Celebrating Black History Month

A group of Black women members of TfL staff outside Brixton Station. They are working across the organisation in a range of areas including Planning, Operations and Communications.

Black History Month is the annual celebration of the invaluable contributions of black people. We’re celebrating this October with a programme of poetry, art, music and wisdom from women on our network. Come join us! 🥳

Saluting our sisters at Brixton Station 🙌

Next time you are in Brixton station, look out for a photo series celebrating some of our black female members of staff. They work across the organisation in a range of areas including Planning, Operations and Communications. The photography series is titled ‘Saluting Our Sisters,’ the work sees each featured woman share their achievements and aspirations both inside and outside the workplace. 

The photo series will launch at Brixton station in early November.

  • Winnie, HR Administrator. Winnie has worked for TfL for 13 years, and would like Black History Month to be a celebration of the great achievements of Black people, so as to motivate future generations. In her own life, Winnie is proudest of going back to university as an adult and mother of two young ones and graduating with a first class degree.
  • Joan, Emergency Planning Manager. Joan has worked for TfL for 37 years in a variety of roles, including working as the first woman Victoria line train operator and the first woman in the Emergency Responce Unit. 'Despite all the NOs I got throughout my career, I was able to move into roles that seems unachievable!'
  • Nekita, Project Manager. Nekita has worked for TfL for 23 years. In addition to her day job, she has also founded the non-profit organisation, EmpoweringallWomen. She is from Eastern Nigeria, and has been active in a legal case in which the right of women to own and inherit property alongside male heirs was upheld, after being ignored for decades.
  • Marilyn, Communications Manager. Marilyn has worked for TfL for 16 years. Outside of work, she is proud of raising her son and seeing him become a wonderful young man who is flourishing in his own career. She volunteers for this photoshoot because she loves her heritage, but also wanted to celebrate her 'TfL SiStars'.
  • Kemi, Resources and Deployment Co-ordinator. Kemi has worked for TfL for 19 years. 'When I first came to this country, I remember the overwhelming feeling I got from just sitting on the train, travelling from station to station, trying to comprehend the whole network and the way it works... I have come a long way. I can proudly state how much I have contributed to the running of the railway.'
  • Kelly, Senior Property Development Manager. Kelly has worked for TfL for more than seven years. During her career, she is proudest of her work delivering affordable homes for families who were finally receiving adequate space to meet their needs.
  • Faith, Principal Technical Specialist. For the past 45 years, Faith has worked to make London's transport run more smoothly. 'Designing streets is a great career!' Faith comes from an Indo Caribbean heritage, and wants to raise awareness about the role of this community as part of the Windrush Generation.
  • Sharon, Control Operations Manager. Sharon has worked for TfL for 33 years. She wanted to participate in this photoshoot because this is the last Black History Month she will be spending in a control room, as she prepares to retire.
  • Eyituoyo, Professional Development Trainer. Eyituoyo has worked for TfL for 18 years, and helps people fulfil their career potential. She participated in this photoshoot because she feels it is important 'to make our faces seen and our voices heard.'
  • Denise, Works Assessment Manager. Denise has worked for TfL for 14 years and is a child of the Windrush Generation. Her father made the three-week journey from St Vincent to London when he was only a teenager, joining his mother who had already come to the UK.
  • Nky, Project Controls Manager. Nky has worked fot TfL for about 17 years and is the Vice-Chair of the Women's Colleague Network Group. Her history is rooted in the Ibo culture of Umueze Aroli village in Onitsha-Ado kingdom in the eastern part of Nigeria, West Africa.
  • Ibilola, Customer Service Supervisor on the Notherrn line. Ibilola enjoys meeting people and making a difference in their lives. She is passionate about educating people about the rich diversity of the Black community.

Celebrating Black authors 📚

A leaflet of poems by black poets is available at most London Underground stations.  TfL’s Poems on the Underground programme has been running since 1986. The leaflet brings together works featured on the network over the years by Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay and Grace Nichols. The poems give valuable insight into the complexities of Black History.

Celebrating the Windrush Generation

2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation, and this year’s Black History Month theme is ‘Before Windrush.’ We’re celebrating the culture and contributions of the Windrush generation with a special commemorative bus wrap. 

The zero-emission bus is now running between Clerkenwell Green and Dulwich. If you spot the route 40 bus, don’t forget to tag Transport for London in your pictures 👀 

Commemorating Windrush Bus - the green side of the design featuring the artwork of Baraka Carberry

Look out for these giveaways 🤩

We’ll be giving away of books written by Black authors to staff and customers at various stations across the London Overground network on the 20 October.

Book and merchandise giveaways will be held at various stations across the London Overground network on 16, 18, 25 and 31 October.

DJ sets will take place at the following London Overground stations between 14:00 and 19:00:
Wednesday 18 October: Shepherd’s Bush
Tuesday 24 October: White Hart Lane
Tuesday 31 October: Dalston Junction

Wisdom from our network 😃

The Windrush generation laid the foundations for black British society as we know it today.  Many people in Caribbean and Commonwealth communities found jobs in the London transport system. Read the story of two generations of one family who worked at TfL.  

We strive for diversity and inclusivity across all of our teams and departments. So, to celebrate Black History Month, and to encourage more diversity and better representation across the industry, we’ve spoken to three fantastic women within our Commercial Development team to share their wisdom and tips. 👇 

Patience, Business Data Analyst

Patience data analyst headshot

Patience is one of our business data analysts. She’s shared her tips to encourage more diversity within the industry:  

  • Be a role model – whether it’s as a mentor or colleague, we can all motivate each other to improve 
  • Choose your own goals – hold yourself to your own standard rather than anyone else’s 
  • Use the data available to inform how you can make the workplace better 
  • Recognise your privilege and ask yourself how you can use your platform? You can be the one to bring forward positive change 
  • Be realistic and manage expectations. I try to teach my children what the world is like so they won’t get a shock and fall at the first hurdle 
  • Work for a company that you can feel proud of. I contribute to TfL’s role as a landlord and I stay driven knowing that what I do is helping us care and provide for the small businesses on our estate 

Sovina, Principal Property Surveyor 

Sovina principal property surveyor headshot

Sovina, one of our Principal Property Surveyors, has shared some words of wisdom for those starting out in the construction and property industry. As a member of and assessor for RICSshe is a role model for many of those taking their steps into the sector: 

  • Get a mentor! They can help you navigate your way to success. This can be through a scheme or maybe your manager can recommend one for you
  • Be inquisitive and ask questions. Not only about your department, but about how other departments work in parallel to yours. It will only make you more rounded
  • Don’t make yourself small or focus on those that are discriminatory. Focus on your goals, everything else is a distraction
  • Create a legacy – join network groups and do your bit to make a difference for the ones that come after you
  • Be kind to everyone! It doesn’t matter if it is the cleaner, a graduate or a director. We are all there for the same purpose. Do your bit to change office culture for the better 

Paige, Apprentice

Paige apprentice headshot

Paige is one of our inspirational apprentices at TfL and has already been shortlisted as part of the We Are The City’s Rising Star awards. She has shared some of the key lessons that she’s learnt early on in her career: 

  • Understand who you are and how you want to impact the world. Self-discovery and deliberate practice are what makes the most talented professionals great – not just luck 
  • Use your diversity as a competitive advantage and champion what makes you unique. As Janice Bryant Howroyd says, never comprise who you are to become someone you wish to be professionally 
  • Nobody wins alone – always seek to develop other people. I am strong advocate for this believe that we can help each other out

Franklin, Moves Coordinator

Franklin moves coordinator headshot

Franklin, who coordinates workspace moves at TfL, has been playing a vital role in the discussions and activities regarding diversity and inclusion within TfL. He has shared his thoughts and experiences:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up. Ask for time and representation with senior management. A range of perspectives need to be taken into account and it will only make the business stronger
  • Uncomfortable can be good. I recently hosted a discussion with senior managers that challenged them on what they believed diversity was and how diverse they are in their own lives. It wasn’t always an easy conversation and it was nerve-wracking, but it made everybody think
  • Consider reverse mentorship. Within our directorate, we are working with senior leadership to provide them with mentors so they can learn more about others’ experiences and cultures
  • It takes a brave person to share their experiences – it’s not just those who have been affected by racism or discrimination either. We need people to talk about when they’ve made mistakes and how they’ve changed their behaviour – this level of openness will help to encourage further change and there’s no shame in showing how you’ve reformed

Have you got any other career tips? Share them in the comments below 👇

1 Comment

  1. I just took the Victoria line from Victoria station and I loved your Black History Month poster display on the way in to the tube, many thanks!

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