In January of this year, Advita Patel and I starting sharing our stories about growing up brown in two different parts of the world. She, a first generation Brit and me, born in India, but raised in Toronto, Canada since I was three.
What amazed me was the similarities of our stories despite an approximately 15-year age difference.
- The memories of being called Paki for the first time. It's my first known memory at the age of 3.
- The need to assimilate to the 'local ideal' which meant the loss of language and culture and the adoption of systemic unconscious bias in order to prove we belonged.
- Our progress through organizations where we accomplished more but had to simply work harder for recognition and promotions.
- The ceilings each of us hit, that led to the decisions to go out on our own and establish our businesses.
- The feeling of often being tokenized but also the weight of responsibility knowing that we needed to step forward in order to bring others along.
- The reality of often being the only person of colour around an executive table whether it was inside organizations or as part of client relationships leading to strong feelings of imposter syndrome.
- The frustration of not seeing leaders that looked like us at leadership tables regardless of whether they were corporations, governments, not-for-profits, associations, agencies, volunteer organizations, conference line-ups, podcast guests, or webinar panels.
We wanted to find a way for those who came after us to learn from our experiences and be better prepared to fight for and earn the leadership positions we know they deserve.
What started with Advita wanting to help South-Asian women in the UK, has now turned into a global training and subscription program for BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) communities starting with a pilot program with 40 women this July.
Our Mission: To build an empowering community where under-represented individuals can learn from each other and gain information, insights and inspiration that create confidence and career progression.
- We build a nest: A safe and secure place to share stories and experiences
- We nurture growth: Information, insights and inspiration to help you develop personally and professionally
- We spread your wings: Pride in what makes you unique and valuable
- We help you fly: Focus, visibility and opportunity to progress in your career and fill leadership seats
The 12-week pilot at a one-time very-reasonable rate of $57 USD, will help us collaborate with an inaugural of women who will help us evaluate the program before our full launch in September. After the orientation, participants can subscribe monthly to get access to a supportive community and continuous learning that extends beyond employer walls. I have no doubt that the September launch rate, which will be set with the help of our inaugural group based on the value they received, will be much higher.
As departments, agencies and organizations start looking at recruitment and retention of diverse employees and leaders that reflect local population metrics, we hear of the difficulty of retaining diverse talent (this will get worse with the present war for talent) and the lack of pipeline to source talent from. It's now time to invest in yourself or your diverse talent pool to create readiness.
I can honestly say that the conversations I have participated in public and in closed rooms about #BlackLivesMatter and #Diversity have taken me from hopeless to hopeful. I have seen challenges and opportunities, pain and passion, fear and triumph. I'm hoping, along with Advita, to provide unique support to future leaders through a diverse lens and point of view.
If you're interested in learning more and being added to the waitlist, contact us at ALeaderLikeMe@gmail.com. If you would be interested in updates and our monthly newsletter, please add yourself to the mailing list.
If you're a corporation or organization that would like a bespoke program to bring in to already existing Employee Resource Groups, we're happy to connect to explore what is possible.