Changing the Black Narrative: Creating Space to Be Yourself At Work

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The journey to success for Black professionals in the workplace can be a challenging one. Too often, people of color feel they must assimilate into the culture and values of their predominantly white colleagues to be seen as competent and successful.

However, authenticity is crucial to success and satisfaction in one’s career. In this blog post, we review some of the points that our panelists from our headline sponsor, Capco, covered at BYP’s New York Leadership Summit on May 19, 2023 and how creating space to #BeYourselfAtWork can lead to a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture.

Why Authenticity Matters in the Workplace

Authenticity can be a powerful tool for connecting with your coworkers. The concept has gained significant traction recently because it emphasizes being true to oneself, being honest and transparent, and being ethical.

“It’s important to connect with colleagues,” says Trevor Williams, Partner of Capco,” as it not only fosters a sense of belonging but also opens doors to new opportunities.”

To be authentic in the workplace, you need to embody the company culture and use that as a springboard to share yourself. Then you create a safe space for people to get to know you. From there, you can radiate out.

Overcoming Obstacles to Being Yourself at Work

One of the hardest parts about being a human is working in a world full of other humans. Sometimes, it’s hard to be yourself when you’re surrounded by so many different people with their ideas, values, and goals.

But here’s the thing: You don’t have to give up your individuality to be successful at work. You can use your unique strengths to stand out from the crowd.

To do this, you need to know what your strengths are—and your weaknesses too. Once you know what makes you different from others around you (and why), then it’s time to put those strengths into action. Your boss will notice that you’re bringing something new and fresh into the workplace, and they’ll want more of it.

Balancing Professionalism and Cultural Identity

It’s a balancing act, juggling your professionalism with your inherent cultural identity. However, this balancing act doesn’t have to be as tedious as we think it is. Our culture defines us, and there are ways we can channel that culture into our professional persona.

If you’re interviewing for a new position and wondering if your personality and cultural identity will be welcomed, you will be interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Ask them, “What are some of the key things that they think would make someone successful in that business?” And then align that to whether you think that would let you feel authentic. 

In closing, take the time to invest in relationships in your office, be yourself but also take the time to adapt to your environment. “These versions of yourself will allow you to have a wider range of environments you can flex in, ” says Randall Sawyer, Partner of Capco. 

Watch the Talk

Keynote Speakers

Nisaa Askia, Marketing Manager and Founder of Black@Capco

Nisaa Askia is a Marketing Manager and the Founder of Black@Capco, a network dedicated to community building and advocacy for Black employees at Capco. With a background in Women’s Studies and Sociology, Nisaa’s passion for design led her to take courses at the School of Visual Arts and provide design services to non-profits. When she joined Capco, she noticed the need for a network that supports Black employees and promotes diversity and inclusion. With the support of senior leadership, Nisaa formed Black@Capco, organizing events and initiatives to connect, collaborate, and support professional growth. She is proud to be part of Capco’s journey towards greater diversity and inclusion, where her personal and professional worlds align.

Trevor Williams, Partner of Capco

Trevor Williams is a Partner at Capco, bringing a strategic and results-driven approach as a Finance Executive. With a wealth of experience, he excels at integrating operational strategies with technological solutions to drive immediate impact and improve business processes within global organizations. Trevor has a proven track record of successfully selling front, middle, and back office products, navigating the entire sales cycle from initial engagement to solution design, contract negotiations, and implementation. His expertise and achievements highlight his ability to deliver tangible results and drive business growth.

Randall Sawyer, Partner of Capco

Randall Sawyer is a Partner at Capco, bringing extensive experience as a Management Consultant in the financial services industry and the arts. With a background of over 15 years, including a decade at Morgan Stanley, he specializes in Risk and Control, Technology Program Management, Metrics Reporting, and Systems Consolidation/Conversion. Randall has successfully led global projects in New York and London, driving efficiency, process improvements, regulatory compliance, and cost savings. 

He is known for effectively managing large teams and working independently to deliver results. With a strong technology background, Randall holds a Master of Science in Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He also actively contributes to the arts community as a board member and award-winning Executive Producer.

Discover more

Capco will be one of our sponsoring partners at our upcoming Careers Fest 2023, held at the Business Design Centre in London! Secure your free ticket now to speak with the company, network with hundreds of delegates, view live panel talks, and more.

Sign up to the mailing list

© 2023, BYP Network. All rights reserved