Head of Sales & Partnerships, Blair Pusey shares what Black History Month means for him as a member of the black community & business leader
“Black History Month means recognising the impact that the black community have had in the UK and world history. This month brings an opportunity to encourage everyone to learn about their contribution to innovation, culture, the economy and communities.” – Blair Pusey, Head of Sales & Partnerships, Nimbla
What is your story?
My grandparents arrived from Jamaica in the ’50s amongst the Windrush generation. They left their life in Jamaica to work as a nursing assistant and a civil servant, building a new foundation for themselves and our family. My mother went on to work for the NHS while my father is a London Taxi Driver. Their primary focus was to provide their children with better opportunities.
With their efforts, I attended a private primary school and a Grammar school, and at 18 joined Barclays where after a brief stint as a Cashier I became the youngest Personal Banker in London at that time. In the next seven years, I was promoted a further three times and moved from the Retail Bank into the Corporate Bank. However, throughout my professional career, I often felt the discomfort of being in a foreign environment – there simply weren’t many people like me.
“Not having black leaders at times created doubts of what I could achieve and it was hard to shake feeling alone when trying to navigate an industry on your own.”
Soon, I became curious about work outside of the Corporate environment and desired new experience, diversity and a culture where I would continue to grow confidently through merit. For the next four years of my career I spent time at Grant Thornton and back at Barclays working with Large Institutions, Entrepreneurs and Technology businesses. The teams I worked in were more diverse and the culture was far more inclusive but the lack of Black Leaders was still very evident.
My family and these early experiences shaped my career and aspirations for the future. The desire to hold positions in organisations that allow me to influence and create a more inclusive environment for all, drives me. I had my first opportunity to do this when I joined MarketFinance. I created a small committee of people and organised a series of events and activities throughout Black History Month which concluded with a panel discussion of 5 successful Black Entrepreneurs. Realising the importance of education, I used my influence to drive the conversation, to get more allies and to change the narrative and perception of the black community. That was the first professional business event with an all Black panel that the majority of the audience had intended – myself included.
What made you choose Nimbla?
Meeting Nimbla’s founder, Flemming, is what motivated me to join Nimbla. His passion for the business alongside his integrity and commitment to deliver an innovative tool for the masses was contagious and I wanted to be part of it. Throughout my career, I learned to treat customers fairly and act accordingly to satisfy regulators, shareholders and all stakeholders. That experience has been integral in the development of new business for Nimbla.
What is the role of technology in changing the narrative?
Technology can help Individuals from all communities to build and grow their own businesses in an environment that they feel comfortable to be themselves. For many it has reduced operating & start up costs, created process automation, expansion opportunities and insights to enable them to deliver their product or service to customers and hire incredible people around them.
How is Nimbla changing the narrative during Black History Month?
Nimbla is joining in the conversation of contribution during Black History Month. The team recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion and makes a conscious effort to educate themselves and each other.
Nimbla has been built for the masses. It is enabling more SMEs to be successful, and this includes more black entrepreneurs. They can benefit from lower barriers to entry as Nimbla delivers a business tool that can be used to protect, fund and grow their business.
“It is recognised that only about 4% of businesses know of Trade Credit Insurance to protect their business.”
How do you see your role in the black community?
Being part of Nimbla not only allows me to be part of something new, but I am now in a position where I can influence the conversation, create opportunities, open doors and elevate talent. I want to make sure that other people in my community can have a seat at the table without feeling threatened or out of place.
“I want to support talented people to be seen, heard, and push forward. To elevate not only my career but also others.”
When I started my career, I didn’t expect it to be so hard but I would tell my younger self to trust your own compass. Not finding leaders or mentors to follow or guide you may not be as comfortable as you might like but you can still go ahead and become that leader for others coming behind you.
What more could be done to celebrate Black History?
Ultimately, beyond educating companies during Black History Month, I would like to see our history as part of the school syllabus. This would allow future generations to learn more about the impact that the black community has had and continues to have.