Wow! Number 2 on the Powerful Media and JP Morgan Powerlist, recognising the UK’s most powerful and influential black people!
Its surreal to me to be in such company on such a list, let alone number 2. I cannot tell you how proud and honoured I am.
The last few years have been amazing, culminating with some incredible milestones in the last 12 months. The Forterro transaction for €1bn and the fact that I get to continue to lead this great organisation. Raising the bar and level of community investment work we have done through Forbes Family Group, and of course becoming a Partner at Corten Capital. I’m very proud of the things I’ve been able to do, be part of and shape with the help of many others. These successes have brought me many things, but the most valuable of all has been the confidence to be my authentic self. I am a British Man, born to West Indian immigrant parents, of African heritage. I am proud of all these elements of my being.
During these recent years I’ve truly discovered my purpose and it fills me with great energy and motivation. My purpose is to make sure, to the best of my ability, that I never miss or pass an opportunity to support another person. Particularly those with similar heritage and background to me, who are still finding their way on their journey.
I am here, but for the support and help of many many others, and as a result now have an amazing platform on which to pay it forward. I mustn’t waste that platform by leveraging it in a purely self-serving way. I believe I have been given this platform to put it to its maximum use, to create opportunities and lower the ladder for others. This recognition is a reminder that I must not only continue to do that, but I must get better at it and must encourage others to do the same.
The world is still a cold and difficult place for many marginalised groups, including Black people. We continue to be more likely to be socially and economically disadvantaged and consequently, less likely to achieve our academic potential and therefore less likely to achieve our professional ambitions. I don’t for one minute believe that I can change all of that on my own, but if a guy like me, from this now, very privileged and influential position isn’t doing all he can to try to bend these things into our favour, then who should?
Thank you to everyone who has supported me. My wife Danielle, who has been immense for 24 years. Dave T and Zak, Paul S my business partner and right hand, Paul G and the Arma crew, Chris, Elona, Tim who has been a constant compass, the PG Team for backing me (even though it was the right thing to do)! Thank you also to my day ones, who have continued to be apathetic about any status or accolade I receive and have kept me constantly grounded. Cousin V, Champ, Fif, Rage, Aisha and the rest of the gang. I will continue to rise and promise to bring as many people up with me as I can.