Black History month: the power of sharing our stories

Black History Month to me is a celebration. It’s a time where Black voices and achievements are amplified, past and present. It’s an insight into the varied patchwork of our culture and it puts a spotlight onto the contributions African and Caribbean people have made. It’s not something I feel I’ve actively celebrated in the past as it’s something I live and celebrate every day. But I also acknowledge the power of sharing stories. You learn and evolve. You understand others. You create empathy and meaningful friendships between people – this is a beautiful thing. 

Every person that’s gone before me and achieved something great has inspired me. My list of people who’ve inspired me is huge, and it includes a few of my peers. I’m particularly inspired by the stories of these individuals, and how they overcame challenges. They’re ordinary people who’ve made something of themselves and paved a way for others in the midst of setbacks and adversity. 

In honour of my vibrant culture I want to shine a light on some modern day achievers that inspire me. 

June Angelides MBE  – She started a child-friendly coding school for mums during her maternity leave called Mums in Technology. 250 women were taught how to code in the space of 3 years. She was named by the Financial times as the 6th most influential BAME technology leader in the UK and by Computer weekly as one of the most influential women in technology. 

Bozoma Saint John – Bozoma is an American businessperson and marketing executive. She was chief marketing officer and first Black C-suite executive at Netflix. She’s respected and admired for her achievements. She’s an advocate for diversity in leadership within organisations. 

My own journey of exploration

If I were to describe my own career journey in one word it would be exploration. I began trying different areas and industries to find where I could flourish. I’ve worked in the private sector, with roles in marketing, banking, and accounting. My love for helping people started when I did an internship as a marketing executive at Johnson and Johnson. It gave me an insight into the fulfilment that came from working on brands that made a difference to people’s lives.

After that, I worked at various organisations but I wasn’t able to get a job that fulfilled my desire for helping people until I started working at the NHS as a configuration analyst. I always had a secret passion to work in tech but never really knew which path to take. Maybe you could call it imposter syndrome, but I felt unqualified for the position. I was working with developers and users every day, helping to solve technical problems and through this, my career as a business analyst was formed. 

My love for helping people was being nourished and I was being exposed to technology solutions on a daily basis. I was making recommendations for the design and implementation of technology that was transforming clinical decision making and patient care. After years of building a career as a business analyst working within the NHS, I met Made Tech. 

One of things that attracted me to Made Tech was the emphasis on diversity and inclusion. It was echoed in the content I read on the website, all the way through to my interview. Now being here I know it’s embedded in the culture. It is not something that’s just said as a headline. It’s nice to go to meetings and be in a room, albeit virtual, with a diverse group of people and be comfortable to be yourself and let your uniqueness flow. There’s a lot more to be done to share that externally. 

Joy and feeling accomplished 

To me, achievement isn’t necessarily about awards and accreditations I’ve received. It’s about the joy and feeling of accomplishment you get after a successful delivery, or when a project we’ve been working on has gone live. 

The feedback from users on how the technology we’ve built is making their life a little less challenging makes me proud. I’m a problem solver by nature and therefore relish in finding solutions. My last notable project was on helping to digitally transform a maternity service. Seeing the outcome of my work as I spoke with the midwives on the ward, and saw how easily they were able to do things now made all the hard work worth it.

If you want to learn more about how we’re working to create an inclusive environment for everyone at Made Tech, read our latest insights on Diversity & Inclusion

About the Author

Ifey Akuoko

Business Analyst

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