Mentor

If there is one thing I was ever sure about above all else is that I am a born mentor. At the age of 14 in Sri Lanka, I volunteered to fill the space of an absent Sunday School teacher for a class of 35 thirteen-year-olds. I not only enjoyed this experience but proved to be very successful at it and carried on tutoring for years to come.

Ever since my first teaching experience, I have never turned down a single opportunity to educate, mentor and facilitate others with their personal or professional development. During my time at the local chapter of the Junior Chamber International in Sri Lanka, I was appointed Director Individual in 1996 and here I started my ministry of personal development supporting others, running parallel as my second job.  https://jci.cc/

Between 2005 and 2008 my family took part in the assisted lodgings, pilot scheme with Step by Step in Hampshire. We hosted care leavers aged between 16 to 25, proactively supporting these young adults in education, personal and career development. It was a role that often required little more than simple empathy and listening skills. Many of them have moved onto post-graduate education and found successful careers.

And here are some of their stories…

“Zam was a godsend to me in a time of confusion, anxiety and distress. Zam kindly mentored me, endlessly giving me his time, listening and being there for support. As a result, I made better decisions in my career path which today I am very happy with. In my personal life, Zam has helped me see and believe in my own credentials and review the relationships that I have with people.
He has pushed me to achieve greater and finer things in life despite my cultural background. As well as becoming my good friend, Zam has also helped me to connect deeper and spiritual awareness which I am very pleased to have. I appreciate Zam and all that he had done for me as I wouldn’t be here today if Zam hadn’t generously been there for support. He has the most incredible skills, knowledge, and experience with an outstanding personality.”
Here’s a few ways Zam has helped me.

1. Instilled confidence and motivated me to do a 13,000 ft charity tandem skydive.
2. Helped me make better career decisions.
3. Improved my relationships with people.
4. Helped me recover my spiritual awareness.
5. Increased my aspirations, motivation, determination and my love for life.
6. Made me a wiser, kinder and more successful person.

Layla Begum
Business Planning Manager at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust
BA Hons. Criminology and Criminal Justice – University of East London
linkedin.com/in/layla-begum-a5a83624/

Zam is an amazing lecturer, influencer, motivator and role model, the ‘quadruple threat’! He was my lecturer for my Australian Degree in Graphic Design at the Raffles Design Institute in Sri Lanka. There is immense credit that is owed to him for the knowledge and guidance that moulded me during those crucial years of my education. He certainly is a driving force, always striving to unlock our highest potential and inspiring us to realize our goals. His commitment and passion for his work is reflected in the great enthusiasm he brings to teaching.
Moreover, with Zam’s impressive industry experience, both locally and globally, he has so much more to offer – not only in Creative Arts, but also in career guidance, self-motivation, confidence building and critical thinking. His mentoring has motivated me to grow as a young professional and has helped me get through even the toughest and most stressful hurdles during my studies. For all this, I am deeply grateful for his presence and I wish him success in all his future endeavours!

Rushenka Jayasuriya
Bachelor of Design (Graphic Design) – Raffles Design Ins, Sri Lanka
Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) – UNSW, Australia
linkedin.com/in/rushenka-jayasuriya-22a684158/

I met Zam when I was 16 years old, through a project called Step-by-Step, which was set up to help young people who were experiencing difficult times due to family relationship break downs. I had just left the care system when Step-by-Step introduced me to Zam and his family, who offered me a place to live in their home whilst I studied for my GCSE’s. At the time, I was a very reserved person and detached from my family. Zam provided me with a stable home, and offered me consolation during a very difficult time in my life. He showed great belief in my potential, and inspired me to strive to achieve and reach for my greatest ambitions.
Despite experiencing such difficult times so early in life, when life could have taken a much different path for me, with the support and guidance from people like Zam, I have been able to achieve my aspirations. I was able to excel in my GCSEs and A-levels, and was the first of my immediate family to gain my Bachelor’s degree. I went on to work in the financial sector and have worked my way up to become a qualified mortgage adviser. I continue to strive towards my next life goal, and never want to stop learning.
I am grateful to have met such intellectual and charismatic role model.
Franky May Green
Mortgage & Protection Adviser at Clark & Poole
CeMAP Diploma – The London Institute of Banking & Finance
Bsc Hons. Ecology and Wildlife Conservation – Bournemouth University
linkedin.com/in/franky-green/
“I was introduced to ZAM at a networking event and immediately I felt impressed with his proposed project and his knowledge in many fields. The next two years I spent learning a great deal from Zam, by working both on his film and book; the ZamZam project.
His advice and contributions into my own business and his awareness of branding has been priceless. Zam channelled my perceptions of what a creative person can do, how they think and the importance of being critical. Inspired by his work ethic and numerous skills I enrolled on a documentary film making course last year. I strongly believe the help and advice he gave me during this time has and will continue to help me become successful.

These insights and his mentoring inspired me to develop areas that prior to meeting Zam I believed I was already accomplished in.”

 

Tom Carter
Marketing Consultant
Zam, to put it very simply, is my guru. He is without a doubt the best teacher/mentor a student could ask for. I had the privilege of being his student for over 3 years, and I am still learning from him today. His dedication to his work knows no bounds, and was a driving force in getting me through some of the toughest moments in my academic career. I learned from him: “The more ideas you share, the more you’ll get..” Design, Media and Art are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his knowledge. Zam has taught me about Self-motivation, Career-development, Fitness and Nutrition, History and Religion, and so so much more! He has opened up so many avenues for so many of us by sharing his knowledge and nurturing us; pushing us to our highest potential.
I started Raffles wanting to do Multimedia and Animation, and came out of it loving Graphic Design and Advertising. I owe this to Zam. His skills in brand development, conceptual thinking and production are inspiring. He is always two, if not three steps ahead, and that reflects on his expertise and experience. Nevertheless, Zam has always been open to learning from others. He will very often ask for a second opinion and encourage new thoughts and ideas.
I’m not in touch with the majority of my professors, but Zam has always made it a point to check-in and ask how I’m doing. A big part of who and where I am today is because of Zam, and for that, I am forever grateful.
When I joined my degree program I was full of doubts on whether I have chosen the right career but when I met Mr Zam as my lecturer, he assured me that I couldn’t have done better. He made sure I got every opportunity to hone my skills and every time I did my best while motivating me alongside. If not for his extra effort my degree would have been just a paper qualification. I’m sincerely grateful to Zam for making all the difference. 

He is a gifted teacher and knows graphic designing inside out.

 

UmmeSalama Shabbar Hussain
Founder – Its My Type – Sri Lanka
Bachelor of Design (Graphic Design) – Raffles Design Ins, Sri Lanka
linkedin.com/in/ummesalama-shabbarhussain/
instagram.com/letterapy/
“Living with Zam and his family through the Step-by-Step Project has taught me so many things that I still carry with me today. He taught me how to be motivated towards my studies and opened my mind to see what I am capable of achieving in life. I think it’s fair to say that he believed in me when no one else did – Not even myself at that point.
He helped pick me up when I was at the lowest point in my life and more importantly, showed me self-respect. Just seeing how he worked so hard with his work and family life inspired me to work harder and aim higher. Zam is a truly amazing, genuine and caring person. He allowed a stranger to enter his home so he could make a difference and I’m glad I was one of them.
If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today or even half as motivated. To me, he is like family.”

Jodie Ward
Security Risk Analyst at Infor
(MSc)Field Of StudyCyber Security & Human Factors – Bournemouth University
BA Hons. Computer Forensics and Security – Bournemouth University
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jodiecward/

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“When I first met Zam I was still in school in Sri Lanka, about 16 years old. At this time I was culturally brainwashed about professions and was trying to peruse being an Engineer. There was no real passion in what I did there, but as my brother and most of my cousins followed that path I thought it to be the safest option. But, then I met Zam. The story of my future was re-written. When I first met him I had no idea there was a whole industry just for the design world, even though I was really into art, and playing around with computer software and producing graphic design work. Getting to know his side of the story and what’s out there in the design world opened my eyes as to what I could achieve. Zam was one of the first to show, by example, that you can achieve anything you want, and be anyone you want. There I was on my way trying to be an Engineer and avoiding the real dream I wanted to achieve.
Even after Zam went back to the UK, I still kept in touch with him, and got as much advice as I could on design. When it came to the time to apply to universities in the UK the first person I got in touch with was Zam. By this time I had worked for quite a lot of clients, but Zam helped me put together my portfolio in an advantageous format to present to universities. I remember him saying before I sent my application – “Hash, I wouldn’t be surprised if you got into the second year of a Bachelor’s Degree program”. At that time I thought that to be absolute nonsense, Zam was right and I was accepted straight onto the second year at university.
After I got into the UK it was easier to be in touch with Zam, and I visited his lovely family on several occasions. He invited me to join and help him out with one of his personal projects, the “Zamzam Project”. I happily took over some of the branding and design elements, and I ended up working on it as my Final Minor and Major projects at university. Throughout this project, I have learnt very valuable lessons that benefited both my personal and professional life. I was taught how to be grounded, yet become a great flawless designer.
At this moment I am living “the dream”. I am a fully qualified and working “graphic designer” in Fortune 500 Company. If it was not for Zam, god knows where I’d be now!”

Hashir Milhan
Graphic Designer EA Games
Creative Technology Director at adam&eveDDB
BA Hons. Graphic Design, UCA Maidstone
linkedin.com/in/hashmil/
“I met Zam when he visited Sri Lanka back in 2004. As an alumnus of the art class I attended every week, he had been invited to speak to us about how he made his way in the world. At the time I was only about 16, and was unaccustomed to working outside the box and taking initiatives.
Listening to him speak, I remember being struck by how much effort he had put into supporting himself through university in England, and being inspired by his drive. Getting in touch with him years later, I’m glad to see that it hasn’t abated.

Although it was just a short talk that Zam gave us, his was definitely was one of the stories that influenced me towards coming out of my shell and making my own opportunities later on in life, instead of simply being carried along by the currents of the system.”

Shamanthi Rajasingham

BA Hons. English, University of Colombo
MA Art, University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Graphic Designer at Wisr –
Sydney, Australia
https://www.shamanthi.com/
“For many years Zam has been there for me as a friend and as a mentor. He’s helped me in so many different ways throughout the years. I had a difficult time during my early twenties. I spent many years discovering what I wanted in life. I thought I knew it all and could handle whatever came my way. During those dark patches in my life Zam helped me, he never gave up on me and always believed I could do much better. Whatever advice I took from Zam was always beneficial. He never patronised me in any way or made me feel uneasy. At times he could be harsh and direct but that was his caring way. If he thinks the choices you make compromise your goals then he will tell you. I am in my 30s now and work in sales.
With Zam’s help, I have made a big decision to go back to university this year to pursue what I should of done 10 years ago. This would not have happened if Zam had not continually encouraged me and supported me throughout the years I’ve known him…”

Yiu loon Wong
BA Hons. Exhibition and Museum Design
University of Lincoln

I would like to thank my lecturer Mr Zamruth Faiz, who encouraged me to walk ahead while caringly observed each step I took. Creativity, imagination and originality – are just a few things he cultivated in me and much more that is not quantifiable or measurable by any means. It is difficult to forget Zam’s inspirational words and motivational advice which are firmly ingrained in me. Instead of just appreciating and complimenting my efforts in college, he set the bar higher and pushed me to broaden my horizons further and do better beyond college and in life as well. Even though our time was short I still wish to be his student for life.

Shakeel Ismail

Senior Graphic Designer at Ecoleaf Packaging & Trading – Qatar
Bachelor of Design (Graphic Design) – Raffles Design Ins, Sri Lanka
linkedin.com/in/shakeel-ismail-b04132121/