To celebrate Black History Month, we asked some of our black Partners to share what makes them proud 


    Nathan Robinson, Partner and Transport Operator

    To me, Black History Month is all about representing my culture, and who I am as a person of colour. It’s a conversation starter – a reason to talk about the history of black people. 

    The Black Lives Matter protests last year sparked questions from my eldest daughter, who’s nine. She’s fair skinned, and it really upset her to realise that people may see me, her dad, differently – she didn’t understand why. It’s so important to talk and give my daughters the tools they might need to challenge ignorance. 

    We’re a mixed heritage family – my dad’s Jamaican and my mum’s from Mauritius. When the whole family meets up, there’s a mix of music and food, and my dad’s family will be speaking Jamaican Patois and my mum’s family French Creole. I hope my daughters grow up feeling proud of their heritage, and how unique they are. 

    When I was a kid, my dad would call us to watch the evening news – and we only later realised that it was because he wanted us to see Trevor McDonald, who was the only black face on TV at that time. My dad was proud, and wanted us to look up to him. Now, there are lots more black role models – the doors are opening up for young people.

    At home, I love to cook Caribbean food. I’ve got my dad’s Jamaican recipe book – but he doesn’t always approve when I try a different version of a favourite recipe, and always points out when I’ve done something wrong! 

    I’ve worked at Waitrose for 17 years, and I’m involved in conversations to increase diversity in the supply chain. We’ve still got a lot to do, but I can see changes happening. It’s about talking about inclusion all year round – but Black History Month is a good time to start. 


    Donna Ferrance, Operations Partner

    My mum taught me to stand tall, be honest and stick up for myself. When I was a 19-year-old fashion student, I did a shop report on a very English brand that I loved – my face definitely didn’t fit and I was followed around the store. Fast forward 10 years and I worked there as a temp – on my first shift I asked to change a mannequin! Within three months I was a manager. This was one of my earliest moments of feeling truly proud.

    I grew up in Kent, and was the only black girl in my school. I didn’t have much connection to my Caribbean heritage, as we were an army family often on the move – I only met my grandmother when I was 14, and I was amazed to find out what a huge family I had. 

    Without this connection in my childhood, it was so important for me to see black role models. One of my earliest memories is watching Muhammad Ali with my dad, and I was blown away by how witty and disarming he was. He made me feel proud to be me.

    “It was so important for me to see black role models”

    Now, I’m involved in the Black Partners Advisory Group at the John Lewis Partnership, and I reverse-mentor a manager at a John Lewis in Wales. We talk every couple of weeks, ask honest questions and have an open conversation. Although we’re from different backgrounds, in some ways we’re the same – we’re both women navigating our working lives

    Black History Month has been around for years, but people are only now starting to become curious, and more aware of how important it is. I feel hopeful that the younger generation won’t have to go through the same experiences I did. 

    WHO AM I?

    Sabrina Elliott, Partner and John Lewis Brent Cross Team Manager

    At some point in your life, you ask yourself a question
    Who am I and where do I fit in? As you seek verification
    Am I a child whose innocence is strong without a care in the world
    Am I a teen seeking direction, observing events that have occurred
    Am I the teacher that teaches or the student that learns and reflects
    Am I the mother that nurtures or the father that stands and protects
    Am I called the superior or simply the one collecting the stones
    Am I a Queen who cannot be broken or a King building his throne
    Am I embodying the sacrifices made by those that came first
    If the truth were really to be told, I'm all of those things in reverse
    So despite the negative exposure I get, albeit opinion more so than fact
    I look in the mirror and see my reflection and say...

    ...I am truly proud to be black

    Written by Sabrina Elliot for Black History Month 2021