LEEP, also known as Lived Experiences of Ethnic People, is an amazing and thriving network that supports the sharing of real stories, trials, tribulations and successes of Ethnic People in MVF and more.
Our network was actually started randomly by a couple of MVFers at a post-Mega OMMA (our company all hands meeting) Social in October 2019.
By mid-November the LEEP Network had arisen - with the name LEEP created collectively in a room full of MVFers wanting to be part of something great who are now all proud LEEP members and by the end of November our Vision and Mission was created by the LEEP leadership team. Yes, we like to move fast at MVF!
LEEP into success in your own image; authentic, individual, limitless.
To make year after year partnerships with people & organisations who share LEEP's vision; preparing and guiding MVFers & young people to turn inspiration into actions, role modelling and encouraging limitless drive and achieving ambitions through and unreservedly celebrating our diverse cultures and backgrounds.
We all have our own stories and reasons as to why this network is important to us and we’re thrilled that MVF has given us a platform for our voices to be heard. We're so excited and motivated for everything that is in store for the future!
Meet our Leadership team:
Ceajay Muraya - Chair
Zhaania Stephenson - Co-Chair
Ayo Olulode - Project Manager
Nicole Baker - Events Coordinator
Bex Drissi - Administrator
Tobias Norman - Creative Content
Marcell Vanarsdell - US Coordinator
Here’s our Facilities Coordinator Nicole Baker telling us her story:
Leaving university after a year and stepping into the world with no clue of my next steps or what my career would be was unbelievably hard, but I never knew that years later it would actually be the “easy part”.
Being a woman and an individual of colour, I grew up knowing that it will always be hard and I will always have to work harder than people who didn’t look like me.
I think the hardest time of my professional career was at my previous job before, I had the opportunity to join MVF.
Toxic, unsupportive, biased and prejudice are just a few of the words that describe the environment of my last workplace - I experienced three months of this, everyday, and looking back, I don’t know how I did it.
I think the main thing I felt while being there was that I was isolated and that the colour of my skin was a problem. Out of roughly 500 people I was the only black individual, which was an environment I had never experienced before. People looked at me awkwardly and people would actually push past me and not acknowledge my existence. I used to think ‘is it my skin or is it something else’, was I missing something… I had no clue?!
Week after week the toxic air continued, colleagues would dismiss me and ignore me. A co-worker once whispered to another, telling him to get me out of the room even though I was called in to set up a video call. I was simply trying to do my job.
I fell into a space I had never been in, I was depressed and had anxiety thinking about having to go back to the office. Everyday that I walked out of Canary Wharf station I'd Start to have panic attacks.
I cried everyday, I began not eating properly, I was constantly stressed and overworked, doing my job role plus that of four others.
I know it all seems very dramatic and if anyone was telling me this I’d think “it can’t be that bad”, but on reflection it was.
When I left that company, I was honestly worried and quite scared about joining a new company. In the back of my mind I was worried about the same things happening again and working in that same type of environment. .
Fast forward to now I’ve been a permanent employee at MVF for the last 3 months. The warmth and support I have received here has been amazing from me covering reception through a temp agency a couple days a week to my transition into becoming a full time employee. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I have been given here at MVF.
The privileges and development that MVF have to offer are amazing but having networks that encourage inclusion and diversity is the biggest plus for me.
When you’ve come from a workplace where inclusion didn’t exist, diversity is a foreign thought and getting shut down for trying to speak your truth was the norm, to join and contribute to what is happening at MVF has been very refreshing, to say the least. We all have a platform for our voices to be heard, for us to all be ourselves and not be afraid of doing so. Which is something I’ve never had in my professional career until Joining MVF.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to chat about joining forces or even volunteer your services and support we’d love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org
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