Mentoring has been a huge part of my ongoing education in business. During the course of the last week, I learned two great lessons. The first was from Tamara Cox – a partner at ReedSmith. “Take ownership of your failures!” she told me. I’d had a few setbacks in the days prior to the session, […]
Generation Success always aims to create equal opportunities for the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow, by providing networking and mentoring opportunities. They’re constantly encouraging the young that they can achieve success, despite whatever backgrounds they come from or adversities they may face. The GS Power Series Black History Month Special was a massive success. Hosted by Pwc at their Embankment offices, prominent BME business leaders were invited to share their professional success stories and the hardships and challenges they encountered.
Guests were welcomed to a room filled with drinks and friendly conversation before being ushered in to the main event. James Adeleke, our founder, opened the event with an influential speech, outlining what Generation Success stands for and why it’s so important to encourage and support the younger generation.
Our five guest speakers, Sheldon Mills, Pars Purewal, David Neita, Miranda Brawn and Jeff Green all delivered excellent and inspiring speeches, outlining their journey of hardship and success. A common theme in each of the speakers’ stories, was that all of them came from unconventional backgrounds, whether that be coming from abroad, unprivileged circumstances, or that they didn’t enter their careers through the “usual” means (i.e. going to university). However, they all were able to overcome these challenges and rather than seeing them as a burden or regretting them, they used their experiences to fuel their ambition and passion, it is what shaped them into their professional and personal success.
After each speaker had delivered their story, the panel was open for questions from the audience, creating several heated discussions. One interesting topic, “how do we broaden the scope without using a broad brush and improve diversity” In other words, are companies now just hiring BME members just to show they do have a diverse workforce? The speakers all agreed that if you do want to be considered for particular roles, then you have to show them you have the skills and hard work to take on that role, and force people to look past the colour of your skin, as that isn’t the only factor that defines you, it’s what you can bring to the team.
Throughout the talks, there was a pleasant, informal relationship between the audience and speakers, what was enjoyable to see was that the audience and speakers where able to laugh together, they were able to not only learn and share experiences with one another, they were able to understand and support one another. What was most rewarding to witness, was how not only where the speakers offering their expertise and assistance to the audience members, but the audience themselves were so eager to offer the speakers their help and generosity.
Generation Success always encourages people to give back and help each other, so what better way to do this than allow our volunteers to have a mentoring session with our wonderful speakers. Our guests eagerly waited for their numbers to be called out in the raffle draw with some our five raffle winners are pictured below. Generation Success would like to give special thanks to PWC for hosting this event.
Pars Purewal, (Partner from Pwc) with GS raffle winner mentee
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find, the harder I work the more I have of it” – Thomas Jefferson
Or to slightly change the age old belief, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I (want to, or do) work the more I have of it”.
This was my mind-set when, at the beginning of December, I initially set myself the goal of making sure I attend as many events as possible — in order to connect with others, and find possible clients for my start-up (Synthe). So, it wasn’t (much of) a surprise when (literally out of nowhere) I was informed a few hours later of the Generation Success event happening on the following day (December 2nd).
You can probably guess what I did next…
Unexpectedly, due to other speakers being unable to attend on the day, the final session of the year was delivered by the founder of Generation Success, James Adeleke. After everything was done, two main takeaways which I got from listening to James’ story and the answers he gave in response to audience questions:
There will never be a perfect time to start, so do it now!
I’m sure we’ve all had an idea which we’ve put off for some reason or the other, like…
“I’ll wait until next year”
“I just need my workload to lighten up a bit before I start”
“I have no money to start”
“I don’t feel up to it today, so I’ll get onto it tomorrow”
“It’s just not the right time”
The thing is, there will never be the “right time”. So, if you keep holding it off — whether it’s the amazing idea, a new fitness regime, or whatever else — with the expectation that there will be a time when everything falls perfectly into your lap, you will end up waiting a very long time. Until you reach a point where you won’t be able to act on your idea/make a change to your life.
This brings me onto my second takeaway:
Don’t fear change… Embrace it
“OK, so I want to make the jump now, but I can’t seem to take the first step…”
Another thing which also prevents people from acting on their ideas or making that necessary change to their life is, FEAR.
● Fear of failure
● Fear of shame/embarrassment
● Fear of being outside comfort zone
As Seth Godin says in The Icarus Deception, “outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens” — or something to that effect. The point is, you probably won’t accomplish anything great by staying within these invisible parameters either you or society (or usually a combination of the two) has set up.
So, whatever it is you want to do… please, just do it!
Also, one additional takeaway, which wasn’t something said but instead done, is learn to be a good listener and really care about others — as even after the session officially ended, James spent an additional hour or so listening to and answering the questions of all attendees who stayed behind to ask them.
To sum up the whole experience… basically, I’ll be at every Generation Success event I can make it to for 2015 and beyond. Hopefully, I’ll see you there, too?
By Wilson Oryema