2013 Powerlist Foundation/Deloitte Leadership Programme
On 20 August 2013, fifty of us, students from Afro Caribbean backgrounds, identified as future leaders, started day one of the Deloitte and Powerlist Foundation Summer Leadership Programme. I believe it changed our lives.
It provided us with a lifelong network of other successful people. Most of us had never been in a room with people who had high career aspirations like ourselves, had already started successful businesses or simply shared the same interests that some of our friends at home failed to understand. I think it helped to form a transition in our mind-set from leaders of our societies at University, in our local communities, to leaders of the world, leaders of the now.
I believe that Edwin Broni-Mensah’s presentation on the journey of GiveMeTap really resonated with us, in the sense that he started it whilst studying for his PhD so what’s holding us back? We were exposed to leaders from different backgrounds and careers from politics (Chuka Umunna MP and Shaun Bailey) to interior design (Daniel Taylor) to tech innovators (Piers Linney) amongst many others. Listening to their stories helped us put the pieces together of our own puzzles, in our quest for success. We were also fortunate enough to have a Q and A session with previous attendees of the summer school who are now trailblazers in their own right, for example Claud Williams. We gained an insight into the types of learners we were and the personality types we had, through the workshops provided. This helped us identify the type of leaders we currently were and how we could adapt to become 21st century leaders. In preparing for our final presentations ‘What makes a successful 21st century leader?’ I think the penny dropped for all of us. Coming from our backgrounds was not a hindrance or disadvantage but we could use it as our strength, because what we, as young individuals have to offer the world really knows no boundaries or means, ‘our story is yet to be told’.
Being a leader is more than being in charge of team of others or managing a task effectively. It’s a mind-set, a way of life almost. Leaders of the future, we must demonstrate ‘adaptability, charisma, resilience, the ability to innovate and have a vision’, as one group stated. Leaders of the future, in the words of Charlene Bello, we must ‘learn, earn and return’. Leaders of the future, in the words of Ken Olisa we should ‘do well, do good’. Leaders of the future, we must break the mould, break the rules.