It was April 2013 when I’mPOSSIBLE created a youth edition of its popular event series, ‘The I’mPOSSIBLE conversation’ which put girls of colour, on a panel to talk about their life journey’s and successes to inspire London school girls. The event even got a shout out from outgoing US president and his wife; Barack and Michelle Obama as it was an official event of the Bring Your Daughter’s to Work day initiative.
Since then, I’mPOSSIBLE has taken over 200 girls to the House of Commons in partnership with Diane Abbott MP to show them how POSSIBLE they are through their peers’ eyes. We return on Wednesday, December 8 to continue inspiring a generation in the UK home of power and politics.
Protecting, nurturing and safeguarding the POSSIBILITIES of girls and young women is one of the top priorities for I’mPOSSIBLE. Teaming up with Diane Abbott MPs ‘London Schools and the Black Child‘ (LSBC) initiative that is aimed at raising achievement levels of Black pupils in London and nationwide made sense. For over a decade, Diane has campaigned in Parliament to highlight the fact that black pupils face specific challenges in education and often do less well compared to their peers. Over the years, LSBC has held a number workshops, conferences and produced publications, especially designed to give parents, teachers and the community practical weapons in the fight for educational excellence for our children.
As you would expect, I’mPOSSIBLE has been able to bring together a trailblazing group of young women of colour to inspire, they are:
Florence Adepoju – MDMflow
Florence studied Cosmetic Science at the London College of Fashion and graduated in 2013. Using her qualifications in chemistry and formulation and combining that with industry knowledge gained from working on beauty counters, Adepoju founded MDMflow in her final year of university.
Florence began by producing lipsticks from a converted lab in her shed and selling them online. Fast forward to three years of late nights and relentless work playing with pigment and perfecting the base formula, MDMflow is now sold in Harvey Nichols, Nasty Gal in the US, Mecca Cosmetica in Australia and Colette in Paris. Florence is passionate about promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in schools and has worked on the EDF Pretty Curious Campaign and was a mentor for the United Nations International Day of the Girl at the Southbank Centre.
Clara Amfo – BBC Radio 1
Clara Amfo is best known for her BBC Radio 1 show, which takes the 10am-1pm weekday Live Lounge slot. Having been awarded Radio Personality of the Year at the Glamour Awards 2016 for her work at Radio 1, she was also the host of the iconic BBC Radio 1 Chart Show – the second woman to do so since the show first started in 1967! Clara is also fast becoming a familiar face on our screens. This summer she joined the presenter team on BBC2 and BBC4 for Glastonbury 2016, which followed hosting the 2015 BBC3 festival coverage, including Radio 1’s Big Weekend and T in the Park.
Starting out her radio career at KISS FM presenting the overnight show, she quickly ascended to the Saturday Breakfast and drive time shows reaching audiences of 1 million on a weekly basis. In 2012 she was nominated for a Sony Radio ‘Rising Star’ Award, where judges said “her energy, understanding and obvious love of radio was absolutely infectious”.
Clara’s documentary’s include: Deeper than Skin for Radio 1Xtra, BBC Artsnight film about how the fame industry works, Beyond the Music: Musicals for BBC iPlayer and Running with Grief for Radio 1, all of which have received critical acclaim.
Mercedes Benson – FutureSNDS
A Social Media Manager by day at Google UK and an entrepreneur by night. Mercedes Benson has managed to launch her own, self titled style blog ‘mercedesfbenson’ curate for Amsterdam based music platform ‘22tracks’ and DJ (self taught) as well as founding the unique music platform ‘FutureSNDS’, which celebrates new talent within the UK.
Born and raised in London, Benson was heavily influenced by fashion and music. She started out as a PR intern for Puma and then moved onto Adidas, where she honed her skills to become an influencer. This now has her consulting for numerous brands and projects and she’s considered a ‘voice of authority’ for her generation. Her natural flare for knowing what’s hot before it blows is what sets her apart.
Fast-forward 2 years and Mercedes continues to connect the dots by identifying new trends across the industry. MercedesFBenson is the official renaissance girl… all under the age of 30.
Gina Obeng – Just Geen
Since the official launch of her eponymous fitness and nutrition brand, ‘Just Geen’, Gina Obeng has transferred her passion for all things sweat and igniting physical change in her clients as a qualified personal trainer.
Following on from the success of her all inclusive, all empowering personal training schemes, Just Geen began organising her “Fun Days” in 2013 in a bid to encourage more people to get active. During these events, Gina managed to secure partnerships with sporting and nourishment giants, Adidas, Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn, Meridian Nut Butter and Vita Coco.
With high profile clients such as Konan (of Krept and Konan), Stormzy, Wretch 32 and Arsenal superstar Danny Wellbeck all placing orders at Just Geen’s Kitchen, the young entrepreneur has firmly secured her presence in this competitive field. Though there is never a shortage of food brands wanting to collaborate with Gina, she also provides a tailor made meal prep service, often supplying catering to her own events as well as others.
And the lady behind the brand? One word, authentic. With a highly relatable and inspiring story of turning heartbreak to muscle ache! Her ethos, strength and her determination to achieve are inspiring for all.
Alexis Oladipo – Gym Bites
Alexis Oladipo, born and raised in Hackney, now living Essex, is the 29 year old, female founder and director of Gym Bites. Alexis’ ambition from her early 20s was to become a self sufficient, female, boss – and she made it.
After joining the Princes Trust Accelerator Enterprise in 2013, Alexis began building her very own healthy eating and wellbeing empire, Gym Bites. By providing individuals with healthy eating options for lunch and most importantly after a workout, Alexis was not only providing delicious healthy options, but also solving a problem – people are too busy to plan healthy meals that aid their active lifestyles.
What’s most unique about the brand is that each salad comes in a fun sized, recyclable plastic jar, equipped with a fork and dressing, ready for you to grab, go and enjoy!”
Jacqueline Shepherd (host)
Jacqueline Shepherd is a lead anchor on Sky 1’s magazine show ‘What’s Up TV’ since 2012. Shepherd has earned her presenting stripes tackling a whole spectrum of subjects from FGM to football, music to marriage delivering everything with professionalism.
Jacqueline’s cool, credible and engaging demeanour reflects her genuine interest in social affairs and love of entertainment. A keen advocate of a number of good causes she strives to use her platform to raise the profile of matters she is passionate about and empower the under represented. To that end, her pride at embracing her natural hair has been a magnet for many observers and industry professionals and for Jacqueline supports a message of self-acceptance that she is passionate about. Her style, warm personality, husky voice and passion for embracing her natural self, coupled with her ease at straddling both a youth and adult audience means that her potential is unlimited.
Her relatable tone coupled with a highly distinctive voice has served her well and for four years she has been the UK voice of international TV channel Trace Sport Stars voicing their premium content, countdown shows and Friday evening continuity.
There is no other platform that is taking young girls of colour onto prestigious platforms to share their stories on success, triumph and life. The I’mPOSSIBLE conversation youth edition is a gem, one we work hard to treasure and maintain.