Your Future, Your Ambition

Rashada Harry Co-director

Rising Star winner Rashada

WATC Rising Star Awards at House of Commons

Your Future, Your Ambition is definitely my main focus at the moment and also my voluntary work.  I’ve travelled to both Ghana and Kenya in my spare time, working with children in remote villages.  I worked in an orphanage, where instead of doing the usual Maths and English, I wanted to teach them something different so I did goal setting.  Their usual point of reference was television so,  “I wanna be the person that drives a plane”.  So, that’s why I reversed it with, “so, what’s your goal – what do you see?”.

Rashada runs an annual event at the O2 in partnership with many top city companies.
the aim is to introduce young people from the earliest age, to the possibilities of a career in technology.

My ambition as a child was to be a lawyer, that was definite.  I don’t like injustice.  It’s hurts my heart, into my core.  I don’t like injustice in any form.  It’s one of my core values, and I cannot take injustice on any level and I have issue with people being hidden, and talent being hidden.


On being black and a woman

I think being Black and British affords me an appreciation of culture in a western environment which can sometimes help.  When you are working in a Global economy, like I am doing right now, our customers and our clients are from these different areas and it’s nice to be able to have an appreciation of the cultural conditions and the respective values and understanding how people do things.

There is no right or wrong answer in a lot of arguments, there are just different perspectives.   When someone is completely at the opposite end of the kilter to myself, “ Let me put myself into their shoes, and see things from their perspective to try to meet on common ground to know where each other is coming from.

So, yes I would say being black and being in the technology industry is good.  Is it advantageous? I would say in some instances it has not been disadvantageous!

Role models
For me I see qualities and virtues that I like.  What resonates and hits home for me is people with patience, determination and perseverance.

I would say my Grandmother was a role model.  She stood up for herself.  She had a voice.   My grandmother used to say to me, “It’s not the distance travelled, it’s the obstacles overcome that makes a successful journey”.

My dad
My Dad was quite ‘debating’.  It was principles, and arguments, and values system.   He was very strong-minded in his views.  My reasoning was questioned.  I didn’t like it at all!  He made me think about the reasons and logic behind my decisions and made me more determined to get what I wanted.

My mum
My mum was very strong minded.  Very ambitious.  For us, and for herself.  I’m one of three daughters.   I am also strikingly independent, I get that from my mum as well.  It was almost, kind of, “Go and do it – find your feet”.   I was told at s She made sure there were no barriers or boundaries in anything I wanted to do.  Any aspiration, she would say, “go for it”.

Instance of discrimination.
At School I did a Careers Session and I said to them, “I would like to be a Lawyer, that’s what I want to do”.  And I was really proud and really happy.  But the Careers Adviser at the time was just trying to discourage me saying “No, no, no.  Rashada, you are very good at sports.  You’re good at athletics.”

That was the limitation that they put on me at the time, and I was very aware of that limitation  There was no sense of “Go for it, this is what you need to do”.   I may not be the strongest person in Maths,   But I am going to make myself the strongest person in Maths.

Advantage as a woman
In my role as a Director of Your Future, Your Ambition, I work alongside a man.  We’ve got exactly the same role and I’ve found sometimes that the women that we work with, or interact with, some of those women will tend to listen to the man instinctively.  They need a male to give them that guidance, but a woman can do exactly the same thing.  If I make a decision, it’s fine with him.  He will take my lead on it; take my stance. He makes a decision, I will take his.  So it’s actually a mutual respect that we have.  And it’s nice for the other stakeholders to see that, as a joint approach.

I would say that women bring certain qualities to the table that men don’t and men bring certain qualities to the table that women don’t.  But it’s about appreciating those differences and making them work.

Most memorable moment was being turned down for my Masters.  see  Never accept NO for an answer!

When things don’t go to plan, how to bounce back from that and taking strength from your environment, family and friends.    So I think winning the award at We Are The City has been quite poignant for me.  I’ve been up for awards before.      It was a very, very special moment.
Although on a personal level, I do what I do because I enjoy it.  I don’t see it as work.  I think, “this is just me” and I really enjoy it.
Advice for Young Women.

Stay true to who you are!  In order to stay true to who you are, you need to know who you are.  Know your own values, know your own principles and stick to them.  Don’t compromise who you are to make things easier for others.


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