My name is Noelle Donkor. I’m 19 years old and currently residing in London. I have just completed my first academic year at Loughborough University, studying BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Economics. At Loughborough, I am currently the Vice President of a society called Open Minds. Open Minds is a creative platform for individuals to express themselves. As a society, we also encourage character building, which is done through our workshops, for example leadership and articulation. I am also a peer mentor for the Mathematical Sciences Department.

Growing up, I have always strived to do the best in everything I do. However, I tried not to stand out of the crowd because of how shy I was. I preferred to succeed in silence. Attending the Powerlist Foundation and Deloitte Leadership programme has not only made me believe in myself more, but has additionally removed most of the fears I had when growing up. I was encouraged to attend PFDLP by the 2015 Alumni from Loughborough University. They all spoke about how the programme had a positive impact on their lives in terms of careers prospects, networking, public speaking and helping fulfil societal duties. These were definitely major aspects of my life that I wanted to improve on.

I was so happy to be accepted onto the programme, especially after hearing all the positive feedback on it. It was encouraging to meet people my age, who had a similar mindset to me and were aspiring to do great things. My mentor was Daniel Taylor and my buddy was Soota Ajayi – they are such lovely people, who genuinely care for your wellbeing. They provided my group and I with some very influential advice. One important quote I took from Daniel Taylor was “Failure makes you the person you are; Success is the conclusion of who you are.”

I was impressed by everything I had seen so far on the programme, but it was not until the final day, during the Q&A with the 2011 Alumni, that reality hit me. The 2011 Alumni consisted of Claud Williams, Rachael Owhin, Adelani Adesida and Jasmine Ennis. They spoke about their own experiences and gave us advice. I realised that I should never let fear or self-doubt get in the way of achieving my dreams. I should not be afraid to publish my success, because at the end of the day it’s an achievement I should be proud of. I am capable of anything, as long as I have the correct mindset. I opened my eyes to everything I was doing wrong, and knew I had to make it right. I have a lot of ambition but nothing will be achievable if I continue to doubt myself.

I did not expect to take so much from the programme. It made me a better person. I learnt that in order to succeed, and be the great leader you are destined to be, you have to believe in yourself. No matter what society throws at you or the negative comments we may receive from others, it doesn’t shape you as a person – only you can do that.

I have always wanted to start my own blog, and was planning to launch months down the line, however, after the programme I decided to launch it immediately.  My first post called ‘First steps to success’ is based on my experience during the Powerlist Foundation and Deloitte Leadership programme and everything I have learnt. I created my blog because I wanted to advice and inspire other individuals, and I hope in the future my blog is able to do this. My three life goals are to help people, inspire people and make a difference – and I am determined to do this. In the future, I hope to start my own charity to help homeless young people. It’s unfair to see some young people miss out on the opportunities I’ve had due to unforeseen circumstances. My goal is to change this and create a brighter future for them. I hope I can encourage them to go back into education, pursue their dreams and get their lives back on the right track.