To mark Black History Month Zellis is highlighting the careers and contributions of our colleagues with African or Caribbean heritage. In a series of insightful conversations, we explore their work, learn fascinating family stories, discuss how the world has changed, and hear their hopes for the future.

Today, we hear from customer resolutions advocate Rhoda Anderson, who kindly shared some wonderful photos of her family, hailing from the island of Mauritius. Customer success manager Kevin Cameron also has African roots. He reveals what it was like growing up and seeking work in Zimbabwe amid stark racial inequality. They both end by reflecting on where we are now, and the steps we need to take to move forward.

Rhoda Anderson, Customer Resolutions Advocate

What I do at Zellis

My role is primarily dealing with customer account escalations, working actively within the various teams within support to close down the various cases: support cases or other issues. For my type of role, you always have to put the customer first and try your best to put yourself into their shoes.

A piece of family history

Below is a photo of my mum Kathy in the orange dress, then me with my late grandfather Lyndsay, and my grandmother aka Mémée. My grandparents were both from Mauritius and came to the UK in the early ’60s. My mum was born there too and came over as a baby.

Mémée did cleaning and used to work as a carer for old people. Grandad was a painter and decorator. Mum used to work as a dental nurse. My father did maintenance and now does landscaping.

Black History Month Zellis Rhoda family photos
What’s changed and what still needs to?

I definitely think there’s more opportunity for Black people to have access to various different roles. That doesn’t mean there may not be some difficulties with attitudes, but I think it’s a lot less common. 

I think if we start with society, at the end of the day, everything else comes. I think it’s just the change in attitude and perception of Black people. The majority of folk – wherever you’re from – are literally just making their way, trying hard to succeed, support their families, pay their bills, and to be good human beings.

Watch Rhoda’s full interview below for more fascinating discussion

Kevin Cameron, Customer Success Manager

What I do at Zellis

We’re the voice of the customer within Zellis – as well being the voice of Zellis on the customer side. I’ve worked in the customer-facing arena for nearly 20 years. from a sales role, then account management, service delivery and now, customer success.

It’s a people role: you’ve got to love people. You’ve got to understand communication styles and you must be flexible. One day you could be sitting in a boardroom with senior executives; the net you could be in a workshop. They key areas are: understand, prioritise, organise.

Building a career in challenging times

I grew up in Zimbabwe during the era of transition after independence. I went to a predominantly White school and was one of the very few Black children. And that was difficult.

When it came to working life, it wasn’t a quick transition in terms of equality. It was still a challenge. There were certain things that we, as Black people, weren’t ‘supposed to do’.

My mum was an exceptional athlete. She was due to go to the Olympics representing Rhodesia (as it was called at the time). But because of who she was and the colour of her skin, she was not allowed to represent the country.

Heading in the right direction

For the future, it’s got to be equal opportunities for all. I do think we’re going in the right direction, but it should be a little more open when these things happen. I think a lot of it is still swept under the carpet. It can be subtle and not ‘in-your-face’, which makes it even harder to deal with sometimes.

I will 100% take my hat off to Zellis: here I’ve not felt excluded, marginalised or left out in any way, shape or form. Regardless of who I speak to, everybody treated me with respect and made me feel welcome from the first day.

Watch Kevin’s full interview below for more eye-opening thoughts

Join us again for more Black History Month interviews, and discover our recent research on diversity, equity, and inclusion here.