BYP interview: Black Excellence with David McQueen
By Dami Fawehinmi
During my interview with David, he provided a valuable insight into the world of his organisations, the importance of seeing failure as a teaching moment and believing in your work and most importantly yourself. As you navigate your career, never be afraid to learn more and more.
1. Tell us about your journey.
I started off as an accountant, second career in IT and then settled into training and development running my own companies
2. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Build your network early. Ask lots more questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
3. What are your views on the BYP Network?
I love what the BYP Network is doing to engage and empower Black professionals.
4. What do you believe will drive change in the Black community?
It depends on what you mean by change. Professionally I think there needs to be more talking between existing networks and systems of support which provide for Black British professionals.
5. What is your biggest failure?
I don’t think I have had a big failure. I have had to shut down two companies but I see them more as learning opportunities.
6. What is your biggest success?
My marriage. My children. My friends and family.
Business is cool but my relationships with those I care about most are important.
7. What made you realise this was the profession for you?
I have always enjoyed education. From my start as a youth worker to where I am now as a learning and development speaker, coach and consultant for companies and non profit organisations.
8. If you had the chance to start over again in your career, what would you do differently?
Nothing, to be honest. I think all the experiences I have had have made me who I am. I don’t believe in living with regret.
9. What three pieces of advice would you give young black professionals?
Build your network. Find those who will champion you.
Believe in yourself. No one can believe in you as much as you believe in you.
Don’t let your colour ever be a hindrance to your success
10. What do you hope your work/business will do for Black Young Professionals?
I believe as a visible role model that I will be an example of young Black professionals to go, "OK this is how it’s done. Let me have a go."
11. Who are your biggest influences?
My Dad. He always gave me scope to try things and think big.
Richard Branson. I love that he doesn’t give a damn and does his thing.
Anita Roddick.(RIP) I love what she did with the Body Shop brand. Her thinking about how it could not just impact her staff but the world.
12. How do you seek out opportunities relating to your field?
I create dinners. Invite people who may be of interest and meet with them. See what I can offer and be explicit about how they can help me. Whether I have to pay for the service or not.
13. Favourite book relating to your field?
The Magic of Thinking Big. It’s compulsory reading for everyone I mentor.
14. Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Yes I do, but if I told you I would have to kill you. LOL
OK I am launching a pre-seed business incubator for Black tech founders in the UK, later this year.
15. Would you like to add anything?
Keep doing what you do with BYP. Ensure you reach out and collaborate with other organisations to get to your end goal. Success is a team sport and appreciate you asking me to share some stuff I have learned.
Read David's piece, Until It's Normal, on Medium here