“I have a big job, but I still feel no different from anyone else.” – From the start of her talk, Miranda Wayland’s modesty, warmth and humility was immediately obvious and it was inspiring to listen to her story of how she worked tirelessly to overcome society’s perceptions of what she should be. Here are just a few of the amazing things Miranda has achieved in her career.
- Head of Creative Diversity at the BBC
- Former Head of Diversity and Inclusion at BBC Studios
- ‘Special Recognition Award’ at the Asian Media Awards for Diversity and Inclusion
In case you missed the webinar, here are three key messages Miranda had to share:
“Don’t let others define who you should be”
From a young age, Miranda’s mother instilled in her a drive to push the barriers of what was thought to be possible for a young black woman. When told at school that she would be better off to find work as a secretary, Miranda replied “I don’t want to be a secretary, I want to have my own secretary.” This passion and drive is something she has carried throughout her career and is what has pushed her to be so successful.
“Choose great role models to inspire you”
Miranda emphasised the need for young girls to have role models to look up to as a source of inspiration. For Miranda, her mother was her role model. As a woman who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the 1970’s, Miranda’s mother knew she would have to push for her daughter to break society’s ideas of what she would achieve. Miranda told the story of how, when she was rejected for a place at a prestigious school, her mother would not take no for an answer. Through her mother’s persistent phone calls and meetings with the school, they admitted that Miranda had passed the entrance exam but they were worried about her being able to afford school trips and uniform but this did not deter her, and she insisted she would ensure her daughter could attend. From a young age, Miranda experienced her mother’s drive and ambition to achieve things that were not thought of as a possibility for her and she spoke of how this inspired her. Miranda went on to say how important it was for girls to have a role model like she had to inspire and motivate them.
“Think of yourself as a brand”
When asked how she had forged such a successful career in the media for herself, Miranda said it was necessary to think of yourself as a brand. If you want to make progress in your career, you need to spend time networking with the right people and have faith in the value and skill-set you can bring to a job. Miranda expressed frustration at how women were often seen as cocky when they assert their value but, she said a faith in your own ability and the skills you can bring is essential to success in any career.
Miranda Wagland truly embodies the spirit of Rising Girl – she has constantly sought to defy ideas of what a woman of colour can achieve and her own belief in her skills and talents have led her to an outstanding career.