I’m Possible is a women’s networking event that champions the achievements Riaof five women from ethnic minority backgrounds, who work in a wide range of industries.

The diverse panel of women come together to share their stories of success and failure, along with the wisdom that they have learnt throughout their lives. It is a hugely inspiring and uplifting event which makes you feel privileged to be part of the conversation and to hear their stories.

I first discovered I’m Possible when I was researching events taking place in London to celebrate International Women’s Day. While I go to a lot of events, what I didn’t expect from I’m Possible, was to feel such a profound effect even days later which left me eager to go to the next one and spread the word about this event to my friends.

And so, as I’m Possible celebrates its third anniversary this month, this provided the perfect opportunity for me to grab five minutes with its Founder, Simone Bresi-Ando to discuss how she made I’m Possible a reality.


What inspired you to start the I’m Possible Conversation?
My good friend Zena Tuitt told me to watch the Ted Talk with Brene Brown about The Power of Vulnerability. I watched it and I cried but in my head I was thinking that nobody looks at women of colour as vulnerable. Nobody looks at the many dimensions of us, nobody hears our stories. I need to let people hear our stories and make people understand that we are multi-dimensional. So I decided, I’m going to put five women on a stage and ask them to talk about their life and how they became possible. The concept was born in February 2011 and by June 2011, I had launched my first I’m Possible event.


What were the challenges you faced along the way?
The challenges were people understanding why it needed to happen and the value it could bring. Markets like America get it, of course women of colour need to be recognised, but in England this was a very new approach to focus on women of colour. There is a global appetite for what I do, so I think it’s a bit of an oversight that there are not more events like this in England.


How did you overcome them?
I built this whole movement through social media, I started disseminating relevant news and events that were of interest to women of colour. Then I launched Talking Tuesdays, which is now a monthly Google Hangout which gathers women from all over the world to discuss issues that affect women of colour. That for me, is the purest form of I’m Possible. Breaking geographical boundaries and defining success on our own terms.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Taking I’m Possible to New York was the greatest achievement because New York is the creative birthplace of I’m Possible. It’s where I saw Black Girls Rock in 2009 which changed the course of my life. I left my job at Sony Ericsson, I started I’m Possible and set up my own PR Consultancy. I learnt so much from that city in how to put on a great event, network and talk about yourself in a positive way and get what you want from life, on your terms. I wanted to make sure I could share these powerful skills with other women and so if we could circulate that power and the opportunities amongst us, we can then become self-sufficient and that’s what I’m trying to build, self-sufficiency.


With over 900,000 unemployed young people currently in the UK. We are seeing a lost generation of young people lacking inspiration and positive role models. How does I’m Possible seek to help young people?
In May we launched the I’m Possible Girls Summit in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Trust where we took local school girls and gave them a day of workshops where we empowered them to think about what it would truly mean to be possible. We gave them tips on sex education and understanding the difference between sex and love; what it would be like to own their own business; we discussed politics and what changes they would like to see in the world and generally, we helped these girls understand themselves in the world.

We also have a Youth Edition of the I’m Possible Conversation that takes place in the House of Commons where we take 100 school girls in to listen to a panel of amazing women of colour to inspire them but we also encourage them to ask questions about any troubles that they might have, that they can offer some advice to help them.


What about young black men? Are there plans to set up an I’m Possible Conversation to champion successful, black men and inspire young, black boys?
I need to be my authentic self as a woman of colour and I want men to do this for themselves. I think it’s very important that men talk to each other in a style that is effective, sustainable and lasting. I wouldn’t want men to think that we are encroaching in a space that really we don’t have any authority over. I am happy to work with anyone who wants to build something but it needs to come from men.

10365831_852236288137376_4379786218886842567_nWhat’s next for the I’m Possible series?
At the moment I’m really concentrating on the global roll-out of I’m Possible and getting the different editions going in other countries. The opportunities that come in when you start connecting with people in different countries, are absolutely out of this world.

It really has been wonderful to observe Simone’s journey and to watch I’m Possible grow over the past year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a regional tour as I think this would hugely benefit other women and girls around the country, but as is often the case with all initiatives such as I’m Possible, it all boils down to securing sponsors and financial support.

In the meantime, if you haven’t experienced this great event yet – get involved! There’s a wealth of inspirational women waiting to meet you.


Words by Presenter, Ria Hebden