By Joshua Dwayne Joseph, Store Manager at Colliers Wood – High Street food store.
Feeling inspired by Black History Month, I’d like to share my journey with you.
My name is Joshua, I’m Caribbean, originally from Trinidad, and I’ve been living in the UK for 18 years now.
I decided to join the Co-op because I liked what I read about their history, but also that they give their profits back to their members and the communities in which they serve. More importantly, it was a way of doing business that I’d never heard of before and I found that very appealing.
My journey within the Co-op started as a Team Manager 6 years ago – which I really enjoyed and it taught me a lot. I then heard about the boost programme which helped people like me (with an aspiration to become a Store Manager) get prepared for your next role. When the secondment role opportunity came around to be a Store Manager I was thrilled, but more importantly, I was ready. Since then, I’ve run two stores to date and successfully completed the CMI programme
I decided to complete the level 4 Apprentice programme to further develop myself and my career. The fact there isn’t enough Black leaders was an important factor and acted as inspiration for me to try and make a difference.
As a role model, I know I have a unique opportunity to help change perceptions of Black people in a way that someone without my position may not be able to. Having more Black leaders is not only important for representation, but also to bring forward a diverse viewpoint on different things that matter to the Black community. It’s also why the Commitment we made to increasing Black leaders in our Co-op is so important.
The benefits of taking part in all these different development opportunities across Co-op has allowed me to share my success stories with other Black colleagues. I believe it’s had a truly powerful impact on them because they know they’ve someone who understands them and knows where they’re coming from.
When I first joined Co-op, I really believed in myself and now I’m reaping the rewards – I’m proud of my journey, I’m Proud To Be me. I hope that by sharing this story it’ll help fellow Black colleagues strive for better, and help show it can be done – I’m living proof! Have the courage you need to push yourself to go above beyond and take that first step by having an open and honest conversation with your line manager. Good luck.