This year, 5 November was a very special day. The world woke up to find that the people of the United States had voted for the best presidential candidate, who also just happened to be black.

Coincidentally, that day I had a meeting with two of my directors and five senior black and minority ethnic members of staff. They had all attended the national Breaking Through conference, and they wanted to give me feedback on how inspired they were and what they thought we should do to incorporate the best parts of the programme here at Sussex Partnership.

I have been a supporter of Breaking Through since it began. It is vital across the whole NHS, but especially in places such as Sussex, where our staff are five times more ethnically diverse than the populations we serve. We want to appoint the best people to our top jobs, not the usual people. In the same week as the US election, HSJ published a rather depressing report showing that BME people who work in the NHS are increasingly turning to race equality legislation to achieve equal treatment.

What I love about Breaking Though, and in particular about Yvonne Coghill, who runs the programme, is that she inspires BME staff to achieve their best at the level that is right for them. The programme helps those who aspire to become directors to gain invaluable experience working at that level in a developmental capacity.

Inspiring leaders

And how wonderful to hear that, among an array of inspirational speakers at the conference, NHS chief executive David Nicholson made the most positive impact on the audience for his commitment to aspiring BME staff. David should be very proud of the impact he had and the confidence he gave the participants.

The thing about Barack Obama, 44th US president-elect, is that he is the best person for the job; that was why people voted for him. During his campaign, he gradually built a coalition of people from all backgrounds, because he inspired them with his ideals, his vision and his rhetoric.

That he was not a typical African American was considered to be a handicap at the outset, but his mixed background has become one of his greatest strengths. He understands what it is like to be poor, and an outsider, and that the way to get lucky is to work harder than everyone else, and have great support.

It is always worth remembering what professional golfer Gary Player said: "The harder I work, the luckier I get." But please also remember that some of us - women, those who are lesbian or gay, from an ethnic minority, or who have a disability - may need just a little bit of extra help to realise that luck.