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Legal insights & industry updates

| 2 minutes read

Reflections on the Levantarse Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship Conference

I was delighted to be asked by Dechomai to speak on a panel at the Levantarse Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship Conference  on 23rd March.  My panel involved speaking on apprenticeships and the different career paths available in Harper Macleod, in particular discussing non-legal roles such as IT, marketing, HR and finance.  Apprenticeships are very important to us and we recently won two awards at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards - one for Mentor of the Year for Elaine Gilmartin and one for SME Employer of the Year. Joining me on the panel was Timi Olaleye, a Morgan Stanley Apprentice and Yinka Fadina, head of Audit at NatWest. 

We began by talking about what we do and then went into the types of apprenticeships that our respective organisations offer, including discussing what type of person would fit in with Harper Macleod’s strong culture.  We also explored how to develop your career in the most effective way possible. One of the top tips that was a common theme throughout the conference was networking at the beginning of your career. An important point to note that both Yinka and I discussed was how fundamental it was to network internally within your organisation at the beginning of your career – it’s not all just about external networking. Here at Harper Macleod, we have lots of different committees for people to join and doing so widens your internal personal network. We also discussed how important planning was to your career progression - plan what you want to achieve every year and reflect on this to progress. This allows you to achieve your goals and see how far you have come. 

Technology was also a consistent factor brought up during the conference and something that everyone must keep on top of to progress in their respective careers. We discussed the importance of using tech to your advantage and keeping up with relevant trends.

Whilst I was at the conference, I also had the opportunity to learn from other panel discussions. One in particular that stood out to me was hearing from two women entrepreneurs about their journeys - Ify Dada (founder of Summit Gate) and Millie McLellan (founder of Wee Mills). As someone who works with entrepreneurs and scale-ups daily, I enjoy learning about different company’s stories. Ify and Millie also shared the challenges they have faced particularly as women entrepreneurs which is always important to share with future entrepreneurs, so that they can try and prepare for these challenges. One aspect discussed in this panel session was the fundamental importance of a solid support system around you when starting a business which led perfectly into what Ola Olaleye stated in her empowering speech later in the day - you need to believe in yourself first before anyone else can! Once you have conquered the self-belief then the support system will follow. 

This was a fantastically run event, which Dechomai and the team made look effortless. The event was a great depiction of what hard work and dedication look like. It also enabled an invaluable level of innovation and collaboration between the attendees. I look forward to the next one! 


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