Lets celebrate Black Herstory: A Salute To Inspiring Black Women
October is Black History Month in the UK, and we’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate! Today, meet some of our favourite sheroes in Black British Herstory, each renowned and respected for blazing a trail in their fields—whether they’re politicians, authors, artists or activists. Special thanks to Diane Abbott , Phyll Opoku-Gyimah , Dr Annabel Sowemimo, Elle Hallal, Nana Afua Antwi, Deborah King, Davinia Tomlinson, Favour Jonathan, Shingai, and Shakaila Forbes-Bell for agreeing to feature in our #BlackHerstory series. We salute these remarkable women today, and always!
Diane Abbott MP
“My forebears refused to cut the sugar cane for plantation owners, and I am recognisably a product of that background”
In 1987, Diane Abbott made history by becoming the First Black Woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator. Thank you Diane, we appreciate you, and everything you have done, and are doing, to make life better for marginalised women! Check out The Diane Abbott Foundation, an independent registered charity that was created to formalise, extend and increase the capacity of Diane Abbott MP’s work around inequality in education and employment.
“When we rise together, we are mighty.”
Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, also known as Lady Phyll, is a force to be reckoned with. Her pioneering activist work has increased visibility and advocacy for Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) in the UK and beyond. One of her landmark achievements is as the co-founder and director of Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe celebrating “LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent to promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and wellbeing” of these communities.
Dr Annabel Sowemimo
It’s okay not to fit into the boxes that society has created. It’s okay to be more than anyone thing at anyone time. People are frightened by difference and that’s their own insecurity – we are taught from a very young age to conform.
Dr Annabel is a community sexual and reproductive health doctor and founder of non-profit Decolonising Contraception. Annabel is also a freelance writer and contributor for online platforms including Black Ballad and gal-dem.com. Please look out for Annabel’s book – Decolonising Healthcare, a “vital, eye-opening history of race and health” that will be published in 2022 by Wellcome Collection and Profile Books.
“When you’re determined to make a positive change in the world, you need to be prepared to overcome the many trials and tribulations”
Elle is a Software Engineer at 8th Light, a software consultancy. Her journey into STEM was via a non-traditional route. She became a Software Engineer a year ago, and has contributed to projects in a number of industries since. Elle volunteers at Coding Black Females – a non-profit organisation, which aims to provide opportunities in tech for Black women. She is a member of the leadership team, mentors, and is passionate about enhancing visibility, and increasing the number of Black women in the sector. Check out Elle’s “Learn to Code Using Free Resources” blog post.
Nana Afua Antwi
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of Enthusiasm”
Nana is a model, and founder/creative designer of Adopted Culture. A contemporary sustainable women’s wear which exudes confidence with style. Adopted Culture is innovative, modern and chic designed for today’s woman who is bold and a trendsetter. Nana is also the founder of Florence + Doris Foundation, a Mother & Daughter project devised to support Women with Endometriosis🎗 Dedicated to Mental Health & Wellness. Visit linktr.ee/fndfoundation.com for more information
“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”
Davinia is the Founder & CEO of rainchq, a company set up in 2018 to help women take control of their financial futures. Today scores of rainmakers are levelling up their finances and building long term wealth as a result of their rainchq membership. To find out more visit www.rainchq.com/rainmaker or follow @rainchq on all social platforms.
“We are able to speak for ourselves through our music rather than being defined and put into the spotlight in a very male kind of groomed way for an obviously predominantly male audience”
Shingai Shoniwa is a Zimbabwean born musician, vocalist and lead-singer of UK indie rock band Noisettes, who are perhaps best known for their hit single Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go). She is also famous for her fashion icon status. Listen to her new album “Too Bold” now.
“By wearing the name you embody the greatness that figure represents and keep the past alive. We tell their stories because they are relevant to who we are today”
Deborah is the VP Head of Paid Social at Essence, for clients including Google, NBCU, BT, EE, Nandos, Peloton and L’Oreal. For more than 14 years working in paid social for companies including Facebook and Bebo. Deborah is determined to progress cultural change. In 2019, she setup and championed Essence Village – building a community who are committed to driving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic diversity through celebrations and awareness across the agency and change across the advertising Industry. In 2017 Deborah also co-founded I AM History a black lifestyle and culture publication
designed to raise awareness and be a voice for Black voices and stories – both historic and present day.
“As great as it is feels to be a Black woman breaking barriers, it feels even better to create spaces for Black women coming after you”
As seen in Vogue, Glamour, The Guardian, CNN, Marie Claire, Stylist and more, Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a published Fashion Psychologist, consultant, experienced marketer, writer and founder of ‘Fashion is Psychology’. She has worked with global fashion brands like Next, Sainsbury’s and AfterPay to help consumers understand the psychological significance of their clothing and beauty choices. She has bylines in renowned magazines including, i-D, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her work investigating the impact of racial diversity in fashion media has been published in the International Journal of Market Research. Check out FashionisPsychology.com for more information.
”Don’t forget about the one person that has always been there for you no matter what. that’s you! we tend to think about what we want to build, our futures and those who need us, as humans our eyes always looks out but remember to reverse that gaze now and then and check in on yourself. if you need to splash out on a new bed so you get a better rest, do it.”
Favour is a talented Multidisciplinary Artist based in London. Favour is inspired by the traditional arts of the Bini People of Edo State, Nigeria. She uses their cultural knowledge, beliefs and traditional values in her work as a way of articulating in the contemporary world her own values and ideas of resilience, strength, and power. Please check out Favour’s artwork
that explores Benin Kingdom, we absolutely love her aesthetic, she is a blessing to the art scene both here and in Nigeria. For more information visit https://www.favourjonathan.com/
Happy Black Herstory Month!
Weʼre raising £2,000 to support our members, who are in some of the most challenging and difficult circumstances, especially during this pandemic.
Over the past couple of weeks, many corporate leaders have been speaking up in support of Black Lives Matter , and while speaking up is an essential first step, we believe there is so much more that needs to be done. We would encourage companies to stand behind their statement of solidarity by supporting our organisation.
As a London based Community Interest Company (Company Number: 11052459), on a mission to break down the invisible barriers to corporate jobs in the UK for talented women from Black, and Minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, our members have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
We are working hard to ensure that we continue to support our most vulnerable members with their transition from higher education into employment, understandably, it is difficult to do so effectively while operating under the current social distancing measures. In order to meet the needs of our members safely, we have transitioned our mentoring programme online, i.e. all meetings and workshops are delivered remotely. However, without access to reliable and affordable online tools we’re struggling to cope.
If you want to support our members and fight against structural racism, please start by making a donation.
On behalf of everyone at Pink Dynasty and the inspiring young women we support ‘Thank You’ in advance for your generosity!
Respecting each others’ time is key to a successful mentoring relationship
It has been brought to our attention that a few members have missed mentoring sessions and not responded to their mentor’s calls, emails or texts.
As mentioned in your welcome pack and at the induction event, respecting each other’s time is key to a successful mentoring relationship. Therefore, we expect mentees to value their mentors’ time by attending scheduled meetings, responding to calls and emails. Furthermore, if you are unable to attend a meeting, you are expected to provide an explanation and sufficient notice for your absence.
To establish a successful mentoring relationship, where each person feels respected, please follow the guidance below:
Schedule a meeting, make sure you stick to it – avoid time-wasting, agree a date/time that works best for both of you and come prepared.
Create clear benchmarks for success – Set productivity goals and make sure that your goals are clear and accomplishable.
Listen actively – In other words, pay close attention to what is being said and make sure that everyone is on track before moving forward.
Embrace new modes of communication – During this period of quarantine we have all had to adapt to the social distancing restrictions, and embrace online meeting platforms like Zoom or Hangouts. So don’t be afraid to start using platforms that you are comfortable with.
Ask for help – If you ever face any issues please contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately and we’ll do our very best to provide any support needed.
Remain committed – All new relationships take time to blossom, however, without mutual dedication, the relationship is doomed to fail. If you haven’t been as committed to your mentoring relationship, please apologise to your mentor and start each new interaction armed with greater enthusiasm.
By following this guidance, your mentoring relationship will improve. Failure to do so could lead to the discontinuation of your Pink Dynasty membership.
Please let us know ASAP if you are facing any issues with maintaining your mentoring relationship.
Gain expert advice from Makala Green about building wealth and financial planning
Following our recent online Q+A session with Makala Green, the first black British female chartered financial planner, we asked Makala to share her top tips for first time investors, please see her top tips below.
Set a goal – Whether you’re investing to buy a house, start a family or a business. Put a reason behind your investments.
Establish an emergency fund – Build an emergency fund at least 3 months of your monthly expenditure before you consider investing.
Diversify – In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Investing in a range of assets will help reduce investment risk.
Research – Do your research before you invest and keep up to date with financial news and literature.
Start Small – Investing is not about how much money you have it’s about how much you can accumulate. So don’t be afraid to start small it’s important you are comfortable with the amount you invest.
Think Ahead – Think long term when investing. Investments are designed to perform better over the long run so don’t be in a hurry to achieve growth overnight. Remember investment growth is not determined on the time you invest but more the time invested in the market.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com or follow @thewealthcheck .
The wellbeing of our members is always our number one priority.
Following the most recent developments with the Corona virus pandemic, the management team is working hard to ensure we can continue to support our most vulnerable members during this period.
Understandably, the current social distancing and self isolating measures may cause members to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, helpless, overwhelmed, confused or angry. As such, we are sharing helpful tips and guidance from the NHS on our social media platforms to support our members (and their loved ones) during this difficult time.
We ask that mentors do their part, by remaining in regular contact with their assigned mentee, and find out how they are truly coping. As you can appreciate, some may not wish to disclose that they are struggling financially, however, results from the recent poll we conducted on Instagram showed that 70% of our followers are worried about how this pandemic will impact their ability to pay up-coming bills.
Therefore, we recommend that you ask your assigned mentee if she is feeling overwhelmed by the extra cost of being at home with limited or zero income. If she answers ‘Yes’ then please ask her to visit GOV.UK to apply for Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance; support introduced by the Government in response to this issue.
If you have any concerns or questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We hope you and your loved ones stay safe during this time.
Transitioning your mentoring relationship from in-person to online.
A necessary precaution to help minimise the Corona virus spreading further in London.
The management team and I would like to thank everyone for transitioning their mentoring relationship from in-person to online. This is a necessary precaution to help minimise the Corona virus spreading further. As per the Government’s social distancing and self isolation instructions, communication will primarily be digital until further notice. Accordingly, please do your best to follow our 10 online etiquette rules listed below:
1) Spell people’s name correctly and respect any accent marks. Please use upper and lower cases properly e.g. my name is spelt Déolá Ònásanwó.
2)Think twice before hitting ‘reply all’ and do not send non-Pink Dynasty related messages in your mentee or mentor WhatsApp group chats. No one wants to read emails that have nothing to do with them, or be spammed with marketing material. As you can appreciate, it can be difficult to ignore notifications and emails that continuously pop-up on our screens. Therefore, please think carefully about why you are sending the message and if it is necessary for everyone to receive it.
3) Be sensitive to the fact that people from different cultures speak and write differently. Miscommunication can easily occur because of cultural differences, especially in the writing form when we can’t see peoples’ body language.
4) To avoid misunderstandings, keep tabs on your tone. Always read your message out loud before hitting send. If it sounds harsh to you, it will definitely sound harsh to others. Try to avoid using negative words, and always say “please” and “thank you”. Being courteous and exhibiting good manners will always be received well in social settings, especially when communicating with each other online.
5) Don’t write anything that would be ruinous to you or hurtful to others. After all, emails can be forwarded at anytime, so to be safe, always be kind and respectful.
6) Always use professional salutations in your emails. Don’t use colloquial (informal) expressions like, “Hey you guys,” or “What’s up?”. Use discretion when addressing people online, especially if you do not have a personal or familiar relationship with the recipient(s).
7) Do not shorten anyone’s name, unless you’re certain they prefer their name to be shortened. For example, my name is Adéolá, however, as mentioned at the induction event, I prefer to be called Déolá or Dee. To avoid disrespecting people, always ask what a person likes to be called, never assume.
8) Always use exclamation points sparingly. If you choose to use an exclamation point, please only use one to convey your excitement. Additional exclamation points make you sound like you are angry or shouting.
9)Proofread every message. Unfortunately, our mistakes won’t go unnoticed by the recipient(s). Read your note aloud, before sending. Remember to use spell check and if you suffer from dyslexia (like I do) try to take extra time when writing, and if possible ask for a second pair of eyes to review/edit your message.
10) Always add the email address(es) last, and double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient(s).When you are replying to a message, it’s a good precaution to delete the recipient’s email address and insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.
Thanks again for your continued commitment and support, together we can get through this difficult and uncertain time.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
Adéolá Ònásanwó, MBA
Managing Director, Pink Dynasty CIC