Inspirational Woman: Melanie Eusebe | Co-Founder of the Black British Business Awards

melanie headshot largeTell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently

After graduating from University of Toronto, I gained a Masters in Philosophy (Ethics) from Birkbeck College at the University of London.  I then worked as management consultant for over 17 years, specialising in strategic transformation initiatives for leading global brands.  While I was working at IBM and EY, I specialised in designing and delivering business transformation programmes.

Since then I have started my own company, The Fresh Ideas Company, a business services consultancy. I regularly speak and lecture on a broad range of business related topics and host a business radio show on Colorful FM.

In addition to this, I am passionate about uncovering role models and inspiring a new generation of exceptional black business leaders, and I founded the Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) in 2013 to reflect the outstanding achievements and contributions of black business people to the economy.  My goal is for the awards to challenge outdated stereotypes and most importantly, be a vehicle for economic empowerment and partnership.

I’ve always wanted to start my own business and do my own thing. I love having the flexibility to work when and where I want and to manage my own time and resources. It’s really empowering.

Why did you start your business?

I was never the girl who focused on just one aspect of my life, even though I’ve always worked full time for amazing global companies, I’ve always had several initiatives and projects on the side that enabled me to give back to the community. Starting the BBBAwards was another one of those projects that has taken off and in order to make it work, it was necessary for me to give it more time.

What appealed to you about setting up your own business?

I’ve always wanted to start my own business and do my own thing. I love having the flexibility to work when and where I want and to manage my own time and resources. It’s really empowering.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been working by myself. I love working with other people, I love bringing people together to make big ideas happen and I am so used to working in collaborative strong teams. Moving from a large corporate to working for myself, I have had to learn to create my own team, a group of people who I can bounce ideas off of and with whom I can discuss any challenges that I am facing.

This year I am focusing on creating an amazing Black British Business Awards ceremony, nothing short of excellent will do, so the bar is set high.

What’s been your greatest achievement personally?

I have two personal achievements that I am really proud of. A few years ago, I hiked, cycled and white water rafted the Himalayas. It taught me so much about mind over body as well as team dynamics and how important they are. I use that experience every time I encounter a difficult situation to remind myself that nothing is unachievable.

Last year I ran a half marathon, and again it taught me about how to prepare for success and about how amazing people are. The night before the run, I remember saying to myself, “Even if I don’t get to run tomorrow morning, I am so proud of myself that I have even gotten his far” The months of training and discipline to go from being a non-runner to running 13 miles blew my mind, I did not know that I was capable.

If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?

I would probably still be working as a Management Consultant for EY, it was a great company and I loved my job. However, most likely I would be pursuing my PhD in Philosophy to become a professor and teach, but who knows, I may still do that in the future, the possibilities are endless!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I have had several sources of inspiration, Oprah, Beyonce, Arianna Huffington, Michelle Obama, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,  J.K. Rowling. They were all working while we were sleeping. They have all defined success in their own terms and changed the game.

What does the future hold for you?

This year I am focusing on creating an amazing Black British Business Awards ceremony, nothing short of excellent will do, so the bar is set high. I love media and broadcasting and one of my passions is to make sure its more representative of society at large. The success I’ve had is partly due to the amazing role models that I have been exposed to throughout my life and I want everyone, regardless of race, class or creed to have the same opportunity.

The Black British Business Awards take place on October 2nd. To nominate or for further information please see: http://www.thebbbawards.com/

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