Name: Charlie Blair

Job Title: Founder and CEO of The Blair Academy

My position in a nutshell… We are a social enterprise and hip hop dance company. We use hip hop to enrich people’s lives.  At The Blair Academy, we envisage a world where hip hop brings health, happiness and wellbeing to people’s lives, so that we combat loneliness, strengthen communities and bridge social and generational gaps.

Since we launched in June 2018, we’ve worked with over 4,000 people across a range of settings including care homes for the elderly, disability day centres, homeless shelters, and hostels.

How I got the job… What I do now is a culmination of my life experiences:

  • homeless and then lived in a hostel aged 19
  • grew up with domestic violence
  • I worked in call centres, on market stalls, as a cleaner, and in KFC growing up.

After university, I:

  • worked as a carer for the elderly
  • was finance manager at b.supreme dance company
  • finance assistant at Stratford Circus Arts Centre
  • events and hires manager at Stratford Circus Arts Centre
  • operations manager at Make Believe performing arts franchise.

My typical day…  Varied! Always very busy, but it’s also important to create time for rest, which is an important part of productivity. My days consists of admin, social media, session planning, teaching, promotion, fundraising andchasing invoices.

My most memorable moment… Winning the University of East London’s business competition ‘The E-Factor’. I literally tore my business apart and rebuilt it. The support, opportunities and exposure that came from the competition were incredible.

Worst part of the job…

Feeling like you still want to do more and help people even more. It’s difficult walking away from emotive situations.

Best part of the job…

Feeling fulfilled and seeing the difference you’re making in people’s lives.

The key skills needed for my job…

Belief in yourself and your ideas, willingness to learn and to keep learning, passion, drive, determination and integrity

Advice for students wanting to follow a similar path…

Know why you want to do what you want to do. Do everything to the best of your ability and with passion. Keep learning and improving. Get all the experience you can. Try new things.