The first person on 'Spotlight interviews' will be Simone Paul. Simone qualified as a podiatrist after graduating from the University of East London (UEL). She currently works in a newly established clinic she set up with her colleagues in Dubai.
Simone grew up in East London with her mum and older brother. She explained to me that she did not see much of her mum at times due to her working two jobs. She started making her way home from school at the age of seven. Despite this she worked hard, studying at a local comprehensive school in the borough.
"I've always been interested in feet and knew I wanted to be a podiatrist"
Simone's grandparents suffer with diabetes and from a young age she saw the complications of the disease which manifested in their feet. She wanted to learn more about these systemic conditions and use her knowledge to help others care for their feet.
Journey to Podiatry
Simone left her local comprehensive school to pursue the BTEC (Business and Technology Educational Council) National Diploma in Health Sciences which allowed her to study for her degree at the UEL. Whilst studying she worked at Selfridges and a sports injuries clinic in order to help fund her studies as well as to gain experience in podiatry. By the time she finished studying for her degree she was working independently at the sports injuries clinic which resulted in her receiving a glowing reference.
Unfortunately Simone had to resit her final year, but through her dedication she passed all her exams and graduated with pride. Before graduating she had already been offered a job to work at the Margaret Dabbs Foot Clinic and Spa in central London. The clinic was established by Margaret Dabbs, a podiatrist who has a number of foot clinics and may be best known for the 'medical pedicure'.
Simone worked exceptionally hard and was offered a promotion which involved moving to Dubai to set up a new clinic. She was ecstatic and moved to Dubai with a colleague to "start the clinic from scratch." Simone now manages the clinic which involves keeping staff up to date with their training, marketing the brand and ensuring everything runs smoothly daily. She explained that the clinic has a "90% patient satisfaction rate" and "we are currently providing a new treatment for fungal nail infections which avoids the use of medical drugs...we are the only clinic in the area to provide such treatment."
Long Term Plans
Despite working in somewhere as vibrant as Dubai, Simone says "it's not home" and plans to move back to London in the near future to be closer to her family and friends. She has ideas for a youth community project and also plans to break into the property market over here.
"Would you want to change anything looking back on your journey?"
"I would not change anything, no. I only regret wasting time on the wrong people".
I ended the interview by asking Simone to impart a few words of wisdom for us all:
"Work hard for what you want, think positive, don't play victim. Pray and think about the things you want to achieve in life. Do not be materialistic or ostentatious".
I really enjoyed talking to Simone who is a dear friend of mine. She is a confident, cheerful and loving person. She has a very caring nature and is always looking out for others. Simone is always saying how proud she is of me and I will use this opportunity to say that I am so very proud of her. We can learn a lot from Simone's story so far. She has reminded us of something important in life- do not give up and especially not on your dream. You may not be given the best start in life but you can change things if you keep going and focus on a goal. Find a goal and work towards it. Find more than one goal and set time scales to achieve them. You may not succeed the first time but if you keep trying you will eventually get to where you want to be. One last thing- always try and make some time to aid those who are not as fortunate as you. You do not have to donate money in order to 'give back', you can donate your time, which in some cases can be much more valuable.