Shereen Daniels, the OBV alumna taking the HR world by storm

Meet Shereen Daniels, the OBV alumna taking the HR world by storm
Submitted 19 Oct 2020 3:26pm
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The growing attention placed on racial inequalities has led many companies to actively seek out ways to positively promote diversity and inclusion. While this may be obvious to you and me, implementing these procedures has in many cases been slow and inefficient. This would understandably be a point of frustration for many, but OBV alumna Shereen Daniels is leading the way in offering solutions, all while building a large following of her own. Shereen’s career in HR has been long, spanning close to 17 years. In her time in the field she has worked with ex-military, ex-police, crime scene investigators, Metropolitan Police Special Branch Detectives, to books, mobile phones, fashion, food and somehow, even coffee.

It’s a variety of industries, which presentent a variety of ways in which problems in the field of HR may arise, but perhaps this is what has left the OBV alumna so well versed in the matter to press ahead and inform. It certainly wasn’t planned though. Her career in HR has been long but the plethora of videos which have seen her gain a mass online following were the result of the Amy Cooper incident in New York. The video featured a white woman calling the police on a black man who had been bird watching in New York’s Central Park.

For Shereen, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and ignited a series of videos which have captivated a growing audience during the last few months of lockdown. In her interview with Carmen Morris of Forbes she opened up on what she believed to be a contradiction of sorts. It was the apparent inconsistency between the viral reaction and the sentiments she had seen close to home, here In the UK. She recalls the inspiration saying:

“The UK was expressing dismay and outrage, and espousing sentiments to reassure itself that it was not a racist country.”

Shereen who has had a career in HR spanning nearly 20 years, during her interview with Carmen Morris and Forbes.

From there, the videos began, and the anti-racism HR consultant and Mum of two began to explain her experiences as a black woman in the UK and use her voice publically to speak on the difficulties black people face in the workplace. Disappointingly, it did not take long before those who would rather her voice go unheard moved to take action. In the same interview, she explained:

“I was trolled mercilessly and everyone that thinks people who troll others online must be uneducated individuals, are wrong. That is not the case as I have experienced CEOs, HR Directors, Chief People Officers, Non Exec Directors and Marketing Officers, take offence with my conversations around the Black experience and because of this, troll me ruthlessly online.”

On this occasion however, the trolls did not get their way. That video released May 30 marked ‘Day 1’, and though her desire to speak up has seen her lose business acquaintances and opportunities as a result, she has not been deterred. 106 entries or ‘Days’ later, Shereen continues to commentate and reflect on a number of experiences both old and new concerning the realities of being black in the UK. Her vlogs have included discussions on the Ethnicity Pay Gap, navigating corporate frustrations and colourism while featuring a number of special guests. But at the heart of the experience following her online journey, is her willingness to bring timely talking points to the table and a refusal to hide away from the bigger issues.

Shereen’s day job in HR sees her focus on providing solutions and perspective in the field of anti-racism discourse at board level, as well as ‘facilitating listening forums for black and other marginalised employees’. It is a position she’s dedicated a significant portion of her working life to, but at the heart of her role as ‘The HR Conversationalist’ has, in her own words, been “having the courage to stand up against what is not right”. Should she stick to this formula as one suspects, there are sure to be countless more platforms for her to spread her message to.

Mayowa Ayodele

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A call to action…

For 24 years OBV have fought to ensure black and minority ethnic participation and representation in civic society. Efforts in continuing to do so though, relies on your help. That way we can continue this fight for greater race equality. What would give us a tremendous boost is if today, you made that small donation yourselves, but even more importantly if you encouraged others to do likewise.

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