This Ignites My Professional Passion

I had a very privileged upbringing. I grew up on a culturally diverse street of a working-class neighborhood in Reading, a large urban town in England. In my formative years, I was surrounded by people who were young and old, black, white, Asian and mixed race, female and male, religious and agnostic, employed and unemployed. I didn’t have any reason to think that every community wasn’t like mine.

I’ll always be grateful for that rich start in life, as it gave me an appreciation for everyone’s point of view. What it didn’t provide was an understanding of racism, sexism, ageism, etc. I was blissfully unaware of these negative forces and how they were creating a generational disadvantage for some of my neighbors. However, in adulthood, the rose-colored glasses came off, and I was able to put both my formative foundation and new social awareness to good use.

My career path led me to public relations. My job is reputation management for technology companies and individuals, which means I help raise their profile—or “brand”—through storytelling in the media. What motivates me the most is seeing talent and nurturing it to thrive and shine. That includes always challenging myself to hire the best-skilled applicant for the job in my own PR company, regardless of background, and enabling them to expand their horizons.

I believe industry experts should reflect society as a whole, and I’m passionate about creating opportunities for anyone who can speak as an authority about a particular topic, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, or anything else. Readers, viewers, and listeners are inspired when someone who looks and sounds like them is given a platform to showcase their expertise. What matters is what they have to say and the credentials they’ve earned through hard work. Companies that create a culture of diversity and have spokespeople of all backgrounds represent their brand will achieve long-term success. Businesses that don’t will lack different perspectives and innovative ideas.

Women are inspired by other women; young people are inspired by other young people, and individual ethnicities resonate with each other. And there are excellent industry groups that celebrate diversity and provide a platform for their voices, such as Women in Technology, and IEEE’s Women in Engineering, and Women in Power. I am committed to getting mainstream exposure for the unique storytellers involved in these organizations and for those who work for our clients. By helping lift the voices and faces of people from every background, I get to play a role in achieving more equality and respect in our world.

This ignites my professional passion every day.