Sixteen graduates have celebrated completing Imperial’s IMPACT programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff.
Now in its sixth year, IMPACT is a four-month talent development programme run by Imperial’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre. As part of IMPACT, BAME staff are given the tools and confidence to make positive changes in their career through a series of workshops, one-to-one mentoring and networking.
As part of the programme, IMPACT delegates worked in teams to explore how they could improve diversity initiatives at Imperial. One group are planning to implement a new digital campaign called Imperial’s Wall of BAME, with the aim of raising the visibility of BAME staff at Imperial. Imperial Handshakes, another project, sets out to give A-level students in local state schools extra support on soft skills and interview techniques.
Martha Nahar, who also completed this year’s programme, spoke to her fellow IMPACT graduates about their journey.
Jennifer Simeon: “I know I’m capable of so much more”
Jennifer Simeon, Senior Postgraduate Education Administrator in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, says she applied for IMPACT to rebuild her confidence.
"IMPACT is like that light bulb moment that suddenly strikes and gives you the inspiration to take action.” Jennifer Simeon Senior Postgraduate Education Administrator
“Sometimes, it can feel like your ethnicity plays a part in your career progression,” she explains. “English isn’t my mother tongue - I speak Creole - but I was born and raised in south London. At work, it can sometimes feel like there is a divide between people based purely on their background and upbringing. I know I am capable of so much more.”
She adds: “The BAME community at Imperial wouldn’t get recognised without a programme like IMPACT. Even today we face barriers to career progression, so it is fantastic that a programme like this exists to help us succeed.”
Jennifer says she joined the programme to gain knowledge and advice through mentoring, and steadily gain the confidence to apply for senior roles. “My mentor was fantastic and understood the difficulties that BAME individuals can face when trying to progress in their career,” she reflected. “Each session was really useful in reminding me that I bring a lot to the table, and that I just need to believe in myself.
“IMPACT has been amazing. I started the programme thinking it would be a tick-box exercise but that has now changed. Having completed the course, I think the programme is eye-opening, and feel it has changed the way I think about my career. IMPACT is like that light bulb moment that suddenly strikes and gives you the inspiration to take action.”
Christopher Bamikole: “It has been great meeting people who can understand my unique experience.”
Christopher Bamikole works as a Laboratory Manager and Section Safety Coordinator in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction. His interest in self-development and increasing his own self-awareness prompted him to apply for the IMPACT programme this year.
“It has been great meeting people on the programme who can understand my unique experience.” Christopher Bamikole Laboratory Manager and Section Safety Coordinator
“It was challenging to start the programme with an open mind,” Chris says. “It’s a demanding four months, but it’s worthwhile because I can put a lot of the things I have learned to use. For me, learning about the Situation-Behaviour-Impact (SBI) feedback model put a lot of things into perspective for me, as it gave me a framework to deal with difficult situations at work as well as my personal life.”
He added: “I will be using everything I have learned over the next few years, especially in relation to my management style.”
Chris feels grateful for his time on the IMPACT programme, and says it has aided his professional growth and resilience. “Since joining Imperial, I have always felt there aren’t many people who look like me, and I have felt very ‘other’,” Chris reflects. “It has been great meeting people on the programme who can understand my unique experience.”
Grace Adeyemi: “My IMPACT journey has been transformative”
I’m so grateful for the amazing people I’ve met on the course, my mentor, and the fact that I now have a community to keep in touch with.” Grace Adeyemi Recruitment Administrator
Grace Adeyemi, Recruitment Administrator in the Human Resources Division, wanted to find a way to connect with other BAME staff at Imperial. During her search for a BAME network at Imperial, Grace came across the IMPACT programme.
Fast forward four months and Grace says she has started to see herself as a future leader. “My IMPACT journey has been transformative, in terms of how I see myself and the kind of opportunities that I could apply for,” she says. “BAME staff have very specific challenges and IMPACT provided me with a really tailored programme that helped to address those.
“My favourite workshop was called Dramatic Improvement – actors came in to help us practise having difficult conversations at work. I had to leave my comfort zone as we did some role play in which the actors helped us to become better communicators, and gave us valuable feedback on how we came across in conversations. It was really intense but it helped me realised where my strengths lie.”
Grace feels Imperial can still do more to improve the visibility of BAME staff across the College. “We aren’t seen on posters around campus but we are here. IMPACT has given me a network to feel comfortable in, and helped with my confidence and self-awareness. I’m so grateful for the amazing people I’ve met on the course, my mentor, and the fact that I now have a community to keep in touch with.”
Highlights from the IMPACT graduation
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