International Youth Day 2017
The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is Youth Building Peace and the day is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
In the spirit of inclusion, Thursfields Equal Allies Committee conducted Q&A interviews during August with two inspirational professionals who encourage and influence young professionals in their careers; James Conrad Williams, Deputy Editor of Glamour Magazine and Jamie McDonald, Adventureman, Author, Speaker, Co-Founder of Superhero Foundation.
We hope you find these Q&As as interesting and inspiring as we do.”
Thursfields’ Equal Allies Committee
Q&A with ….
James Conrad Williams, Deputy Editor of Glamour Magazine
Q1. Who inspires you?
Working in a creative business I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by smart, inspiring people everyday. But without sounding like a Kardashian, I’m a big fan on Instagram because, whether its inspiring you to get of your bum and do good for other people on inspiring you to get off your bum and do yourself some good by sweating it out at the gym, it’s a platform filled with inspiration.
Q2. What would you be doing now if you were not in your current profession?
I dread to think! At school the careers advisor told me I should be a beautician or a prison warden! I’ve been very fortunate that I followed my heart and my passion and that (along with enthusiasm, dedication and some lucky breaks along the way) led to the job I have and love today.
Q3. As an inspiring person, what one top tip would you give to someone looking to emulate your success?
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed by what excites you and what ultimately drives you. For a while I tried to kid myself that I wanted ‘a proper job’ and so pursued a more traditional path, but when I finally admitted to myself what I really wanted, that’s when things began to fall into place. Try to always maintain a positive, ‘can do’ attitude, check your ego at the door and try to make yourself as indispensable as possible.
Q4. What is your single biggest achievement?
Probably a tie between recently being promoted to Deputy Editor at Glamour and buying my small, yet perfectly formed house this past year, all by myself. Oh and being voted Attitude Magazine 45th most eligible bachelor in the world. That needs to be on my head stone or I’ll come back and haunt you all!
Q5. If you could go back 5/10 years and give yourself once piece of advice, what would it be?
It sounds like a massive cliché but probably just “chill the hell out, it’s all going to be fine’. We can sometimes get ourselves into such a spiral of negativity and self loathing that we think we’re never going to see a way out. But ultimately I would just say to myself ‘you’re tougher than you think you are and you will get through even the worst days’.
Q6. Why is equality and diversity important to you?
Equality should be a given right for each and every one of us but it isn’t, and it’s mind boggling that we’re still fighting for it in this day and age. And without diversity, well this would be one boring ass world to live in!
Q7. What do you consider some of the particular challenges for LGBT youth today / in your profession?
It’s very easy for people working in the media and living in London or some of the UK’s other bigger cities to think that the rest of the UK is just as open and accepting. But sadly it isn’t. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go in terms of true equality and there has been a terrifying rise in the number of verbal and physical attacks on members of the LGBT community in recent months. And Northern Ireland still doesn’t recognise gay marriages in 2017? How is that possible? This is why occasions like Pride and the work of Stonewall is more essential than ever.
Q8. What have been some of the most exciting changes you have seen with regard to support for LGBT youth?
Working with people in their early 20s, it just warms my heart to see how little a deal sexuality is to them, and how relaxed and fluid they are about the whole issue. Far more so than my generation. I hope that is an attitude that eventually permeates across the entire country, and generations to come.
Q9. How do you think the progress in LGBT rights has helped you personally in your life as well as your career?
Working in the creative world of media, there has always been a higher proportion of LGBT and LGBT-friendly people, for whatever reason that may be. There’s no doubt that my chosen profession played a huge role in me finally accepting myself for who I was. My working environment essentially allowed me to be me, and as such, I can’t imagine what life would have been like without it.
Q10. Do you like marmite?
I bloody love it. But only used sparingly. Like many things in life, a little goes a long way!