Former high-flying corporate lawyer and mum of four shares her real-life experiences of blazing a trail through white industry in new book which demands the responsibility for change and empowerment is shared equally between white employers and ethnic minority talent.
Submitted by Kelly Pike
“I want to empower people of colour who are giving up on high potential careers because they feel the system won’t let them get ahead”.
From the outside looking in, Caroline Flanagan’s life seems blessed. She’s confident, passionate and in demand; a wildly successful former lawyer, she is an international speaker, coach and author who counts some of the world’s largest brands amongst her impressive roster of clients. She’s also a mother of four with a devoted husband. And a woman of colour. Despite the success she enjoys today, Caroline’s life has been spent as that outsider looking in, wondering how best to break the glass ceiling or how to radiate her talent better and brighter against the majority white competition. It has been a struggle, one she continues to fight. Caroline is a modern black role model: one of the few black female professionals working in the City, she’s paying it forward by supporting other black women and men who want to succeed in a white corporate world where they are still the only black person in the room.
In her new book Be The First: People of Colour, Imposter Syndrome and the Struggle to Succeed in a White World Flanagan captures the zeitgeist of black experience beyond the civil rights protests which electrified 2020. She distills the harsh reality of professional working men and women of colour. While support for Black Lives Matter has been broadly accepted, the truth is that white leadership and systemic bias continue to act as a tangible barrier to career progression and success for black employees. Thanks to the lack of diversity and inclusion and the myriad micro-aggressions to which black workers are often subjected, people of colour can suffer from a unique form of imposter syndrome: they don’t just feel like imposters but rather they are also treated as such by their co-workers.
When you wait for an unjust system to change, you give away your power.
Flanagan doesn’t write about anything she hasn’t experienced herself, which makes Be The First engaging, honest, authentic, relatable and practical in the advice it offers. Her personal and often dark anecdotes demonstrate just how bleak the struggle continues to be for many black professionals. But Caroline believes fervently that rather than waiting for slow moving industries to change for the better, black workers, entrepreneurs and students must continue to lift themselves up and play a dynamic role in improving representation, accountability and equality. Her book is the definitive guide to the future of corporate diversity.
About the author: Caroline Flanagan grew up in relative poverty in Birmingham; her father was a bus driver and her mother was in and out of prison when she was young. Despite experiencing racism from her teachers and being evicted from her home during her A-level year, Caroline excelled academically. She worked her way through her university course at Cambridge as a silver service waitress despite it being strictly forbidden to have a job. She won a training contract at one of the world’s leading “Magic Circle” law firms; today Flanagan boasts a prestigious client list and works with global brands to improve their diversity in leadership training. The author of Babyproof Your Career (Rethink Press, 2015) Caroline has been featured in Marie Clare, Grazia and The Huffington Post. You can follow her online at www.carolineflanagan.com and @caroline_flanagan on Instagram.
Be The First by Caroline Flanagan (published February 26 by Known £12.99 paperback, £5.99 ebook) is available online from retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.
For a review copy or interview request please contact:
Hayley Radford, Head of Publicity at Authoright: +44 (0) 7710 021 475 / [email protected]