Coach Dumi Senda will be running four career surgeries for delegates at Utopia. This speaker profile will give you a flavour of what he is all about, in his own words. Enjoy!
How does your professional background link with Utopia’s themes?
As a Diversity and Inclusion expert and career coach of black and African background, issues of representation are at the centre of what I embody and the work that I do. Representation is often viewed from the perspective of recruitment and what I may call the workplace ‘body count’. While such representation is key for organisational success, it is just as if not more important to have representation in the thought leadership space. To call yourself an expert takes a fair bit of self-confidence. This is because being an expert is not an entitlement or a badge you wear, rather it is a call to duty to contribute meaningful knowledge that can move the needle further in the right direction on some pressing issues of the day.
Could you tell us some of the personal experiences that have shaped your perspective on the issues we will be considering at Utopia?
My career as a coach and diversity and inclusion expert is built on understanding and valuing the moments I have spent in the valleys of life. Having spent a decade of my life trapped in menial labour with very little prospects and pulling myself by the bootstraps to achieve career success has positioned me as an authority in my niche. I am able to draw on those lived experiences and offer solutions to challenges faced by organisations and individuals in ways that are resonant with where people are. Arguably the biggest challenge any of us will ever face, Fast Streamers included, is that of believing that you can get that dream career and life you desire despite of your current often limited and limiting circumstances. The biggest lesson from my life experiences is:
Never let your BACKGROUND keep you in the BACKGROUND!
What lessons have you learnt over the course of your career that delegates at Utopia can draw from?
Over the course of my career, I have learnt to focus more on the process and not to be distracted by outcomes. I have realised the hard way that sometimes you can do all that is required of you, tick all the right boxes, and yet the results may not be what you hope to achieve. Whether positive or negative, it is key to not dwell on singular outcomes but to stay invested in the journey and the broader impact envisioned. This is because processes can be tweaked, but outcomes are what they are – you either learn from them and move on or get discouraged.
Why are the three pillars of Utopia, and in particular the ‘Future Leaders’ strand, important to you?
The Utopia conference reflects the importance of investing in future leaders. Today’s Fast Streamers are tomorrow’s changemakers. However, it is key to realise that future leadership is not a stop or juncture in some distant future, rather it is an incremental journey of honing leadership skills today to benefit society in future. This understanding puts the Fast Stream model in general, and the Utopia conference specifically, in its true context as an effective tool to meet some of society’s biggest emerging challenges. For example, preparing leaders that can maximise the opportunities and tackle the challenges of the post-Brexit order.
What challenges do you envision arising in the future workplace, and what advice to you have for Utopia delegates on how to tackle them?
The workplace is changing in irreversible ways that we must get to grips with to preserve some of the protections afforded to the workforce in Britain and beyond in the post-World War II era. The biggest change to the workplace is probably the disappearance of the physical workplace and emergence of web-based workplaces. At the moment, society has largely been reactionary to the challenges posed by the web-based workplace as evidenced by the rising voices demanding action from tech firms. While tech firms and governments have a central role to play in determining the evolution of the web-based workplace, real and sustainable change may come from a more inclusive take which empowers end-users and practitioners to be key stakeholders. A challenge, therefore, for current and future Fast Streamers is to import the conversations currently being conducted at the top echelons of society to conferences like Utopia. It might be here where lasting solutions, in the end, may emerge.
What elements of your workshop are you most excited to share with delegates?
One of the most overlooked aspects of the workplace is understanding power dynamics that exists between individuals and groups at different organisational levels. Lack of awareness of such power dynamics diminish the ability of the workforce to maximise their potential and be in the driving seat of creating and nurturing positive relationships with their colleagues. This is why I am extremely excited to draw on the Personal Power Mastery Programme or PPMaP – a team development framework I developed to help individuals and teams to maximise their personal power to be more effective stakeholders in the workplace.
How do you envisage that the topics raised in your workshop will benefit Fast Streamers?
Fast Streamers by virtue of being on this fast-paced and dynamic programme are always moving from workplace to workplace and encountering different characteristics and environments. This presents great opportunities to learn about their own personalities and strengths and also to be aware of their weaknesses and how to mitigate these. To do so, it is necessary to have the tools or frameworks to draw from, which can guide processes such as assessing opportunities and challenges, reflecting on experiences, making decisions at key moments and evaluating impact. The coaching session is not intended to tell Fast Streamers what they do not know, but to give them more awareness thereby empowering them to be more in control of their development in the workplace.
To find out more, visit Dumi's website _[here](https://www.dumisenda.com/)._