Why taking an afternoon out of the office to chat to trainees from the Taylor Bennett Foundation is at the top of my list
I stumbled across the Taylor Bennett foundation last year September when a friend of mine (who is also in PR) brought me along to their drinks evening which celebrated their success to date and also launched their 10th Anniversary appeal.
This year, the foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary appeal and is proud to have trained almost 200 black and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates for careers in communications. Before coming across Taylor Bennett, I had never really heard of any other organization that were putting so much effort and resources into training highly talented BAME’s for careers in PR.
As a young woman of colour who came from a working class background and is now in a predominately white (middle class) dominated industry (I felt very passionately about supporting Taylor Bennett and its causes. I understood that creative industries such as PR and communications are never normally an obvious choice for non- white PR professionals. With more traditional professional roles such as law and medicine being viewed as the Holy Grail by most parents, most young people from BAME backgrounds are naturally conditioned into thinking that these are the ‘better’ and more professional industries to pursue as opposed to more creative roles. So clearly a lack of encouragement of entering creative roles plus a lack of understanding what they entail and how much they are regarded as a professional and credible career choice often gets in the way of BAME’s ending up in these roles. On the flip side those that wish to enter the roles regardless often find that PR can be a pretty ‘cliquey’ career where people find good routes into the industry via people that they have existing relationships with. Again, this has proven to be trickier with BAME graduates who do not tend to have contacts in the industry.
Last month was a wonderful experience chatting to 6 talented trainees from the Taylor Bennett Foundation programme. It was such an honour to tell them my story of how I organically fell into PR and more about my story including pitfalls and highlights. It was said to be an exciting experience for them to see someone who looked like them and had a similar journey to them, which was very rare.
I normally shy away from talks and seminars simply because I’m a the type of person who always believes that I need to do more and become even better before I should be entitled to give such word of encouragements.
Sacrificing time from away from a client lunch meeting or scoffing my sweet potato falafel salad at my desk (although we normally encourage a no eating at your desk policy) was definitely time well spent. It made me realise that simply sharing your story can do wonders for those who admire where you are at present.