Asma Shah

Founding CEO

I'm Founding CEO of You Make It, a self empowerment charity for young unemployed and underemployed people. I first got it going on a virtually funding free, pilot programme basis in 2011. However, I'm proud that even in the most difficult of climates, because of how I've demonstrated strong social impact, I've since secured continued grant funding for the past 5 years. Currently investment comes from the Big Lottery Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Clore Duffield Foundation and Henry Smith Foundation, amongst others. This has allowed me to grow a staff team and more than double the numbers of young women who benefit from engagement with us. It has also allowed me the time to focus on research for a new programme of work aimed at young men.

My experience of setting up not for profit company turned charity has taught me a huge amount, not least how to grow and develop a board of directors and trustees.

Through YMI, I now offer consultancy and coaching to individuals and organisations to empower them to realise personal and professional goals. Note that income generation from these services is being diverted back into our core programmes for young people.

Prior to establishing my own organisation, I completed the Clore Leadership programme in 2008, which I'd applied to following a career working in management roles within several organisations including, for example, the Roundhouse, Channel 4 and Creative Skillset. Before working in these mostly cultural and creative sectors, I was a Policy Adviser for one of the first lottery good causes - the New Opportunities Fund, which focused on education, health and environmental issues.

I annually deliver talks for new Clore fellow intakes at Bore Place, focussing on the lessons of leading and entrepreneurialism.

I am a trustee of Oxford House, an arts, community and heritage building in the East End, and also a trustee of People's Palace Projects, an independent arts charity that advances the practice and understanding of art for social justice - PPP works extensively in Brazil.

All of my work to date shows my passion for unlocking the potential of others, challenging limiting self perceptions of what can be achieved. This links back to my own social background - I was raised on a Peckham council estate with my late single mother and three elder sisters from the 1970s-early 90s, and while there were many challenges to overcome, I nonetheless managed to progress in education and professionally. I'm a firm believer that with confidence, clear purpose, the right questions asked, connections and networks, anything is possible and can be done brilliantly!