Yousuf Hussain is a Graduate Pride Lead working within the professional services sector. In this blog post he shares his thoughts on the importance of representation, the value of mentors and how they can support you in creating the future you want for yourself.

One the key reasons I’m involved in the LGBT network at work is the lack of representation I’ve witnessed growing up, while studying at university and starting my career as a graduate. I want my visibility as an ethnic minority from a religious background exploring the LGBT+ space to represent an authentic intersectional experience. Yes, that does mean acknowledging the disadvantages and discrimination that I may face in both LGBT+ spaces and general life but it also means challenging notions and stereotypes of who I am and what I can achieve. I am not what others see me as- I am what I want to be and I am what I will achieve.

A lot of my effort goes into breaking the taboos around subject matters concerning minority groups within the LGBT+ spectrum. This includes race, disability, mental health and female representation in a male dominated group.
This year I am looking to increase the visibility of faith leaders within the LGBT+ community. I also hope to go further by highlighting the visibility of the trans community. My goal is to ensure that our voices as minority groups within the LGBT+ space are not ignored.

I am a strong believer in mentors and role models. Not one but many. Finding a real mentor isn’t about picking someone and expecting them to give you life lessons. It’s about looking for connections. And if you don’t connect with someone that feels right then move on because eventually there will be a perfect fit. Just because you already have a mentor it does not mean you can’t find another who feeds another part of who you are. I can instantly think of three mentors who feed different areas of my life. One helps me focus on personal aspirations, another on career development and a third (who is the same age as me!) on making general decisions.

One of my goals in my 20's is to get onto the property ladder and I have been given invaluable advice on strategy and managing the curve balls in life when taking the steps to achieving this goal. You will know when someone is becoming your mentor when you want to keep them updated on your progress and they show interest in seeing you move forward. Your mentor should be #TeamYou.

Mentors and role models can play a significant impact on the person you strive to become. Some of these people you will only see once a couple of months and others you will speak to on a weekly basis. Be pro-active in seeking out relationships like this. These relationships are built over time and how they develop will show you the type of mentor they will be to you.

I am fearless and so are you.

If you are a young person looking to make changes in your life or would like support achieving your goals, you can connect with one of AKT’s digital mentors. Simply click here

Yousuf Hussain 
Yousuf is a corporate professional and a lead Pride representative in the graduate network.