We welcomed Alykhan Kassam, OL 2006, to speak at the Goldhawk lecture series. He shared his journey from joining a Tea business through to navigating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and how this has impacted his perception of life.
Alykhan had his first remission of what was going to be diagnosed as MS just after he finished sitting his A Levels. He went into central London, as he had done many times before and had some sudden onset of numbness across the left side of his body and short term loss of memory about how to get where he was going. Putting it down to exam fatigue he didn't think anything of it and carried on.
On starting university at LSE, he was approached by a childhood friend who wanted them to work toegther on importing and branding artisan teas from family run tea gardens. The business focus was thinking about the landscape and province of the tea gardens from India, Japan, Nepal, Hawaii and Kenya. Fun fact that he shared with us, hopefully not a trade secret(!), all teas come from the same plant; black, white, green and eulong all originate from the exact same plant and the output depends on how they are processed and which part of the plant is used for the tea leaves. Tea also interacts with the light, and so Lalani & Co use black bottles to keep the tea.
During university, the numbness feeling periodically returned each year and eventually towards the end of his university life, he was given the diagnosis of MS. MS is a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body – in this case, the brain or spinal cord of the nervous system.
Alykhan is still a part of the company today, more recently stepping away from Chief of Operations to looking at new business and market growth outside of the UK and Europe. He left the pupils with some great advice and some discount codes to purchase tea!
If you are interested in coming back to John Lyon to share your experiences and inspire the current pupils please get in touch: email@example.com
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