Black in the Public Sector with Kazadi Mwamba

Feb 18, 2022

Before beginning his career in local government, Kazadi was a professional kickboxer competing worldwide.

#BlackInThePublicSector is a monthly interview series spotlighting Black practitioners working across disciplines in local and national government. This month, we introduce Kazadi Mwamba, Principal Economic Growth Officer at Essex County Council. Read about his career journey from kickboxing to developing a programme for supporting independent businesses on the high street.

Why did you choose this career? What makes you want to do this role in the public sector?

  • To be honest, it was by accident that I fell into this career. I have always been interested in business, so I chose to study it at university. In my role, I enjoy supporting local businesses. I help businesses in Essex create and safeguard jobs and plan for the future to create a strong and resilient local economy. The work is not easy but it’s incredibly rewarding when I see its impact on people’s lives.

What has been your proudest moment since entering the public sector?

  • My proudest moment so far has to be delivering an award-nominated project. In a bid to support two struggling high streets in Waltham Forest, I wrote a business case to develop a programme for supporting independent high street retailers. With a concerning number of retailers closing, the programme provided expert advice and retail support to those passionate about growing their business and engaging with the local community. The pilot proved successful; additionally, the project was nominated for the REVO Gold Award 2019 in the ‘Re:generate – Redefining placemaking excellence’ category.

Kazadi's team at Essex County Council, working to build up local economic growth in the area.

Where is your favourite place in your local area and why?

  • Bloodline Gym in Hackney. The first time I walked into that gym, I was a 22-year-old young man searching for purpose in life. Thirteen years later, I became a professional kickboxer. I won both the English and British Kickboxing belts, I travelled across Europe, and I also competed for European and World titles. I’ve retired from kickboxing now and don’t compete anymore, but I still train at the gym, and I give back by teaching some of the young boys and girls that walk through the doors.

Who are some people whose career paths inspire you, whether you know them personally or someone you admire from afar?

  • Where do I start? I have so many influences and people I admire. However, I would like to acknowledge three people who have helped to shape my career in the public sector so far. Firstly, Claudette Tavares, my manager at East Thames Housing Association (merged with L&Q). Secondly, Maureen Branch-Davis, Head of Business and Sector Growth at Waltham Forest Council, and my mentor Jonathan Martin, Director of Inward Investment at Waltham Forest Council. Having the opportunity to work and shadow these three individuals has given me great belief and confidence in my ability as a public sector practitioner.

Follow Kazadi on LinkedIn to learn more about his work. To keep up to date with the #BlackInThePublicSector series, follow Public Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter. If you're interested in finding a career in the public sector, take a look at our placement programme for Associates.

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