Black History Month - ‘be the change you want to see’.

1 Nov 2022

I recently attended a 50th birthday party, as I looked around at all the happy successful people in the room and it became clearly apparent how far we had all come.

It was my friends Terence (Terry to his close ones) Wallen's party, we went to the same school in Birmingham, our parents were immigrants from Black and Asian communities who arrived in the UK and headed for large city locations from faraway places with little or no money, with hopes and aspirations for themselves and their families. However, as kids, we had to contend with local gangs, violence, and poverty that came with inner-city living. The education we received was far from ideal in fact the school we both attended was eventually knocked down due to its poor performance and terrible reputation

The gang culture status seemed more obtainable rather than just by simply living a normal life. Why didn’t we get caught up in these trappings, that seemed all too easy to pursue?

I worked hard, attended university, and eventually set up my own successful recruitment business. My humble beginnings were never far from my thoughts and when I set up my business the top priority as an employer, was to commit to promoting equality and diversity among my workforce. I ensured as an employer I value and welcome the different ideas, skills, behaviours, and experiences of my colleagues. I continue to foster a culture that promotes wellbeing and mental health and provides support to enable all my colleagues to thrive. My company Alexander Ash is now a certified Minority-owned business accredited by MSDUK and I continue to support local charities like ELBA (East London Business Alliance) and have partnered with eCubed to raise funds and awareness for Solace. The organisation supports women and children who are victims of abuse and domestic violence. It feels good to be able to support my family and give something back.

As for my friend Terence he has gone on to create an incredible career path of his own, he is now an established published 3 times author and humanitarian with successful projects in Jamaica, Malawi, and Namibia. Terence was recently featured in the world-renowned Forbes Magazine and described this achievement as *"From Handsworth to Hands of Worth"* , he is noted for his life-changing work and commitment to supporting those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and an advocate for community development and engagement. The quest to empower our youth sits high on his agenda. Previous Progressions Manager for BBC Sport 'Your Game', then Regional Development Partner for SomewhereTo. He delivers creative and beneficial Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns around the world. His ethos is built around: Giving back to go forward!

Wallen credits his success to writing a daily journal and using it as a planning tool, he says it empowers you as the sole author of your life and determines your outcome. If used properly he contends you are guaranteed to achieve that wholesome discipline, appreciation of life and mental/emotional balance everyone desires. *“Success is not what it looks like, but what it feels like,”* he says.

Terry has recently been nominated for the @BlackOwnedBirmingham *Inspirational Person of the Year'* Award, we couldn’t be prouder of him. We’ve both come a long way from St Georges C of E school in Birmingham, they say *'The Humble Never Crumble'* hence we still here fighting the good fight and 'being the change' we want to see.

Please share your story, help inspire others and ‘be the change you want to see’.

#Author #Humanitarian #Inspiration #diversity #d&I #blackhistorymonth #birmingham #innercity #thehumblenevercrumble #youth @MSDUK