Black heritage business leaders join forces with KPMG to inspire Scotland’s future business stars

Black heritage business leaders join forces with KPMG to inspire Scotland’s future business stars

Darbie Onugha, KPMG tax manager

Black heritage business leaders have shared their personal stories of challenge and triumph in a KPMG UK event aimed at inspiring Scotland’s future business leaders.

Despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, KPMG’s African & Caribbean Network in Scotland pushed ahead with their second annual MAKE History event, following the success of last year’s launch event in Aberdeen.

The MAKE History campaign was founded with the aim of bringing together Scotland’s black heritage community to learn from each other and motivate younger people to have the confidence and knowledge to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs or corporate leaders.

This year’s event was Scotland wide and took place entirely virtually with attendees hearing from a range of panellists and speakers, including; Lola Bejide MBA, founder of career strategy consultants, Soluman Consultancy; KPMG UK Deal Advisory Partner, John McCalla-Leacy; Aberdeen-based KPMG UK manager Darbie Onugha and Edinburgh-based KPMG UK manager Wellcome Musiyamanje. The event also heard from KPMG’s Recruitment team, offering tips and advice to students and young people considering a career in professional services or the wider corporate world.

Lola Bejide MBA, said: “KPMG’s Make History is a wonderful event that enables graduates of black heritage to hear from and ask questions of black professionals, this enables them to not only hear about the possible struggles that they may face but more importantly, it empowers them to understand that they are equipped to challenge and overcome obstacles and achieve career success.

“My key takeaway from the event was recognition that when companies such as KMPG  provide such equitable employee engagements they are making noticeable steps to ensure that everyone is set-up for career success.”

MAKE History was the brainchild of Lolu Olufemi. Based in KPMG in Aberdeen, the global mobility manager felt there was a growing need to bring together the city’s disparate black heritage community and build a platform to support students who had big ambitions but few relatable leaders to inspire them to develop their careers.

Lolu Olufemi added: “When we launched the event last year, my biggest hope was that it would become an annual event and I’m delighted that COVID-19 didn’t stop us from continuing the campaign in 2020 and expanding it across Scotland. MAKE History has enabled us to develop a network – particularly for younger people of black heritage in Scotland, offering them a place where they can ask questions and access real-time advice from positive black role models which will help to get them started on their own career journeys.”

Data from Scotland’s most recent census survey suggested around 1% of the country’s population was from a BAME background. However, the figure has undoubtedly grown in recent years, with Scottish towns and cities becoming increasingly diverse as student populations increase and people are drawn to global industries including oil and gas and financial services.

The moderator on the night, Darbie Onugha, KPMG tax manager, commented: “In recent months, the challenges and barriers facing people of black heritage throughout the world has finally gained the attention it deserves, with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Last year’s launch of MAKE History highlighted a real need for young people of black heritage to access better support and ultimately see people with similar backgrounds to them, who’ve overcome the same obstacles and become inspirational leaders. We looked in-depth at themes including excellence in the workplace and offered words of advice that will hopefully motivate tomorrow’s black business leaders – not just in Aberdeen, but throughout Scotland. It was incredibly inspiring hearing from panellists like Lola who developed a leading business from the ground up, and KPMG partner John McCalla-Leacy, who has an amazing career history.

“Not only has he had various leadership roles within KPMG globally, he also spent time in the fashion industry and was a former elite athlete, who went on to coach Team GB canoe slalom athletes. This year’s event isn’t the start and end of our discussions and networking. We’re hoping to build on the success of our new networks and create a platform that really makes a positive difference in Scotland’s black heritage community.”

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