We spend so much of our life working that learning how to navigate our work spaces as professionals is quite important and having spaces where that can happen is of great benefit to us. I had the privilege of being *gifted a ticket as press to attend the first ever BYP conference organised by the BYP Network which is aimed at black young professionals.
In attendance were 800 other delegates and companies such as BT, Accenture Sky, Pwc, Deloitte, Nationwide, EY, The Guardian, Adobe, Airbnb, Bloomberg and Grant Thornton. I am so happy this conference exists so let me fill you in on who BYP are why you need to attend the next one!
* This ticket was gifted to me by BYP
What is the BYP Network?
The BYP Network stands for Black Young Professionals Network and is described as “Linkedin for black professionals”. The BYP Network helps to connect ambitious professionals for networking and with corporations for job opportunities. Their mission is to change the black narrative by bringing together like-minded individuals to collaborate on ideas and to progress within the workforce.
What is the BYP Conference?
The BYP Conference brings together senior leaders from companies to speak directly to the black young professionals community. So many great speakers attended such as George the Poet, Mike Sherman – BT’s Group Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer and many others.
Why You Should Attend The Next BYP Conference
They say your network is your net worth. There is some truth to this so listen up! The conference allowed for great networking to happen between professionals from different backgrounds and professions. It is also a great way to learn how to network and practice your networking in a safe space. Everyone is there to learn or to impart knowledge so if are a bit nervous or not sure how to make the most of networking, don’t worry about it. Do all your research about networking and go ahead and try your best at it because practice makes perfect.
Great Sessions and Panels For Personal Development
I loved all the sessions I went too and learnt a lot of new things. A few takeaways I learnt are that getting a mentor is really important in your career and they don’t necessarily have to look like you. I also learnt the difference between a sponsor and a mentor. A sponsor is someone who is high up in your company/ industry that vouches for you and normally has a hand in your progression and a mentor is someone who generally mentors you.
Great Companies in Attendance
As mentioned in my intro some great companies such as Sky, BT, Accenture and more attended the conference who are interested in recruiting professionals from diverse backgrounds. They all had a stand and the majority of them had a sign up sheet so that you could be notified of any upcoming opportunities. Since they were at the conference you could speak face to face with recruiters from these companies and ask questions which is a great opportunity that you may not have had otherwise.
Be Inspired by Leaders That Look Like You
Some people like to downplay representation but it does matter a lot! I once mentored in a secondary school in London and a boy who a friend was mentoring once said he wanted to be a investment banker but was not sure he could, because he was black. He thought he could never enter a profession like that because he had not seen himself being represented in that profession. Being at the BYP conference allowed me to leave inspired at the fact that people that looked like me were holding great positions and doing great in their careers. I was also able to learn from them too!
My Overall Opinion
I actually wanted to attended the BYP conference before the opportunity to receive a press pass came along. I do not regret taking a day off work to attend. I met great people, learnt a lot from the sessions and panels, had free lunch lol and was surrounded by a great atmosphere on that day. If you can, try to get your employer to pay for the next conference as learning and development. It is possible and quite a few people at the conference there had done just that!
Throughout the day I was saying “wooow this conference is so well organised! and it’s their first one” I don’t know if this was a bias of relating black people to not great planning but all I can say is I was overly impressed and would definitely attend the next one!
This is all about careers and work! Have you ever considered moving abroad to teach English as a Second Language in South Korea? This a great gap year opportunity or career break opportunity and if you are a teacher this may be right up your street!