Leading for Legacy with Sharon Amesu

You are part of a much greater story than you think. Every decision you make and every mountain you climb sets an example for the next generation. If you’re a leader, then you have other people who look to you for inspiration and guidance. Thus, it’s important to leave a legacy that you can proudly pass on.

In this episode, Sharon Amesu, co-founder of She Leads for Legacy, shares how building a strong connection to legacy empowers black female professionals. Sharon explains how black women are at a big disadvantage because of their race and gender. Black women recognise the necessity of taking up space for themselves and setting an example for others yet to come. She also goes over the challenges and proud moments of being a working mum, criminal barrister and life coach.

If you want to learn how to connect with your legacy and live with purpose, this episode is for you.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. How do you stay grounded against imposter syndrome?
  2. Find out how to build a strong connection to your legacy.
  3. Discover Sharon’s two-step secret to success.


Episode Highlights

[04:13] Being a Working Mum 

  • Sharon’s most important achievement is raising her three children into conscientious young adults.   
  • She admitted that it wasn’t easy being a working mum. She had to juggle ‘mum guilt’ from both sides.
  • To deal with this guilt, Sharon learned to accept the experience as normal. 
  • After her daughter went into law, she realised that the guilt she carried was dead weight because her children are far more resilient than she thought. 
  • It’s important to recognise that you are living a life that you chose and embraced. Role modelling is about making empowered choices and living in your power.

[10:31] Battling Imposter Syndrome

  • As a grandchild of an immigrant, Sharon’s second proudest achievement is her 16-year career as a criminal barrister. 
  • Despite her accomplishments, Sharon admitted to experiencing imposter syndrome.
  • What helped Sharon stay grounded was her sense of purpose: giving a voice to the voiceless.
  • If you can connect to who you are and what you are called to do, you are better positioned to fight imposter syndrome.

[16:18] Connecting to Your Legacy

  • In addition to purpose, Sharon cited the importance of connecting to your legacy. For her, it was the daunting challenge of empowering black female professionals.
  • Your decisions and choices have an impact on the next generation.
  • Sharon lived a life that sets an excellent example for her daughter.
  • Courage means having the guts to go after what you want even though it’s scary.

[20:25] Leading for Legacy

  • She Leads for Legacy was born out of Sharon’s conversations with her daughter about underrepresentation in the legal profession.
  • When we step into leadership, it paves the road for others to follow.
  • Black women face double jeopardy or a two-pronged challenge of gender and race. 
  • It’s not a question of ability or ambition; black women are deliberately left out because of oppression and suppression systems. 
  • Listen to the full episode to learn more about the mission of She Leads for Legacy!

[25:15] Changing the Legal Profession

  • Although the legal profession has made headway in terms of inclusion and diversity, much is left to be done. 
  • Sharon cites the story of Alexandra Wilson, a barrister who was mistaken for a defendant three times. 
  • For black women, the baseline is lower than their white counterparts. They have to prove themselves more to be taken just as seriously.  
  • A well-meaning clerk responded to Alexandra’s story and said it happened because she was a pioneer. But she’s hardly the first person in the field.

[30:12] The Marriage of Education and Intent

  • She Leads for Legacy is founded on the belief that people can change and evolve to the extent that they are willing to transform.  
  • Education plays a key role in this transformation because it enables conversations and multiple perspectives.
  • However, the intent is equally important. You have to put your heart into the cause.

[32:54] Sharon’s Proudest Moments

  • Sharon’s third proudest moment is her marriage with her husband for 25 years. 
  • Her fourth proudest moment is making the significant career shift from a criminal barrister to a life coach. 
  • The transition was difficult because she associated her identity with being a barrister and felt that coaching tends to get a bad reputation. 
  • Nevertheless, Sharon remains grateful for stepping into the unknown.
  • Despite shifting careers, Sharon’s purpose – making people’s lives better – remains unchanged.

[39:37] Rethinking Freedom

  • During a women’s prison program, Sharon got to talk with an inmate who was in there for life.
  • Liberty and freedom are different things. A person can be locked up or physically confined but remain figuratively free.
  • Freedom is within.

[42:03] Sharon’s Secrets to Success

  • Sharon credits her success to her faith. The knowledge of a great master plan at work keeps her hopeful during tough times.  
  • Sharon’s second secret is staying connected to her cheerleaders or people who believe in her strength and potential. 
  • Sharon’s father used to say, ‘Bend your mind to the condition’. When life throws you off track, you can either submit to the circumstances or find your way out of it. 

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

‘Sometimes things intensify and deepen in their impact when you feel that it’s just you. But actually, it’s knowing that it’s a common experience for women who want to pursue their career as well as raise a family. So, it’s normalising that experience and normalising that insight’.

‘So, my choices in my career have been very vocational. I’ve had a sense of being called to something to do something for purpose’.

‘And my aspiration was a strong connection to legacy, perhaps taught later about a community that my daughter and I are building, which is supporting black female professionals’.

‘And what we recognised is that there is a double jeopardy as it were, for black women, because we have the challenge of both gender and race. And we recognise together that rather than us bleating from the corner and having our daily conversations about the inequalities and the unfairness that we would embrace [what Mahatma Gandhi said:] “Be the change that you want to see in the world”’.

‘I think one of the brilliant things about the work that we do… is about transformation. It’s about believing in the potential of people to change, to grow, to evolve, to the extent that they are willing to do so’.

About Sharon

Sharon Amesu is the founder of SA Consulting, a consultancy delivering leadership development, executive coaching and diversity and inclusion training. Backed by 16 years of courtroom experience as a criminal barrister, Sharon has made it her life mission to help businesses lead with inclusion and courage.

A passionate advocate for race and gender, Sharon co-founded She Leads for Legacy with her daughter, Afiya. The mother-daughter team offers connectivity, development and amplification services intending to reduce the barriers for black female professionals seeking senior leadership and board-level positions.

Sharon is also the founding member of The Society of Leadership Fellows of St. George’s House – Windsor Castle and a branch chair for the Institute of Directors.

If you wish to get in touch with Sharon, you may reach her through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also send her an email at enquiries@sharonamesu.co.uk.

Enjoy this Podcast?

With the world we’re living in today, it’s easy to get discouraged and spiral down into negativity. But with Sharon’s practical tips, you, too, can choose positivity. If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Mindset Mentor Meets…, then hit subscribe and share it with your friends!

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To meeting inspiration,