Some people who have troubled childhoods never get over the experience. Others, though, use their misfortune as motivation to achieve great things.

Farzana Khan, the 241st person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, fits into that second category.

Farzana went through a lot of instability when she was growing up, moving regularly and attending 13 different schools. She also had to overcome being bullied and extended periods when she dropped out of school. When she raised the idea of going to university, she was told that was too ambitious for someone from her background.

But Farzana showed great determination to keep improving herself. After leaving school, she started working in hospitality, always holding multiple jobs so she could learn faster. Later, she got accepted into university, to study a business and commerce degree focused on human resource management. Even as she studied, she kept working, still in hospitality, but this time in HR. Today, she’s head of human resources at The Old Clare Hotel

While Farzana has already done very well for herself, there are three reasons why I’m convinced she’s going to achieve so much more success in the years ahead.

First, Farzana has a wonderful mindset. She’s resilient, determined and ambitious. Obstacles may slow her down, but they don’t stop her.

Second, she thinks like an entrepreneur, rather than an employee. She proactively looks for ways to improve her workplace and she’s not afraid to lead.

Third, Farzana is an empathetic person and a fantastic listener. She takes the time to get to know her team on an individual level and tries to make their work life better – partly because she genuinely cares and partly because she knows that happy employees are productive employees.