Timi Oni started her career at FTI Consulting, then moved in-house to the Royal Bank of Canada before joining BlackRock. We asked Timi to share her thoughts on building awareness of diversity in Comms, career challenges, lessons learned and her green fingers.
1. Can you give me a brief overview of your background and experience.
I stumbled into Corporate Comms after a Batchelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and a Masters in International Business that took me to Mexico for a life-changing six months. I started out in agency at FTI Consulting and three years later went in-house at the Royal Bank of Canada before joining BlackRock.
2. What would you say are the three key attributes that have contributed to your career progression?
I have been fortunate to have had talented and supportive managers and mentors throughout my career, who instilled in me the value of being receptive to change, and fostered professional and personal curiosity.
3. Why is there still such a disproportionately low representation of BAME professionals in PR and Comms?
The benefits of diversity to team output are widely touted but going beyond the rhetoric to recruit and retain BAME professionals needs to be intentional. It requires a concerted effort to get to know people from different backgrounds and at all stages of their careers, suppressing the tendency to take the easy route with candidates from homogenous backgrounds.
4. Do you think the events of the past few months and the increased momentum around BLM will kickstart some much needed changes?
I'm cautiously optimistic. Words are easy and lasting change requires a level of tenacity and personal sacrifice that I hope we are all willing to embrace.
5. What is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far?
Listen first, speak second.
6. If you hadn’t ended up working in comms, what was your plan B?
Become an architect and / or landscape designer
7. Do you have any hidden talents?
No. But I am determined to be a self-sustaining gardener and to learn more languages.
Thank you, Timi.
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