In 2010, during a conversation with a friend, I mentioned that I wanted to work in football/sport but never thought it would happen. Why? I never saw anyone who looked like me in such an influential position in football or sport. I grew up watching the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, Winter Sports, the World Cup and African Nations Cup. In 2007 I went to Ghana to watch the African Nations Cup.
Reflecting on my journey, I can confirm no career path is ever straight. Being resilient, understanding my own experience, transferable skills, having both high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Cultural Competence (CQ) has helped my leadership career. Along with an ENFJ personality, the GC Index identified me as a Game Changer and Strategist. I challenge conventional thinking, look beyond the obvious and find different approaches to problems.
Whilst working as a Senior Diversity and Inclusion Manager in 2004, I was introduced to a black female senior leader. I admit she was the only black senior female that I had come across in my early career. We all need someone who believe in us, I call them Cheerleaders, and at the time I she was a Cheerleader. She opened the door to an opportunity for me to work with the Metropolitan Police. I became an Advisor to the Police Commissioner and Senior Management team, advising on Race and Diversity, and assisting them in their transformation whilst implementing the McPherson recommendations (in the wake of the death of Stephen Lawrence). This gave me some fantastic opportunities. I received The Commanders Commendation for Outstanding Leadership.
Black women are in sport, but many are athletes with few, if any, in the UK are represented in senior positions. I never saw anyone who looked like me in such an influential position in football/sport. From my experience, sport is 10 years behind the Met Police in terms of diversity and inclusion especially in senior positions.
Looking back to May 13, 2016, and Fatma Samora was appointed as the first black female Secretary General of FIFA by President Gianni Infantino and assumed her post on 20 June 2016. This was groundbreaking for me. She was the incentive I needed to apply for the Non-Executive Director position. My moto is “if you can see it, you can be it”
This led to a trip to FIFA for an Equality and Inclusion conference for International Women’s Day. It was so inspirational. I saw so many women, including those who looked like me, from all around the world. I found my tribe! We all have the same passion and, we are on a mission to make football more inclusive such as getting more women and girls playing. With my role at London FA, I am in a position to influence diversity and inclusion and to help transform football in London. My purpose in life is to make a difference in the world for women and girls.