives of people that work in healthcare, and ultimately the people that access healthcare services. Using technology, we have the opportunity to turn the dial and change the approach, empowering people and democratising access, no matter their background, to start their career and flourish.

You can learn more about Suhail’s Inner Wellness approach and how you can request an Inner Wellness webinar for your team here.

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