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Top leadership expert Kul Mahay ‘honoured’ after judging and mentoring finalists in Mrs Asia GB contest

A TOP leadership expert says it was a privilege to mentor some of the most successful Asian women from the UK and abroad at the Mrs Asia GB Contest.

Kul Mahay, from Derby, spent two days with finalists of the annual beauty pageant, helping them to feel more confident when speaking in public and fine tuning their pitches ahead of the final – of which he was one of the judges.

Contestants included mum-of-three Sapna Kaur who was brought up in India but has lived in Derby for the last 22 years. Sapna, an Early Years Practitioner, supports charities including the NSPCC and regularly donates blood as a universal blood donor.

The competition was won by doctor Tissa Joseph.

Kul admits that he was initially reluctant to judge the competition but organiser Rose Marok – a former Mrs United Kingdom International and Mrs India UK Brand Ambassador – persuaded him otherwise.

He said: “I was hesitant, initially, when Rose asked if I would get involved in the contest. But, once she explained that the competition was about celebrating powerful women who had inner beauty, women over the age of 40 who wanted to share their personal journeys, I was persuaded to take part.

“The women all have incredible tales of bravery, courage and adversity to tell and their passion just left me in awe.

“My job was to help them to include a sense of story or journey in their 30-second pitch to the judges; a challenge that I wasn’t entirely sure we would meet.

“Nonetheless, we went through various exercises to help them define their stories. I worked with each contestant individually initially to help kick-start their thinking, by exploring their journeys. Building rapport is key in getting the best out of your coaching and I had to work hard to get the rapport built with each one in a short timescale.

“The stories were nothing short of astounding. I was blown away by the variety and depth of those struggles and the challenges that each of these women had faced and yet, despite it all, each had attained success.”

Those sharing their stories included Sapna, an advocate for local diabetes charity SADAH who works at Little Angel’s St Andrew’s Pre-School in Littleover.

Sapna, also from Littleover, said: “I have had a difficult couple of years – I’m now a single parent – and this was a chance to do something for me.

“I have never done anything like this before, but I wanted to meet other inspirational women and to feel empowered.

“Kul has helped me to be more confident. This competition is about inner beauty, and Kul has helped me to share this.”

The competition has been going for three years now and is the brainchild of entrepreneur Rose Marok.

The 42-year-old, from Solihull, had the idea of a beauty pageant where the emphasis is on rewarding the personality of the competitor after competing in an international event in the USA.

She said: “The girls at this particular event all had amazing stories to share and I was inspired to create a similar competition when I returned home.

“For me, this is not a business; it’s creating a platform where ladies feel confident enough to share their personal journeys and inspire others.

“It gives me a great sense of pride watching the contestants grow throughout the competition. We teach them how to look after their mental health and how it’s OK to say no sometimes, to think about yourself more.

“The competition has changed my life. My husband says that I’m more like the Rose he knew before we got married and had kids. I have a renewed sense of fun and hope to share this with others.”

Kul  says that he has learned so much from his experience that he will take into the next series of Create & Speak; the highly successful public speaking programme, he delivers in collaboration with the Institute of Leadership and Management, for leaders and business owners.

“The last Create & Speak was such a brilliant event and I can’t wait to get started with a new cohort of leaders,” he said.

“We are looking forward to running our next two-day programme in Derby on June 10-11.  In the last programme, we had a 100% success rate and all attendees are now members of the Institute of Leadership and Management with access to over 400 hours of further leadership development. I am passionate that everyone should be continuously learning and growing, hence our partnership with the Institute.”

Kul who recently featured on Judge Rinder’s Interrogation Secrets on Crime and Investigation channel, is no stranger to public speaking having delivered over 200 talks in the last year, nationally and internationally.

“As well as teaching the delegates about emotional intelligence and leadership, these incredible women have taught me lots about kindness, empathy and just how wonderful humans are,” added Kul.

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Leadership expert Kul Mahay (centre) with the contestants who took part in the Mrs GB Asia 2023 competition.

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