Vimal Choksi was born in South Gujarat, India in a family associated with Jewellery business for generations. He was brought up in a disciplined family with strong values and belief systems. Education is a paramount character of family values, which is demonstrated throughout his family where most family members hold at least two or three degrees. He studied in the field of Information technology achieving a Masters qualification before pursuing a second Master’s degree in the field of International Business Administration at Bournemouth University.
Initially, Vimal worked on developing various web based software systems using latest software technologies. Later, he made Greater Manchester as his main hub following his education in Bournemouth. He started his new career in Adult social care at the local authority. Currently, he is involved in managing contracts and commissioning activities of multi million pound services for the local residents. Alongside, he has played an active role in various community organisations across Oldham and Ashton in various capacities. He is an active member of the Labour party and also the first Indian origin elected councillor for Tameside Council and first Asian origin Councillor for Ashton under Lyne.
1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
I consider Ashton under Lyne and Oldham as close to my heart. Both places have given me immense life experiences and skills which have helped me to grow emotionally, intellectually and achieve lot of milestones in life. I felt supported by the community in any work that I put in.
2 What are your proudest achievements?
Being elected as a Councillor has been the proudest achievement for me. This makes it even more special being the first ever Indian origin to be elected in this role at Tameside. I feel proud to represent a community who has contributed immensely to this country and made UK as their home. I want to inspire future generations to take an active part in the political process which has largely been ignored.
3 What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration of life is an opportunity to learn something new which has been my main driving force. I always believe that there is room in life to learn and explore something new. This thought has been embedded throughout my life. There is not a day where I do not learn something new which is very exciting.
4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
I strongly believe that life is not worth living without challenges and overcoming those challenges to achieve success is extremely fulfilling. Initially, I came across many challenges being new to the country such as not knowing the system, not having enough knowledge of local culture and way of life. I believe that these challenges which hindered my progress have been significantly overcome to be where I am today.
5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
My biggest influence in life has been my father who has thought me lot of life lessons and just observing him helped me to achieve whatever I am today. I remembered all words of wisdom he shared with me being polite, looking after deprived and under privileged and even understanding of politics which has been a complete gift from him. He believes that a true leader is who keeps people united for the greater good, which has been engraved in my heart.
6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
I am in a position to devolve, influence, help or improve the quality of life of many residents. What may appear very little to us, may be of greater value to others in their lives, so any help given to the people in need is greatly appreciated. I do not take my responsibilities for granted and extend support to people without any prejudice. I enjoy helping and supporting residents in every step of the way.
7 And the worst?
So far the worst aspect of my current role is yet to come. It is a challenging role finding balance between doing equal justice to my role in the public, to employment activities and importantly to my family. It demands greater time management and high quality organisational skills. This role requires sacrifice of your personal time and sometimes missing important moments with your family and kids. Hence, support from the family is extremely vital to undertake various public responsibilities.
8 What are your long term goals?
I would want to see greater participation of women of Indian origin in the public life, as I feel that their contribution is yet to be recognised. I wish to encourage future generations to play an active and important role to shape the country's future. I wish to be a voice for the community for equal rights and pave the path for them to achieve their right place.
9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I would support national education service, preserve universal health and social care system at any cost. Every policy to keep people at the lower end of the social pyramids at heart. I will ensure that every head gets shelter and every mouth gets food. I understand the importance of creating jobs and growing economy to achieve balanced growth for all. Austerity should not be the choice.
10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
It’s a very difficult choice to make. However, I would prefer to spend time with the late Sardar Patel - the Iron man of India who united India following its independence. His passion and vision to unite India under difficult circumstances was like Iron. Politics needs a great vision, wisdom and an iron will to create a great nation. I would want to learn politics of nationalism and working for the greater good from him. Recently, his statue was erected in India which is the largest statue in the world and a great tribute to him.