By Lee Pinkerton
It was a night of inspiring role models for students at the University of East London (UEL) who attended Be… Unplugged at University Square Stratford in November.
Students heard from a diverse array of speakers including BBC 1Xtra radio presenter Mim Shaikh; musician chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots; comedian and writer Kojo; head of Urban music at Island Records Alex Boateng; and UEL student and winner of the University's E-Factor business competition Jessica O-George. The event was hosted by journalist and presenter Reya El-Salahi.
Be… Unplugged – Leaders of the New School was the fifth instalment of the popular event, which was developed by UEL staff member Michael Osafo. Be...Unplugged is sponsored by the Noon Centre for Equality and Diversity in Business with support from UEL Enterprise.
At the event, which was free, students, alumni, staff and the distinguished speakers reflected upon their experiences and lessons learned. Topics included the effort that goes into making your dreams come to life and finding innovative routes to personal success.
Event founder Michael Osafo created Be....Unplugged as an initiative that could enrich the lives of students who are still formulating a plan for themselves and provide an opportunity for them to engage with people who have paved a path in an industry they aspire to join.
Michael said, “It was an amazing evening and an overwhelming success. It’s always great to see hard work paying off, as the main aim is to inspire and give the audience a boost in pursuing their dreams and highlighting the realities behind it. The panellists all gave a heartfelt message about the highs and the lows behind their journeys, which really resonated with the audience. There were tears, cheers, laughter and almost everything else in between throughout the night. It was great to see how engaged and connected the audience were. No one wanted to leave at the end. It literally could have gone on for another two hours.
“I’m grateful that UEL gave me a platform to organise this and it would not have happened without the help of the marketing team, the Noon Centre, the Research and Enterprise Team and everyone who attended."