An inspirational business leader who has battled Sickle Cell Anaemia since she was 19 has been invited to speak at a Prince’s Trust event as part of Black History Month.
Sherry Diaz Thompson is one of the panellists invited to take part in the Black Pound Panel – a campaign that runs to encourage people to support and shop from black-owned brands.
It’s part of a month-long calendar of virtual events to celebrate Black History Month, organised by the Prince’s Trust’s Cultural Awareness Network.
Thirty five-year-old Sherry has overcome personal adversity to build a successful national training company.
Stafford-based Safe Hearts Training offers an extensive range of courses from first aid and healthcare to health and safety and business courses.
Now in its fifth year of trading, Sherry has worked with more than 500 business owners and over 15,000 learners to deliver training which helps save lives.
She said: “I am really proud to be involved and have the opportunity to share my story, not only as someone who has battled a medical disability throughout my working life but also as a black woman in business and mother to a 16-year-old teenager.
“It has been tough, and I’ve faced a lot of challenges along the way – especially this year, because of Covid-19 but also because of my medical condition.”
Born on the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago to a teenage mum, and the eldest of seven children, Sherry grew up watching her family work for themselves.
Aged 21, she followed suit and launched her first face-to-face sales business which, despite its success, was forced to close due to an armed robbery.
She went on to work in medical sales travelling internationally before settling in the UK with her husband to drive her career forward at age 23.
And it has not been easy.
Her chronic underlying health condition has seen Sherry hospitalised a few times each year – but it’s been worse this year.
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Despite that she’s continued to work to drive the business forward with new initiatives and a social community outreach project set to launch early 2021.
Sherry said: “I launched Safe Hearts Training in 2015 after working as a nursing assistant and seeing personally how the NHS saved lives. I wanted to use my own skills and healthcare experience to help make a difference.”
She added: “Being given this opportunity to speak to young people about the challenges I’ve faced, and how I’ve overcome them, I hope will go some way to inspiring them.
“The black community can pull together to support entrepreneurs and Black Pound Day gives us an opportunity to talk about that as well as discussing what we can learn from the past and what we can do to shape the business community going forward.”