Our Incredible Humans contest was all about championing the people who inspire us and change the way we see the world.
We received hundreds of entries from all across the UK and had to whittle those down to just a few. Along with Elariah, Anna was another of our chosen winners with her inspirational story. She’ll also get to enjoy a fantastic free Contiki holiday as a prize. Read her incredible human story below.
Here’s a little about Anna, our second Incredible Humans contest winner.
This year, a Black woman stood on the F1 podium for the first time. As a Black woman with aspirations to become an F1 race engineer herself, Anna felt this should have happened far sooner.
So during the pandemic, she decided to set up Black Girls Race. The organisation aims to support Black girls and other BAME females from less privileged backgrounds to break into the motorsports industry, acknowledging the difficulty of this when you lack contacts or context about the sector.
Black Girls Race
Anna’s aim is to use Black Girls Race to educate young women on the jobs that exist, what they entail and the application process for each. More importantly, she seeks to empower young girls in school with the confidence and belief that they, too, have the skills required to become an engineer, regardless of background or gender.
Throughout quarantine Anna tutored sixth form and GCSE students from underprivileged backgrounds for free, and gave talks about studying Aerospace Engineering with advice on how to make their college applications stand out. We think all of this makes her a truly Incredible Human.
What was your initial reaction to being nominated and then becoming our Incredible Humans contest winner?
Very, very surprised! I wasn’t expecting any of this to come out of my actions. I was just doing what I felt I needed to do so it was really nice to be appreciated.
Can you tell us more about Black Girls Race, the organisation you set up during the pandemic?
I remember one of the Mercedes engineers stood on the podium this year for a Formula 1 race. Lewis Hamilton wrote a post about her saying how she was the first Black woman, ever, to stand on the Formula 1 podium and I was so shocked! I couldn’t believe it took a pandemic for a Black woman to stand on a podium.
As someone who aspires to work in Formula 1 I found out there aren’t very many people like me in there – male or female. I know there are many talented Black female engineers in the world, so it made me wonder – why is it that nobody thinks about this as a potential career? Why are we not breaking through in this particular industry? I’ve seen a lot of fans, so why are there no drivers? This led to my idea to set up Black Girls Race.
I’ve noticed the industry is very competitive too. You have to know people in order to get an internship. It’s very, very exclusive. All of this coincided with the Hamilton Commission, which Lewis Hamilton set up in order to push for greater diversity in motorsport, particularly Formula 1.
NASCAR (stock car racing company) is also pushing for diversity. Currently they have one male and one female driver so that’s another avenue I’m looking into. Black Girls Race is still very much in its developmental stages but I have big ambitions for it.
Can you tell us more about your tutoring and the talks you gave over quarantine periods?
In the height of lockdown when schools closed, loads of parents and teachers were reaching out online to people for free tutoring. I signed up for that and got to tutor some people in maths and science. Near the end of August I got to do some workshops with STEMettes, young girls who want to go into STEM.
I was able to keep in contact with them and advise on ways to get into engineering. Later, I was invited to join an all-female panel to talk about my work in STEM, as an engineer, where I met women from all walks of life.
What do you love most about travelling?
I think this is what sold me about working on Formula 1. You get to work in and travel to 23 countries in a year!
I love travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. I had so many holidays planned for this year – but there’s always next year! I was planning on going to Malta, Ukraine and then Ghana to visit my family, as I haven’t been back there in 10 years. I love the idea of travelling solo, meeting new people and getting outside my comfort zone.