Choose your own Destiny
Interview with Dr Yvonne Thompson
by Dr Marina Nani
Dr Yvonne Thompson, you are the founder of Wintrade Week London, and you inspire and guide others to achieve their dream. What first inspired you to choose this career path?
I was trained in communications at the College Of Distributive Trades, at which I gained a diploma in CAM Communications Advertising and Marketing. But believing in lifelong learning, I strive to continually update my skill set. My focus is my clients: to ensure they get the best communications, advertising and marketing campaigns for their business. I have worked for myself over the past 35 years, and have covered industries including arts and entertainment, creative, government, finance, legal, radio, print and film. Starting the first black-owned PR 35 years ago, being one of the founding Directors of Choice FM, the first black-owned legal radio station, are amongst the many firsts I have had in the UK within the Black Community.
You are passionate about your work: what drives your vision?
I’m an advocate and a campaigner and what drives my vision is my passion for equality and inclusion. My vision is that one day we will all have equality of opportunity, equal access to information, contracts, finance, advice, guidance, business support for women and minority business owners and minorities in corporate structures.
What is the closest cause to your heart?
Closest to my heart is our future. Our young people, and ensuring they learn from what I went through. I’m doing this so they can step up on my shoulders and continue from where I left off rather than starting again from a clean sheet. The big change did not come in time for my daughter’s generation to benefit as much as I would have liked, but hopefully, by the time my grandchildren's generation grows up, there will have been sufficient progressive change for them to benefit.
What current projects are you working on?
So many but here are a few! Currently, I’m campaigning for equality of opportunity in the Queen’s Honours system, equality for minorities and women on boards across various industries, promoting the recognition of the first African and Caribbean war memorial just launched in Brixton’s Windrush Square, but my biggest focus is of course Wintrade Week. An annual week focusing on developing, networking and enhancing women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs across the globe. Giving them the opportunity to network and make contacts for contracts during one week, in one city with endless opportunities.
What needs to change in the world for your ideal vision to be realised?
Equality of opportunity, equal access, equal choice. Everyone should have the ability to choose their own destiny and the path they will take to that end result.
What do adults have to practically do to inspire younger generations?
Be the best role model you can.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Aside from watching my mother prepare breakfast for our huge family, it would be running through sugar cane fields in George Town Guyana. Enjoying the sunshine and freedom. Probably aged about 3 years old.
Who most inspires you?
It’s got to be my mother, her work ethic, her strength, her resilience. All qualities I think I have passed on to my daughter and I can already see she has passed on to her children.
If you could be anyone in history for a day who would you choose to be and why?
Probably a Bill Gates. He created something that has the ability to touch everyone, everywhere, at any time.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still doing what I enjoy – supporting, advising and where possible guiding others to help them achieve their dream.