Tell us a little bit about your background…

I grew up in a single-parent household in East London with my two older brothers. Two important parts of my identity have always been that I’m very academic and I’m very athletic. While I was at Robert Clack School, a local state secondary, I was national champion in my age group for javelin and I did well in my GCSEs.

What was your experience like on your Summer School?

I’ll never forget my week at the Nottingham Summer School. Going to the lectures, studying economics, seeing the campus. Even though I was doing well academically, before the week I still had those worries of ‘will I actually go to university? Will I get the grades? Am I sure?’ but I remember thinking during the week, ‘wow, I can actually do this.’ It really demystified what university life would be like.

Nottingham had never been on my list of universities to apply for, but after spending a week there, I loved it. Coming from London and going to a campus with so much greenery… I loved even just walking to the economics building in the morning. That and speaking to all the different lecturers about their research, I was just really inspired by what they said and how good they were.

How has your career developed after the programme?

After I finished my A-Levels, I went to Nottingham to study economics. I had fallen in love with the campus during my week on the Summer School and I was offered a £1,000 grant after having done the Summer School and another £1,000 as a sports scholar, so those really helped me decide that I had to go there.

I had a great experience at Nottingham, but it was also the hardest time of my life. In my second year I broke my back and was essentially bed-bound for six months. Overnight I couldn’t do sports anymore and my grades suffered.  The two things that made up so much of my identity were just gone.

But that was actually the making of me. When the time came for third year, I just decided to come back with the mentality of ‘I’m going to smash this year’. It was the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. I pulled all-nighters, I trained five hours a day six days a week, I was just in the zone. By the end of the year I had got my grades up from a low 2:2 to a 2:1, threw a personal best in javelin which was Commonwealth Games qualifier standard, and got a scholarship to study at the University of Florida. It was a complete 180 to where I had been the year before.

After a summer internship at Citi, I spent a year and a half at the University of Florida getting my Master’s in management and competing at the highest level of American collegiate athletics. When I got back, I worked for a while in business development at a fintech firm as I knew I couldn’t juggle an investment banking career with javelin.

Then, in 2016, I launched BYP network. Our vision is to connect black young professionals around the world and to change the black narrative. Over the past three years, I’ve grown the network to over 40,000 members. We work with big firms like Facebook and Netflix, and we’ve been featured in the BBC, Forbes, the Guardian. Last year we had our first conference with over 800 paying attendees and over 50 senior leaders. But to my mind, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambition for the network is just for it to grow, grow, grow. We want the network to be a staple of the community globally. As we grow, we want to sponsor lots of initiatives within the community, buy other black businesses and make change. The black narrative in the media now is one that’s negative and inaccurate. At BYP we want to change that for the next generation. They can’t go through what we’ve had to go through. That’s why we can never settle or rest we have to keep going, keep growing, and keep making change. Let’s grow it to a billion-pound company. Why not?

Personally, I’m passionate about human capital and inequality. As a society we should want every child, whoever they are or wherever they’re from, to rise up to be amazing. So I want to keep exploring so that I can become the woman that makes real change; the woman I want to be.

Do you have any advice for future Sutton Trust students?

Be intentional with your life. By that I mean, figure out what you want your future to look like and work backwards. The internet is so powerful that once you work out what you want to do and start researching, you can find out every step you need to take to arrive at your destination.

It sounds simple, but that’s because it is that simple.

Contact our alumni team

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