October is Black History Month in the UK. It is a time of reflection, celebration, and an opportunity to look at how far the community has come. The theme for Black History Month is ‘Saluting Our Sisters’, a month to pay homage to black women. Up next, we have Samiya and Leonie.
Samiya Omar – Human Resources Officer, EMEA & APAC
Leonie Kerr – Client Talent Partner, Global
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Samiya: To me, Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise the significant impact that Black people have made on various parts of society. It can be a moment for reflection, education, empowerment, and advocacy, as well as an opportunity to promote inclusivity and equality for all.
Leonie: To me, Black History Month presents itself as a time when a lot of people who don’t usually get recognition day-to-day, have the chance to be recognised. It gives the world the opportunity to learn about people they would not have ordinarily heard, I find myself learning about new incredible black people yearly.
What makes an inclusive workplace?
Samiya: An inclusive workplace, in my opinion, is one that values diversity and has a multicultural environment. To be able to work with people from all backgrounds and different walks of life and be able to celebrate each other’s cultures and differences.
Leonie: Seeing people from diverse backgrounds in senior positions does not only present as an inclusive workplace, but it also provides us with something to aspire to as it becomes more relatable.
Who inspires you?
Samiya: My mother, a strong and courageous black woman, is a true inspiration to me. Having a strong role model influenced who I am now. She has taught me many valuable life lessons, including the value of independence and survival skills. I will always cherish the wisdom she has shared with me and will continue to implement it in my own life.
Leonie: The amazing black women in my family inspire me daily to be a better mother, sister, auntie and an all-round better person. Oh, and Rihanna of course because what can’t that woman do? Lol
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Samiya: Advice I would give my younger self:
- Embrace learning: Take every opportunity to learn and grow, never stop expanding your knowledge.
- Prioritise self-care: Remember to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make time for activities that bring you joy, practice self-reflection, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Build meaningful relationships: Invest in building strong and supportive relationships and surround yourself with positive influences who inspire and encourage you to reach your full potential.
- Embrace failure as a learning opportunity: Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. Failure is a natural part of life, and it often leads to valuable lessons and personal growth.
- Set goals and stay focused: Define your goals and create a plan to achieve them. Make sure you celebrate your achievements along the way and keep striving for continuous improvement.
Leonie: I would tell my younger self that there is no shame in asking for help and that there is strength in togetherness.
Do you have any recommendations?
Samiya: Treasure Tress Hair is Europe’s first and largest natural hair subscription box, which I use. They pride themselves on being a place where sisterhood connects over natural hair – the theme for BHM this year.
Leonie: 👗 I would recommend a clothing brand called Juste Noir, they are an up-and-coming elevated streetwear brand. They are black-owned and take pride in providing work to the black community.
You can check them out here or on Instagram @justenoirofficial