Women Empowered : Decoding Councillor Reena Ranger

  • Fri,4 Jan 2019 07:05:19 PM

British Asia News Network

Smita Sarkar

London: Reena Ranger is a bundle of energy, a power-packed inspiring leader of the day. The Chairman and Co-Founder of Women Empowered (WE), Councillor of Moor Park & Eastbury and a strong figure in the family business Sun Mark is the doting mother of two. What impressed me about Reena is her warmth, helpful and friendly demeanour; welcoming a conversation with a smile. She is a true inspiration for women who took breaks to start the journey of motherhood but also found a path to help and connect others along the way.

“I feel very lucky to have such varied roles in my life,” said Reena. “They keep things interesting and I enjoy my balance. I feel more fulfilled juggling; it’s a happy juggle and a blessing.

“After having my children, I needed to understand and find my new combined role. My business role lessened when they were born. Setting up WE and my entry into politics came one after the other when my children were still quite young. Somehow it manages to fit, and I believe every aspect of my life complements the other.”

Reena is passionate about different sides of community and public service and WE. Her role as a Councillor provides her the opportunity to meet people and make an impact. She was successfully elected as one of the three District Councillors for Moor Park & Eastbury in May 2014 and was a Parliamentary Candidate in the 2017 General Election.

The Councillor

She addressed the delegates at the Conservative Party Conference in 2017 on the topic of “Fighting Injustices” and remains active within the Conservative Party.

“I was elected five years ago, and I stand for re-election in May. I put forward a motion to council last month, which I am delighted to say was unanimously passed, to encourage those who hold events on council land/property or with council grant funding to offer a presence to a charity that registers people to the stem cell donor register. I am hoping that other councils do the same.

“Even at this infant stage, I am hopeful of its potential and the chance to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself or what you expected possible is extraordinary. For this year, I hope to build on the possibilities of the motion and what it might bring.”

The meetings at the Council usually start at about 7:30pm with Reena often getting home after 10pm. “If I have a few meetings in a week by chance, I can spend a lot of that week in meetings and doing the necessary reading for them. That combined with the other bits that need to be done could mean a week of late nights and normal morning starts so it can be a delicate juggle,” she admits.

“My political role and that in WE have given rise to exciting opportunities and things my younger self would never have dreamed of. With WE, we get to set some of the direction and can control what we undertake and many of the outcomes are 'semi' expected.

"With politics, I am learning that nothing is certain! I love the privilege of being a large part of my children’s day. It is something that was not afforded in the same way to my parents, their balance was far more precarious in a new country, building a new life. I stand on the shoulders of giants and am grateful for the roles I can juggle.”

The Chairman

Reena is the Chairman of Women Empowered, a grass-roots, social initiative that aims to inspire and help women make the best of their individual talents and skills by connecting with successful and inspirational women. The aim is to support women in their quest to capitalise on their abilities and aid them in gaining new opportunities through a variety of events.

WE is championed and supported by prominent women and men from all walks of life, be it politics, media, finance or music. www.womenempowered.co.uk.

It consists of a charitable arm based on the donation of time and service, plus there's an online blog. The organisation is run by volunteers and is not-for-profit.

“It was always meant to be called WE but my inability to register the domain name correctly let us to being called Women Empowered, which I hope we are and do but the essence really is we are a WE. We always have a male speaker and encourage male attendees. It also provides an opportunity for people to meet new people and make connections. The next event should be in February and details will be online as they are finalised.” 

WE holds two or three main events a year in Baker Street, bringing together speakers who provide inspiration or resonate with the audience to do something special that makes a difference in their life as they see it, the balance they wish to strike, provide a wisdom or a warning.

“Our charitable arm is less about collecting money but more about the donation of time. We try to collaborate as much as we can in the true spirit of being a WE and for the past four years have been collaborating with a charity called SWAT and sponsor once a month a few distributions of food for those who are in need. We hold a charity lunch in the summer which raises about £1000 so that we can purchase the warm pizzas that we will distribute for the year ahead.

“We go out on the last Thursday of every month and always grateful for volunteers and donations. Every year the core team sits together and look for the year ahead to see what we can or should do. We always ask anyone who has an idea to let us know and collaborate. WE is a community of all those who have ever attended or participated. There is no requirement to entry or membership. We are a friendly place just trying to make a difference and provide opportunity.”

Sun Mark Ltd

Reena's father is the legendary Dr Rami Ranger, Founder of Sun Mark Ltd and she has worked within her family business for almost 20 years. During that time she's worked in a variety of roles, contributing to the core team in both operational and strategic aspects. 

Initially, she started working in the family business on weekends, holidays, and Wednesdays while perusing her business studies. “I thought it would be a useful course as we had a family business and then I continued throughout my university career and after. It’s a steep learning curve working with your parents. There are no friendly inductions or anything like that, just learning as you go, and I think it enabled me to learn a lot and I am grateful for the education now.

“My dad has a very strong work ethic and a good problem-solving mind, and my mum is incredibly capable, organised and efficient, I have learnt a great deal from them.”

The Real Reena

Reena is candid about her short-comings and is happy to discuss them openly – her quirky dreams and creativity did not really limit her in the practical life she now leads.

“When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher, lawyer, or Madonna. I never had a burning ambition to pursue a career down any path. Looking back, I didn’t really know what paths existed (this is also why I strongly believe in role models and in part why WE was set up)

“I have always been quite creative, I loved to draw and make clay models and now I enjoy crochet and reading.

“I don’t know when it was that I realised it, but when I did it profoundly altered my perception of people and the world. I realised that almost everybody has something to teach me, almost everybody comes with a lesson, some wisdom or warning, a personality trait that is enviable or not, something I should emulate or avoid.

“I can’t say I learn all lessons quickly or easily, but I try to see the world this way. I don’t know if it’s something that also happens with age, I am more comfortable in my own skin now than ever before and I simply try to be the best version of myself learning from people I meet along the way.”

“I like to finish things off to the extent that I can. I don’t like the worry of work piling up. Equally, after a busy period I like some quiet time and then I am comparatively unproductive. It’s my balance and juggle of sometimes organised chaos; it works for me and I am lucky as it’s with things I enjoy,” said Reena with a chuckle.

Reena's mantra 

With all her experience and passion for life, what core tenet does she live by? “To keep learning, just for myself (as well as the necessary for the roles I hold). I never could be called academic when I was younger, I regret it deeply. I found it hard to understand what was being taught to me and never found any joy in learning. It overwhelmed and confused me, but when I began to 'get it', I realised how much there was in the world to know and I started learning with wonder, enthusiasm and eagerness.

“There is so much I would like to know now; so many books I would love to read, so much history I wish I knew. I can get lost for hours now, looking at one thing which takes me to another, which takes me somewhere else. I realised too late, in my opinion, how many different things there are to learn, the facts, the thoughts and views, the context. The news, the history, what could be, what happened, why it happened, why others thought it happened, what does it all mean and how we have learnt from it are all both encouraging and interesting aspects for me.”

With so much already achieved and so much potential for the future, it certainly looks like the world will be shaped for the better by Reena's passion to understand and improve life for everyone. 

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