As children, we are asked to envision our dream professions. Doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, firefighters. By six years old, I was dubbed “Mrs. President” at my school due to my excessive commentary on the 2008 election and the donning of my stark purple Obama campaign t-shirt. By 13, my mom had projected that I would be a lawyer given my “gift for gab,” and she enrolled me in Teen Court’s program, seeing my future unfold in front of me when I won my first mock trial case. By 15, the seeds of the activist I have blossomed into today were planted as I attended my first rally, and at 16 I thought that I would become a doctor given my love for helping others. At 18, I took up learning as much as I could about systemic oppression and its impact on equity and minoritized communities as we view them today.
Throughout our lives, we are handed cookie-cutter career options and told to select from only a handful. When I was told that there were more opportunities out there than I could ever know, I had only two questions: what and where? We’re told about lawyers and politicians when we express an interest in legislation, told that we can either represent in a courtroom or represent by running for office. What about a career that can combine a love for community organizing and advocacy with a gift for strategy? What about one that can allow someone to pursue business and sales while also pioneering research? What about a career that’s flexible while also challenging and allows you to never be bored? What about being a consultant?
It wasn’t until last month that I learned the job even existed. The thought of a career that allows you to work with different organizations (or even campaigns) chipping in your two cents, strategizing, representing, and forming connections sounds too good to be true. Even better, there is no set path that one must follow in order to pursue this career: volunteering on campaigns and forming connections can get you as far as a postgraduate degree. The world of consulting is an amorphous one that even I don’t fully understand, but that is only because of the huge diversity in what the job description and life of a consultant can look like. One consultant can be mainly invested in business while another can focus on research. Others do more identity-based work and take up the cause of advocacy via communications. Some work exclusively for firms, others work with campaigns. The list goes on.
While not every aspect is known to me, for the past two weeks, I have been uncovering what it means to be a Black consultant in GAIN Power’s Black Consultant Series on Instagram Live. For those of us just entering the world of politics or even those who are more experienced and looking to shift their focus, insight from people who have paved the way for future consultants is invaluable. For more information, guidance (and even advice for those looking to enter the field), join us on Instagram Live at 6pm EDT on Mondays and Wednesdays for new episodes of the Black Consultant Series! Previous episodes are available on our Instagram page, @gainpower: https://www.instagram.com/gainpowerorg/