Photography by Shopé Delano
It feels like not long ago I was writing an update on phase two of gal-dem. This time I write with a slightly different announcement – to share that I’ll be moving from my current role as CEO to becoming the president of the board (and a student) as gal-dem enters a new and exciting chapter.
While much of this year has been absolutely shocking thanks to Covid-19, on a personal level, it’s also been a year for re-evaluation and reorganisation, which is why it’s time for me to go back to school (uni), move into a different role within gal-dem and welcome a familiar face into a position of leadership.
Our new CEO Mariel Richards has been involved since the very beginning. She knows the organisation intimately and her determination, skill and passion for gal-dem make her the perfect candidate to take on such a significant appointment. I’ll be close by, working with her over the next year and beyond.
The past five years have been nothing short of transformative on every level, and I can’t wait to guide gal-dem into its new phase of being. The list of lessons learned and achievements feels somewhat infinite. So much so that if I sit and really think about it all, I can’t help but shed a tear. The good kind of “oh my god I can’t believe what has happened in the past five years – PINCH ME PLEASE” kind of cry. It’s been wonderful and also challenging.
It isn’t just the takeovers or the shiny stuff which has stood out to me. It’s also been the day-to-day. Securing our first office (and then losing it, thank you Covid-19) and celebrating wins together have been so special – the physical manifestations of something that started as a daydream. I’ve particularly loved seeing our podcast come together this year, our brilliant partnership with the BBC to launch I May Destroy You and was blown away by Nimo Omer’s investigation on the case of Shukri Abdi. It’s exactly the type of content that embodies what gal-dem is all about.
Our dreams are big and beautiful and our potential to shape dialogue and debate is unprecedented. As put by Mariel, “gal-dem is run by a team who are so passionate about the work they create and sustain. I’m excited about the task I now have, the stories we have yet to tell, the people we have yet to reach, and all of the places we have yet to go.”
For the past five years, it has been my mission to find ways to share stories from voices which are so often left out of the mainstream, and as I transition into my new role at gal-dem, my goal remains the same. One of my mentors and friends, the publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove, regularly reminds me that you can only become a brilliant storyteller through the act of study. So this is what I am going to do; dedicate real time to learning alongside my new role within gal-dem in the form of an MA in black British literature. This course will be a fantastic resource in helping to shape our mission moving forward.
I really want to use this as an opportunity to say thank you to my brilliant team and to everyone who has supported us on the journey so far and on into this next phase. I’ve been so fortunate to work with some of the most incredible people.
Over the past couple of years alone, I’ve had the absolute privilege of working closely with one of the most compassionate human beings – Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, our head of editorial. I could also count on Niellah Arboine (OG and go-to for all things food and telly related), culture editor Kemi Alemoru (president of all things pop culture), music editor Tara Joshi (the most impeccable music taste you’ve ever heard), first person editor Micha Frazer-Caroll (who somehow always manages to have THE take on what is happening in the world), former politics editor Leah Cowan (whose writing never fails to pack a punch), social media manager Shanice Dover (queen of the internet and wild stories), partnerships manager Alysha Ali (whose energy is the epitome of warmth) and, most recently, commercial and memberships assistant Sophia Powell who it has been an absolute joy to work with over the past six months, and the amazing Moya Lothian-Mclean, who covered as our politics ed for three months earlier in the year. Our interns Sana Haq, Chris Ivey and Rosel Jackson Stern also taught me a huge amount and made me feel a million years older than I am.
The list could go on as there are so many people who I’ve learned from on both a personal and professional level.
Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to and introduce gal-dem’s new CEO, Mariel Richards. I’ll be working on an extended handover with her until the end of 2020 and she will formally be taking up this new post in January 2021. Mariel is the perfect person for the job and I cannot wait to see what gal-dem looks like under her leadership.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait for the next part of this journey.