BHM 'Meet the Team' Michele Buchanan

October is Black History Month in the UK - a month to highlight the achievements of the Black community, celebrate their contributions to the UK and learn about the important Black historical figures who helped make Britain what it is today.

  • The Carey Group
  • Thursday 27th October 2022

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To mark Black History Month The Carey Group are celebrating our black colleagues with a series of BHM focused ‘Meet the Team’ interviews throughout the month of October. Today, we catch up with Michele...

Q: What is your ethnic background and how do you celebrate it?

A: I am from a West Indian background, my Grandparents are part of the Windrush generation. I believe I celebrate my culture every day by supporting black owned businesses, cooking traditional meals at home, through music, art , literature etc

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you?

A: For me it is an acknowledgement of the contributions both Black West Indian and Black African people have made over many years and continue to make to UK Society and Culture. It’s an opportunity for younger generations to learn and understand all aspects of Black History and not just the narrative of Slavery.

Q: Why is it important that we celebrate Black History Month?

A: It's important we understand cultural differences to help reduce biases that may have influenced us based on our environments, the media etc. I hope the more we celebrate Black History Month we will be able to continue to see a change as we break down barriers and open more doors of opportunity especially for the younger generation.

Q: Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you?

A: So many people come to mind, I can’t pick one - you have Rosa Parks, Madame CJ Walker, Harriet Tubman. I also have to say my grandparents especially when I think about what they achieved despite the many times they were told NO and or to return to their own country. Then I think about the many black women we don’t hear about that have managed to make themselves seen and heard such as Shirley J Thompson Artistic Composer, Dame Sharon White Chair of John Lewis & Partners.

Q: What is your role at Careys and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

A: I’m a HR Business Partner, for London, Southeast and Midlands. I support our CCE leadership team and Operation support services. My day to day duties may include supporting on complex employee relation issues, change management initiatives, implementation of company policies and or working on business related projects such as our D&I strategy.

Q: What did you do before you joined Careys?

A: I worked for a subsidiary company of BT as a Regional HR Business Partner.

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar career?

A: HR is a great career opportunity as it has so many different strands - you can be a generalist and or specialise in an area such as Reward, Engagement, D&I etc. I would recommend working for small- medium size companies at the start of your career to enable you to get as much exposure to all aspects of HR as possible. Where possible have a mentor to support you on your journey.

Q: How do diverse teams improve how we work?

A: Diverse teams { gender diversity, age diversity, sexuality, race etc} provide an opportunity for a business to be high performing and potentially more competitive within the market as they are more than likely to have a workforce with a range of skills and talent. I strongly believe however that diversity by itself is not enough, companies need to be inclusive by ensuring they create a culture where individuals feel that their contributions are being heard and making difference.

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