Expect the unexpected is Naina’s motto and it has held her in good stead.
When shopping one day in Leicester in her early 20’s, recently graduated and contemplating a career in Clinical Psychology she bumped into her sixth form tutor, Mr. Scaife. On hearing she was working in a watch factory while figuring out her next move he insisted that she meet him at BBC Radio Leicester the following morning. He knew she had an interest in journalism but been put off by a career advisor.
Mr. Scaife introduced her to the Programme Manager at the station and quickly she was reading the “what’s on” bit and doing film reviews. A news editor encouraged her to apply for a coveted place on a BBC Trainee Reporter Scheme and lo and be-hold she got in. It led to a 20 - year career in broadcasting as a news correspondent and as a presenter on the World Service. Her report was the first to air on the day BBC Radio 5 launched and there was even a three-year stint in Los Angeles doing what she calls her “Hollywood beat”.
“Sometimes I would pinch myself when I was travelling the world doing a job I loved. One day I would be covering a riot the next day interviewing a politician or head of government or an A-list celebrity and all thanks to Mr. Scaife, a man who knew how to empower people”.
After 20 years in journalism working for the BBC, Channels 4 and 5 and countless Radio stations, a career shift ensued, and Naina created Blue Opus, a recruitment business.
She came to understand the challenges facing her clients in the media industry and the complexities of running a business. However, that fork in the road 25 years before with Mr. Scaife had always stayed with her. Fast forward to today and she is now an accredited coach, an organizational change consultant and an Impact Factory trainer specialising in Communication and Media Skills, Assertiveness and Personal Impact courses, among others.
When not at Impact Factory Naina can often be seen wondering the corridors of some or other London prison working on a pioneering project coaching prisoners; “I think we all have something of a Mr. Scaife in us” is another one of her mottos.
You will also find her treading the boards at her local theatre from time to time. When unexpectedly cast as General Haig in “Oh What a Lovely War” no one expected she would be sporting a bushy moustache.
As she says, it is good to expect the unexpected.
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