Almarni Khan, is Inclusion & Diversity Programme Manager at GBG. She shares her highlights of working in tech, how she relates to Black History Month and how she will pay tribute to Black History Month by sharing learnings with others.
What are some of the highlights of your career in the tech industry?
GBG is a leader in identity intelligence technology. Having been part of the company for over six years now I have had many highlights, including being mentored into new roles and given hands-on experience such as creating the London Office and moving into an Inclusivity & Diversity (I&D) role. During COVID-19 when many companies downsized their I&D budgets and resources, GBG stepped up and launched its be/yourself inclusion & diversity programme with myself as Lead.
What does black history month mean to you?
As I’m mixed Heritage, Black and Asian, Black history growing up was very much about the struggles and triumphs of Black people in the USA. As I’ve gotten older, Black history month has become more relatable, to the country and society I’ve grown up in, learning more through my own research about UK black history and how that relates to me.
Reflecting on the past, learning from this means recognising patterns of injustice, acknowledging mistakes so these are not repeated, reimagining the future. Whilst also celebrating those who, in their own time, were not given the recognition they deserved. We can only learn from history, by remembering it. It’s also about understanding that black history did not start with struggles, it’s not the sum total of our history.
What are the lessons from black history that have shaped how you live your life / influence your choices?
There are some hard lessons and some things that have been more positive. MLK said ‘We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given but must be demanded” it reminds me that change must be fought for regardless.
As someone who works in I&D field, I know that change is slow to come, and sometimes it can feel like trying to mop the ocean floor. But any little change is worth it, because these are the stepping stones that have built the position we are in now. And if those before could do it, and if my contribution (as small as it may be in the grand scheme of things) can help in anyway, I will be satisfied.
More positive lessons are based on our triumphs and the tenacity of Black people. There is evidence of Black people superseding their circumstances and breaking stereotypes, being loud and taking up space in positive places.
How will I personally pay tribute to black history month?
Continuing my education and sharing my learnings with others and advocating for equitable action within organisations to rebalance the playing field after historical inequalities
Making space for black voices to be heard. To kick off our second week of events for our annual ‘Inclusion @ GBG’ celebration, we hosted an ‘InspireMe Talk’ on the topic of being bold and leading change for more inclusive workplaces. Our special guest speakers Advita Patel and Seun Oshinusi, engaged with our team on topics of belonging and equality, bias and discrimination, authentic change at an organisational level, fighting fear and challenging the status quo.