The fifth cohort of Imperial’s IMPACT programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff completed the development initiative this week.
IMPACT, which stands for Imperial Positive About Cultural Talent, is a four-month talent development programme run by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre. It supports BAME staff by giving them the tools and confidence to advance their career through highly-tailored workshops, one-to-one mentoring, and networking opportunities.
We spoke to some of this year’s IMPACT graduates.
Kieron: “My confidence has sky-rocketed”
Kieron Blake, Clinical Academic Training Office Coordinator in the Faculty of Medicine, has worked at Imperial for one year.
“I am a six-foot-four Black man, and I felt like I had to be invisible at work,” explains Kieron. “BAME staff like me aren’t occupying higher level positions at the top, but since joining the IMPACT programme I’ve learned to believe in myself.
“When I applied for IMPACT, I was intrigued by the management and leadership skills I would gain. At the beginning, I didn’t have much self-belief but now, my confidence has sky-rocketed.
"I’m seeing everything in a different light and I feel better equipped to take the next step in my career.”
Mumina: “I’ve become more open and learned from others.”
“Before I joined IMPACT, I wouldn’t apply for a role if I felt that I didn’t tick all the right boxes,” says Mumina. “Being a part of this programme has given me the confidence to apply for new opportunities and to believe that I have the right experience and knowledge.”
Mumina, Academic Model Administrator in the Registry department, was encouraged to apply for the IMPACT programme by her line manager.
“I’m Bangladeshi, and women are often taught to be timid and reserved,” she says. “Sometimes, this can feed into your professional life - especially when you want to apply for senior positions. It can turn into a battle of who you are and who you need to be.
“The entire cohort helped me on my IMPACT journey. I’ve become more open and learned from others, and it has helped to hear about my colleagues’ approach to life and to see people who are comfortable in their own skin. It has given me the confidence to be comfortable in my own skin too.”
Sena: “I have the right to be who I am at work.”
Sena Jawad, Neonatal Clinical Trials Statistician, works in the Neonatal Data Analysis Unit at the College’s Chelsea and Westminster Campus. She has worked at Imperial for two years and is also studying for her PhD in medical statistics on a part-time basis.
Sena was also encouraged to enrol on the programme by her line manager. She says: “The highlight for me was a session in which we had to act out role plays related to having difficult conversations at work. We identified how our reactions can affect the behaviour of others.
As someone in a junior role, this session helped me to identify how I can speak to senior members of staff and gave me guidance on how to give feedback or phrase things differently.”
"It is nice to be acknowledged and receive training that supports someone like me at Imperial." Sena Neonatal Clinical Trials Statistician
Sena adds: “Since being on the IMPACT programme, I have felt more empowered. I believe that I have the right to be who I am at work. I feel surer of myself as an academic and I am trying to understand how to become the best version of myself.
“For staff that come from an ethnic minority background, a confidence boost is often necessary - and the IMPACT programme provides that. It is nice to be acknowledged and receive training that supports someone like me at Imperial .”
11 members of staff completed the IMPACT programme this year. The participants worked in teams on projects during the programme to strengthen their project management skills and consider how they could give something back to Imperial.
One project highlighted the different careers available at the Hammersmith Campus, while another focussed on how the searchability of BAME images could be improved on the College’s asset library.
Kani Kamara, Equality and Diversity Manager, presented the delegates with their certificates at the graduation event. She said:
"Our fifth cohort have flourished over the last four months and acquired new skills and knowledge that we hope will help to further their career." Kani Kamara Equality and Diversity Manager
“It gives me great pleasure to have congratulated staff as they graduate from the IMPACT programme. Our fifth cohort have flourished over the last four months and acquired new skills and knowledge that we hope will help to further their career. They should all be immensely proud of how far they have come.
"We’re now looking forward to welcoming our sixth cohort next year.”
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