Celebrating Hustle Crew’s 1st birthday party in 2017 with my friends at Huckletree West

Advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in the tech industry as a Black and Asian woman means I’m no stranger to discomfort. I have vivid memories of some of the first diversity workshops I delivered in London in 2017. In these sessions, I invited participants to reflect on structural oppression, on their own implicit and explicit biases, and the privileges they’ve been afforded through their lived experiences. I challenged participants to consider the role they play in blocking greater diversity and inclusion.

No one wants to be the bad guy.

My reflection prompts were often met with aggressive reactions. At best, my heart raced and my face flushed…


Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

As a Black and asian woman, and bookworm since childhood, I realised far too late in my life that most of the books I’d read were written by people who did not share my lived experiences, that’s why I decided to only read novels by women of color in 2019. I devoured Maya Angelou’s autobiography series over a few weeks and then continued to discover incredible new voices who made me feel seen and let me escape into narratives that absorbed me.

In 2020 I had every intention of keeping this rule, but couldn’t resist reading debut novels that friends…


Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie teaches us about the dangers of a single story in her 2018 TED Talk

A single story can be a dangerous thing. Be sure to let 2020 hold multiple defining narratives in your memory.

The year of broken dreams. The year Corona become more than just a beer. The unforgettable, unprecedented time-bending continuum that was 2020 is finally over. How do I want to remember it? Let me count the ways…

A few weeks ago I gathered with my Acumen Academy fellows to discuss Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2018 TED talk, ‘The danger of a single story’. In it she recounts the danger of using our power and privilege to limit a different identity group to a single definitive story.

Zooming in from the context of systemic injustice to the microcosm of my own mind…


https://unsplash.com/@markuswinkler

It’s 2020 & The Tech Industry Still Hates Women. Why?

Two things have happened to me the last month that have reminded me of the misogyny that is alive and well in the tech industry. First, I started watching the new BBC and HBO show Industry. Watching young interns get bullied by their line managers as they desperately seek a permanent role reminded me of the humiliation I endured in the early years of my career, almost always at the hands of men who had more authority than me. It reminded me of DMs I receive regularly from women in tech detailing the bullying and abuse they face at work…


Since joining Brandwatch I’ve run two sourcing jams that have generated 400+ candidates from underrepresented backgrounds

canva studio

At Brandwatch one of our top priorities is increasing representation of underrepresented identities in our team. These groups include folks with disabilities, folks who are BIPOC, folks from the LGBT+ community and even older folks who may be switching careers or returning from a break.

One of the biggest challenges we face in achieving this goal is that whenever we open roles, we tend to find the majority of applicants representing our existing status quo: they tend to be cis-gender, white and male. …


Three months ago I joined Brandwatch as their first ever VP of Global Community & Belonging. I initially approached this newly created role with an unsettling combination of enthusiasm and self-doubt.

Would I be able to deliver on the expectations I created during the interview process?

Would I be able to gel with the team and make an impact in my first few months?

Would I be able to be authentically me, and challenge racism and other forms of oppression wherever I see them manifesting?

These are the questions that kept me up at night.

Now I’m three months in…


Throwback to presenting at Creative Mornings London in October 2018

Five weeks ago I joined Brandwatch as their first ever VP of Global Community and Belonging.

The night before my first day I had the first day jitters and tossed and turned in bed. The following thoughts ran circles around my mind, “What if my performance doesn’t live up to the expectations set in the recruitment process? What if important stakeholders are directly opposed to my views and approach?” And of course that age old anxiety inducer: “What if I got it all wrong in the interviews and I just don’t vibe with the company culture?”

Thankfully those concerns were soon allayed by the encouragement and insight I received from across the company. …


Exciting update: I’m joining Brandwatch as their first ever VP Global Community and Belonging

challenging structural oppression with a smile on my face since 2016

2020 — what a year! I’m extremely grateful to have good news to share in a year that’s really put us through the ringer. I’ve just started in this new role and I’m excited to work alongside the leadership team to create positive lasting change not just in the company but, I hope, the entire tech industry.

I first worked with Brandwatch in 2018. I told my good friend Dylan Marvin, Brandwatch’s Chief Legal and Administrative Officer, that I was disappointed by the lack of tech companies investing in the Hustle Crew workshops I’d designed for underrepresented employees.

Within weeks…


Photo by Rodrigo Borges de Jesus on Unsplash

In the decade I’ve worked in the tech industry I’ve come to learn how common lay-offs are. In 2012 when I was a manager at Groupon, I had to lay off team mates I had hired after the share price slumped post-IPO.

When I was a manager at HotelTonight in 2015, I watched as some of my fave team mates were laid off to cut costs after the founders tried and failed to raise another round of funding.

Just last week I joined the millions of professionals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic when I was laid off from Product Hunt…


Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

At the start of 2019 I made a promise to myself: to only read novels written by women of color. I couldn’t have predicted how much this would change me.

The decision wasn’t solely driven by a desire to invest in people and communities that I believe in, but an attempt to balance a lifetime-so-far spent reading the voices of those who represent systems and ideologies that oppress me and communities I care for deeply.

The content we consume directly impacts the way we see the world and the way we interact with others (this point is driven home acutely when I speak to family members who rely solely on Fox News for information). …

Abadesi

VP Global Community & Belonging at Brandwatch. Author of careers book #DreamBigHustleHard Host #Techish

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