BHM 21: Proud to be partners

Continuing with our BHM celebration and commemoration, we’re sharing what this year’s theme, #ProudToBe means to our amazing partners who have worked hard with us to support wider changes in the industry and raise the bar on inclusive and people-forward strategies.

This week, we’re talking to the founder of Lollipop mentoring, Maria McDowell. Her mentoring programme focuses on supporting Black women in the marketing and advertising industries – providing safe spaces for networking, development, and mentorship. 

In our interview with Maria, she shares some important clarity and perspective of what Black history means for her and what it means to be proud of yourself.

Maria McDowell - A Black woman with flaws, who strives to be made herself and others around her better or happier.

In our interview with Maria, she shares some important clarity and perspective of what Black history means for her and what it means to be proud of yourself.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

A month where there is awareness of the impact Black people and Black culture has had on the world and almost everything we do. We need to remember that Black history is EVERYONE’S history

Why is it important that we recognise and celebrate Black History?

Because the media is awash with negative portrayals of Black people. This seeps into your consciousness, Black History shows us that we are descendants, inventors, scientists, and dynasties - not just criminals and slaves. Even at my mature age, I learn something new every single year

What does the theme #ProudToBe mean to you?

Being content in my own skin - realising and accepting my flaws and sometimes seeing the beauty in them.

What is your proudest achievement and why?

Having my daughter and setting up lollipop mentoring 

Who inspires you to feel proud and empowered?

My daughter - she is a mirror to me and when I think of accepting less, she reminds me that I am her template for what a woman is and so I cannot rest on my laurels.

Finish the statement, I am #ProudToBe…

A Black woman with flaws, who strives to be made herself and others around her better or happier.