Who are you?
I am proudly Kenyan. My middle name means ' daughter of a leopard'. I love that because it gives me inner strength when life gets bumpy. Life and events have taught me that I possess greatness within me that I never fully knew existed. I teach in inner London where a large number of students are multi-ethnic but where a lot of leadership and governing teams are largely White British. That bothers me. I speak 4 languages fluently because I grew up among people from many other tribes. That is an advantage of embracing others.
Where are you now?
I am in the growth phase of my leadership journey. I am in the process of self-discovery. I am learning to jump the barriers and barricades that have been set by people (and sometimes by me). I am learning a lot about perceptions and grit.
Where did you come from?
I was born and bred in Kenya. We travelled a lot when I was a child so I went to schools in different towns and made lots of friends. I now live in London. I love the vibe that the city has and it's people.
How did you overcome any obstacles/barriers?
I realised that the only person with the power to influence how I feel and react to bias is ME. I am daily silencing the inner doubts and fears by affirming myself with words and actions. I have slogans and words of inspiration that resonate with me and I use them A LOT. I celebrate myself by embracing who I am unapologetically.
Surround myself with ‘my tribe’. The people, who celebrate diversity, appreciate differences and uniqueness that we all have. Those who know that everyone is equal and has something to offer. Those who create opportunities for all without bias. Those who guide and support me when I make mistakes. Those who see greatness in me, cheer me on and encourage me to be 10% braver.
Listening to inspirational music and poems. Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ & ‘Roar’, R. Kelly’s ‘I believe I can fly’ & ‘World’s greatest’ and Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ are some of the best soul-lifters I have heard. They keep me moving on.
Very simple yet very effective strategies!
What advice/messages do you have for others in the same position?
Be bold and stand up against bias. Amplify your voice by joining communities such as #BAMEed and @womened. Be proactive in challenging lack of diversity. Always remember that you are great despite what life may tell you.