How did your portfolio career begin and what roles does it include?
After working as an investment banker, lawyer and hedge fund sales trader, in early 2012 my portfolio career started developing organically, firstly with a charity board role as UK Global Poverty Ambassador. Today, it consists of various roles across finance, law, fashion, technology and DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion). In 2016 I founded the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation (TMBDLF), and I also work as board advisor, managing director consultant, an international public speaker, executive producer and success coach on which I have written a book available to pre-order in 2021.
What are the benefits and challenges of having a portfolio career?
A portfolio career is a balancing act and prioritising is key. It takes great organisation and time management skills. Competing priorities can sometimes be challenging, but I love a challenge! On the other hand, it offers flexibility and variety. You can develop your passion to afford you with multiple income streams and skill sets. I love that I am not confined to one box, industry or role.
What does your typical work day look like and how have you adapted during the lockdown?
The beauty of having a portfolio career is that each work day is different. Throughout the lockdown I have completed my first book and participated digitally in many international public speaking gigs while advising several global organisations including as a board advisor. We launched the TMBDLF “Educating Next Generation” fundraising campaign and a new scholarship called “Black Leadership” to complement our existing scholarship programme following George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter global movement.
Can you tell us more about your foundation?
After more than 20 years of chairing black networking groups and working for top global banks, race was still the elephant in the room. I founded TMBDLF to educate, empower and inspire future leaders, while helping to eliminate the diversity, equality and inclusion gaps in and out of the workplace. We deliver innovative leadership programmes for young people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. This year we awarded tailored scholarships to over 200 people. We hosted our fifth annual lecture virtually during National Inclusion Week and Black History Month, in which I speak about the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, everyday inclusion in and out of the workplace and how TMBDLF aims to inspire individuals.
In a recent BBC interview you said what sets your scholarships apart is the mentoring you offer. What key lessons do you teach future diversity leaders?
Each TMBDLF scholarship awardee receives a one-to-one mentoring session with myself. One of the key lessons I teach is self-confidence and using your superpower which is your voice – highlighting the importance of believing in yourself and daring to dream big. “Dare to dream big and succeed” was the title of a recent talk I held at The Best You Expo in LA.
What can we all do day-to-day to help close the diversity gap, and why is this important?
Allyship is a key DE&I tool – we all matter in this movement. Speak up for those who are being disadvantaged. Donate money or time as a volunteer. Hire, promote and retain diverse candidates. We all have the power to learn, grow, and find ways to address injustices and unfairness while helping to build positive change for the future.
Miranda wears our Connaught Jacket, £198, and Brunswick trousers in Black Boucle, £140 (left)
What is your career highlight to date?
One of the highlights is launching the TMBDLF to help others achieve educational and career success while working to eliminate the diversity and inclusion gaps in and out of the workplace. I love public speaking, and being in a position where I can motivate audiences of all ages and nationalities across the world. One memory that has stayed with me is when, after my TEDx Modena Women talk, a lady in her 70s approached me for an autograph with tears in her eyes to tell me how inspired she was.
What is your go-to workwear style?
My workwear style varies depending on the engagements of the day. That said, my go-to is probably a dress or trouser suit. Even when I have Zoom meetings or virtual speaking events, I will still get dressed up. I wore one of my Libby London dresses when I delivered my Class of 2020 speech for the University of Brighton and in a recent photoshoot during UK Black History Month for Brummell Magazine’s Top 10 Inspirational Women of the past decade. A favourite is the colourful Eccleston Monet Print Dress – its elegance takes you from the boardroom to an event or supper effortlessly.
Where is your favourite place to spend your free time?
I love to spend time at home. I also like The Conduit in the heart of London’s Mayfair to chill, hold meetings and give mentoring and success coaching sessions. It is the base for the TMBDLF right now, and a great place to network with like-minded changemakers.
Location: The Conduit Club, London
Photographer: Bekky Lonsdale
Accessories: Miranda's own