Read the third in our series on local Black British change makers making history today.
When we first approached Sade to profile her for the Black History Month series on local Black change makers, her response endeared us to her even more. A flattered and thankful Sade directed us to others she felt may be more suited. It’s a sign of her East End humility and relatability. Born and raised in the East End, she’s lived in Poplar for over 15 years. She describes it as a welcoming place that’s constantly evolving.
She is a proud hybrid of her Nigerian and Jamaican heritage. Her grandparents arrived in the UK in the 1960’s and adapted to the British culture. They worked hard and invested in their family which laid the roots for her opportunities today.
Maybe it’s growing up with this familial history of investment in others that planted the idea of mentorship. In her spare time, Sade mentors young people on their career aspirations. She educates them on the pathways available. “I’m navigating through the corporate world and it’s important to share what I’ve learned to guide and support others, like I’ve been supported,” she shares.
Sade also sits on the Poplar HARCA Board. She joined it as an opportunity to represent the people of her community. “You often hear what issues people are talking about in the area, so I thought now I can be a voice for those in our community and our needs”. The role also offered a chance to learn how the housing association arrived at decisions that affect the community.
In the beginning, she admits she felt pressure to perform; either for those communities she identified as, be it Black, female or young; or those she represents. The thought too crossed her mind that she may be a ‘diversity hire’. But, sharing her viewpoint, she says, “let me just do a great job as there are so few black people on boards and inclusion should be the norm”.
And a great job she’s been doing. Sade is a young, Black British woman helping shape and influence her community. She is committed to the enrichment of the next generation. To hear her speak about what it means to live in Tower Hamlets and the importance of providing access and opportunity is a manifesto on how places and people can thrive.
Her sense of pride in Tower Hamlets comes from understanding the importance of the lived experience, having aspiration, actively working on her growth and giving back to the community. And for this we will continue to keep our eyes on this change maker who’s bringing a whole community along with her.