Paving the way to a better future

As we commemorate Black History Month each October, it’s important to keep reviewing what changes are happening year on year. Is Black History Month still proving to be a vehicle for change? And what else should we be doing to ensure that it is.

Business Inclusion Programme Manager Sharniya Ferdinand, who works in our London office, offers her perspective on everything from her early learnings as a child to her current role, and how they both play a part in moving forward. Sharniya discusses Black History Month here.

‘I joined the bank’s Debt Management team in Birmingham eight years ago. After moving to London and a period of working in a branch and as a business growth enabler, I secured my current role as Business Inclusion Programme Coordinator. I now coordinate activities and events that support the education and growth of business owners across diverse communities. As I’ve gained more exposure to other areas across the bank it’s been inspiring to witness how many individuals care about the diversity and inclusion agenda and are working hard to make a difference to the organisation not only for their colleagues but for future talent.

‘As a child I was sent to Saturday school to learn about African history, and I was taught about black activists like Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks. I believe that knowing our own history is of the utmost importance. It’s important to recognise and honour those who have paved the way with their incredible sacrifices to give us better opportunities, and for us to understand why the world is the way it is and to encourage us to keep striving for better. I think Black History Month is also important to not only learn about and celebrate the heroes of the past, but it should also be used as an opportunity to highlight the role models and leaders of the future.

‘I think the bank’s focus on ethnicity is a vital next step in ensuring that we cultivate the best talent and reflect the makeup of the customers and communities we serve. It’s also integral to making sure that all our colleagues feel included and I’m proud to work for an organisation that this is a focus for. I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that refuses to see that as a society more can and should be done to nurture all talent.’

Understanding the past opens the door to the future.