A message of empowerment for Black History Month

A message from Jenny Hall from our engagement and experience team

As we approach the end of this year's Black History Month, I wanted to share my personal experiences, reflections and highlights.

There have been lots of pivotal moments for me this year. First and foremost empowering my two sons (our next generation) in taking the bold steps of pursuing their own goals. With my eldest continuing his studies in America and my youngest in Lancaster; my legacy will always live on in them. 

As I continue to write my blog, my reflections also include that we are in the midst of the Israel/Gaza conflict - an intense global challenge, unique and unprecedented of our time but we must hold on to hope which must always remain in us all. 

And finally, on to this year's She Leads for Legacy ‘Empowered to Lead’ conference, co-founded by a mother and daughter team, championing the acceleration of black female leaders. It was held on Saturday 28 October.

The start of this year’s conference at the weekend encouraged us to make our own pledges and affirmations to start the day (oh, I should also mention the scrumptious breakfast buffet and tasty lunch). There was a plethora of passionate and inspirational black women speakers, first up Dr Tessy Ojo CBE, where this tall glass of sass empowered us to be ambitious, audacious and creative. There was a panel discussion on 'health is your wealth' swiftly followed by the brilliant Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE. My takeaway from her heartfelt childhood to adulthood experiences were the three Cs:

  • Consideration - all embracing and empathy
  • Contentment - a happy heart is the key to life, be satisfied with what you’ve been given
  • Confidence - like the person looking back at you, wrapped up with courage, integrity and honesty

Panel discussion number two centred around the power of allyship (efforts by groups of people to advance the interests of marginalised groups both in society at large and in particular social contexts, for example universities or workplaces), being consciously inclusive, helping our colleagues and our communities to feel respected, involved and connected. We were treated to a performance from the rich and vibrant gospel AMC choir. We joined in by clapping, singing and dancing which brought much joy and happiness. 

British soprano Nadine Benjamin MBE used her performance to highlight the many ways that trauma affects our lives, from neurodiversity and addiction, to music as a healing force for her to help her dig deep into who she was and to find her voice to rise up and build. 

Being part of celebrating our sisters at the conference and throughout Black History Month has left me feeling inspired to look at who I am, to celebrate who I am, to continue being bold and courageous, to keep going and to effect change with my voice - my personal pledge.

This event has left me feeling re-energised to rise up and build: on playing my part in making the Trust a great place to work, to rise up and be an ally to others, to continue to build on the work of delivering outstanding care in improving lives and to own my success!

Thank you to everyone who helped make it an amazing Saturday, there’s nothing more empowering than lifting up each other. Lastly, but by no means least, a massive thank you to SHSC for allowing me the opportunity to attend She Leads with Legacy 2023. I really enjoyed the day - we’re all leaders. 

Jenny Hall