Rhoda Quist, freelance speaker and wellbeing advocate, discussed the Imposter Phenomenon (also called Imposter Syndrome) and how it affects individuals, particularly those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds, as part of the Black History Year’s Wellbeing and Mental Health in Black People month.
Dr Deborah Husbands, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, hosted the event titled ‘Confronting my Imposter’ which saw Rhoda Quist (pictured top left) shed light on Imposter Phenomenon, an internal experience where an individual believes they are not as competent as others perceive them to be. Rhoda spoke about how this affects individuals from BME backgrounds as well as speaking about her personal experiences and journey with confronting her Imposter and how she has been successfully tackling these feelings head-on in the workplace.
Rhoda is keen to support individuals and help them to develop their confidence and identity in managing stressful life experiences. She has founded a mental health social enterprise, Rhoslab, which supports young people in looking after their physical and mental wellbeing through workshops and events.
Rhoda described her experience of Imposter Syndrome as a “skewed perception of self vs. reality”. She began experiencing feelings of second guessing herself after she graduated from university and didn’t understand why, inspiring her to research more about Imposter Syndrome, where she found that many high achievers have experienced the same feelings such as Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and Viola Davis.
Rhoda also discussed how people from BME cultures and women in particular are more prone to experiencing feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome. This is because BME people are underrepresented in a variety of contexts. Rhoda discussed how this representation is so important and is something that helped her on her journey to studying chemistry as she had a Black female chemistry teacher.
Talking about the event, Rhoda said: “It was an honour to be a guest speaker for the University of Westminster’s Black History Year series. I hope other universities do such in the future to champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I enjoyed sharing my experiences and tips as a Black woman confronting her Imposter! I hope attendees felt encouraged that they belong in ‘that room’ regardless of what the world around us tells us to believe.”