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Black History Month 2021: Proud to be... with Paul Modu

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​On Wednesday 27thOctober, deverellsmith hosted a day of celebration in honour of Black History Month, to put a focus on African and Caribbean culture. The purpose of the event was to educate employees; it played a pivotal part in deverellsmith’s wider diversity and inclusion campaign, ‘We Work as One’, which aims to create an inclusive environment for everyone who walks through the ds door.

The day kicked off with a speaker session hosted by deverellsmith’s Ambassador of Diversity and Inclusion, Kevin Boakye, who was joined by Knight Frank’s Paul Modu, Senior Surveyor in the commercial space.

Modu opened the session by giving our audience an overview of his experience and why he chose property. Importantly, it was imperative for us – as talent partners – to understand why he chose to be a diversity, equality and inclusion champion 6 years into his career at Knight Frank.

He left us with an important message: just because someone fits into the ‘D&I’ box, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a responsibility that specific individuals want to take on. Everyone is different and although being a trailblazer might be of interest to one individual, it might not be the right time for another.

He then continued to talk about the importance of allyship – stimulating change within a business and the wider industry is not going to happen overnight and won’t happen if minorities are not supported by not only senior leadership, but everyone involved. Instilling a culture of allyship will enable a sense of belonging and support amongst staff.

Another important point Modu mentioned was how to respond to an employer or colleague if an employee from an ethnic minority was questioned about appearance choices. He provided a great piece of advice: ask ‘why?’ and always respond with a question as the answer is usually mildly trivial.

When it comes to creating a more diverse pipeline of talent, Modu provided insight On Knight Frank’s 2021 strategy. For the first time, Knight Frank took a cohort of graduates from areas other than Reading University and Oxford Brookes University, which has already created a more diverse group of individuals.

For the second part of the day, we invited Koal Pot Catering to ds HQ to serve a Ghanaian feast and talk to us about traditional cuisine served in Africa. Dishes for the day included waakye, jollof rice and plantain.

We were lucky to have some of our own employees provide cuisine from the Caribbean including Bajan sweet bread and salt fish fritters.

Joseph Morris, Finance Account Manager, commented “The food today was extremely tasty and for somebody who is usually awful with spice, I even went back for seconds! It was great to try something I wouldn’t usually go for. The best part was having learning about my colleague’s culture and having a better understanding of his way of life.”

deverellsmith have joined of Programme One, the recruitment industry’ s addressing workplace inequality for Black talent within the Recruitment Industry. To join the programme visit here.