It is that time of year when people reflect on what they have achieved. I am no different, I have spent many hours assessing the good, the bad and the ugly of this year.

Overall the year has been challenging for many reasons however, I have had some very positive experiences that have allowed me to be hopeful that the winds of change will be blowing in my favour.

2016 started off with securing a high profile position in a prominent media company leading me to believe that this would be a stepping stone to future business. Sadly, this was not the case, I spent many months unable to secure a new project. I knew it wasn’t because of my ability, I had a reference from the media company expressing satisfaction with my work. I started feeling low but realised that I had to stay positive and focused on my belief that I would achieve my goals.

I reflected on the fact that in December 2015 I was approached by a LinkedIn colleague Jiten Patel, who had asked me to contribute to a book he was writing on diversity, I said I would be happy to do so. Unfortunately, Jiten was unable to use my case study at the time but he mentioned me in the book which was published in 2016. The book to which I refer is Demystifying Diversity, the book was also co-written by Gamiel Yafai. Although the case study wasn’t used in the book, I was give recognition which demonstrated that I was capable and demonstrated qualities which gave rise to the mention in the book.

I had also made a connection with Paul Deemer, Head of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, NHS Employers. I remember Paul saying that he felt that I had belief and passion and he had no doubt that I would find a suitable role which I would make a significant contribution too. In the summer of 2016 we met again at the NHS WRES (Workforce Race Equality Standard) conference. This was a highlight for me in 2016 because it was then I realised that I wanted to play a significant part in championing equality and Diversity. Jiten, Gamiel and Paul Sesay were examples of people I could aspire to be. Paul who is the founder of the National Diversity Awards, Beam Awards and Excellence in Diversity Awards was a panel member at The Royal Society Diversity Matters conference. I had met him on a couple of occasions and found him to be a passionate speaker on diversity. Like those I have mentioned already, Paul has shown confidence in my ability to find a role that would measure up to my capabilities.

I was fortunate to meet another panel member speaking at the Diversity Matters conference, Bonnie Greer. Bonnie Greer has long been one of those individuals who always managed to spark something in me whenever she would speak. She was gracious enough to allow me and many others to to take pictures with her, I even gave her a business card which I hope she kept.

As the year 2016 descended into autumn I applied to be a mentor for the Stephen Lawrence foundation and was accepted. This was a great opportunity for me to support the young into employment. The final icing on the cake came in October when I was offered a Board Trustee position for Certitude a charity that supports the mentally ill and those with learning disability in London.

In November I was invited to the awards dinner given by Certitude to celebrate the work of their staff and I also attended a Board and Leadership away day. I was introduced to all Board Trustees and Leadership team members and felt like a part of the team instantly.

What next? I will be looking for a strategic position that will be highly influential around Equality and Diversity. I believe in myself and my capabilities. Its time for me to take my place within this very important area.

I would like to thank those that I have named above for their support. I would also like to thank my silent partners (you know who you are).

I hope those of you who are reading this post are able to see the positive contributions they have made in 2016. Open the door to 2017 knowing that you can make a difference!

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