Creating the space: Columbus on breaking barriers and truly reimagining the possible

April 10, 2023

I’m a person bursting with ideas who wants to reimagine what’s possible. I want to be known for my talent, my personality and my drive. I’ve never been one to wait and see if an opportunity opens up for me—I create it for myself.

Columbus with his “Stuffed” co-hosts

As a university student, when I didn’t see any representations of people who looked like me on television, I cold-called a producer at CBC and pitched the idea of going around St. John’s with two of my friends reviewing food—and the producer actually agreed to it! It was the first mini-series with an all-black cast in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it captures my love for food that started in southern Africa, where I was born and raised. Since the show aired, I’ve had many young people reach out to say they felt inspired to do something similar because they saw someone who looks like them on their screen. You can check out some episodes of “Stuffed” here.

Looking to my future, I knew I wanted to work for an organization that was socially responsible, cared about their communities and actually wanted me there.

When I was still a student, I saw the sheer number of diversity initiatives happening at PwC Canada and thought, “Okay, this is somewhere that’s welcoming, and I could grow here.” I joined PwC Canada as an Assurance campus hire and then stayed on full-time after I graduated to gain my CPA. I love working at a place where there are movers and shakers with many different perspectives—and where I can pursue my goals both in and outside of my work and academic life. For me, it’s about having a life-life balance, not a work-life balance, meaning that I can make a difference and be creative in my day-to-day career, not just in my personal life.

Wherever I am, I want to be in a role and an environment where I’m able to have an impact, represent who I am and make a space for others who don’t have as strong a voice. That’s why I’m a member of our Black Professionals Inclusion Network and helped plan several events for Black History Month. I’m also working in partnership with PwC Canada on an art exhibit for artists to show and sell their art, with the proceeds going to charity. My goal is to break down some barriers and create a space for these artists—to give this community a platform to reach an audience they maybe wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

The firm has really allowed me to use my creative talents to shine and helped me amplify my impact on others.

No matter where you are or what you do, you can be creative and make a difference. That’s the example I want to set and share and, ultimately, what I’d like to be remembered for.

Columbus is an associate in Assurance in our St. John’s, Newfoundland, office and a member of our Black Professionals Inclusion Network.

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