More from this series

Pamela Permalloo-Bass

Meet Pamela Permallo-Bass Head of Equality & Diversity at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

In Conversation With…

Melanie Eusebe

Melanie Eusebe is a phenomenal businesswoman and a co-founder of the upcoming BBB Awards. She a management consultant with over 17 years international commercial business experience with leading global brands. She is also a business radio show host, & the Director of The Fresh Ideas Company, a business services consultancy. Be inspired!

Melanie, what would you say has been a key defining moment in your career?

One of the defining moments of my career was when I realised how easy it was to undervalue myself in the marketplace. I did not know how to negotiate my salary, nor did I know the value of what I was bringing to the table, so I left myself in a poor position, unable to ask for what I thought I was worth. Once I received coaching from some of my mentors, I did the research and rewrote my CV to reflect the value of my experience – then I felt much more empowered and valued.

What is the motivation behind the ‘BBBAwards’?

Sophie, Max and I created these awards to celebrate the achievements of black people in Britain. The motivation behind the BBBAwards is two-fold, we want to celebrate the amazing work of these role models to:

a) change stereotypes and highlight diverse business talent

b) inspire people (especially our youth) to be economically empowered and encourage them into careers in business

Do you think that as a black female business woman you have had to work harder to have your voice heard?

It differs across situations. Thanks to the experience I have gained throughout my career, I have become quite an expert in my field, but I have taken many presentation and negotiation courses to further fine-tune my communication and persuasion skills.

What are your golden rules of business?

One of my golden rules is that ‘it is about the relationship’. People buy people, they buy their story and then they buy their products and services.

What makes a successful entrepreneur?

A successful entrepreneur knows how to manage their time, money and relationships. This may sound easy, but it’s really tough; to know when to create, when to network, when to sell and how much to charge. It’s a constant balancing act, and if you leave any of them out, your business will fail.

Where do you stand on the debate over whether leaders are born or made?

If you spend enough hours working on it, then you can become a leader. However even if you have a natural propensity to lead, you can be the worst leader if you do not learn how to do it. So regardless of whether or not you are born a leader, hard work is the key to becoming a successful one.

What is your leadership style?

My leadership style is very collaborative, often to my detriment (which I am working on). I love working in teams and getting the best out of everyone, however I am aware that sometimes extreme collaboration can impact how much you get done, as you want to bring everyone with you. So I am learning to balance it out and make the key difficult decisions for my business by myself.

Apart from quotas etc how can we effect a culture change in companies/ business's towards more diversity and less tokenism ( in some)

We have to work collaboratively to change some of the stereotypes and the assumptions people make, and view the world with a wider, more inclusive lens, that incorporates all of us, in all of our glory and not just the popular opinion that we see in the everyday media. This is not only for the world at large, but for ourselves and our youth, opening up to them a world of possibilities. We also have to regain the power of our work, our contribution and our creativity. In understanding all of what we bring to the world and understanding its value, we negotiate from a much better position, an empowered position.

Who are your cheerleaders ?

Maxine Benson, (one of the founders of Everywoman and the BBBAwards) is definitely one of my cheerleaders, without her believing in the art of the possible I don’t think there would be a BBBAwards programme, so for that I am grateful. I also have some very close friends and family from all walks of life who I call on when I get a bit wobbly and need some encouragement. They have been amazingly supportive.

What motivates you to jump out of bed with enthusiasm no matter how little sleep you’ve had?

Lecturing and broadcasting always get me out of bed with a smile. I love teaching and sharing information and so even without any sleep, I will get up happily to do them.