BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Please tell us your name, job title and place of work??
My name is Sanchia Alasia and I work as the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at London South Bank University.
What would you say it means to be Black and working in HR?
I never planned to work in HR or diversity. My first foree into this field was quite by accident really. I was working at Transport for London (TfL) and a colleague invited me to attend a newly formed BME Staff network meeting. I found it all quite intriguing. After several meetings, I saw the TfL were taking the issues of diversity quite seriously. After some time, I was elected as the co-chair of the network. TfL were quite keen to hear the network views and so we were invited to key strategic meetings with senior stakeholders and were able to help influence some innovative programmes around positive action, mentoring and coaching for BME staff.
I have continued in this field as I have developed a passion and an award-winning skill for helping organisations to develop inclusive practice.
How Important do you think mentoring is, in the HR?
I feel it is really important for me to pull the ladder down and share my knowledge, skills and expertise with mentees and help them to successfully naivigate a career in HR, with all the challenges that it brings.
In your opinion, what are the key skills required to be a trusted leader?
As a leader it can be challenging to manage competing interests and so it is really important as a leader to define your key priorities – not everything can be done at once. It can also be hard when conflict arises, but this is part of working with a diverse team. Having been trained in mediation skills, I am able to use the techniques that I have learned to help diffuse difficult situations.
This year’s BHM UK 2023 is about celebrating & embracing our sisters – who would you like to celebrate today?
My mum always used to say when we were growing up that there is no such word as can’t – you can do anything that you put your mind to. It used to annoy me when I was younger, but I appreciate that nugget as it means I have developed perseverance, patience, and persistence – I am not one to give up easily. This has allowed me to develop resilience when things get me down. I can find the strength from my faith to keep going. I have not gotten everything that I have wanted the first time in life and in my, career and if I had given up at the first hurdle, I would not be where I am today.
One advice to a young Black professional venturing into the HR Profession??
For people wanting to get into HR/Diversity I would say be prepared to learn and think outside of the box. My first substantive paid role in diversity came off the back of developing my craft through my voluntary role as co-chair of the BME Staff network at TfL. If I had not decided to step up into that role, I may not be where I am today. But do give yourself a time limit on how long you will volunteer for. Aside from study/courses think of other ways in which you build up your knowledge and expertise – this will give you the edge in this crowded job market. Employers are really looking for practical experiences, which will make you stand out from the crowd.
How can our members connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sanchiaalasia/