Senyo Aidam attended the inaugural Powerlist Foundation and Deloitte Leadership Programme (PFDLP) in 2011 because for him “it seemed like an exceptional opportunity to learn about being a leader and about myself”.
He was coaxed into attending by Powerlist Foundation creator Michael Eboda and Veronica Martin, its CEO, who went to extreme lengths to get him to attend as he was abroad at the time.
Senyo was enticed by email that summer whilst completing an internship in Egypt. “I was engaged enough to wonder how that could be possible and appreciated the willingness to figure out a solution,” he says.
“They ended up finding part of the sponsorship so that I could fly back to London then fly back to Egypt.” He was interning with AIESEC, an international student organisation that promotes leadership through exchange. Senyo was there for two months and sponsored by HSBC. “It was a fantastic experience.”
He managed to catch some Arabic phrases but didn’t have to try too hard because so many students spoke English anyway. Nevertheless, it was a fascinating time, particularly as it was during Ramadan.
Attending the PFDLP for him was “exceptional” and he particularly remembers a workshop held by Deloitte on raising your profile. The best aspect of the overall experience for Senyo was networking with fellow delegates, many of whom he still keeps in touch with “which has been invaluable.”
The keynote speakers made a huge impact on Senyo, particularly “a great presentation by Samantha Tross.” She is an orthopedic surgeon. “It was just incredible to hear her story as a black female in the medical profession.”
Senyo was also inspired by Damon Buffini, the head of private equity firm Permira “and a number of other great speakers.”
Senyo strongly recommends the PFDLP to any under-graduates contemplating attending the three-and-a-half day course in July. “There is so much value to extract,” he says. “Come ready to meet new people. Come ready to be out of yourself and learn new things.”
Still heavily involved in the programme ever since, he has been a ‘buddy’, panelist, mentor and speaker at one of the fundraisers.
The 24-year-old east Londoner from Beckton graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2012 in Economics. He joined Mars Chocolate, an “awesome company”. Mars produces Snickers, Twix and a wide range of chocolates. Mars also own a raft of food products including Uncle Ben’s. He was on their commercial buying graduate scheme.
At the 2013 PFDLP Senyo was a Q &A panelist and met businessman Charles Sekwalor who inspired him to move out of buying and to better use his skill set. Through coaching from Charles, Senyo was able to leave Mars within three months to join Pearson Ham Consulting, specialists in pricing strategy.
He began as a junior analyst and is now a senior one in the fast-expanding company based in central London. His long-term ambition is “to help businesses grow”, particularly start-ups.
He is full of admiration for his boss Tim Ham “a driven leader”.
“I love the idea of being part of an entrepreneurial venture and it’s lived up to my expectations,” Senyo says. “It has challenges, but at the same time I guess with great risk comes great reward and I feel privileged to be part of something at such an early stage. And I do thank the contribution of the Powerlist Foundation for leading me to this opportunity.”
With his sister, Senyo spent two years in Barbados as a child, his mother’s birthplace, before moving back to London. In Barbados they “were raised by an incredible community of women and family”. Senyo’s mother is a retired midwife. His father, who has a PhD in chemistry, lives in Ghana and is involved in business and politics.
Senyo married Kimberly last year, six years after meeting her at university. She is a sustainability assistant manager at Willmott Dixon. Jamaica born and raised, she moved to England aged 10. “When I take a week off to attend the Leadership Programme she is 100 percent behind me,” he says.
The Christian couple intend to take time off to do charity work abroad. Catching flights from Heathrow is convenient as they live in Hounslow West, a couple of miles from the airport. “We went to New York in June and from the plane to our bed was 30 minutes.”
To emphasise the value of the Powerlist Foundation, at a fundraiser Senyo met Karen Blackett, chairwoman of MediaCom, one of Europe’s largest media agencies. Karen is working with the Barbados High Commission in London on all the celebratory events for the country’s 50th anniversary independence on 30 November 2016.
Senyo is leading the social media strategy for the events. “I know very little about social media but they have generously trained me in social media strategy creation and they have a great team of volunteers as well.”
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