We invite Black professionals in various industries around the world to anonymously share their experiences living and working while Black. Even in the same industry, with the same position, even at the same company, every experience is unique. Be motivated and inspired by real people at various stages of their lives and career.
Economist In Rome
What is your gender?
Where do you live? (Country and City)
What is your job title?
What industry do you work in?
What would be the first 2 or 3 sentences in a biography about you?
She is an author, an activist and a firm believer in the power of community economic
development. She has over a decade of international development experience.
Describe the area where you live.
Seaside town. Tall Italian pine trees and a lovely beach.
What are your standout experiences, living while Black in your neighbourhood?
I’m the only professional African living in this neighbourhood. Other people of colour are trades people who do not live here. As it is a small town I have experienced a lot of curiosity but overall welcome and friendliness. At first people thought I was American.
What situations in your daily life remind you of your skin colour?
I stand out. Given the Covid situation I get a lot of stares when I walk. I also find men stop to offer me sex as they seem to think as an African I must be in the sex industry.
Describe 2 or 3 key events that helped you reach this stage in your career.
Resilience and continuous performance at a high level of excellence. Entering a field where there are few women – African economist and female. Willingness to take risks and to travel.
In what ways does being Black affect your job?
I am always in the minority. I am always a kind of caricature for the African earth mother. If I speak up it can be perceived as aggression.
What are your frequent irritations around work and your career?
Being mansplained. People of European origin trying to explain African culture to me. Gender discrimination. Patriarchal overtones such as assuming I would fetch the coffee.
What are your key tips to someone Black attempting a similar career?
Always go for the interviews. Always speak up. Continually improve your skill sets. Volunteer often. Be a team player. Mentor otherwise and circulate vacancy announcements.
What are your future goals and ambitions?
To become a director. To expand my coaching and mentoring.
What is your personal definition of success?
To live my best life and cease the opportunities – this is not a dress rehearsal there are no do-overs. Regret nothing and enjoy the ride.