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Future leader on the fast track

Future Leader Anthonia Ezeudogu (BA Politics and Sociology, 2022) might be just beginning her career, but she already has a lot to be proud of. With a first-class degree and experience as a Welfare Officer for The Black Women Project already under her belt, Anthonia is now a Graduate Associate on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) graduate programme. It’s clear to see why she’s named on Powerful Media’s Future Leaders 2022/23 list, recognising 150 of Britain’s most outstanding Black students and new graduates.

What or who inspires you?
This might sound cliché, but my family inspires me to do my best. My parents, having moved to the UK with me and my sister, enabled me to be where I am and have the prospects I do. Most importantly, I try to do things pleasing to God. Without His love and grace, life would even be more difficult.

What were the most important things you learned as a student?
Your time at university goes quickly so make the most of it. Get involved in a society - there’s something for everyone. Explore the campus, but don’t be too lost in the campus bubble. There are hidden gems like the sculptures trail that you’ll miss out on if you don’t get out there. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, even once fresher’s week or first year is over. Remember: “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”. Also investigate and apply for the financial support Warwick offers. There are some you don’t have to pay back.

Do you have a favourite memory of Warwick?
I particularly enjoyed Warwick Arts Centre. There are numerous creative opportunities, and the staff are excellent. This perspective comes from the fact that I was a former creative champion, working with young kids who came to campus during Family Sundays alongside my studies. It was heartwarming. Also, if I didn’t want to revise in the library, I would grab myself a hot chocolate and sausage roll from Rootes and find a quiet place near those comfortable red chairs to write down my lecture and seminar notes.

What does leadership mean to you?
Possessing qualities that demonstrate assertiveness, not aggression. Taking ownership and accountability for one’s decisions, in turn, ensures self-worth. Being a positive role-model to others and establishing clear communication that embraces transparency, creativity, and integrity.

What does it mean to you to be named a Future Leader?
It is nice to know I’ve achieved things in a meaningful way as a leader, and others perceive my leadership experience positively. For example, I got to put leadership into practice while balancing two exec roles for The Black Women Project and Warwick Inspire alongside my studies. I’ve been positioned with high expectations, allowing me to invest in consolidating my goals and objectives.

"I feel honoured and empowered. Not only did I meet fellow Future Leaders, who were terrific in their accolades, but I was also inspired not to feel threatened with imposter syndrome and take pride in my own ability."

Do you think studying during the pandemic changed your view?
Undeniably. The pandemic times were not easy, and balancing work with my mental health was difficult. Not being able to see my friends because of the restrictions made it difficult to stay motivated. However, the pandemic made me more reflective on my previous work experiences, outlining what industries suited my strengths. I developed a new skill in project planning after completing the ‘Bright Network Virtual Experience’. I was fortunate to have secured an internship, and despite the internship being virtual, it was a great experience that provided a path to my current career.

How did your time at Warwick help shape your thoughts and ideas for your career?
Warwick is a centrepiece for career building. In my first year, before the pandemic, I was open-minded to exploring different careers since my degree was so nuanced. I attended careers fairs on campus, spoke to professionals in the public and private sectors, and joined an organisation called Upreach, which allowed me to explore different career options and participate in CV and interview workshops. Having friends who were serious about their careers and would put in the work kept me grounded too.

What are your plans now you’ve graduated?
I was fortunate to secure a full-time position with the FCA under their graduate development programme. When I tell people this, their first question is always: ‘that sounds fancy, who are they?!’ The FCA are a regulatory body that supervises firms, individuals and businesses that operate in the financial market, and I’m an Associate in the Authorisation team. It’s a two-year programme, and I hope to travel abroad and get a feel for different countries before I decide where I’d like to work.