“change doesn’t happen in your comfort zone…”

Chanté Joseph joined the Aleto Foundation in 2016 when she attended the summer Leadership Programme, which at the time, was hosted by Deloitte. She also attended the follow up Winter programme in 2017 which was hosted by Accenture.Chanté grew up in North West London and is now studying Social Policy with Quantities Research Methods at Bristol University. At the age of 21, Chanté has achieved so much. From holding a senior role in four different committees while working three-part time jobs in this academic year alone, she is honestly amazing!

Chanté initially took a gap year before starting university. During that year she did an internship at the Bank of England in Strategy and Business Management where she dealt with the day to day business functions of the Markets division. This included reviewing and promoting constructive meeting practices and creating a spreadsheet to alert the Bank when other firms took out large sums of money. She was able to network herself into another internship in Statistics and Regulatory Data.

During this gap year, she was on the British Youth Council board of trustees. From being a member, she was soon elected to become the Vice Chair of Participation and Development. She hosted many events on diversity and campaigned for issues to do with equality and was involved in media appearances and spoke to young people about where they fit in the democratic system.  She also hosted and facilitated meetings with member organisations across the country and supporting their campaigns on a national level. Chanté has always had a passion for inspiring others and ensuring ethnic minorities are given the same opportunities as others.

In her first year at Bristol, Chanté was elected as the chair of the student council with the largest margin in the history of student council elections. Chanté wanted to be the woman of colour in that space to show that every role is accessible to People of Colour. She was also the President of her University Hall, a cheerleader, on the Democratic Standards committee, which is the committee in charge of the Student Council and a Social Policy Faculty representative. For all her efforts, Chante was featured in the Future Leaders Magazine, an annual publication which profiles 100 of the most outstanding black students in Britain.

In her second year of University, Chanté launched Bristol is the New Black (BITNB). This was a project dedicated to giving black students in Bristol a voice. She received funding from O2 to launch her campaign and was able to get a session at the BBC and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. As part of her campaign, Chanté and her team created a video which highlighted the things that black people did not want to hear, and this went viral around the University. Additionally, She ran a photo campaign called #IAmBlackBristol to raise awareness of black students in Bristol doing great things. Chanté also held a number of other responsibilities including President of the ACA (African and Caribbean Association), a student researcher on the university experiences of BME students, while working weekly with the BBC Bristol Politics team. Rightly so, she was in included in the 24 most influential people in Bristol under the age of 24 and was also awarded 11th place (out 400) as an influential female undergraduate by the TAB Future 100, which was sponsored by Barclays. This summer alone Chanté was named one of the Top 10 Black Students in the UK by Rare Recruitment.

Being accepted onto Aleto’s Foundation leadership programme in 2016 gave her the opportunity to be introduced to other like-minded young people who strive to be the change that they wish to see in the world and to make a significant impact on the lives of other people. For her, it was reassuring to know that there are people who were going to make way for other people to succeed. She recently completed a Marketing Intern role at Google, and organised a day a Google for the members of the Aleto Foundation.

This September Chanté will be returning to her final year as the Chair of the Bristol Labour students and the BME officer for Bristol University. She took on this role as she aims to create a safe space for Black students at Bristol. In the future, she wants to continue her work in creating spaces for BME students, through political and creative means. She believes that to succeed we must take risks, and avoid following the same old paths. She encourages people to be open to change as “change doesn’t happen in your comfort zone; you need to make yourself uncomfortable first.