Avarni left NGHS in 2010 and since working in marketing and branding has gone on to become an event and festival producer for ‘FlyGirl’ – a networking and empowerment platform for local women, especially women of colour.
Events and Festival Producer
Avarni left NGHS in 2010 and went on to do a degree in Fashion Marketing and Branding at Nottingham Trent University, after which she pursued a career in the world of Marketing. Since 2013 however, Avarni has been achieving great things as an Events and Festival Producer for Wigflex and one of her greatest initiatives is the FlyGirl platform.
FlyGirl is a networking and empowerment platform for local women that is particularly focused on supporting women of colour, which makes Avarni the perfect NGHS role model, especially in the current climate. Through the curation of events, workshops and one to one sessions, FlyGirl works to enhance the careers, businesses and personal lives of all women involved. Their mission is to work with local community groups, brands and individuals alike to help bridge the gap between where they are now, and where they want to be in the future. This can be anything from life coaching sessions, business development workshops or aromatherapy massage; wellness is as important as the business side of things!
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work with some really incredible womxn who have inspired and pushed me to be the best version of myself, both professionally and personally. Through my career in global brand management and events marketing I’ve also built up an extremely varied network of contacts, so I wanted to do something that utilised my experience, skills and position of privilege to positively impact local womxn. In doing this, I also wanted to make sure that the final platform would practically respond to the clear lack of representation that womxn of colour experience on a daily basis and that it would create a place for womxn of colour to unapologetically address topics that may largely only apply to us.
As a woman of colour in the UK it can unfortunately be very normal to feel as though you’re constantly inhabiting places that aren’t meant for you and that your experiences and opinions aren’t valued or appreciated. So I wanted to create a space that was specifically for these womxn, without ever denying a place at the table for any other womxn who want to get involved. In particular, I wanted to focus on how we can use our industry connections to create brand new opportunities for womxn of colour which for one reason or another have previously not been on the cards. For example, in the UK, only 21% of the STEM workforce (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are women, and the percentage of women of colour is even smaller. So we’ve been working with our industry links within these areas to see how we can improve employment and work experience opportunities for these womxn, making roles within these industries seem attractive and attainable!
Avarni tells us about her time at NGHS
“Like most people I don’t think I realised how good I had it at school until I left and entered the real world. While at times it may have felt like the standards we were expected to uphold were ridiculously high, in reality, being pushed to excel at everything has probably shaped me into who I am today. I was by no means the most academic achiever when I was at school, but I would like to think that the overall experience was a really positive one and I’ve taken away much more on a personal level than I did academically. I often still think about my teachers, Mr Lumb, Mrs Woolliscroft and Miss Peacock, for how wonderful they were and how much of a positive influence they had on my life back then. And to this day, nurse Brenda is still one of my favourite humans of all time!”
And any words of wisdom for the next generation of NGHS girls?
“Don’t take no for an answer, apply for the job you don’t think you’re fully qualified for and never ever settle for less. Devote time to the things that make you light up with joy and never underestimate the power of being kind to others. Oh, and drink more water and sleep for at least 6-7 hours every night; never more, never less.”
While at times it may have felt like the standards we were expected to uphold were ridiculously high, in reality, being pushed to excel at everything has probably shaped me into who I am today.Avarni Bilan