In light of the recent events, we at BEYOUROWN want to develop our involvement with the #Blacklivesmatter movement and collectively stand in solidarity to help protect others who fall victim to racial hatred. We have put together a project with some of the UK’s leading Black female entrepreneurs from a selection of diverse industry fields, these women have written a heartfelt letter, to shed a little more light on their own personal journey throughout career and business building.

Multi-dimensional, these women highlight many aspects of the racial discrimination experienced, whether it be the invisible limitations and challenges faced due to skin colour, or the micro-aggressions, racial inequality and disgusting abuse that occurs in and out of the workplace, much of which is typically down-played, humoured and is not a true depiction of what we often see in UK mainstream media.

At BEYOUROWN we stand in solidarity, love and humanity. Furthermore, we will maintain our commitment to working consciously as a community to address and improve the conditions regards to racial inequality. We will also stand behind and support those who push for justice and fairness. We must not stay silent, for silence will simply not dismantle this alone. We must educate ourselves and others. We absolutely must protect those who are prey to racial inequality, mistreatment, pain and suffering on a daily basis. We at BEYOUROWN will continue to acknowledge our position of privilege and will use it for the greater good. We aim to highlight and amplify the voices of our Black female entrepreneurs and will continue to do so.

Dr Michele McDowell is a Child and Educational Psychologist with over 18 years’ experience of working with adults, children and schools. In the last 5 years, she has experienced a significant increase in cases of children experiencing excessive gaming behaviour and consequently educational and social-emotional problems.Dr. McDowell expertly uses up-to-date research to provide techniques and strategies for parents to use with their children to stop excessive gaming behaviours and create healthy alternatives.  

Dr Michele McDowell’s letter

People often ask me when it was that I first felt the fire in my belly to live my life purpose and as a true psychologist. I would say my childhood.

Being the last of six children from a Windrush generation, family meant a lot to us. I had a strong sense of my parents’ desire for us all to do exceptionally well. They strived so we could thrive. My Mum always said that they knew the system by the time I came around. So she taught me to read and write before I started school, and there began my insatiable love of learning.

Books allowed me to hold a vision of possibilities, so when I was told by the career’s teacher that I should think about working in a nursery when I told her I wanted to be a paediatrician, I laughed because far from clip my wings that was the first of many negative views that drove my determination.

My life has been sprinkled with rejection and underestimation but I was brought up imbued with such confidence and self-belief that nothing was going to stop my shine!!

Becoming a Psychologist was a triumph in many ways. I was the first of my family to gain a degree.  In the years I prepared for the MSc and later my doctorate I was often told it was incredibly competitive. Each time the formidable statistic was quoted as if to beat me down but perhaps under the guise of ‘managing the expectations’. However, instead of dampening my resolve, I constantly affirmed that I would be one of the cohorts no matter what!!

Similarly, when I decided to offer Psychology support privately in my own unique way, I was terrified but used that energy to ignite the fire in me. Mefinition Coaching was born out of my desire to support people and parents with defining their life on their own terms!

My ‘Mefining’ vision is for Black Female Entrepreneurs to have deep inner knowing, love of self and the resilience it takes to launch and sustain successful businesses that then go on to offer the huge financial, spiritual and emotional rewards to deliver on their wildest dreams.

I understand the urge to create and take risks to get what you want. I understand the excitement of a new enterprise and the knock-on practical and psychological issues incurred when things stop going to plan or we crash and burn too often for lack of support!  I also know the struggle in striving to achieve in a world that’s forever trying to put you in a box and how tough it can be to keep winning through at the same time as having a family!

Like anything we plan to build we must make sure the foundations are solid. Perhaps unlike many other coach-psychologists, my journey to where I am now has served me well with both the empathy and insights needed to help others to refine and define themselves from the inside out

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