Sharon Ross says about choosing the name for her company:
‘When my grandfather was born his name was Meir Yitzhak Prashker. His last name derived from the small town of Praszka, Southern Poland, where his family came from. However, when Meir, who was born in the UK was trying to make his way in the world, he changed his name to Jack Press, so he could sound more ‘English’. His family was very poor and changing his name was one of the many steps he took to improving his fortunes. He built himself a diverse business portfolio including a market stall selling hosiery, a directorship in a belt-backing factory, a laundrette and he also gave savvy loans
to other small businesses. His story has always inspired me as someone who came from nothing and through grit and determination made it in this world. The fact that he felt compelled to change his name also says something about the social history of Britain because, at that time changing your name was standard practice for children of immigrants. It is unlikely that he would have felt the need to do that to succeed in today’s business world.
By understanding the story behind my grandfather’s name I have learnt something quite meaningful about him. Indeed, it is a natural instinct to want to find out more about the people that you love, even if, in my grandfather’s case he died before I was born. But his surname and stories from my mum and aunt is all I know. It would have been incredible if he had written down his story in a book for future generations to read. Thus in naming my business Prashker, I am giving it a name which has a story but also a recognition that not all stories are told in full.
Sharon says about herself ‘Whilst I was growing up, I thought my own story was quite boring and that other people had much more interesting lives. And then in 2016 in started writing a blog about my own story of my journey with epilepsy, mental health and motherhood. Through writing this blog and having deeper conversations with the people around me I came to realise that, in fact, everyone has an interesting story to tell. Everyone’s journey is fascinating – especially to those people that they love. We all have people that inspired us, like my Grandpa Jack, events that shaped us and tales to tell. I’d like to know more about you
and write it in a way that appeals to your nearest and dearest because I am sure they would love to read it.’
Sharon has written for the Huffington Post, the Jewish Chronicle and the Epilepsy Society. She has also contributed to the book ‘London City Airport - 30 Years Serving the Capital. See sharonrosswrites.com for more info. Previously Sharon was a social researcher in the public sector.