To the BYP Network,
I’m Mireille. You might not know me by name but I’ve been here behind the scenes for the past two years working as BYP’s PR and Comms lead. June 2020 marks my second anniversary here at BYP and it feels fitting to be leaving with this note.
When I first joined BYP Network, it was through a phone call with its founder and CEO, Kike Oniwinde. I was on a publishing traineeship and we’d both had the experience of going through a graduate diversity-focused organisation. At the time, I was finding the work I was doing meaningless and uninspiring, so I’d started looking around for freelance jobs I could do on my lunch break and after work. Speaking to Kike ignited a passion in me that I hadn’t felt workwise in months and I felt I could channel what I really cared about into the work that BYP was doing. I joined the team working on an array of tasks from PR, social media and communications. I’d been doing unpaid writing jobs on the side and had one voluntary PR role under my belt, but I had no official experience in communications or “proper” PR. Kike took a punt on me - giving me a paid role instantly - looking not at the lack of experience I had, but the enthusiasm I could bring to the table. It wasn’t a case of what I had done, but what I could do. She saw potential.
In the two years, I have been at BYP, I have seen it grow exponentially. From Kike being named one of Stylist’s Remarkable Women of the year and on the front cover of magazines, to BYP being shouted out by the likes of Roc Nation, the achievements have been countless. I’ve seen BYP events grow from a summer party of around one hundred people to a recruitment fair with over nine hundred attendees. I’ve seen what was once a small organisation raise hundreds of thousands in pre-seed funding, and most of all, I’ve seen a community grow, build and come together to make huge social change, especially in the case of raising more than £25,000 for black at-risk key workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But more than this. BYP has made an impact on my life. I’ve made real friends from BYP, from those I’ve worked with to those I’ve just bumped into at events and stayed in touch with since. I’ve met people who have genuinely changed the course of my life and taught me things about myself I didn’t know. I’ve met business owners and inspiring entrepreneurs who I’ve seen go on to do brilliant things. I’ve met people who have offered me freelance contracts, jobs and opportunities I would never have found otherwise. I’ve even met some who I’ve been able to offer work and opportunities too. Seeing the wins at BYP has countered many hard experiences and life events that I’ve encountered over the past couple of years.
In May of this year, after a series of various life events - both personal and external - I decided to step away from BYP. 2020 has brought enough trials and tribulations to last a lifetime and we are all healing and recovering. Part of my learning over the past few months has been knowing when I need to listen to both my mind and my body. In this time of immense trauma for the community, it’s important that we recognise when we need to slow down and take time out and offline. I’ll be handing over the reins to Kofi Yeboah-Mensah, who comes from a creative background in music journalism, radio production as well as, corporate experience in PR with communications agency Mercieca, working on accounts for brands such as Beko, General Mills, and Weetabix. I’ll be back once a month sharing my book recommendation for BYP’s Bookclub.
In the meantime, a huge thanks to all who have been part of the journey. I will always be grateful to this community and I hope that it continues to nourish and nurture us all.