Softcat’s Samantha Jayne-Banful discusses her experience as a Neurodiverse Black Professional

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Samantha Jayne-Banful is a Senior Account Manager at one of the Technology sector’s leaders, Softcat. Additionally, she is a recognised diversity advocate, having had an active role in furthering Softcat’s mission to drive diversity and inclusiveness across the workforce.

“Being Black, a woman and neurodiverse, I am often the minority, which can not only feel lonely, but brings a constant pressure to prove that I’m good enough to sit at this table.”

While Banful has proven a successful career at Softcat, her initial sights were set on a creative career. “My degree is in Philosophy and Theatre, prior to that I studied Musical Theatre and sang, my life plan was to be a full-time creative. Even when I started Softcat, I aimed to work here for a year, save some money to pursue my passions, and leave.”

Join us in celebrating Banful’s career journey and the power of diversity in the tech space.

BYP: What are your career’s biggest achievements and milestones so far?

Banful: One will have to be generating 7-figures of business for Softcat for the first time, at 25. IT Sales isn’t easy, and it was a goal I didn’t think I’d achieve so soon in my career; but one I’m incredibly grateful for and hope to continue. Another is being part of the team that launched Softcat’s Ethnic Cultural Network (BAME at the time) and the work we achieved in our first year. We opened the floor for some really open and honest, company-wide conversations pertaining to race and identity, and I really believe it shifted how we approach and discuss diversity as a whole at Softcat.

BYP: What challenges have you dealt with in your career?

Banful: For me the heaviest challenge has been managing the internal voice that I’m not good enough, and the pressure to prove myself. In Sales, you’re only as good as your last quarter, and as a minority it often feels like your performance is not only a reflection of yourself, but of the groups you identify under. Whether it’s true or not, that pressure is there and can be overwhelming.

Separate to that, being different and feeling misunderstood, which reflects itself in different ways: whether in how I understand things, social interactions, or seeing successful people I can relate to within the industry.

BYP: What advice would you give to someone dealing with imposter syndrome?

Banful: This came from a TikTok I watched recently, which shifted my perspective massively. But the understanding that we don’t live in a meritocracy, and as such, being the best, smartest or most educated doesn’t necessarily equate to success or actually being good enough. So many of us feel unqualified, but there are successful people in positions who equally aren’t qualified, and that it’s okay. I’m learning to shift the goalpost from how ‘good’ I am, and the accolades attached to that, to how ‘me’ I am. It’s my unique make-up and lived experience that makes me, my perspective and approach valuable, not just in my career but across every aspect of life. 

BYP: What does changing the Black narrative mean to you?

Banful: To me, it’s removing the bias and the connotations attached to what constitutes Blackness. It means making room for diverse Black perspectives and experiences both in and outside the community. Giving people freedom to be themselves, making room for a plethora of Black role models that enable us to see ourselves without needing to ‘fit in’.

Whilst being Black is part of my identity and something I’m extremely proud of, who I am is more expansive than just my Blackness and it’s about being allowed that.

BYP: What advice would you give to Black women considering a career in Tech?

The tech industry is at the forefront of innovation and continues to shape our world. It’s important that as this industry expands, a diverse range and expression of Black thought, voices and representation grows with it. With that in mind, to my fellow Black women already in or considering a career in Tech: you deserve to be here, your visibility and your voice is important, don’t shrink. 

Like Banful, you bring a unique perspective and skillset to the table as a Black professional that tech needs. Keep pushing forward and learn about Softcat employment opportunities on BYP’s Jobs Board.

The company has opportunities across the UK and within asset management, business intelligence and analytics, collaboration, commodity sourcing, datacentre, end user computing and mobility, networking and security, software licensing and IT services. Don’t wait to be a part of this dynamic space!

Sign up to the mailing list

© 2023, BYP Network. All rights reserved