Hi! I’m Gary Izunwa…

…your host for Climbing The Rungs!

A bit about me

My parents migrated to the UK in the 80’s but separated before I was born. Shortly after, my Dad moved back to Nigeria and thus I grew up in a low-income, single parent and less privileged household in London.

I only met my Dad when I was 9 years old, but it was at this point that I realised we were not as disadvantaged as I had thought. He had a well paid job at a large Oil & Gas company and from then became more involved in our lives. What’s really interesting though is that, despite having some money behind me, in a stratified country like the UK, the presence of economic capital does not necessarily offset the absence of cultural and social capital and the consequences of this. My Dad has no real network in the UK and the cultural capital he does have does not translate well here thus it was initially very difficult to navigate the labour market and start my career.

Despite this, over the years I have been fortunate to go to university, travel to over 40 countries and work at some well known employers such as LinkedIn, Barclays and Mashable. In my current role, I lead programmes for a large social mobility campaign that provides low-income students from the UK with funded opportunities overseas.

When I started working, I realised that people from similar backgrounds to mine were struggling to get into the best companies and even when they did, they got paid less, took longer to progress and felt that they couldn’t bring their authentic self to work.

This is why I have started Climbing The Rungs (referring to climbing the rungs of the social ladder // the income ladder). The purpose is to inspire and support young people from less privileged backgrounds by hearing stories from those of similar backgrounds; learning not only how they got into the industry/role they are in but more importantly, how they have excelled once in it.

My hope is that the podcast can inspire others, raise awareness of socio-economic issues and share the knowledge of how to progress at work that is oftentimes held in certain social networks.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn


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Email us at climbingtherungs@gmail.com

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