Good Morning! Day 7 of the #31DaysofBlackExcellence Campaign spotlights Stephanie Itimi.
Stephanie is a Cyber analyst at the Home Office who is passionate about data-driven policymaking and economic development. She is also a published author of an academic book titled “The Informal Sector in Nigeria and its impact on Development”. Recently she also co-founded Uttr, a public speaking agency which promotes the profiles of ground-breaking women of colour, giving them a platform to share their stories.
Check out her advice below!
How important have mentors been to you?
My pursuit of finding mentors has been an interesting one. All my attempts to find mentors the conventional way regarding emailing/messaging figures who inspire me has always proved to be unfruitful for me.
However, this has enabled me to take a more in-depth look at those around me who inspire me daily.
For example, in one of my previous places of work I was inspired by one of the senior managers who also happened to be both black and female.
I was enthralled by her ability to navigate the workplace which was heavily white-dominated.
We naturally became friends for various reasons, for example, we were both Nigerian and believed that jollof rice was the best thing since the slice of bread, and although she was not formally my mentor, it was a title I assigned to her in my mental space.
She was integral to my growth at the start of my career. She taught me how to behave/survive in the workplace, from overcoming imposter syndrome to documenting my achievements to ensure I had something to say in my performance reviews.
Our friendship has to a certain degree equipped me with the skills and confidence to progress in my career.
One word that describes being black in the workplace to you and why?
Peculiar — different from what is normal or expected; special.
One word I would use to describe being black in the workplace is ‘peculiar’. This is because as a black person living in the UK, based on statistics you are in the minority.
As a result, this is almost always reflected in the workplace.
Being different or peculiar has it’s up and down.
It can be lonely and exhausting if you feel that you are consistently not fitting in. On the other hand, being different does not always have to be a bad thing. Having your foot in the door enables you to open that door for others.
This means speaking up or working on initiatives to help be a solution to the problem you see.
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story!
What is the #31DaysofBlackExcellence Campaign about? It is an online campaign showcasing the stories and lessons learnt from 31 young black British people excelling in the corporate world, academia and entrepreneurship this Black History Month. The campaign revolves around blog posts covering career questions and insights on what it is like to be young, black and millennial in Britain. If you like what you read, do share about the campaign using the hashtag #31DaysofBlackExcellence.
If you would like to know more about the campaign and the role models featured email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.