Please tell us your name, job title and place of work??
Kameka McLean, Group Head of HR Walker Crips Investment Management.

What would you say it means to be Black and working in HR?
If you have asked me this question 10 years ago my answer would have been different as my journey has been difficult, challenging and having to work twice as hard in comparison to others. However, working in HR now I see these challenges as an opportunity to improve, increase my learning and better understanding the needs of others, I use my influence, experience to influence and raise awareness in DE&I, not just in ethnicity but in all areas of the protected characteristics, which can be a challenge as I am always thriving and wanting to do more; wanting to affect positive changes within my organisation and within forums that I have been invited to speak.

For me being black and working in HR means that I have the opportunity to change thinking and entrenched negative attitude towards certain individuals, it means I can better equip those around me to recognise their biases, educate them how to overcome these thoughts to make better, fairer judgements and how to become an inclusive thinker / leader. Being black and working in HR also means that.

How Important do you think mentoring is, in the HR?
I believe mentoring is extremely important in HR as we are dealing with raw human emotions and it is important that others know that they are not alone. Furthermore, I truly believe the importance of sharing your experiences and quick wins with others so that they make less mistake, as mistakes can have a detrimental effect within HR.

Mentoring have shown to raise confidence and problem-solving abilities and helps develop leadership skills – basically mentoring is developing future leaders. Due to the limited representation of Black Women within HR having a mentor to advise and guide you can increase your confidence as you have seen firsthand that progression is possible and this will better equip you to face the challenges ahead.

In your opinion, what are the key skills required to be a trusted leader?
I believe in order to be a trusted leader you must possess excellence communicational skills, emotional and social intelligence i.e., self-awareness, self-management. Social awareness and relationship management. Furthermore, one must demonstrate the following:

• Supporting individual’s growth
• Understandings individual challenges
• Challenged and bring to the forefront inconsistencies
• Changing entrenched negative stereotypes and attitudes towards certain individuals.
• Embracing and practicing humanity
• Developing and nurturing empathy
• Practicing resilience
• Confidentiality and so on

This year’s BHM UK 2023 is about celebrating & embracing our sisters – who would you like to celebrate today?
I would like to celebrate all those who took part in this year’s cohort, Adese, Edwina but most importantly I would like to celebrate the strong women that I had in my life, my mother and my grandmother who are no longer with us but without their drive, hard work and encouragement I would not be who I am today. They have both instilled in me greatness, tenacity and drive – they made me believe in myself when things seems impossible and all odds were against me however, I can proudly say the word IMPOSSIBLE MEANS I’M POSSIBLE.

One advice to a young Black professional venturing into the HR Profession??
I would say be your best self and do not let anyone compromise your integrity. Please also note that “no one is you and that is your power” – you have the power to make a difference and make your mark within society

How can our members connect with you?
I can be contacted via LinkedIn – you can also follow my DE&I page Let’s Talk Diversity and Inclusion (LTDI)