Develop, empower and inspire: The ICAS Black Members' Network
Earlier this year, ICAS launched the Black Members’ Network, a new members-led group open to black members and allies alike
The network inspires and supports our existing black members and students throughout their careers. Our goal is to develop, empower and inspire our members by providing a safe forum where they can network, share, question, challenge and receive support and advice in relation to their careers.
Here, the inaugural Chair of the Black Members’ Network, Kudzai Zendera CA, talks about its plans for the future.
What’s your background and why did you opt to become a CA?
I’d identify three things that influenced my early career choice. First, I was born and raised in the UK, but completed my secondary education in Zimbabwe. I attended a fantastic high school which, rightly or wrongly, encouraged the “traditional” career paths, such as business and accounting, law and sciences. I’d always enjoyed studying business and accounting, so it was an easy decision to pursue them at A-level.
Having returned to the UK after high school, I studied accounting for my undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester, where I attended a lot of networking events with the Big Four. Through this, I became very attracted to the prospect of pursuing a chartered accountancy career with one of those firms. I joined PwC in London, where I attained my CA qualification.
And lastly, my dad and elder brother trained and worked as chartered accountants, so subconsciously that may have played a part, too.
How did the Black Members’ Network get started?
Over the past few years, there has been a growing focus on racial equality and the barriers faced by ethnic minorities within and outside the workplace. In particular, data has shown that black students face greater barriers when seeking entry into professional roles, as do black professionals when looking to progress through the organisation. As a whole, we are under-represented in senior roles. I’m an ICAS EDI Committee member – and it was here that the idea for the Black Members’ Network was formed.
What are its objectives?
Simply to provide a safe space for students and members identifying as black, to come together, network, learn and share ideas and experiences that can help to grow both their careers and the profession. Through sharing our individual experiences, both positive and negative, we can all inspire and learn from each other. This network aims to be the forum for such learning and growth.
What are your hopes and plans for the network over the next year or two?
I’ve already learned so much in the year I’ve been here. I’m looking forward to getting more responsibility in our monthly and year-end reporting. I hope to strengthen my reviewing skills and I want to implement process improvements for the notes I prepare in the management accounts at year-end.
If you are interested in joining this network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org