We need an answer to the disillusionment of Black talent

‘Be the first’ - how to take ownership of your career when you’re the only one

Across every business sector, our Black talent drains away at mid levels, disappearing into alternative career paths and sectors.  At corporate D&I events, the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ is often repeated as a rationale for why this is.  But, whilst it is a pithy summary to deploy, it sends an unhelpful message to individuals who are faced with being the first, or one of a few, and need the tools to navigate that dynamic.  

Having coached  individuals on their career strategy for over fifteen years, Caroline Flanagan has heard too often ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ as the rationale for why an individual feels disconnected from their organisational culture and pessimistic about their prospects for success.  And this is no surprise when, looking ahead to the more senior ranks, they see talent pipelines gradually but inexorably becoming less and less diverse. Individuals at mid levels of their career long to see people who look like them and share some of their same challenges, navigating the headwinds of cultural capital and organisational politics and making it to the top. It’s a positive sign that they can do it too.

We need an answer to the disillusionment of Black talent.  

We need to empower individuals with the tools to overcome the challenges of being the only one, or one of very few, so they thrive and continue to progress to the highest levels. To change British business to match population demographics we need more Black talent to be the first, and many more to join them.  

To find out more, follow The Black Talent Charter and Caroline Flanagan on Linkedin. If you work at a BTC Signatory, please sign up to our event on 7 December 2023.


Laura Durrant
Black Talent Charter
Caroline Flanagan
Author and Business Coach