I joined the BYP team in July 2018, after speaking with the network's Co-Founder, Kike Oniwinde, and Partnerships Manager, Joseph Nwosu. After hearing about the BYP vision, I knew this was a network I wanted to be a part of. Fast forward two months, and I can't believe how much has changed.
On Monday, after months of preparation, and weeks of blood, sweat and some tears, the BYP Diversity Recruitment Fair was upon us. With companies such as Spotify, Uber, Deloitte and Teach First in attendance, alongside our 900 sign-up attendees, PR guests and panellists, we knew this had to be an event to remember.
From 2pm, volunteers were hastily setting up desks, sorting name tags, and planning the logistics from how to get the panellists to the right room, to working out whether the mics and sound systems were all in check. At 4pm, the queues began to form, and the Fair commenced.
Welcoming the audience, BYP CEO, Kike Oniwinde, kicked off the fair with a speech on BYP, the journey from an idea she had as a student, whilst at The University of Florida, to a network with thousands of members worldwide. EY, HomeAway, Inclusive Boards and Uber continued with a panel discussion on 'Diversity & Inclusion'. The room was full for the 'What Recruiters Want' panel discussion and Q&A, hosted by JD Sports, The LaLit London, Unlocked Grads and Lucas Adenuga, and many commended New Entrepreneurs Foundation on their Entrepreneurship panel discussion and Q&A.
We were particularly happy to see so many attendees also engaging with our workshops. We ushered in our first guests for a CV workshop, and there were hundreds lining up once they heard Reggie Nelson's viral story From East London to the City would be next. Reggie wowed the room with his enthusiasm, ambition, and wise words on making sure to bring fellow black young professionals up whilst climbing career ladder. Spotify continued with a workshop on 'How to Champion Diversity In Your Organisation', Teach First followed with 'Step Into Teaching', and Coinbase did an in-depth investigation into the importance of crypto. After canapés and drinks galore, the workshops began again, this time with Eunisure talking 'Getting Started in Finance and Insurance sales', and EY rounded off the evening with their 'Future Skills for Students' workshop. Those who had stayed for the entire evening headed to the Main Room to hear David Villa-Clarke and Kike bring the evening to a close.
It was fantastic to see so many eager and enthusiastic guests. Every attendee I spoke to stressed how happy they were that there was finally a Fair where they weren't overlooked, or not catered to. Some had attended diversity fairs, but felt they were exclusive, and only followed on BAME candidates with stellar CVs, great work experience, and first-class degrees from the likes of Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.
We, as the Black community, already have so many obstacles in our career paths. BYP is all about enabling all young black professionals to have the opportunity to converse with future leaders, meet organisations and understand how to navigate the working world at entry-level. The Fair highlighted the need for breaking down barriers, and making the routes to employment easier to understand and digest.
The greatest thing about the Fair was the range of talent, spanning different roles, different industries, different ages, and most of all, from all walks of life. I met guests who had arrived from France to come and network, companies I'd never heard of who had commended BYP as hosting 'the best recruitment fair' they'd ever attended, and had the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded young black professionals. I look forward to many more events, and more adventures with the BYP Network App, and I hope you all do too!