Vanessa Brown and the Financial Times are Embracing New Challenges and Owning Diversity

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After working for six years in the digital communications and tech field, Vanessa Brown experienced burnout and took a mental health break to travel. While travelling, Brown decided to give one of her passions a try. She made an ambitious pivot from one industry to another and is not looking back.

She returned home to London and enrolled in an NCTJ diploma to take up journalism. One semi-lengthy interview process later, Brown found herself a part of the Financial Times (FT) production team. Having never worked in an international newsroom, Brown welcomed the challenge.

The FT played a huge role in onboarding Brown as fresh and diverse talent. She had little experience in the industry but had a wealth of transferable skills. Companies like the FT that are willing to expand their workforce in such a way are setting a new standard.

The FT understands that the more talent present, the better the work environment, which produces a more invigorated culture.

BYP sat down with Brown as she candidly opened up about her experience in journalism and what she’s learned working with the FT.

Vanessa Brown is a digital production journalist at the Financial Times.

BYP: Did you have any misconceptions going into this role?

Brown: Definitely. A lot of the terms I’d never heard of. My financial knowledge was challenged, but I have learned so much.

I thought I would have to prove I was worthy in this environment. But I found the opposite. I found they really wanted me to feel welcome and ask questions.

The biggest misconception was I wasn’t good enough and no one would like me. But they were very happy I had transferable skills in technology, so I was also teaching them [too].

BYP: What about your role do you love the most?

Brown: Being able to shape the news. I have a lot of influence over how things are presented. The headline makes such a difference in how stories are interpreted. Being able to say, “I think this headline is misleading.” Or “I think this headline can be improved.”

Now I can have those conversations before a story is published. I’ve been owning my power and influence.

I’ve had so many rainbows in my clouds – Dr Maya Angelou

BYP: What advice would you give to other professionals who are looking to pivot careers?

Brown: I say go for it. Think about things you loved as a child. I know in this market people are leveraging their skills but I’m one of those people that believes you have to do something you’re passionate about if you can. Or do it as an element of your work or your income. If you never try, you’ll never know.

BYP: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Brown: In the news industry, I want to make sure different voices get fair representation. Genuinely having diverse voices in the room, from race, gender, religious background. The conversation is so black and white, especially in the news industry. Life is not black and white, there is so much grey.

To learn more about FT or to apply for their available opportunities please visit their BYP jobs board here.

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