Time for one more: Topcats Family celebrating BHM 2020 – Ms Tola Ayoola at the Cabinet Office
BHM 2020: Topcats Alumni at the Cabinet Office – yes Downing Street…
Head of Talent responsible for Leadership Engagement
Member of Chartered Inst of Personal Development (CIPD)
Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
Member of ‘The Pipeline’ representing Powerful Women Leaders
“My journey at Brixton Topcats began in the 80s playing with the original Lady Topcats. Jimmy meant the world to me, he was a surrogate father following the death of my beloved father, always knowing how to lift me up following this incredible loss, whilst training me to my reach my fullest potential in the game.
Jimmy always said to me:
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t because YOU CAN…”
That mantra has stayed with me all my life, transferable to my enthusiasm playing for GB European Masters at the proud age of 50 somethings although I give the over 45s a run for their money.. I also transfer this mantra to education, career and work progression, being a Senior Manager at the Cabinet Office.
I am grateful to Jimmy because he gave me my ever-lasting philosophy that learning and progression is life long:
“it is not over til the game is over”
When l join Jimmy with a glass of heavenly spirit I will personally thank him for instilling in me that age is but a number, to live large, love myself and others and inspire others by passing on the positive thoughts, energy and aspirations that Jimmy instilled in me.
I attended the launch at Brixton Foot Locker this month and instantly felt the family belonging which Jimmy was an exemplifier of, he drilled this family all inclusive way into us as hard as the suicides we ran.
I instantly felt the connection with my extended alumni family of all generations as we paid homage to the great man JR himself together in unison with love. To see my Topcat sisters and brothers I have played with and have stayed in touch with some 30+ years later and to smile at the young ones who were further graced to know Jimmy… it is my biggest hope that Jimmy’s unity, hope and legacy stays alive in these extremely trying and exceptional pandemic times.I owe Jimmy so much.
My advice to younger ones is:
Play hard, study hard, get support to establish short, medium- and long-term goals; stay focussed on these goals. Surround yourself with the best; be the best you can be.
To my brothers and sisters:
Always hold the ladder down to others who are starting their journey. Be selfless in supporting younger ones, your peers, and your elders… Be sensitive to the needs of others. This is all Jimmy stood for. Be the change you want to be and see.
My parting message to all is I cannot wait for the day when we see each other, smile and hug each other again, without masks, without COVID. The day will come. Stay positive. Stay safe one and all.
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