Combine travel, an early career in pharmacy, an immersion into the National Programme for IT and a stab at entrepreneurship, and you get me – Yinka Makinde, with an unrelenting passion and drive to prevent illness through the adoption of technology.

Serving as Programme Director at DigitalHealth.London, I take on the challenging responsibility of making London a global commercial destination for digital health innovation, through services and programmes that support both the payors (largely the NHS) and digital health suppliers.

Over the course of my 26-year career to date, I have also worked for organisations such as Accenture, GlaxoSmithKline, Singapore General Hospital, as well as multiple NHS organisations across the UK.

My career path was seeded by a supportive upbringing where ‘education first’ and ‘sky is the limit’ were the mottos, and my decision from an early age to strive for impact has been the thing that has kept me motivated and striving for more.

Since joining DigitalHealth.London back in 2016, the most rewarding part has been witnessing the amplification of the message around digital health driven outcomes, on the front line and at board level, across NHS and third sector organisations in London. This has translated into a steady, and notable growth in the number of digital innovations being sought, piloted and adopted. This is motivating the emergence of more and more transformational leaders in the healthcare system.

As an entrepreneur who founded and led the commercialisation of a tech start-up Vitalfootprint, I understand first-hand the trials and tribulations being experienced by the hundreds of SMEs that regularly interface with DigitalHealth.London in search of support. Coupled with my background as a clinician, and technology implementer, I believe that I can offer a powerful blend of expertise and insight that fuels my ability to lead the fast-growing digital health ecosystem for London.

I tend not to dwell too heavily on my ethnicity when I am thinking about my future and jobs to apply for. I find that it can be disempowering to do so if you think too deeply about it. Rather, I focus on, and am motivated by creating a narrative that helps people to understand what drives me, and to demonstrate that I can deliver, and be a person and co-worker who can inspire.

This advice I offer to BAME and clinicians working as allied healthcare professionals in particular: actions speak louder than words. Define what impact you want to make, get out there and do it (or at least try to!). This will require you to be open minded, be willing to take some risks, and fail sometimes.

Ensuring diversity starts with you. Be the change you want to see across the sector – build your network, don’t isolate or silo yourself.

Yinka’s ‘innovator story’ was first featured in the AHSN Network’s Diversity in Innovation report, highlighting the business case for increased diversity in innovation in the NHS and celebrating BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) innovators working with the AHSNs. Read it here.

Connect with Yinka Makinde on Twitter.