SEE ME BE ME: The Transformative Power of Role Models

Here at SEE ME BE ME, we believe in the transformative power of role models in shaping the future.

Role models are essential in personal and community development, particularly for young people from diverse backgrounds. When young individuals see someone who looks like them overcoming barriers and succeeding, they are motivated to believe in their potential and strive for similar success.

This visibility is crucial in inspiring confidence and ambition. For my own journey, I was blessed to have had a mum who had ran her own successful coaching business which inspired me to become an entrepreneur. Her determination and success showed me that with hard work and resilience, I too could achieve my dreams. Role models serve as living proof that success, resilience, and determination are attainable, demonstrating that with determination and hard work, anyone can achieve greatness.

By embodying the SEE ME BE ME philosophy, role models instill a sense of possibility and empower individuals to dream big and achieve their goals, fostering a culture of aspiration and progress within diverse communities.

Don’t just take it from us… here’s what some of our guests have to say about role models!

Calum Nicholas, F1 Mechanic

I guess the same reason why I didn’t take an interest [in motorsport] when I was younger was because there was no real representation. I remember when I first decided that that was what I was going to do for a career. And I told my friends, and when I told my white friends, it was like “oh, cool, you know, like, wicked, that’s going to be great.” When I told my black friends, they were like “are you joking?” There was an assumption that this just wasn’t a career for black people. They knew nothing about the sport, nothing about the industry. And I was in the same position.

And then it probably wasn’t till way later in my career, when I actually went back and realised there was no representation. Like, there was no one doing this job that looked like me. The paddocks that I’ve worked in, especially the ones I worked in early in my career, they were almost entirely like one demographic of people. They were like, you know, middle aged to young, middle aged white men. You know, there were very few women. And now there are very few women in technical roles, obviously, we still have a lack of diversity of women in technical roles. But even fewer black people, or people from ethnic minorities working in the paddock, you know, it probably wasn’t until, probably wasn’t until, like, 2015, where I worked with other black people as or ethnic minority people as my colleagues. It wasn’t actually until I was well into my career in F1.

Dr Abigail Otchere, founder of SiSTEM

[My sister Donna] decided to do engineering, and she didn’t get much support. She just felt like she was the only one doing it. And especially when she got to university, her experience was being the only girl on her course, or being like one of two. It really affects your confidence. And it can really make you doubt your abilities.

And I felt the same – the higher I went, the less people that I saw that looked like me. At the beginning, I didn’t really see anything wrong with that until I started doing my PhD. And I was like “oh, wait, no other president comes from the same background as me, who sounds like me.” And that affected my abilities as well and just made me feel like I didn’t belong there.

So we would call each other up and support each other and that bond and that encouragement got us through our degrees. So when we finished that we were like, actually, we’ve got something here and other girls need to have it as well. Having someone that actually knows, has been there before, can really help you. So we decided to form SiSTEM, and form that kind of community and be able to connect women with with other women in the field so that they had those role models.

And we also want to be that form of inspiration. When I was in school, I didn’t speak to or see many people who were scientists. I don’t even remember the first time I saw black scientist – maybe like, a few years ago. But if I go into school now, and then someone sees me, they could think “she looks like me.” And she decides she can be like me. It’s really important to have those role models. And that’s why we’re providing that inspiration and just showing girls and women that they can do it.

Want to hear more from an incredible selection of role models from any and all backgrounds? Catch up with the SEE ME BE ME podcast here, or wherever you get your podcasts!