My degrees were so much more than academic, they gave me a far greater sense of self-belief and self-worth as a black woman.
More about Melody
Melody Hinds-Mothobi has had a stellar career since graduating with Education Studies and Psychology BA (Hons) in 2018 and Education MA two years later. She is now the first ever black Commissioning Officer at Nottingham City Council. She has lead responsibility for the development and delivery of the city’s public services across Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care and Education.
Here, Melody talks about her career and reflects on how her time at NTU provided her with the personal confidence to aim high.
What are your stand out memories of being at NTU?
There is so much I could say about my time at the University, it’s difficult to know where to start!
Perhaps the most surprising thing about both of my courses was how unexpectedly provoking and confronting the course content was for me personally. By researching and learning about societal functionality and systems, and by being challenged to think introspectively in a way that I had not previously encountered, I was able to recognise facets of my own identity, my personal value and my responsibility within in the wider world. This meant that my degrees were so much more than academic, they gave me a far greater sense of self-belief and self-worth as a black woman.
My lecturers proved to be visionaries and mentors, they could see my potential and were committed to supporting me to achieve my academic, professional and personal goals. When I look back, I see the faces of the academics who poured their knowledge, experience and passion into me without reservation. This reaffirmed to me the importance of being open and generous with my time and skills and this has really helped me in the workplace and indeed in all aspects of my life. My lecturers’ encouragement also gave me the confidence to have bold conversations and believe in my own ability, creativity and problem-solving skills.
My time at NTU was also extra-special as I became a first-time Mum during my studies. Not only did the University provide me with lots of practical support so that I could successfully continue with the course, but my baby son was also welcomed and embraced by the NTU community. One of my fondest memories is about the times when my dissertation supervisor would bounce my baby on his knee, keeping him entertained so that I could focus on my work!
What does your work as a local government Commissioning Officer involve?
I am responsible for the development, commissioning and implementation of public services in the city of Nottingham across Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care and Education. Day to day, this includes leadership, development and acceptance of service models and frameworks which requires me to liaise with stakeholders such as heads of service, councillors and local citizens. I purchase services which are fit for purpose and add value to the lives of Nottingham’s citizens. Finance, project management and strategy are just some of the functions that comprise my role.
What attracted you to this sort of work?
I have always had a strong desire to work in an ‘agent of change’ capacity. With over 10 years of experience in leadership, development and consultation across the private and public sector; I felt that commissioning would be a great opportunity to inform and implement change at a regional and potentially national level.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
I achieved leadership and management roles from a young age, which posed challenges at times. Leading teams of often much older people required resilience, patience and strength. Furthermore, as a woman and as a black person, I have experienced the sometimes embedded challenges involving what I may be perceived to be or what I am capable of. The reality is, however, that I have the skills and ability to fulfil what is required of me and I do so with courage and passion, and by being myself.
And your greatest career achievements?
The highlights of my career are the range of incredible causes I have had the honour of working on. I am particularly proud of my work with Primary and Secondary School Students in Communities and Academy Trusts where I developed and delivered multiple projects for at risk and hard to reach children, it’s thrilling to see the transformative impact that these have made on so many individuals many of which are now adults. Another highlight is my contribution to the Nottingham Police and Crime Commission report on knife crime, 2017 and also my work on the twinning project with Harare, Zimbabwe and the city of Nottingham.
What are your plans for the future?
In the short-term, I want to continue to develop in every way possible, to be open to learning new ways of thinking, working and ‘being’ so that I can continue to contribute to our ever-changing world. Long-term, I am open to the possibilities and opportunities to progress that will emerge on this journey; most likely further level leadership in Government locally, nationally and globally.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self at university?
There are a few things! Everything is going to be ok; some things will not go according to plan but your path is ‘your’ path; enjoy the journey.