At the ripe age of 21, Rafael dos Santos left Brazil and moved to the UK to learn English. While his intention was always to return home soon after, it has been 17 years and Rafael is still in London, this time with a successful business under his belt - HIGH PROFILE CLUB.
The company was created to help entrepreneurs raise their profiles to become more visible, credible and therefore, influential. The founder knows a thing or two about success - his living off of tuna sandwiches for 6 months to later owning his own successful PR company is testament to this. Rafael doesn't believe that he was born with an entrepreneurial spirit, but rather developed this mindset as a result of moving to the UK and not having the same opportunities as everyone else. This is the reality of migration.
When we sat down to talk with Rafael about his company, the challenges of migration and how he has come to view the state of leadership, one thing was apparent: Rafael is succeeding in celebrating diversity and promoting integration. We’ve extracted some of the perspectives and tools that Rafael has used to build a highly successful company and community, despite the challenges he faced, so that you can, too.
Overcome self-made barriers
“80% of the barriers to opportunity are in people's minds.”
Rafael believes that it is our self-made barriers that are holding us back from creating opportunities and building our successes. As someone who came to the UK with an accent and poor English-speaking abilities, Rafael understands first-hand what it takes to overcome ourself-consciousness and the mental obstacles we create. He believes that if you have the drive and are willing to ask for help, change will come.
Tip** Asking for help isa great first step to overcoming negative thoughts and the assumptions you have made about your capabilities. This is also a great way to build connections with others who most likely, can connect with your self-doubt.
Make the circle bigger
“The community is the heart of the business, so how can we help the community?”
Rafael’s experiences have shown him that the most successful businesses are those developed around a community. When it comes to building that community, it is leadership’s responsibility to act as an enabler, helping others to help each other. Rafael explains that when leaders empower people in a community to giveback and share their knowledge, this creates a domino effect of support, value and individual growth.
Tip** When building a community, Rafael shares these two ways to succeed:
1) Build a community around what you love –authenticity never lies
2) Aim to solve a problem or champion a cause
If you can develop a community from a place of shared understanding, not only will it not feel like work, but you will attract more like-minded people to your cause, as a result.
Diversity at work, works
Top management plays a critical role in diverse recruitment. Rafael believes that the simple act of spending more time with general members of staff is a productive way to increase leaderships’ understanding of their workforce’s talents. This is a critical step when it comes to finding diverse skillsets across the entire organisation. When we asked Rafael what it will take from organisations to hire more diversely, he revealed that it simply comes down to wanting this change in the first place. In other words? Diversity is a choice.
Tip** While it is a choice, companies may have a challenge to hire specifically for diversity. Organisations such as Bame, Women Like Us and myGwork are doing great work to help us navigate this challenge and celebrate more individuality in the workplace.
The above is just a taste of the lessons we have learnt from Rafael. For the full interview, which is packed with plenty of wisdom and practical advice on celebrating diversity and creating a more integrative workforce, subscribe to any of our channels below. Don’t forget to share with your community!