Everything about our world is increasingly polarised — our politics, our place in the economy, our health, our opportunities. When the Coronavirus outbreak hit us, the world turned over and there is a real risk that those that were worse off before will become even more so after. Then came the harrowing murder of George Floyd and the world was reminded of something it should never have lost sight of — racism and prejudice are still deeply embedded within the fabric of our communities.
It is privilege that allows so many of us to experience these events from the comfort of our sofas, through our phones and our podcasts. From this position, we, the Original Tipsters, came together out of a collective recognition that simply feeling sorry, posting a black square on Instagram and venting our frustration at ill-informed family members wasn’t sufficient — it never had been. It’s uncomfortable but essential to accept where you haven’t done enough to help your neighbours, friends and colleagues that face discrimination, prejudice and racism.
TipStart is an opportunity to be a catalyst for change where change will not happen on its own. But this isn’t about charity. It’s not about them and us. It’s not about giving the privileged power and authority to govern the lives of others through our platform. TipStart is a community for those with a shared goal: to tip the balance for equal opportunity and against nepotism and privilege.
There are two kinds of people in the TipStart community — TipSters and TipStarters. TipSters are professionals currently working in a professional sector. TipStarters are people who want to work in those sectors but may face barriers in pursuit of their ambition, as a result of actual or perceived discrimination and prejudice.
The TipStart Programme matches individuals from these two groups together, using what we learn from our registration questionnaire. Through these pairings, TipSters are invited to share tips, contacts and insights about the sector in which they work and TipStarters are encouraged to share their perspectives and educate the TipSters about prejudice and discrimination to make them better colleagues and future leaders. But this is just the model; in truth, these relationships will move and grow as the two individuals want and need. It’s worth underlining that this is not mentoring. We felt mentoring would impose a power dynamic on the TipStarter-TipSter relationship, and this would go against everything we wanted TipStart to be.
Through TipStart, relationships and networks will develop that would have been unlikely to do so naturally. Over time, as more TipSters and TipStarters meet and interact, new professional networks will develop that have, at their core, a futureproof set of values and objectives. It is these networks that will change our target sectors for the better, with hard working, ambitious and socially-conscious individuals driving them forward.