I am a recruitment expert and I have over 20 years’ experience recruiting for all kinds of organisations, large and SME, across a variety of sectors.
This is a great question, because it is totally the opposite to the advice I give out now – and maybe if I knew then what I know now I would have done it much earlier. So my answer would be yes, I did. But it was very later on, and when I was ready to step out and do my own thing.
We all face challenges. As black women, some may say we face more than most. Luckily for me and the community that I serve, I am an optimist, problem solver, and action taker. So, of all the challenges I have faced, I find a way of negotiating those barriers.
The greatest barrier for me at the present time has been funding for the business and projects that I have in the pipeline – but as I say, I am a problem solver. So I am finding ways to get around those barriers, and it may take a bit longer but I am confident that I will get there.
My biggest achievement for me was taking on my first hires. It took this entrepreneur journey to a new level – I felt like a “grown-up” entrepreneur, I was responsible for someone else, their salary, growth, well-being, etc – it was a big step and responsibility.
Belief – self-belief, the belief of my circle (family, friends, peers, clients), my personal belief in God.
I am very lucky that I am surrounded by some great people that were given to me through family – my upbringing by Windrush Jamaican parents gave me a great start in life – but also people that I have chosen. These are friends who uplift and encourage me, and also peers, colleagues, and clients that I have met through work and networking, who have also been gracious with advice, opportunities, and connections.
Last but definitely not least are my religious beliefs, which keep me grounded and provide a moral compass.
I believe that a mentor is a must-have. And I recognise that I have been mentored officially and unofficially for years. I have mentored others and I have a couple of mentors right now who are invaluable – they provide that steer and critical friend that we all need to move us to the next stage in our life or career.
If I only had the opportunity to change one thing, it would have to be pay/power – equal pay /power immediately changes the dynamic and opportunity and puts women truly on an equal footing when it comes to reward and decision making, thus removing two of the strongest structural barriers we face in the workplace.
I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t also mention that this needs to be intersectional to include black women, as we are often overlooked, or at the bottom, when it comes to gender equality also.
Go for it!
And going back to the first question – it would be to have a plan, goals, and targets from very early on. And to also get an official mentor too.
My next challenge is the Evenfields Black Talent Awards – it’s our inaugural event and we will be raising the profile of and celebrating black talent in the UK across every sector and workplace – in the hope of raising the aspirations and ambitions of the next generation.