Susan Popoola

Leveraging The Value of People

Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

November 14th, 2013 by SusanPopoola

Where’s Your Poppy?

I have a poppy, which I choose to wear and I wear it with great pride. It actually looks just like this one worn by young Nicholas on XFactor.


At the same time, I’ve found it fascinating that there are people who believe that people should wear a poppy. I’ve heard it said that if you go to the BBC studios in early November you are automatically given a poppy to wear before you go on air.

More recently there has been the case of the reporter, Charlene White who has been said to have received a lot of abuse for deciding not to wear a poppy. Ref: ITV news reporter receives racial and sexual abuse.



As I’ve already said, I wear a poppy. However isn’t Remembrance Day aimed at honouring those that fought for our liberty and freedom. Regardless of opinion and reasoning, what does the condemnation, intimidation and bullying of  people who choose not to wear a poppy say about our view on their entitlement to express their liberty and freedom of choice?


Copyright 2013. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated


July 16th, 2013 by SusanPopoola

Race, Legislation and a Legacy for future Generations.

I started following the case of Travyon Martin from across the ocean here in England from the earlier days. From the early days, I mean right from the time that it was reported that he was shot, but due to the “Stand Your Ground Laws” of Florida the person who shot him, George Zimmerman was not arrested and charged. I noted how Travyon’s body was not immediately identified. I’ve followed a number of the twists and turn up to the court hearing such as the fact that it took over 40 days for Zimmerman to eventually be arrested and charged, the issues of his bail, the lies he told and I could go on and on.  I followed the court hearing – the way people spoke about and analysed the friend that he happened to be speaking to on his phone on that fatal evening on which he was killed.  I’ve followed down to jury verdict what has left me with a deep sense of disquiet…..

Disquiet as a man, George Zimmerman killed someone – a young man, a boy, teenager or however you may choose to describe Trayvon. He killed him and as the verdict was read in court and he spoke to family and friends in court, he was smiling and even possibly laughing. Now maybe this was down to a deep sense of relief, but it didn’t seem right – he may have been found innocent of murder or even manslaughter, but without question he killed someone – he took away a valuable human life.  Zimmerman has the right to his emotions and the way in which he expresses them, but I must say I might have felt better if he looked sad and dare I say if he had even cried. Cried because he was relieved, but also because he was aware that he had taken another human beings life. Instead, I subsequently hear he says that he is sorry that Travyon’s parents lost their son whilst simultaneously suggesting that the black community owes him an apology.  Unremorseful as he appears, Zimmerman also now has the right to once more walk around with a gun.

This in of itself heightens the racial element of this case. There are actually white people that have expressed concerns about George Zimmerman, however, he’s focus is on the black people who have spoken up.  Beyond this, right from the very start, the profiling of Trayvon Martin by Zimmerman that led him to follow him was at least partially due to race.  It therefore automatically becomes a race related case. If Trayvon was not black, there is a strong possibility that Zimmerman wouldn’t have viewed him as suspicious and followed him.

There’s a further possibility that the early reaction of the police was due to a mindset or at least an unconscious bias and stereotyping of young black men.  Who knows about the jury – at the end of the day the jury selection was agreed by both the defence and prosecution.

Focusing in on Zimmerman though, as a member of the neighbourhood watch it could be said that Zimmerman was duty bound to report Trayvon to the police if he thought that there was something suspicious about him, his activities or his presence.  I strongly believe that once he had done so and was told not to follow Travyon he stepped beyond what could be deemed to be reasonable actions to what I would describe as vigilante activities.

It is in line with this that I believe that Zimmerman followed Trayvon contrary to police instructions and at this point, heightened by him actually getting out of his car that I believe that he loses any justification for self defence and becomes an agitator and if at all a victim a victim of his own actions.

The facts are blurry, but if Travyon ultimately for whatever reason, attacked a strange man that had been following him and then got out of a car and came up to him (I suspect in a not to friendly manner) – something that would be very disconcerting for anyone, can you actually blame him? I would actually refer to this as him standing his ground and defending himself.  What would you otherwise have him do?

On the other hand for Zimmerman to follow Trayvon, get out of his car with a gun in his pocket and go up to someone he believed to be suspicious and dare I add on the basis of his suspicions someone possibly dangerous; and ultimately shoot him as he claimed to have been attacked by the him… this is a completely different matter.

For such a person to be found not guilty says to me that there is either a problem with laws of Florida, a problem with the presentation of the case of the prosecution; the interpretation of the law or a combination.

There is an African saying that comes to mind. “When the owner of the house does not catch the thief in time, the thief will turn around and call the owner of the house a thief” (Paraphrased)

I must add that it’s not just the verdict, but the whole handling of the case that is of concern from when Trayvon’s body was left in a morgue, to the response to his father when he reported him missing; to the lack of arrest of Zimmerman …. It is the entirety of what took place that leads to questions about the value that has been placed on Trayvon’s life. When things became public and the demands for justice begun, the handling of things improved. In many ways, I did however, find myself thinking of New Orleans and Kanye West standing up to say that George Bush doesn’t care about black people. A very strong perception (reflective of what was on many people’s minds) that planted a deep-rooted seed, even if not a reflection of reality.

The problem now is not just that either based on reality or perception, justice has not been served, but the far reaching implications for future generations.

Parents of children of colour in America, now know (not believe) without an question that they must continue to tell their children – not to run when they see a cop; to always show their hands; not to make eye contact; to be mindful of what they wear as it is subject to interpretation …..

In other words parents have been reminded that they need to teach their children that they may (and are likely to) be judged on the basis of the colour of their skin and that they must therefore prepare for this and react even before people act. Young people of colour in America will continue to be taught to be suspicious of the people’s intentions and assume that any negative response to them is more than likely to be due to the colour of their skin.

The crux of the matter is that regardless of the fact that, yes Obama is a man of mixed heritage or more simply put an African American man in the White House; the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case serves to help entrench racial prejudices and concerns for generations to come. This is the biggest concern and the long lasting legacy of the case.


Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2013. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

July 15th, 2013 by SusanPopoola

Trying to Eat Healthily


Sainsbury Carrot Juice

For the first time ever, courtesy of Sainsbury’s I drank vegetable juice (combined with fruit juice) this past weekend.  I’m pretty surprised to say that though I was somewhat hesitant, drinks of carrot juice and beetroot juice each mixed with different fruits was not only palatable, but actually quiet refreshing a nice.

You may wonder why I’m mentioning this?  Well you see over recent times I’ve become increasingly aware of my health and what I eat. When I go out I therefore look for health options for the most part. I however find it’s a struggle to find anything both healthy and appealing.

A couple of weeks back I was in Birmingham for an athletics event in Birmingham  and all the food menus seemed to be very much aligned to the one below.


Burger Menu


In frustration, I tweeted about this – questioning whether the athletes ate it. The food seemed to be a bit of a contradiction to a sports environment.

Going back this last weekend, I both made sure that I ate before I left home and additionally took some food of my own choice.  Regardless, walking into the venue, I decided to visit the Sainsbury’s stand which I hadn’t had the time to get to on my last visit.  They weren’t actually there to sell food, rather as the sponsor to the event, they were out to create an awareness of some of their healthy products.

That aside it was very much burger land with drinks of soda, larger, coffee and tea to wash it down. I haven’t suddenly become a health fanatic, however, I do believe it w\s nice to have some healthy options. I’m therefore please to have noticed a stall with some slices of watermelons and on my way out I got some delicious freshly picked farm strawberries.

Maybe when I go back next year there will be more variety/balance in the options.  After all if you can’t get that at a sports event how can we expect it anywhere else.



July 7th, 2013 by SusanPopoola

Reflecting on 7th July… In 2005 and 2013.

Today, the 7th July 2013 marks the 8th anniversary of the London bombing by four terrorists. It’s also the morning that we wake up to the news that Abu Qateda has finally been deported from the UK.  In addition to the news of suicide bombings in Uruzgan, Southern Afghanistan; Baghdad, Iraq; and  Lahore, Pakistan, there was a report of at least 29 pupils and a teacher being killed in a boarding school in North Eastern Nigeria.

Whilst I recognise that these acts of terrorism are perpetuated on the basis of these people’s definition of Islam, I really  and truly wish that we would stop calling them Islamists. I believe by doing so we almost begin to give their acts some justification or even credibility. As a Christian, I cannot speak on behalf of Muslims. However, on the basis of my understanding of Islam and interaction with Muslims over the years, I don’t believe that terrorism is a true representation of Islam. I therefore believe that by connecting terrorism to Islam and calling the terrorist, Islamist or Islamic extremist we inevitably end up avoiding the need to take the time to really and truly understand and define the root causes of these terrorist act.

More critically, however, I believe today is a time to pause and reflect on the victims of such acts.  I could try and search for the right words to express the sadness, the grief and loss as a result of such events.  However, there is someone who has a direct, personal experience that I believe expresses the situation much better. Her name is Marie Fatayi-Williams, the mother of Anthony Fatayi-Williams.

“This is Anthony, Anthony Fatayi -Williams, 26 years old, he’s missing and we fear that he was in the bus explosion … on Thursday. We don’t know. We do know from the witnesses that he left the Northern line in Euston. We know he made a call to his office at Amec at 9.41 from the NW1 area to say he could not make [it] by the tube but he would find alternative means to work.

Since then he has not made any contact with any single person. Now New York, now Madrid, now London. There has been widespread slaughter of innocent people. There have been streams of tears, innocent tears. There have been rivers of blood, innocent blood. Death in the morning, people going to find their livelihood, death in the noontime on the highways and streets.

They are not warriors. Which cause has been served? Certainly not the cause of God, not the cause of Allah because God Almighty only gives life and is full of mercy. Anyone who has been misled, or is being misled to believe that by killing innocent people he or she is serving God should think again because it’s not true. Terrorism is not the way, terrorism is not the way. It doesn’t beget peace. We can’t deliver peace by terrorism, never can we deliver peace by killing people. Throughout history, those people who have changed the world have done so without violence, they have [won] people to their cause through peaceful protest. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, their discipline, their self-sacrifice, their conviction made people turn towards them, to follow them. What inspiration can senseless slaughter provide? Death and destruction of young people in their prime as well as old and helpless can never be the foundations for building society.

My son Anthony is my first son, my only son, the head of my family. In African society, we hold on to sons. He has dreams and hopes and I, his mother, must fight to protect them. This is now the fifth day, five days on, and we are waiting to know what happened to him and I, his mother, I need to know what happened to Anthony. His young sisters need to know what happened, his uncles and aunties need to know what happened to Anthony, his father needs to know what happened to Anthony. Millions of my friends back home in Nigeria need to know what happened to Anthony. His friends surrounding me here, who have put this together, need to know what has happened to Anthony. I need to know, I want to protect him. I’m his mother, I will fight till I die to protect him. To protect his values and to protect his memory.

Innocent blood will always cry to God Almighty for reparation. How much blood must be spilled? How many tears shall we cry? How many mothers’ hearts must be maimed? My heart is maimed. I pray I will see my son, Anthony. Why? I need to know, Anthony needs to know, Anthony needs to know, so do many others unaccounted for innocent victims, they need to know.

It’s time to stop and think. We cannot live in fear because we are surrounded by hatred. Look around us today. Anthony is a Nigerian, born in London, worked in London, he is a world citizen. Here today we have Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, all of us united in love for Anthony. Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing. We must all stand together, for our common humanity. I need to know what happened to my Anthony. He’s the love of my life. My first son, my first son, 26. He tells me one day, “Mummy, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die. I want to live, I want to take care of you, I will do great things for you, I will look after you, you will see what I will achieve for you. I will make you happy.’ And he was making me happy. I am proud of him, I am still very proud of him but I need to now where he is, I need to know what happened to him. I grieve, I am sad, I am distraught, I am destroyed.

He didn’t do anything to anybody, he loved everybody so much. If what I hear is true, even when he came out of the underground he was directing people to take buses, to be sure that they were OK. Then he called his office at the same time to tell them he was running late. He was a multi-purpose person, trying to save people, trying to call his office, trying to meet his appointments. What did he then do to deserve this. Where is he, someone tell me, where is he?”



Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013


Copyright 2013. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated





November 25th, 2012 by SusanPopoola

The Rotherham Foster Case

I followed the media frenzy regarding the Rotherham Council fostering case yesterday.  I refer to it as the Rotherham Fostering case as opposed to the UKIP case as it wasn’t really about UKIP or at least it shouldn’t have been.

I’m not an expert in this area but I know that the Council should have a process for assessing the suitability of foster parents.  I would venture to add that aside from the fact that foster carers are unlikely to want to look after children who come from a background that they have strong prejudices against, assessments should be designed to pick up such prejudices. (People don’t have to belong to a political party to hold racist opinions)

So against this backdrop I find myself pondering the appropriateness of Rotherham Council’s actions in this case.

  • I’m not a UKIP Supporter but I’m mindful of the fact that UKIP is a legal political party.  I haven’t done a full analysis of their policy, but I understand that they believe that there is a need for controlled immigration due to pressure that immigration places on our services.  It might sound like mere symantics, but I would say that rather than controlled immigration we need better managed immigration – there is already a degree of control anyway.  Besides which whilst immigration may come with its problems, it also brings benefits and over the years it has also provided us with solutions as well.
  • But back to the point of the Rotherham foster carers, let’s say for a minute that UKIP is a terrible racist political party with some unacceptable policies even though it is a legal party; I know from research that there is a reality that people join political parties for different reasons.  They don’t necessarily agree with all of their policies. It’s just as we at times vote for candidates even though we might not agree with everything they say. Similarly from an HR perspective when selecting candidates there may be one or two things we dislike about a candidate, but we tend to focus on what a candidate will bring overall and consider how we can mitigate any issues that may arise from the things we dislike or are concerned about.
  • I therefore believe that in the Rotherham Foster case, the parents that the children were (at least on the face of things) comfortably living with should have been interviewed or re-accessed to determine whether they held views or beliefs that would have a negative impact on the children.  This should have been backed with interviews of the children.

Sadly it seems that a rushed decision was made without any thought for how the move would affect the children. Young people who had possibly already gone through the trauma of a move from one country to another; problems in relation to their parents; and who knows – possibly a number of moves leading up to their more recent placement.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

November 3rd, 2012 by SusanPopoola

The Good and Bad in Us ALL

When the Jimmy Savile scandal first broke, I had no idea how bad things were, but I knew there were bad – the abuse of anyone is bad, the abuse of a child is heinous. So for someone to abuse numerous young people over an extended period of time with impunity ….. words cannot express.

It’s also astounding that normally when someone is accused of a crime – even if they are caught red handed the crimes are referred to as allegations until proven in a court of law. I know Savile is dead and cannot be tried, but even though people may question the extent of his crimes, people are quite categoric about his guilt.

Even his nephew, Roger Foster who originally started of by stating that “The guy hasn’t been dead for a year yet and they’re bringing these stories out. It could affect his legacy, his charity work, everything. I’m very sad and disgusted,” has now come to a different conclusion.

He is now quoted as having stated that, “I cannot understand for the life of me how a guy that did so much good in his life – with the work that he did, his charity work, his trusts, the people that he helped – could have such a dark side to him that nobody knew about.”

Going on to state that “I have this memory of what the man was like, what he meant to me as a person. I still have part of me proud of him, not proud of the way things have turned out, but proud of the things that he did in trying to help other people.  I am so absolutely devastated and disappointed that this dark side is the side that he will be remembered for.”

The only thing is whilst his nephew has now reached the point of accepting the wrong that he’s uncle did, he still talk about a part of him that is still proud of Savile.  I guess this is because of the good that he did.  The only thing is the more that is revealed the more the question arises as to whether there was actually much good in Jimmy Savile as he’s motives are now questionable. Was he really out to Fix It and make the wishes of children come true or was he just using the programme as a means to evil ends?

This question is heightened by a statement of Paul Gambaccini a Radio DJ  who stated that “On another occasion, and this cuts to the chase of the whole matter, he was called and he said ‘well you could run that story, but if you do there goes the funds that come in to Stoke Mandeville – do you want to be responsible for the drying up of the charity donations’. And they backed down.”

It’s not just the threat, it’s what we choose to believe – can someone that does so much good, do wrong, such that Esther Rantzen stated “You see, one child’s word against the word of a television icon, one who was renowned for raising money for charity, who knew everyone from the Prime Minister to Princess Diana, who was knighted by the Queen and the Pope, I think no single complainant dared speak out before.”

It actually goes further, a couple of weeks back, I met an older lady at a supermarket. We ended up talking about the case.  She mentioned that she had met Savile several times as she had a son at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. She went on to say, there was also something about him that she didn’t like that led her to avoid him, she went on to comment on the evil that he did – concluding on the note – but he did so much good – he was just a great philantrophist.

It reminds me of the comment that someone interviewed made about Lance Armstrong following on from the revelations about him – “I’m disappointed in him but I still think he’s one heck of an athlete”

The truth is yes, there is good and bad in all of us and it should be acknowledged, but when I see the media continuing to show photographs of Savile with a grin and/or swaggering around with a cigar drooping from his mouth i.e. the celebrity image.  I wonder whether they have truly come to terms with the gravity of his crimes.  After all, when someone is accused of a crime, the media normally look for the ugliest possible photo of the person that they can find so that people know how evil the person is – even though the person has not been proven guilty.

With Savile there seems to be no doubt, so whilst we recognise that there is good and bad in us all, I’d like to request that the media reconsider the photos of him that they show and the image that it portrays. i.e. that he is possibly still someone to be celebrated.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated




January 8th, 2012 by SusanPopoola

The Enduring Issue of Racism

I was up late on Friday night – I couldn’t sleep. I therefore logged on to twitter  -just to see what was going on.  I noticed that Stan Collymore was trending together with someone named Tom Adeyemi (who I hadn’t previously heard of).  Bored and with “nothing better to do” I clicked on each name to find out why they were trending.

First I clicked on Stan Collymore’s name.  I discovered that with no apparent reason, someone had decided to rein racial abuse on him via twitter. Stan had got fed up with it and reported it to the police. As a result, the man in question had deleted his twitter account. Stan had, however, had the foresight to take photos of the abusive messages, which he posted on twitter. After a visit from the police, he also posted part of his police statement – I guess to make it clear that he would not tolerate such behaviour.

Reading the commentary on this case, a number of people expressed shock at the language and behaviour of the perpetuator who was described as a 21-year-old law student. Others commended Stan for dealing decisively with this case. I was, however, somewhat befuddled to find that there were a number expressing the view that Stan should not have dealt with the situation in public and posted the comments and/or he should have said nothing in public until the matter was resolved.  I was befuddled because I wondered what made people think that how he dealt with the matter even required commentary. Was it not more pertinent that such abuse had taken place than how he decided to report the situation?  Furthermore, I believe it’s important that we are made aware of what is really going on.

Before I talk about the case of Tom Adeyemi, I’ll explain why.

Back in November 2011, a woman was recorded swearing abusively on a tram in Croydon.  Punctuating every other sentence with the F word, she was addressing the passengers that she saw as foreigners and not English, telling them to go back to their own countries.  I don’t know what set her off, but she was later arrested.

Shortly afterwards I posted a thought on twitter, pondering “I’ve been reflecting on the racist ranting of the woman on the Croydon tram – I wonder what % of the British population share her views”

Someone responded saying “Very few I think (and hope)”

I was a bit surprised by what I will describe as his innocence and went on to say “I suspect there are many that share the concerns of the Croydon tram woman. Difference is it’s not publically expressed”

Separate from this, the recent trials and convictions in the Stephen Lawrence case have brought the issue of race to the forefront. The challenge of this is that it’s possible for people to conclude that this was a negative era in our past for which justice has now been done allowing us to close the chapter and move on.

The truth, however, is that although fortunately we have most definitely come along way, we still have a long way to go.  This is not only illustrated by the Stan Collymore case and the Croydon tram incident, but also the case of Tom Adeyemi.

So back to my Twitter explorations… I clicked on Tom Adeyemi’s name and discovered that he is young football player who it seems was racially abused during a football matched. As illustrated by the photographs taken of him immediately after the incident, he appears to be so distressed by the incident that he is virtually in tears. I don’t know what exactly it is that was said to him, but it seems that as result of the incident the game was actually paused for a few minutes.  As you’ll probably be aware there have also been other cases in football as of later, with some interesting responses from some people in positions of authority who have at times belittled the situations or who have without question tried to protect the player against whom allegations have been made.

There is no question, we have come along way, but I believe we need to be honest and recognise that we still have a long way to go.  I’m particular concerned that the alleged abusers of both Stan Collymore and Tom Adeyemi are both very young i.e. 21 and 20 respectively.  I mention age, because at that age they are more than likely to have grown up and schooled with people of colour.  The 21 year old is said to be a law student. It’s early days yet and this is yet to be the confirmed, but assuming he is a law student how well is our education system working in enabling young people to have a more positive view about race or are other influences just too strong? Before you say anything, I’ll reiterate – yes, I know its early days and I recognise that some may say that these are isolated incidents.  I will, however, respond and say that I don’t believe I would have to look too far to find similar incidents (unreported and/or with less public figures) across the country.

The tram case still weighs heavily on my mind as whilst regardless of what set her off, there was no excuse for that ladies language or behaviour, there are concerns that she expressed in relation to foreigners, jobs and immigration that are shared by a number of people in this country.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

December 11th, 2011 by SusanPopoola

The Power of an Idea

Did you know…
£5 provides water for a family for a week?
£10 pays for a rural health care worker for a week?
£25 feeds a family of six for a month?
£50 pays for a sewing machine?
£100 empowers a widow to set up in business?
The Akabusi Charitable Trust Literature

If for no other reason, if you watched the 4 by 400m relay at the 1991 World Championships at Tokyo you will have heard of Kriss Akabusi.  Since the end of his athletics career you may have seen him on television on programmes such as Record Breakers, heard him on the radio or had the privilege to hear him give a motivational talk at an event.  Even if you do know all of this, you may not be aware that he additionally Chair’s a Charity, “The Akabusi Charitable Trust”, that works to promote the social and economic development of communities in poverty in Nigeria.

I say he Chair’s the Charity, but he’s role doesn’t stop there – amongst other things he is actively involved in fundraising for the Charity and in 2010 he led on a Charity Bike Ride from Edinburgh to London aimed at raising funds for the Charity.  Having done what I could to support Kriss on the Bike Ride, a few months later, I received some information which outlined the difference that various amounts of money could make, starting from £5 to the impact that a £100 could have on the life of a widow.

£100 could enable a widow to set up a business I read. I’d like to do that I thought i.e. have the privilege of helping to transform someone’s life. It was just another one of the many ideas that I develop.  More often than not, I think of things that I could do that might be great ideas, but just put them aside. I don’t know if you’re anything like that too?  The only thing is that with this particular idea, the next time I went into the office of the Charity I took my cheque book with me.

“I’d like to sponsor a widow”, I announced. Everyone looked at me. “Your literature mentions that £100 can transform the life of a widow” I stated.  “Find me a widow to support” I went on to demand as I wrote out a cheque for £100. Obediently the next time Kriss and another trustee went to Nigeria to monitor the work of the Charity, they identified a struggling widow and through one of the Charity’s partner organisations supported her in setting up a small business which enabled her to support her family and ensure that her children went to school.  Her life, her prospects and that of her children were transformed.

As a result, the Charity decided to set up a project  – Woman2Woman; to enable women in the UK to support women in rural Nigerian communities.  It’s early days yet, but already there are a growing number of women whose lives are being transformed through this project. I’m humbled by the knowledge that this project developed because I did something with a simple idea that I had.

I’m therefore writing this for two reasons. In the first instance you may have one or two ‘simple’ ideas of you’re own that you’re sitting on. I would like to encourage you to go for it, put yourself out there – you just don’t know what will happen.

Secondly, a seed has been planted, i.e the idea of transforming lives of Nigerian widows and those of their families through donations of £100. In my head, the idea is beginning to develop that this could actually become something phenomenal that transforms whole villages and I was just wondering if you would be interested in being a part of this?


© Susan Popoola MA CIPD FRSA
Conning Towers Ltd
Leveraging the Power of People

September 3rd, 2011 by SusanPopoola

New Orleans – Do Whatcha Wanna

If you’re a real jazz enthusiast you will probably know that New Orleans and Jazz are synonymous as New Orleans is the birth place of Jazz. That being the case, even if you’ve never paid a visit during the Annual Jazz Festival or indeed at any other time of the year, you will probably think of New Orleans from the perspective of it’s music – even if this image is now somewhat marred by the images of Katrina.

The images of Katrina may conjure up thoughts of poverty, social injustice or what have you in your mind.

If you are an American Football fan you may probably think of New Orleans and think – “Who Dat” following New Orleans Saints win of the 2009 League Championship with national support and Saints fans shouting or chanting – “Who Dat say they gonna beat the Saints”

If on the other hand your knowledge is based on travel documentaries there is a possibility that you think of the likes of Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. Although this is a very narrow window, this may lead you to think of New Orleans from the perspective of the Four Ds – Dance, Dining, Drink and Debauchery

For a place know for its music (not just jazz); festivals and parades it’s no surprise that New Orleans is known for Dance.

New Orleans is a place with a very rich mixed culture with influences from across many different parts of the world. Previously a Spanish territory and then French – enhanced culturally by the fact that New Orleans is a major Port city.   A people that take great pride in hospitality – it’s no surprise that New Orleans is known for Dinning and drink is a natural follow on.

I haven’t done any research on debauchery (or the other Ds) it’s all based on my basic logic and observations from my visits. What I will, however, say about the debauchery is that whilst I’m not going to call the people of New Orleans  ‘innocent’: the bad behaviour that I see in New Orleans is largely from people that have come from outside that seem to take the lyrics of the popular New Orleans song, “Do Watcha Wanna” literally.

Do Whatcha Wanna – Rebirth Brass Band

Copyright 2011. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

August 31st, 2011 by SusanPopoola

New Orleans – The Working Poor

You may remember in the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina – a lot of questions were raised as to why people did not leave New Orleans before the hurricane set in.

Different reasons were given for people not leaving; such as people not wanting to leave their pets behind; the lateness of the evacuation notice; evacuating in the past only for nothing to happen; and not having cars.  Above and beyond everything else was the issue of poverty that inhibited people from acting.

Sadly there are those that concluded that the people were poor for the simple fact that they were lazy and refused to work.  The reality that I have since discovered is that although there will be people that fit this definition.  The vast majority are, however, what is classified as the working poor i.e. people who work (possibly even multiple jobs) whose income does not, however, cover their costs of living.

The fact that New Orleans economy is primarily based on Services Industry with a lot of low-income jobs makes the presence of the working poor more prevalent in New Orleans.

I could try and explain the implications of poverty in a developed country such as America, but I’ve come across a report from the Center for American Progress entitled, “What You Need When You’re Poor” which does a much better job that I could do.


Copyright 2011. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated