Chidi, an Assistant Director of Events in Washington, DC
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My name is Chidi Nwaneri and I work as an assistant director for events in Washington, D.C. I graduated from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) with a degree in communications focused in social influence and international development. My love for bringing people together with a purpose has brought me to this point in my career.
It’s already a bold enough name--do you identify with being a “corporate black girl”?
I am a proud black woman striving to be the best at everything I do. My current work allows me to interact with the corporate world, but it does not define me.
Diversity is a concept that is open to interpretation. What does it mean to you?
Diversity is much more than just bringing people of different backgrounds/lifestyles/personalities together in a space. It is about inviting each one of them to speak and LISTENING when they do. Diversity is a commitment to making sure that EVERY VOICE IS HEARD.
How would you explain your job title to a child?
Think of your favorite play, concert, movie, amusement park, or even birthday party. I work behind the scenes to make sure the magic happens and everything/everyone is set and ready to go.
What were important steps you had to take to be in your current position?
Internships are the key to entering into any field. I always recommend that undergraduate students strive to have at least 2-3 internships during their college career. I interned at my current organization during my final semester of college and this gave me a huge leg up when applying for jobs.
What challenges have you experienced in the workplace?
Being a black woman in the workplace can be a challenge, especially when there aren’t many others who look like you. I have struggled with finding a sense of belonging and deal with microaggressions all the time. It is important to remind myself not to compartmentalize my feelings when placed in uncomfortable situations. Speaking up is the most important way to overcome challenges in the workplace as a black woman.
What are some things that you love about your job/career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
No day is the same. I love that aspect of my job! I could be hosting a conference, tackling a seating chart, visiting a cool new venue, selecting menus for a dinner, and attending an advance meeting with partners all in one week. In 5 years, I will be hosting my own events across the globe.
What advice would you give someone trying to pursue your career?
Do it. Take the leap of faith and start talking to people in the industry you are interested in. Ask the hard questions. Look for opportunities to offer assistance and learn. Focus on building relationships.
What advice do you have for someone first coming into a professional space? It can be more than one.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are your BEST ADVOCATE.
Build relationships with your colleagues and people in your industry. Collaborate whenever you get the chance.
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