'Being a diversity activist' with Melanie Sharma-Barrow
'Activism is called activism, right? It's not called winning. If it was called winning, then it would be called winning, activism is something that you do when you detach yourself from the outcome'
Melanie Sharma-Barrow founder of Ludo Consulting which advises individuals and companies on diversity as well as culture and strategy.
'My mission is to help people with their quality of life, mostly in the workplace, but also assisting them in their personal circumstances as well. It's also to facilitate and deliver a message about discrimination to decision makers, calling it out and making a difference to the people who are being discriminated against'.
Melanie, an activist, was introduced to Purposely by a past guest who described her as one of the bravest people he knew. You will hear that Melanie doesn't mind hitting the headlines, 'as long as something positive comes out of if' for the people she protects and helps. Her activism is direct, she lets people and brands know where they have gone wrong and she demands action. You will hear that she deliberately stays away from online fights, citing Barack Obama for the inspiration to come off twitter and all other forms of social media, 'I don't believe in twitter activism, its too easy and not effective'.
Melanie is also a writer, a guest speaker and a former lawyer born in Britain now residing in Auckland with her kiwi husband and their two children. We talk about local marketing strengths, 'New Zealand markets itself well and is not as egalitarian as it presents itself to the outside world' and we focus on her motivations for leaving the corporate world and a high flying career as a lawyer in London.
We go into her new career as a consultant/activist (and how her welsh upbringing has prepared her for this work). Melanie takes on companies pointing out the racisim in their communications and advertising... 'most food brands and advertising was riddled with racism.' 'Companies needed to do a better job at educating themselves on the branding and imagery linked to their products'. She encourages consumers to harness the power they have to bring about change and speak up about racism.
She talks about the future and what motivates her to keeping going... 'I am hopeful provided I'm able to keep doing the work I do and believing that in 20 or 30 years from now, if things aren't any better, I can turn back and say, well, at least I tried. I'm only hopeful for the future because I hope that everyone else will be hopeful for a better future for their children.'