Society has been reckoning with racial inequalities following Black Lives Matter protests around the world last year.
The business world is no different and renewed energy has gone into tackling the problem of poor ethnic minority representation at the top of the corporate world. Many organisations have announced new initiatives to elevate ethnic minorities internally or pledged funding for organisations that help the cause.
But there is still so much more to do.
Elevating, celebrating, and amplifying the visibility and voices of people of colour from across the globe is more important than ever.
The 2021 EMpower Ethnic Minority Executives ranking celebrates 100 senior people of colour who are leading by example and removing barriers on the pathway to success for ethnic minority employees. The 20 highest achieving executives have been ranked while the remaining 80 are celebrated in no particular order, reflecting the achievements of each individual.
The executives on the list are all within at least three levels of the chief executives at large companies, or are the leaders of smaller organisations.
The list was created by diversity and inclusion membership organisation INvolve and is supported by Yahoo Finance UK.
All of the ethnic minority leaders were nominated by peers and colleagues. Nominations were reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel, including former head of Yahoo Finance UK and now director of creative content development for Yahoo, Lianna Brinded.
Each person on the list was scored on the influence of their role, their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
Read more from the EMpower lists:
1) Ivan Menezes, CEO, Diageo
Since becoming the CEO of Diageo (DGE.L) in 2013, Ivan has been passionate about driving inclusion and diversity at the company.
In 2020 he launched a new 10-year sustainability action plan titled ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’.
The plan laid out goals including increasing the representation of ethnic minorities in leadership positions to 45% by 2030, as well as increasing the percentage of Diageo suppliers from female and minority-owned businesses year-on-year.
2020 also saw the roll-out of a new learning intervention ‘Confronting Racial Bias Learning’, and the opening of Diageo’s fourth global ‘INC’ week; an employee-led, grassroots movement encouraging employees around the world to celebrate diversity.
In addition to his work at Diageo, Ivan is on the board of ‘Movement to Work’ which operates to break the vicious ‘no job – no experience’ cycle that is preventing young people from stepping onto the career ladder.
2) Warren Thompson, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality – strategic partner of Compass Group
As chairman of the largest minority-owned food and facilities management company in the US, diversity and inclusion (D&I) is at the centre of Warren’s mission.
In addition to driving progress as a member of the company’s executive committee, Warren also serves as the executive sponsor on all D&I groups in the business.
Under Warren’s leadership Thompson Hospitality has donated $50m (£36m) to a company scholarship programme since 1993 and gives millions annually to underserved communities.
The projects and partnerships of the company are aligned with diversity opportunities, for example when Thompson Hospitality opened the Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel it committed to engaging local students as interns.
A frequent panellist for events run by the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance, and a guest speaker at the Northern VA Black Chamber of Commerce, Warren consistently raises issues of race from his platform within the restaurant and foodservice industry.
3) Monique D Jefferson, chief human resources officer, New York Public Radio
As a human resources leader, Monique has for the last four years been a strong internal advocate for representation and inclusion at all levels within Hogan Lovells.
Whilst historically the firm’s National Diversity Committee had focused on lawyer advancement and development, Monique felt that this focus needed to be expanded if the company wanted a truly inclusive culture and diverse workforce.
So, as an inaugural member of the new Americas Business Services Diversity Committee, she helped develop strategic goals centring on education, increasing representation at senior levels, and creating a culture where employees have a sense of belonging.
In another of her roles as president of the Global Leadership Network for Black executives, CALIBR, Monique has overseen a 20% rise in corporate sponsorships. At New York Public Radio, where Monique now works, she is a member of the Race Equity Committee, where she will continue to drive positive change.
4) Debbie Ellison, global chief digital officer, VMLYR Commerce (VYC)
After establishing the VYC Roots network in the UK three years ago, Debbie exported the initiative successfully into North America in 2020 alongside a VYC Incubator work experience programme for 16- to 18-year-olds.
Students on the UK Incubator programme from a Black, Asian or Mixed Ethnicity (BAME) background, or from a lower socio-economic background, were eligible for a £10,000 ($13,872) grant to study Business Administration thanks to the partnership Debbie set up between VYC and the Hult Business School.
The North American version ran its first three-month incubator programme last year in partnership with the Bronx Community School. Under Debbie’s leadership VYC achieved the status of ‘Advanced Employer’ from Investing in Ethnicity and Debbie was listed in the Inspirational Leader Category at the 2020 Ethnicity Awards.
Debbie regularly speaks at schools through her connection with the registered charity Inspiring the Future, giving students insight into the industry and her career pathway.
5) Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK
Bina’s appointment as the first female chair of KPMG in its 150-year history made headlines across the UK and international press earlier this year.
As well as serving as a mentor to BAME colleagues herself, Bina was responsible for introducing a reverse mentoring scheme in which KPMG’s executive board received mentoring from junior BAME staff.
Outside of KPMG, Bina’s promotion of diversity in business includes: mentoring women working in large corporates on behalf of the 30% Club; serving as a member of the Advisory Group for the Fawcett Society, with a focus on the Pay and Progression of Women of Colour; sponsor of KPMG's India club; and serving as an ambassador promoting female founders and investment in under-represented entrepreneurs.
6) Moushmi Culver, vice-president, head of manufacturing strategy and business development, Merck & Co, Inc
At Merck & Co (MRK), Moushmi is an executive sponsor for the Manufacturing Leadership Development Program, which supports building a high-performance organisation by recruiting and developing entry level early talent.
Moushmi and her team strive for greater workforce diversity through targeted recruitment and fostering an open and inclusive environment. Moushmi’s commitment to empowering minorities in pharma to excel takes the form of coaching, mentoring and sponsoring talent from diverse backgrounds. She regularly participates in panel discussions and events — including the ASCEND-Pan Asian Leaders Forum — and contributes to Merck’s minority diverse EBRGs, including the Asia Pacific Association, League of Employees of African Descent, and Merck Women’s Network.
To further support women to build a higher level of leadership effectiveness and to thrive in the corporate world, Moushmi identifies, nominates and sponsors emerging talent through company-sponsored programmes and development assignments, as well as leadership events such as Women of Color in Pharma.
7) Tom Shropshire, incoming general counsel & company secretary, Diageo
Tom was recently appointed the next general counsel and company secretary of Diageo, making him a member of the executive committee and the only Black general counsel at a top FTSE company.
While he was at Linklaters, Tom was a member of the Linklaters executive committee and the co-chair of LEARN, Linklaters’ affinity group related to race and ethnicity. Tom was also a driving force behind the Linklaters Race Action Plan. He was integral to the development and implementation of the firm’s ‘INspire Programme’, which builds understanding and sponsorship for talent from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
When it came to the company’s US strategy, Tom made sure that D&I was at its cornerstone, helping set up the firm’s US BANA network and contributing to its activities.
Externally, working on behalf of the Parker Review, Tom has placed himself at the forefront of the discussion on increasing the presence of diverse candidates on the boards of UK companies.
8) Jai Kotecha, CEO, Ogilvy Netherlands
Jai is an openly gay person of colour. As executive sponsor and co-founder of Oglivy Roots, Jai has seen the network go from strength to strength, growing in number and influence. It now extends across Ogilvy's parent WPP and has branched into many other agencies. Building this hub for informed cultural insights has helped Oglivy support brands such as the MOBOs and World Afro Day.
During COVID and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, Jai Ied internal initiatives to ensure that the Black community was supported within Ogilvy, including organising several workshops and counselling for anyone who needed it. Roots also hosted a blood drive to match more bone marrow donors with minority patients.
Since moving to Oglivy Netherlands in January 2021, Jai has introduced unconscious bias training for staff and signed Ogilvy up to the PlusOne network, which takes POC talent on board as apprentices with a view of them getting a permanent role.
9) Mauro Gregorio, president – performance materials & coatings, Dow
Mauro’s commitment to inclusion is evident not just within his own diversified leadership team but also in his wider efforts to institutionalise inclusion via employee resource groups (ERGs).
Among 12,500 employees in his business globally, there was an 87% increase in ERG participation from 2018 to 2020.
Mauro is the executive sponsor of the Hispanic ERG, which expanded from the US into four other continents, increasing its membership by 118%. Mauro advocates partnership among all ERGs to fight against racism.
One of the most visible leaders in bringing hourly workforce to the centre of inclusion discussions, he championed a ‘Facilities for All’ initiative, through which overall site facilities have been assessed and improvement strategies have been implemented.
Mauro also leads an impactful programme wherein each executive in his leadership team adopts a manufacturing site, engaging in courageous conversations with workforce about inclusion at Dow (DOW) and in our communities.
10) Jasvinder Deo, group audit director, Tesco
Jasvinder reinvigorated Tesco’s (TSCO.L) BAME colleague network as its director sponsor within the head office, initiating check-in sessions that inspired open conversations and support amongst all office colleagues following the tragic death of George Floyd.
The initial success of these sessions lead to their wider roll-out across the company and catalysed the creation of a unique online forum where colleagues could, for the first time, openly discuss topics surrounding diversity and inclusion in a supportive environment.
Jasvinder founded ‘Coffee and Conversation’ sessions for network members, which saw internal and external guests reflect on their background and heritage and how it had shaped their personal and professional identity.
Guided by the premise that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, guests such as EMpower alumni Albertha Charles and the #IndiameetsGhana bi-racial YouTube couple were invited to speak as part of the series.
11) Percival Barretto-Ko, Chief Business Officer, Astellas
Percival Barretto-Ko is Chief Business Officer of Astellas Pharma, where he leads the execution of the company’s Corporate Strategic Plan and spearheads efforts to enhance internal and external innovation.
Recently, as Astellas US President, Percival launched an ambitious 3-year People Strategy that highlighted diversity, equity and inclusion as a top strategic priority, and prioritized a culture that valued authenticity, integrity and clarity of purpose. During his tenure, Astellas developed a comprehensive plan to attract, retain and develop diverse talent, instituting programs including retention and promotion data benchmarking, implicit bias training, and more.
Previously, Percival co-chaired Astellas’ Diversity & Inclusion Governance Council, and, in 2020, sponsored several initiatives to create an open forum for employees to share stories and dialogue on racism, allyism, discrimination and social injustice. Outside of Astellas, Percival serves on the board of Americares, a relief and development organization improving healthcare for people affected by poverty or disaster.
12) Dominic Carter, group chief commercial officer, News UK
After instigating the creation of a company-wide Diversity Board at News UK, Dominic now sits as its chair, leading the team to deliver a comprehensive D&I strategy for News UK based on three pillars: a recruitment function ensuring more diverse young talent joins the business; the creation of new pathways to leadership for existing diverse talent; and a renewed focus on ensuring diversity across the company’s brands (The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, Virgin Radio and Times Radio).
Together, these programmes constitute News UK’s commitment to achieving 50:50:20 male:female:ethnic minority representation.
Dominic was also responsible for setting up a Cultural Diversity Network as a forum to freely debate how D&I issues affect News UK’s employees and a means of challenging perceived wisdom in leadership.
Other projects which Dominic has been involved with include sponsoring and supporting Sachini Imbuldeniya to set up Studio PI, a new photography and illustration agency promoting underrepresented talent.
13) Terri Hines, executive vice-president, communications, Fox Sports
As executive vice-president, Terri leads the development of all communications, brand and social responsibility strategies for Fox Sports and serves as an advisor on matters relating to community, social justice and the impact of D&I.
As a champion of diversity, Terri proudly serves as executivesSponsor of Fox NOIR, the company’s Black employee network. As well as supporting Fox NOIR’s internal programming to promote, amplify and support black employees at all levels, Terri last year spearheaded and co-hosted the first NOIR townhall in the aftermath of the BLM movement to offer a safe space for Black employees and allies to share and be heard.
Among her proudest achievements during this time was the creation of the Fox Sports Inclusion Council. The Council’s purpose is to foster inclusion and ensure that content is being created to reflect the diverse stories in sports and their communities on-air and behind the scenes.
14) Cheick Soumare, director of talent, Netflix
Cheick is a member of the Netflix (NFLX) Legal Inclusion Resource Group, a body which gathers personal stories about how inclusion, equity, and diversity impact legal professionals, and shares these resources with the Legal Team to help the company develop its inclusion muscle.
Cheick is also part of Netflix’s Multicultural ERG: an open forum where employees share, explore and learn about new cultures in order to celebrate heritage, advocate company-wide inclusion & diversity and build communities.
His role as director of talent means he is continually partnering closely with the I&D team in building surveys, coming up with action plans and coaching the company’s leaders. In 2020, Cheick was a guest panellist at 'Real Talk: A Conversation with Black Leaders in HR', and this year he received the prize for Leadership and Excellence in Tech from the National Diversity and Inclusion Conference.
15) Christina Liciaga, Head of Customers & Products, Europe, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, HSBC
An entrepreneur turned international finance executive, Christina has 18 years’ experience as founder, board member, and global director across four continents. In 2020, she was named Top 10 Customer Experience Professionals in UK.
Christina’s worked to drive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on HSBC’s Global Ethnicity Steering Committee and as champion to multiple employee resource groups. She launched STRETCH45, an internal venture to cultivate ethnic minority talent, co-founded the Black Action and Advisory Council to keep pace and conviction to HSBC’s Race Commitments, and hosted 20+ executive exchanges giving voice to lived experiences of black employees and customers.
Externally, Christina is executive trustee at Justice, a law reform and human rights organisation who has challenged Racial Disparities of Children in the Youth Justice System (2021) and championed Increasing Judicial Diversity (2020). She advises minority-owned ventures, founded organisations supporting women of colour, and is a regular speaker on DEI issues globally.
16) Dionne Aiken, chief marketing officer, profiles division, Kantar
Dionne is the global executive sponsor for I&D at Kantar Profiles, and joined the UK&I I&D Ethnicity Steering Committee as a member in February 2020.
Upon joining, she played a key role in formulating a strategy to win the hearts and minds within the business and she now co-leads the committee, balancing this commitment with her primary role as chief marketing officer.
Feedback on the work of the I&D SteerCo — including its Ally Programme of over 100 individuals who champion Kantar’s Race and Ethnicity Initiatives — suggests it has had a significant impact on the business.
Dionne also mentors individuals outside of her organisation, and is a frequent participant in panels and events including a Psychological Safety Webinar and a ‘Not Racist to Anti-Racist’ Learning Session for Race Equality Week. She was winner in the category of Professional Services at the 2020 Baton Awards.
17) Dwight Gibson, chief commercial officer, SPX Flow
After cofounding SPX Flow’s first Black Employee Network, ABLE, Dwight now serves as its executive sponsor.
Another of his initiatives for the company involved bringing in outside experts, including the CEO of the Urban League and a senior Charlotte City government official, to meet with SPX Flow’s Executive Leadership team to help them gain a better understanding of the issues facing the Black community.
Dwight has featured on three occasions on Savoy magazine’s list of the Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, a position he uses to connect peers with job and board opportunities. As a member of the Howard School of Business Board of Visitors, Dwight has established recruiting relationships at the school with SPX Flow as well as with his former employer, Ingersoll Rand.
18) Earl Ellis, executive vice-president and chief financial officer, ABM Industries
Earl has been a champion of diversity throughout his career. As a member of ABM's Executive Leadership Team, he is active in the company's newly formed Culture & Inclusion Council and heavily involved in their programs and partnerships, including with the NAACP Legal Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Afterschool Alliance.
Previous roles have included serving as the executive sponsor of the Black Employee Resource Group at Best Buy, and the chair of the African American Network at Campbell Soup, where he lead the development of a recruiting programme in partnership with the Black MBA, the National Society of Hispanics MBA and the National Association of Black Accountants.
Earl is also a former member of the board of the Northside Minneapolis Achievement Zones, whose mission is to eliminate achievement gaps and poverty in Minneapolis, and since 2019 he has been a member of the Executive Leadership Council.
19) Cassim Mangerah, managing director, energy marketing & trading (EM&T), Centrica
In his role as the co-executive sponsor of VOICE, Centrica’s (CNA.L) ethnicity network, Cassim has worked to contextualise diversity data, believing that a data-driven approach is critical to understanding how colleagues are represented across the business.
He has put in place interventions that will materially shift the dial. To this end, Cassim advocated Centrica’s #CountMeIn campaign — an initiative to improve colleague preparedness to share diversity information.
In order to improve senior leadership diversity at the firm, Cassim has invested heavily in generating a strong talent pipeline. He has successfully improved representation in the Energy Marketing & Trading graduate programme in recent years.
Other ways Cassim demonstrates his commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion include speaking openly about his experiences to external organisations like Exelon UK and Eight Wealth Management, and taking part in the cross-company mentoring programme Mission INCLUDE. Cassim shares his knowledge on the issue and shares best practices.
20) Vanessa Peterson Williams, senior vice-president, general counsel and asst. secretary, Kelly Services Inc
Before joining Kelly Services as senior vice-president and general counsel, Vanessa worked at IHS Markit, where she held bi-weekly sessions with female and ethnic minority mentees, sharing exercises to improve confidence and communication of value to the organisation.
As part of the Women In Technology group at IHS MARKIT — an ethnically diverse group focused on preparing women for leadership roles in technology — Vanessa was both a mentor and a presenter. Her collaboration with the CEO urged the recruitment, retention and promotion of women and minorities at the firm.
In her current position as general counsel of Kelly, Vanessa is increasing the use of minority outside counsel, working to increase minority intern and full-time employee representation in the legal department, providing executive support and leadership of company DEI initiatives, and offering mentoring to diverse employees in order to help empower the company’s pipeline of leaders.
Rupal Kantaria, partner, Oliver Wyman
Together with the managing partner of Oliver Wyman, Rupal ran the roll-out of a new mission to change the company’s approach with clients, exploring racial diversity and its place in interactions.
‘MissionINCLUDE’ was another initiative co-founded by Rupal — a cross-company mentoring movement endorsed by the 30% Club that began with 10 firms but has now grown to cover 47 companies and 900 employees.
As a BAME Employee Network leader, Rupal collaborated with the Global I&D Lead and the executive committee on ethnicity targets, and invited external BAME guests to speak at events to broaden representation.
Her work with the company’s design department helped them to recognise racial biases in imagery, ensuring diverse representation is now embedded in the company’s ‘standard’ iconography. Beyond her role at Oliver Wyman, Rupal is also a member of the government’s social mobility taskforce, where she is focusing on the intersection with race.
Justin Onuekwusi, fund manager and head of retail multi-asset funds, legal & general investment management (LGIM)
Justin manages £6bn in one of the UK’s most popular fund ranges; the L&G Multi-Index Funds. As a founding member of #talkaboutblack, Justin has lead numerous initiatives aimed at increasing representation across the corporate sphere.
This included the international, cross-industry allyship campaign #IAM which Justin co-founded following the BLM protests of 2020. Justin also founded EnCircle, a mentoring network connecting industry newcomers with senior Black professionals.
Within LGIM, Justin sits on the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and co-chairs the Legal & General Inclusion Team (LEGIT), heading up nine employee networks within the firm and overseeing several initiatives including a shadowing programme for staff, which lead to many ethnic minority employees being given access to otherwise exclusive areas within the organisation.
Justin also facilitates regular Insight Days to give ethnic minority students opportunities to connect with investment professionals. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2020.
Dr Paula Franklin, chief medical officer, Bupa Group
Paula recognises that having a representative and inclusive workforce is critical to Bupa’s success. With this in mind, she places a focus on increased belonging amongst ethnic minority groups through schemes like ‘Be You at Bupa’, which empowers employees to bring their whole selves to work.
Paula’s priorities involve making leaders accountable and empowered, so that they can role model inclusive leadership behaviours, and engaging employees to share their experiences to increase awareness and encourage openness.
The recently launched ‘Bupa Include’, which she supports and champions, is a mentoring scheme to help support underrepresented groups. It sits alongside the company’s apprenticeship programmes as another example of efforts to develop diverse future talent.
Paula is a vocal advocate for inclusivity whether on the Brilliance Resilience podcast series she co-hosts, in her blog posts for LinkedIn exploring issues affecting those from BAME backgrounds, or in her position on the Advisory Council of the Black Women’s Leadership Network.
Richard Iferenta, partner and vice-chair, KPMG UK
At KPMG UK, Richard worked with the managing partner to set up the Black Heritage (BH) Working Group, bringing together senior stakeholders to deliver a strategy which builds on the inclusion of BH colleagues.
Results of this working group have included the creation of a Black Lives Action Plan comprising of commitments to double the number of BH leaders in the firm and to increase the number of BH graduate recruits.
The group has also been reviewing and changing how projects are allocated to ensure BH colleagues have greater exposure to good quality experiences, and has delivered a Black Lives Allyship Programme which has reached over 700 colleagues.
As the partner sponsor for the African Caribbean Network, Richard has hosted events to understand challenges and showcase a roadmap of how to succeed. His work setting up the KPMG Black Leaders Network has lead to improved networking, mutual support and collaboration within the Black community.
Chanel Frazier, managing director, head of business strategy for the portfolio management group, BlackRock
As the most senior Black woman in the firm's investment organisation, Chanel leads by example in proactively applying an intersectional approach to diversity.
Her efforts include advising the CEO and global head of HR on BlackRock’s (BLK) D&I strategy, serving on the executive committee of the Black Professionals Network, co-authoring the firm-wide response to racial injustice and creating the diversity agenda for the Portfolio Management Group.
Within the firm’s Women’s Network, Chanel advocates for and advises women throughout every stage of their careers. Within the Black Professionals Network, she serves as an advocate for Black professionals and a senior advisor on firm-wide efforts regarding retention, development and promotion.
She currently serves on the board of Gibney Dance, a performing arts & social justice non-profit organisation. She has spoken at the United Nations about the importance of educational opportunities for communities of colour.
Shabs Jobanputra, managing director of Relentless Records, Sony Music UK
As a Ugandan refugee during the Idi Amin era, moving continents not only ensured Shabs’ safety but also allowed him to get his big breakthrough DJ-ing at house parties and club nights.
Shabs is now the founder and MD of Relentless Records. He serves as an empowering voice that champions diversity, whether through talent and music or through his efforts to recruit and retain a workforce that is inclusive.
In 2020, Shabs was involved in Sony’s company celebrations for South Asian Heritage Month. Shabs also co-owns the Notting Hill Arts Club: an academy that aims to showcase young local talent and create a space for future creative pioneers, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders within the music industry.
The academy offers vocational courses to get young people into the sector, supporting them to learn all the elements of the fast-changing music industry, to receive professional advice and mentoring, and to make contacts.
Andrew Pearce, managing director, Accenture operations, Accenture
Andrew works on Accenture’s (ACN) D&I agenda to further the retention, progression and development of Black talent. He is accountable for all annual network events, including the African Caribbean Network's series of prominent Black History Month events.
Other undertakings include supervising the Accelerate Leadership Development Programme and sponsoring the Accenture UK Operations Black Advocacy programme. He is currently the UK Chair of the executive leadership council, the membership organisation for the development of global Black leaders at C-suite level.
Karol Ussher, product leader, Apple
Karol is the founder of the BLIX network: Business Leaders for Inclusion & Diversity through Knowledge eXchange. BLIX has over 50 senior leaders from the tech industry who offer their knowledge to mentor, coach and connect diverse aspiring leaders.
BLIX holds advisory sessions and provides tools to help increase the representation of the underrepresented, helping candidates to get hired, grow in their current role, take on new career challenges or start a business. To date, the network has delivered over 250 advisory sessions and has run several TED-style talks on Inclusive Leadership from industry experts.
BLIX alumni have gone on to secure new jobs at leading technology firms and launch their own businesses. In his 15 years in Big Tech, Karol has championed diversity in product development by building inclusive product features in the products used by millions everyday. Karol works at Apple (AAPL) where diversity is not an afterthought but core to the company’s values and where difference is not just celebrated but seen as essential.
Sophie Chandauka, global COO, shared services and banking operations, Morgan Stanley
At Morgan Stanley (MS) since May 2020, Sophie has partnered with the head of the Global Operations Division to lead a taskforce as a strategic response to #BLM.
The taskforce has led diagnostics, design and delivery of a portfolio of interventions with measurable goals including, enhancing the sense of belonging, retention and advancement of Black employees.
Sophie is also chair and executive founder of the Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards); chair and chief architect of The Network of Networks (TNON); and head of the Race Equity Group of the 30% Club.
In response to the pandemic and #BLM, Sophie led a joint venture (JV) of the BBBAwards and TNON, delivering high impact training for over 120 corporations focused on leadership and race confidence targeted at network leaders, senior allies and talent managers.
In 2021, the JV launched the Global Investor Strategy and Corporate Governance Forum covering over 60 high profile investor firms, to agree strategies and solutions driving racial equity,
Victor Nieves, director, BNY Mellon Pershing
Throughout the pandemic and during the Black Lives Matter protests last year, Victor was leading the New York and New Jersey chapter of BNY Mellon Pershing’s multicultural Business Resource Group, IMPACT.
In this role, he represented the chapter's feedback on talent experience to the firm's CEO, sharing the honest sentiments of employees surrounding the importance of executive leadership accountability.
When he was nominated to serve as the global co-chair of the Latinx Leadership Forum, he introduced a professional development programme for 11 Latinx leaders across the Americas in partnership with the diversity equity inclusion (DEI) office.
Victor also co-founded the BNYM Pershing D&I Advisory Council, leading the first ever Executive Committee ‘Courageous Conversations’ discussion, and collaborating with Human Resources and the head of DEI on a programme for talent recruitment and development focused on Black and Hispanic employees.
Nazreen Visram, head of charities, Barclays Bank
Nazreen has been co-chair of Barclays’ (BARC.L) multicultural Embrace network for the past five years, during which time she has supported the establishment of Asian and Black professionals' forums as well as working with the firm’s faith forums.
Membership of the network has grown considerably as it has expanded across the UK delivering events, training, mentoring and development sessions.
As a ‘Race at Work Champion’, Nazreen is responsible for driving the race agenda across the business.
She also supports The Network of Networks to promote inclusion and intersectionality, and serves as a mentor to many junior BAME colleagues.
Nazreen is committed to voluntary service, previously serving as national council member for the Women's Portfolio for the Ismaili Muslim Council UK, enabling access, support and empowerment initiatives for women and their families.
Nazreen is currently on the board of a school and has recently been appointed as a lay trustee for King's College London Student Union.
Tendayi Munyebvu, managing director – France, Jacobs
Of Jacobs’ eight Employee Networks, Tendayi is a member of six. He is the chair for the EMEA region of Harambee, the Black Employee Network, and is the outgoing Europe Region Lead of the Jacobs Career Network.
Tendayi lead the EMEA Council in spearheading the firm's Action Plan for Advancing Justice & Equality (AJ&E), which focuses on the inclusion and development of its Black workforce.
Since the Council’s foundation less than a year ago it has: established a senior leaders sponsorship and mentorship programme for black talent; invited over 50 of the EMEA workforce to participate in the McKinsey Black Leadership Academy; prompted the UK & Ireland region to publish its Ethnicity Pay Gap data for the first time in 2021; and advocated for the launch of an internal project to gather reliable ethnicity data to enable progress monitoring on recruitment, representation and the advancement of Black and minority talent in the region.
Tunji Akintokun MBE, director, product and solutions group, PwC
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd last year, Tunji and two colleagues held a livecast with the chairman of PwC to talk about Black Lives Matter, their lived experiences as Black leaders, and what changes they would like to see.
This was watched by almost all of PwC’s 22,000 employees and had a profound effect on attitudes towards systemic and structural racism in the workplace and in society. Tunji is one of PwC’s ‘ColourBrave Champions’ and leads a group of 23 ‘ColourBrave Advocates’ within his function, supporting the firm's ‘Everyday Inclusion’ agenda around ethnic diversity.
The group provides a support platform for staff to discuss race, and hosts events to inform, celebrate and embrace inclusive culture. Additionally, as the founder of Ilesha Charitable Trust, Tunji has helped provide financial support to 100 Black Men of London, The Sickle Cell Society, and the Black Cultural Archives among others.
Jenny Chung Savidge, senior vice-president, chief compliance, privacy and risk officer, IHS Markit
For the last two years Jenny has participated in IHS Markit's Unity and Diversity Week, speaking on panels promoting racial and ethnic diversity and advocating for communities of colour.
In 2020, Jenny drove the social and racial justice conversation and set up new initiatives including the creation of ASPIRE, an ERG for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
As ASPIRE’s executive sponsor, she launched an education campaign around combating anti-Asian hate and violence and the erasure of Asian American history. Jenny was also responsible for establishing the Legal and Compliance department’s Diversity Summer Internship Pipeline programme and is the executive sponsor of the legal department's ‘Mansfield Rule’, a Diversity Lab programme to increase the hiring and retention of diverse in-house lawyers.
Jenny is passionate about issues of race and intersectionality and is an advocate of first-generation students. She is the executive sponsor of Parents@IHS Markit.
Timothy Wilkins, global partner for client sustainability, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Tim has over two decades of experience guiding social justice, cultural, and sustainability initiatives across New York City and around the world. Tim leads the firm’s global sustainability practice, advising clients on regulatory, litigation and transactional issues, including the role business can play in the fight for racial justice.
Tim co-led the founding of the New York Circular City Initiative, a collaboration of city agencies, businesses and foundations to promote employment opportunities and a greener environment for the city. Tim has been a fierce advocate for social justice while serving on several boards of leading non-profit organisations, including New York Public Radio as chair, the Public Theater and the NYC Economic Development Corporation as chair of the governance committee.
At Freshfields, Tim established programmes to bolster the success of students and lawyers of colour, including founding the firm’s participation in Legal Outreach, a mentoring programme for NYC high school students.
Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice-president, BTEC & apprenticeships, Pearson
As one of two executive sponsor of Pearson’s (PSON.L) global DEI taskforce, Cindy’s leadership helped lead to a threefold increase in the DE&I budget. The increased budget allowing for initiatives including the roll-out of a ‘Let’s Talk about Race’ training programme, the appointment of a new chief diversity officer and the introduction of quarterly reporting on employee representation.
In 2020, Cindy served on the CBI Race Charter Group and facilitated Pearson becoming an early signatory. One of the Group’s actions was championing the 'It's Time to Change the Race Ratio' campaign, which seeks to increase ethnic minority participation in senior leadership.
Cindy has been proactive in raising BAME visibility through her mentoring and sponsorship of talent both within and outside Pearson. She is a patron of the BAME Apprenticeships Awards, a board member of The Speaker’s Trust, and an Honorary Lifetime member of The Children’s Society.
Jay Muthu, executive director, employee experience, Virgin Media
As the lead for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Virgin Media, Jay works with the company’s Underrepresented Ethnic Minority Network to provide coaching and support.
His other efforts to promote D&I at Virgin Media include: establishing a decision-making framework whereby every decision must have equity in mind; setting up a complete review of recruitment processes to eliminate any bias; bringing the focus onto ethnic minorities in graduate and apprentice recruitment (which has already yielded positive results); identifying ethnic minority talent through the first ever organisation-wide talent review; and implementing mentoring and development programmes in partnership with INvolve.
Many of Jay’s speaking engagements focus on intersectionality because, as a lifelong wheelchair user, he recognises that the challenges he faces are different. Jay wants to be a role model for disabled ethnic minorities through his own corporate success story.
Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president, Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy Consulting
As the vice-president of Islamic Marketing, Shelina champions Muslim engagement and expression within Oglivy.
By bringing more diverse clients into the organisation on projects as varied as relationship apps, content production and Ramadan consumption, Shelina’s work benefits staff and also consumers in developing inclusive and representative ways of working.
In addition to sitting on WPP’s Inclusion board and serving as a member of the WPP Roots Steering Committee, Shelina dedicates an official proportion of her working time to improving diversity and inclusion and ensuring pastoral care of junior talent from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
She also works with the comms team to establish a calendar of religious and cultural events. In regular columns for Campaign magazine Shelina writes about culture and diversity, and for the British Film Institute and the AMAL foundation she advises on better representation of Muslims in the Arts.
Dorothy Burwell, partner, Finsbury Glover Hering
Dorothy has been involved with promoting diversity and inclusion at Finsbury — now Finsbury Glover Hering — since their diversity committee was formed in 2014. In the last two years, the committee has supported efforts to promote and increase the recruitment of ethnic minorities through continued sponsorship of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, as well as working to diversify the firm’s recruitment lists.
Material improvements in the talent pipeline have lead to ethnic minorities now making up a third of employees at the Managing Director level in her market.
The company’s 2020 efforts to formalise their D&I commitments included: introducing revised policies for qualifying, sourcing and advertising for candidates; setting up a firm-wide inclusion training curriculum; providing direct financial support and pro bono services for BLM charities; instituting a dedicated racial injustice awareness and education day; and expanding their cultural content to include a book and film club, with guest speakers discussing social justice and racism in society.
Maxine Goddard, senior vice-president, strategic distribution and development, Sompo International Insurance
Maxine is an award-winning champion for greater inclusivity across the insurance industry. She sits on the executive committee of the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network as well as that of Race Action Through Leadership.
She spearheaded the creation of the iCAN-INspire cross-industry mentoring platform.
At Zurich Insurance, Maxine was the chair of the black and minority ethnic (BME) ERG, where she spearheaded the network’s reorganisation, raised its profile, pushed for tangible actions, and significantly widened its national reach to 12 branch offices and 5,000+ employees.
Her work raising awareness of the challenges faced by BME staff, holding listening sessions, educating middle management, and garnering C-Suite executive sponsorship, enabled her to get the C-Suite executive board to volunteer as mentors to a range of BME employees.
Monthly ethnicity data reviews contributed to industry-wide ethnicity pay gap consultations. Additionally, in the summer of 2020, Zurich became the first P&C insurer to publish their ethnicity pay gap.
Erika Brown Lee, senior vice-president, assistant general counsel, Mastercard
Erika Brown Lee is the chair of one of the Women's Leadership Circles for Mastercard (MA), with the primary goal of supporting women of colour as they navigate role changes and performance reviews at the company.
Erika was also a founding member of the Purchase Lawyers of African Descent (PLAD), a group of Black men and women who meet monthly to discuss corporate developments and network. Since starting over a year ago, the group has doubled its membership.
Another of Erika’s contributions to D&I at the firm has been her mentorship of a Black summer intern who subsequently secured a permanent position. Erika’s previous speaking engagements include the Annual Conference for the Corporate Counsel Women of Color, and she has featured on both Business Insider’s list of Powerful Black Women CEOs and Executives, and Black Enterprise’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.
Mercheley Beuns, vice-president, head of talent acquisition, Fox Corporation
When it comes to D&I at Fox, Mercheley is focused on leading from a data-driven standpoint to implement strategic initiatives that will attract, build, and diversify candidate pipelines at all levels — from campuses to senior committees.
Mercheley has also concentrated on leaning into the company’s diversity partners, educating on the value of diversity and ensuring aspirational diversity goals are tied to recruitment initiatives. The combination of programmes she has championed have lead to continuing improvements in diversity across various levels of the business.
Mercheley’s other efforts to bring in diverse talent include recruiting for Fox at diversity journalism conferences every year, an effort which has resulted in numerous hires. Unsurprisingly, Mercheley is often asked to share her expertise on recruiting and diversity, and in the last year she has featured as a panelist on the topic for Day One and the Voray Group as well as for a recruitment podcast.
Suresh Raj, global chief growth officer, Virtue
Suresh sits on the global management team of Virtue, VICE Media Group's Global Creative Agency.
Within this new role as well as in his previous roles as a C-Suite ethnic minority executive, Suresh has been a vocal champion of diversity and equality throughout all company offices across the Americas, EMEA and APAC.
Within his capacity on driving growth within the business, Suresh emphasises the need for diversity within agency teams to deliver strategically sound and inspirational creative campaign work that resonates culturally.
Ensuring diverse individuals are given the opportunity to work on award-winning campaigns is part of Suresh’s mission to make the organisation a welcoming place for all.
Suresh’s executive sponsorship of a number of networks which focus on the personal and professional development of Black, Asian and Latin communities sees him actively soliciting the engagement of these groups within the business as well as within client activity.
Through INvolve and the Marketing Academy USA, Suresh is a mentor to numerous ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ professionals.
Sathya Bala, global head of data governance, Chanel
Since joining Chanel in March 2020, Sathya has become the global finance D&I lead for the function.
Working with the finance D&I forum she launched, she is now delivering on its action plan running colleague events, engaging senior finance leaders through D&I sessions, and drawing up a five-point strategy.
Sathya's work connecting data, HR and D&I brought focus on how Chanel can better use data to influence change, and in November she set up a data and D&I cross-industry forum, driving best practice on data collection and reporting.
She is also the founder of My Skin My Story (MSMS), a community focussed on connecting, empowering, and elevating women of colour globally through authentic meetups and panels.
Following support from allies of MSMS, Sathya went on to create the Allyship Alliance, an informal educational space on WhatsApp, where content is shares to drive reflection on race, gender and intersectionality.
Adrian Joseph, managing director, group AI and data solutions, BT Group
Adrian is the executive co-sponsor of the Ethnic Diversity Network (EDN) at BT, which has over 100,000 employees.
His achievements in this position include: publishing recommendations on BLM to BT’s, coaching the chairs of the EDN and presenting to the executive committee on ethnic diversity progress, which led to a review of the plan.
He is supporting the CEO of OpenReach to double the mix of ethnic minority hires in 2021 and produced a joint video with the CSTO which improved declaration rates with ethnic minorities significantly.
In 2020, he ideated and co-hosted a major ethnic diversity event with Business in the Community, which BT sponsored, attracting 300 senior executives and increasing the BITC Race at Work Charter signups by 35% to over 500 organisations.
From 2015-2020, Adrian was also a non-executive director (NED) to the UK Home Office where he sat on the Race Board and regularly contributed to the D&I strategy.
He also serves as a NED on the Board of Direct Line Group and is a member of the UK AI Council.
Edleen John, international relations, corporate affairs and co-partner for equality, diversity and inclusion director, The Football Association
Edleen is a British-born Sierra Leonean, who grew up in South-East London, attending non-selective comprehensive schools in Lewisham, before completing her MA (Cantab) in social and political sciences at the University of Cambridge.
She started her career as an investment banker and has held a variety of revenue-generating and support-function roles across financial services.
Besides her day job, Edleen is a multi-industry diversity and inclusion consultant, a governor at Greenvale School, a director of Tech Talent Charter, an International Trustee for Restless Development and a non-executive director at the NHS.
She also sits on the DIAL Global Advisory Board and the McKenzie-Delis Packer Review Committee.
At the Football Association, Edleen remains committed to ensuring a game free from discrimination, having recently driven the launch of the Football Leadership Diversity Code and the #StopOnlineAbuse boycott.
She’s overseen the creation of an internal Black Lives Action Plan, an employee network and the update to the Asian Inclusion Plan.
Vanessa Thurston, head of talent management, Samsung Electronics America
Vanessa co-leads Samsung Electronics America’s Diversity and Inclusion Executive Council.
She fixed the company’s focus on D&I by creating the first ever leadership position within the organisation focused on the issue. The role is responsible for coming up with a strategy and practice that will drive a culture of inclusion.
To date, the D&I organisation has established a clear three-year roadmap on how it will attract, develop and retain talent within the workforce. Vanessa was also responsible for appointing the first ever Executive Inclusion Council, a subset of diverse executive leaders chartered to set the tone and serve as role models through active sponsorship of, and participation in, education programmes and ERG groups, as well as through commitments around diversity, underrepresented profiles and equal appreciation of talent.
Glyn Aikins, co-president of Since'93, Sony Music UK
At Sony Music, Glyn is the president of Since’93, where he is now responsible for a diverse roster of British artists including Fredo and British-Somali singer-songwriter Amun.
Glyn sponsors Sony Music UK's internal diversity ERG Helping Unite Everyone (HUE), formed in February 2020 with a mission to promote equality and inclusion at the company.
As well as using his position to spearhead diversity committees, Glyn has worked with a diversity expert to manage and deliver key agenda points, such as rolling out mandatory diversity and unconscious bias training to all employees.
He has also facilitated the sharing of positive experiences, through events, activities and celebrations, to promote a culture of inclusivity so that all employees feel respected and represented.
In 2020, Glyn was appointed as a 'Diversity in Music Champion' to a board at the SouthBank Centre, designed to bring together a new generation of audiences after COVID-19 closures.
Andrew Monu, senior director, marketing, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn
Andrew is co-founder and EMEA lead of Embrace, LinkedIn’s ERG supporting under-represented racial groups.
Andrew’s record on driving the D&I strategy at LinkedIn includes leading the largest ever set of listening sessions in the UK, following the death of Floyd.
These sessions saw the number of allies increase by four times, and the findings were shared at the executive level to shape the UK D&I strategy.
Andrew’s work developing this D&I strategy provided a vision to empower allies to take action across the region.
The ‘Allyship’ education series he led, including events with high profile speakers like John Amaechi, helped allies to understand how low levels of belonging and forced assimilation impact internal mobility among people of colour.
Andrew’s team also lead diverse hiring initiatives, such as 'The Changing Face of Technology: Why Black Representation in Tech Matters' which created a more racially diverse pipeline for the business.
Roland Ilube, VP finance marketing, Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
As a visible role model for employees from minority ethnic backgrounds at Shell, Roland participated in a variety of engagements including acting as a panel member on UK-wide employee webcasts exploring issues of race, and writing a blog to all staff globally reflecting on the importance of diversity and inclusion.
The initiatives Roland has worked on for Shell include implementing a global review of organisational practices to investigate how they impact upon the careers of employees from ethnic minority backgrounds. He oversaw the publication of Shell in the UK's inaugural Ethnicity Pay Gap report in November 2020.
Roland also provides support and guidance to two employees from Ethnic Minority backgrounds and was part of a sub-committee of the Business in the Community Race Equality Leadership Team, working on the development of a series of executive sponsor toolkits for race which launched in November 2020.
Kedra Newsom Reeves, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group
In her capacity as a leader in BCG’s Financial Institutions practice and the firm’s Racial Equity Task Force, Kedra advises financial institutions on strategic challenges ranging from core operational challenges to programmatic design to driving greater equity in their processes, products and distribution models.
In this work, she has spearheaded several publications about driving equity through business practice. She also leads the Black, Indigenous & Latinx Network for BCG's Midwest and Canada region, working closely with leadership, talent management and diversity teams to coordinate mentorship, development and affiliation activities.
Her responsibilities co-leading the Women of Color affinity group include hosting discussion sessions and mentoring junior diverse consulting staff throughout their career journeys. As a board member of BCG’s Center for Illinois’ Future, which uses BCG’s capabilities to invest in Illinois-based organisations that support social issues, Kedra brings expertise in strategy, community development, organisational effectiveness, and operations.
Outside of BCG, she sits on the boards of Chicago Public Media and the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance. She lives with her husband and four children in Chicago.
Chika Aghadiuno, group enterprise risk director, Aviva
Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, Chika provided personal counsel to the CEO and organisation on external and internal comms and spoke at a whole organisation global live stream.
She proposed and lead multiple calls for all-staff conversations, as well as leading closed calls with Black colleagues to help them through trauma.
In developing the Black Professionals Network as a subset of the BAME network, Chika added a louder voice to the organisation and saw the confidence of the group growing visibly as a result.
She also provided her input on both the Aviva Black Action Plan and the Aviva Black History Month arrangements, and continues supporting initiatives such as anti-racist training, reverse mentoring and blind hiring.
Outside of Aviva (AV.L), Chika has been engaged in multiple initiatives and education and discussion sessions in the insurance sector and the actuarial profession to promote and support Black talent and inclusion.
Rekha Gomes, global head of risk operations, HSBC
As the former global business lead for D&I for HSBC's Wealth and Personal Banking (WPB) group, Rekha was responsible for shaping the global WPB D&I strategy, working diligently to create an inclusive culture that reflected her personal journey.
With her strong belief that unconscious bias awareness is key to the acceleration of inclusion, Rekha launched an unconscious bias campaign with the WPB Executive Committee in 2020, which will be rolled out as learning for the whole organisation in 2021.
Rekha was also the global co-lead for the WPB Ethnicity taskforce and after listening to the voices of many BAME colleagues, she lead the creation of a two-tiered plan with specific commitments globally and at a country level on race and ethnicity. She is now continuing the D&I drive in her new role with the Digital Business Services part of the bank. Rekha has promoted racial equity outside HSBC by chairing the Citizens Advice Bureau for Croydon, London, where more than 50% of the population are BAME.
Deonte Thompson, chief of staff, client solutions group, Dell Technologies
Deonte is both a member of the Black Networking Alliance ERG at Dell (DELL), and a co-lead for the Client Solutions Group Diversity Action Council.
For the last seven years he has helped recruit collegiate engineers at the National Society of Black Engineers conference, and has been a continual internal advocate for increasing the number of minority intern and full-time hires.
Recently he also led a company-wide initiative involving executives, hosting listening sessions with diverse team members to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences within the corporate culture.
His team used the Design thinking framework to turn observations and insights into specific ideas and actions that have begun to be implemented across Dell Technologies.
He also influenced others to become allies and advocates for underrepresented groups by encouraging over 1,000 people to take a pledge to educate themselves, listen to the perspective of others, and take a stand against injustices.
Dr Bijna KotakDasani MBE, FRSA executive director, Morgan Stanley
Dr Bijna Kotak Dasani MBE, FRSA (Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an executive director at Morgan Stanley (MS).
For almost two decades – with a career spanning the UK, the Americas and Asia – Bijna has been a passionate advocate of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, with a strong track record of championing gender equality.
She is an active proponent of creating a culture within companies whereby employees can bring their ‘authentic selves’ to work. At Morgan Stanley, Bijna champions change through her commitment to the Diversity and Inclusion Council, the Women’s Business Alliance, the Network of Women in Operations (NOW) and the Black Employee Network, to name a few.
She is also spearheading initiatives to support social mobility and the hiring, retention and promotion of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In October 2020, Bijna received a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to diversity and inclusion in financial services.
Roni Savage, CEO & founder, Jomas Associates (Engineering & Environmental)
Roni is the UK's only Black female CEO in the engineering and construction industry running a business of Jomas’ size. She champions D&I across Jomas, with strict company policies against discrimination and bias.
Roni is currently working with universities to encourage diversity in order to fill the existing gap in the industry. She is also a regular speaker at schools, universities and international events, and sits on various boards, including the YMCA SPG, the Diversity Subgroup of The Chartered Institution of Building, and a board advising the London Mayor on social mobility and D&I.
She has been honoured with several awards including the Construction News InspireMe award for her contribution to D&I in the industry. For the last three years she has been listed on the Top 100 Financial Times HERoes: Champions of Women in Business in the UK.
Arlene Isaacs Lowe, global head of corporate social responsibility and president of Moody's Foundation, Moody's Corporation
After guiding Moody's (MCO) leadership team on shaping a statement in response to the murder of George Floyd, Arlene made sure that there were meaningful actions following its publication.
She did this by, amongst other things, advocating for the funding of programmes to support Black entrepreneurs in the US and EMEA, working with the Chief Diversity Officer to establish a $1m multi-year scholarship commitment administered by the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), and convincing Moody's talent acquisition team to prioritise Black and Brown students when it comes to the programmes run by the firm’s educational partner.
Arlene also participated in several ‘Courageous Conversations’ internal panels discussing micro-aggressions, and her experience of them even as the most senior Black woman in the organisation.
She also co-chairs the ELC's International Presence Committee, which is charged with enhancing the ELC brand in the UK and identifying and recruiting talented senior Black corporate professionals.
Fenil Khiroya, head of human resources, UK, Standard Chartered Bank
Fenil’s promotion of diversity and inclusion at Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) has included launching a toolkit called ‘How to have Conversations about Race’, and hosting listening sessions in which BAME colleagues have an opportunity to openly share their experiences.
Fenil also wrote the firm’s 2021 Ethnicity Strategy for the UK and US and was responsible for making D&I training mandatory for all UK employees. Another of her roles is as senior sponsor to the ‘Futuremakers RISE’ programme, a BAME mentoring programme for young adults with the firm’s community partners.
Fenil is also active in the wider sector, contributing to a D&I working group to ensure Financial Services are future ready and can attract and retain a diverse talent base, as well as serving on the City HR Ethnicity EDI Taskforce with the goal of helping all City HR members on ethnic inclusion metrics, data insights and shared best practice.
Amber Finch, partner, Reed Smith
Amber’s undertakings as partner chair of Reed Smith’s African American Business Inclusion Group (STAARS) have involved working with the firm’s senior management to navigate the current climate of racial injustice and its impact on employees' experiences in the workplace, and developing programming designed to give Black employees a space to share their thoughts on the firm and on events affecting and shaping their lives.
In her time in the role, Amber has overseen a significant increase in membership growth among Black attorneys and allies. She has also acted as the Diversity and Inclusion Market chair for the Los Angeles Office, where she produced quality, educational and timely diversity programmes. Amber also coordinated Reed Smith’s pro bono efforts with the Bail Project, a non-profit organisation missioned to change the US cash bail system through the use of a national revolving bail fund.
Jennifer Mbaluto, partner & co-head of East Africa, Clifford Chance
Jennifer sits on Clifford Chance’s UK Inclusion Committee, which collaborates closely with affinity networks to drive institutional change across all aspects of diversity and inclusion. Since June 2019, she has influenced advancements including the publication of ethnicity pay gap data.
Reverse mentoring the firm’s Global Managing Partner over the last two years has allowed Jennifer to use her voice as one of two female Black partners in the firm to challenge the status quo. Through conversations with her mentee and with the firm's leadership team she has influenced decisions including 2020’s diversity targets, which included ethnicity targets for the first time.
In 2019, Jennifer set up a monthly breakfast club for Black female associates and trainees as a forum for them to discuss challenges that are unique to Black women at the firm, and as a way for senior Black female lawyers to provide mentorship at scale.
Tonia Bottoms, managing director & senior managing counsel, BNY Mellon Pershing
Tonia promotes ethnic diversity through a focus on talent initiatives that encourage the recruitment and retention of diverse talent. She has driven strategies and recommendations to help BNYM deliver measurable and meaningful change in Latinx and Black demographic representation, and has advocated for increased transparency of D&I goals.
Following her work with senior leadership to hold a townhall discussing what the company needs to do to strengthen diversity and inclusion, Tonia was appointed to the new role of Diversity & Inclusion Advocate, joining Pershing's executive committee.
She also co-chairs the BNYM multicultural Business Resource Group, IMPACT, and the Black Leadership Forum. Beyond her commitment to D&I at BNYM, Tonia is active in her community, and works with organisations that offer community service, develop leadership, and help empower others through educational opportunities. Examples of these organisations include the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, the American Red Cross and the Money Management Institute Gateway Foundation.
Ritu Mohanka-Vedhara, VP strategy & business development EMEA, Glint, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, LinkedIn
Ritu is the only ethnic minority leader on the global leadership team at Glint. In her previous role for IBM she was a highly regarded and lauded diversity champion and an executive sponsor for several diversity groups. Now she continues that work at Glint, helping change the internal agenda to prioritise Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB).
Through this Glint has adopted colour and gender-blind hiring, ensuring this approach is mirrored in performance measurement. As the senior Glint leader within EMEA, Ritu invests in mentoring upcoming and talented ethnic minority employees in and beyond her region, advising them on career management. Meanwhile, outside of Glint she walks the talk, regularly meeting with CEOs and CXOs to advise them on talent strategies, making the case for D&I not just by talking about it but by embodying its values and benefits in her actions.
Ritu also publishes article and hosts roundtable discussions to further the DIBs discussion among senior HR Leaders in the UK and Europe.
Leila Thomas, seconded CEO and founder, Urban Synergy Talent, Refinitiv
Leila is a steering group member of the Black Employee Network (BEN) at Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange (LSEG.L) business, as well as being the founder and CEO of Urban Synergy, an early-intervention mentoring charity helping thousands of diverse young people between 10 to 18 years to reach their full potential.
By setting up seminars for Urban Synergy with members of the BEN network, Leila gave her minority ethnic colleagues the opportunity to meet with others and network, whilst simultaneously helping to inspire the next generation and deliver a diverse, work-ready talent pipeline.
Leila’s work is guided by the belief that showing students relatable role models that look and sound like them will enable them to see the corporate world is an achievable goal. The number of corporate Role Models Leila has built up through Urban Synergy has risen to over 600, reaching students from more than 100 schools.
Kathy Quashie, head of enterprise indirect business, Vodafone
Kathy recently featured in Telecom-Channel press articles around the importance of D&I in the telecoms sector and the role leaders can play to make it more inclusive. She was also involved in participating in sessions on how to talk about race at the London Transport Museum, where she serves as non-executive director.
Since becoming chair of Vodafone’s (VOD.L) Multicultural and Inclusion Network in 2019, Kathy has re-shaped its strategy, igniting a new action-oriented programme to support employees. She has worked closely with D&I teams across the business to trigger new policies and lead on online webinars, which gave a platform to the voices and faces of the network, raised awareness of the benefits of diverse teams and lead to a significant increase in network fellowship.
The Black Lives Matter virtual discussion she participated in resulted in several new initiatives including a ‘Diversity Portal’ and the deployment of race education programmes.
Titi Cole, head of global operations and fraud prevention & chief client officer, global consumer banking, Citigroup
2020 saw Savoy Magazine name Titi one of the Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, and she has used this influence to advocate for the power of inclusion and creating supportive work environments for all.
After joining Citigroup (C) in 2020, Titi launched the Global Consumer Bank Diversity and Inclusion Council in 2021.
She has also lead work to create D&I goals for all people managers, as well as helped implement diverse interview slate and panel requirements for management roles.
Beyond Citibank, Titi sits as a board member for Communities in Schools, supporting their work to help underprivileged children and youth stay in public schools both financially and through volunteering.
As a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), Titi supports high achieving college students through scholarships.
She also volunteers her time to speak with groups of Black, Hispanic, Asian and female emerging talent in the financial services industry, for Northwestern University's alumni programmes, and at Citi.
Darain Faraz, marketing director, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn
Darain co-launched Embrace, a LinkedIn Employee Resource Group, which has been a leading light at the company in terms of reviewing existing practices, evaluating challenges and setting out a measurable plan of action.
Darain was involved in initiating unconscious bias training for the UK business, and hosting events discussing issues of race and intersectionality.
He is also leading LinkedIn's involvement in the Black Representation in Marketing programme, rallying UK marketing and communications functions to launch a framework to improve Black representation.
In the last eight years, Darian has hosted workshops fors the Taylor Bennett Foundation — an organisation set up to address the underrepresentation of Black and ethnic minority people in the marcomms industry.
Last year he co-founded, together with his brother Sheeraz People Like Us , which is a networking group to celebrate and support marketing and communications professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.
Outside of their events, People Like Us supports the individuals and the industry at large with D&I consultancy, job placement and personal branding — all for free.
Nilufer von Bismarck, partner, Slaughter and May
Nilufer is one of Slaughter and May’s two D&I partners, and as such plays a leading role in the firm’s overall D&I strategy.
Since occupying this position she has accelerated progress against the Race Fairness action plan by establishing and leading a partner working group focusing on race and ethnicity.
A framework has also been embedded to analyse diversity data in order to improve recruitment, retention and promotion of BAME employees. It will also be used to examine structural processes so that the firm can advance change, with best practice being shared with clients and other law firms.
Nilufer spearheaded the launch of a new bursary scheme, that will support a number of BAME students who come from less-advantaged backgrounds.
In 2019, Slaughter and May also launched the company’s ‘Inclusion Allies’ initiative, with a series of workshops including training specific to BAME inclusion.
Javier Morgado, executive producer, CNN
As executive producer of CNN's national three-hour morning show, New Day, Javier is committed to covering communities of colour and booking newsmakers and expert voices that represent the audiences the show serves.
Javier is a member of both the National Hispanic Journalists Association and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications within CNN. Each year he leads professional development sessions to attract prospective employees, with numerous diverse hires joining the company as a result.
Javier also recruits for CNN and Warner Media at annual diversity journalism conferences and lead a recruitment and retention committee at CNN’s Diversity Council for several years. PRISM (LGBTQ+) and VAMOS (Latinx) are two ERGs at WarnerMedia which Javier is a member of, whilst outside of CNN he sits on the board of directors for the Stonewall Community Foundation and the advisory board of the Princetown Film Festival.
Karen S Carter, chief human resources officer & chief inclusion officer, Dow
Dow ACTs is the name of the anti-racism framework Karen launched in 2020 as the chief inclusion officer. Built on the pillars of Advocacy, Community and Talent, Dow ACTs has taken actions such as: establishing an internal social justice council; allocating $5m over five years to support the Black community, including $1m to The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; investing $100,000 in Dow Promise to impact educational and economic challenges faced by Black youth and adults in communities near Dow, and donating $500,000 to HBCUs.
Karen’s other achievements include: establishing equity as a company goal; requiring advanced inclusion training for all leaders and HR; implementing D&I metrics linked to leadership and employee performance awards; and introducing new inclusion hiring standards.
Following the implementation of these measures, employee satisfaction at Dow is currently at its highest since surveys began being conducted in the 1990s.
Albertha Charles, partner, PwC
Some of the major changes Albertha has pushed for in PwC’s D&I strategy over the past five years include: the introduction of coaches to drive Black and ethnic minority group progression; the initiation of ‘Fair Allocation of Work’ programmes; Ted Circles to encourage open conversations about D&I topics and the ‘One Action’ campaign, which asked everyone to commit to one action they would take personally to embed behaviour change.
As chair of the Staff Diversity Council, Albertha also gathers feedback across the firm’s networks on D&I priorities and actions taken so far, bringing recommendations to the Partner Diversity Council in response. At 2020’s Anti-Racist Manifesto for Action, Albertha contributed by sharing insights on how PwC reached disclosure rates of over 90% and used the data to drive inclusion actions such as fair work allocation and sponsorship programmes.
Segun Osuntokun, partner in charge, UK, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Segun is a founding member of BCLP's Global Inclusion & Diversity Action Board. He was also appointed co-chair of the firm's global diversity initiative shortly before the death of Floyd, after which the role took on a new level of urgency.
In these capacities Segun has championed the introduction of firmwide ‘Aspirational Diversity Goals’, which are among the most stretching in the legal industry, including a US 18% and a UK 22% Black, Asian and minority ethnic partner goal.
He has also lead and informed the introduction of an ‘I&D Cultural Foundation’, against which all BCLP partners’ performances are assessed, and introduced ‘Hours Gap reporting’ in the firm’s US and UK offices, allowing them to monitor, highlight and drive accountability around disparities in hours billed by lawyers of colour, and specifically disparities between Black associates and their white counterparts.
David Wallis, partner, Deloitte
In his position as a member of Deloitte’s Ethnicity Council, David helps define, drive and monitor initiatives to promote better representation and outcomes for ethnic minorities. He is a key partner supporting and launching Deloitte's Black Action Plan (BAP), and chairs a steering group ensuring voices of Black colleagues are being heard as BAP is implemented.
After collaborating with colleagues firm-wide to formulate this comprehensive plan, David then worked with the Executive Committee to gain its commitment and sponsorship.
The objectives of BAP are firstly: to systematically examine processes across the employee lifecycle and make improvements to reduce potential opportunities for bias; and secondly, to evolve organisational culture allowing colleagues of Black and ethnic minority backgrounds to realise their potential and thrive.
Initiatives already underway at the firm include: a leadership development and mentoring programme; a multicultural allies’ network; and mandatory race fluency training.
Muna Hussaini, head of ESG governance, Indeed
Muna has been working with a group of employees at Indeed to establish an interfaith Employee Resource Group and, pending its approval, she will serve as the group’s executive sponsor.
This role will be in addition to the support she already provides to several of the company’s ERGs by participating in panels, giving advice and taking part in mentoring programmes.
Muna was also involved in launching a manager’s guide to Ramadan and has run an allies’ session to educate colleagues on Ramadan and how to support employees who are fasting.
Outside of Indeed, Muna is a member of the City of Austin/Travis County Hate Crimes Taskforce, which works to secure help for victims, to support legislation to prosecute, and to engage resources in prevention and education.
She is also the Muslim mama on Three Righteous Mamas, a podcast about building a better future for all children.
Jessica Markowski, commercial director – wholesale and convenience, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I
Jessica is an influential voice and champion for many D&I initiatives at work. While she was initially focussed on gender equality, she realised the need to highlight another side of D&I.
Drawing on her own experience as an ethnic minority in the UK, Jessica used her voice as a force for good inside Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland.
She established several listening groups to ensure colleagues had the space to channel their thoughts in response to BLM. Following this, she established and is now the executive sponsor for a racial equality employee resource group, working to drive change within the company.
Jessica was also responsible for securing management support to appoint a partner to gather and analyse the company's D&I data.
Additionally, she is also a mentor, working with Bath University to ensure stronger representation in the firm's scholarship programme and established the company's relationship with Diversity in Grocery.
Martin Barnett, global head of technical product experts, Search Ads 360, Google
After serving as leader of a local chapter of the Black Googler Network (BGN) Employee Resource Group, Martin went on to become regional and then global co-lead of the group.
During the time of highlighted racial injustice in 2020, Martin worked within Google's Black Leadership Advisory Group, with guidance from Google and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai to input into Google’s Commitment to Race Equality.
In addition, Martin is a coach and mentor to the BGN EMEA Chapter Leads on career development, leadership and engagement of senior executives.
Driving his focus on expanding the reach of the ERG across different locations, Martin played a critical role in the recent launch of new chapters in Zurich as well as supporting the group’s growth in Northern Europe (across Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden & Benelux).
Martin serves as a consulting mentor for the UK's Department for Work and Pensions BAME Mentoring Circles Pilot Programme.
Jignesh Ramji, group head of talent, London Stock Exchange Group
As the group head of talent at the London Stock Exchange Group, Jignesh is accountable for building a more diverse leadership team and accelerating internal progression.
He lead a series of projects in 2020 covering a range of areas, such as leadership development, wellbeing, hiring and progression, and mentoring, each with its own appointed executive sponsor.
Resulting progress in these areas has included: the improvement of resources such as counselling and coaching; the evaluation of hiring activity to eliminate bias; the collection of data to ensure meaningful advancements; the introduction of reverse mentoring for the executive committee; and the implementation of unconscious bias training for all employees.
Jignesh is also a member of the Race Equality Leadership Team at Business in the Community, the aims of which include promoting the Race at Work Charter and growing the number and capability of executive-level D&I champions. He is on the advisory board for Baxter Neumann and HR Grapevine.
Jignesh is a board member for the UK ICF and a trustee and non-executive director for Roffey Park Institute.
Ara Tucker, SVP, head of talent and culture, Audible
Ara delivers innovative solutions to organisations looking to disrupt the status quo in pursuit of stronger business results, collaborative cultures and inspired talent.
As head of talent and culture at Audible, Ara sits on the company’s most senior leadership team while leading an integrated group focused on attracting, hiring, developing and engaging employees at all career stages. She also oversees Audible’s Spectrum & Belonging (DEI) strategy and execution to ensure that Audible is an inclusive and progressive workplace where a broad spectrum of employees can contribute fully while being their authentic selves.
Prior to Audible, Ara served in diversity and inclusion leadership roles in the financial and legal sectors. She regularly shares her story as an openly gay leader of colour in a variety of settings including on LinkedIn and her website, 'I'm Here Too'. Ara received her JD from NYU School of Law and has an AB from Princeton University.
Sarah Nelson, London zone managing director, Sainsbury's
Sarah is the founder and chair of the I AM ME ethnic minority network at Sainsbury's (SBRY.L).
Last year she played a pivotal role in increasing corporate confidence in race fluency. She personally delivered the 'Let's Talk About Race' ethnic diversity training to the PLC board and operating boards. This was then delivered to the top 250 leaders at Sainsbury's and has now been rolled out company-wide.
She also influenced Sainsbury's decision to change its language from BAME to ethnically diverse.
Sarah has worked with the business to lead a number of positive actions, including encouraging partnerships with charities that support the Black community, such as the Sickle Cell Society as well as supporting commercial teams to drive incremental sales on the world food range at Sainsbury's.
She also led the internal and external narrative for BLM, and played a role in driving the agenda of the 2020 Christmas advert gravy song which featured a Black family.
Additionally, Sarah was also instrumental in creating the strategic priorities for Sainsbury's and influencing the business' overall inclusion targets as an organisation.
Sam Patel, chief counsel, AXA Health
Under Sam's sponsorship, the Employee Resource Group REACH has advanced racial equality across AXA, in particular by developing initiatives such as a 'Let's Talk About Race' programme, which has been engaged with over 700 times in its first six months.
Sam also represents REACH at AXA’s D&I board, providing leadership that has resulted in initiatives such as the Inclusion Allies programme, which has had over 2,000 engagements.
Sam also played a fundamental role in developing AXA's response to the Black Lives Matter movement, leading both external and internal communications, consulting on the development of an Ethnicity Action Plan, and speaking to hundreds of business leaders and employees at team meetings on the topic of race equality.
Another way Sam promotes diversity at AXA is by mentoring ethnic minority talent, something he also does for Business in the Community’s Cross Organisational Mentoring Circles.
Pauline Lewis, group head of talent & diversity, Selfridges Group
As an activist for inclusion, Pauline believes we all have an obligation and a role to play in driving real and sustainable societal change. Her role as group head of talent & diversity has given her the ability to support and sponsor ethnic minority inclusion by challenging white privilege in all processes of recruitment, talent management and promotion.
As the head judge of the European Diversity Awards for the last four years, Pauline has worked closely with various organisations in the corporate world and with charities promoting and championing ethnic minority inclusion. This has involved group presentations to senior leadership teams, as well as coaching and mentoring Black students one-to-one.
Pauline regularly travels to universities throughout the UK, specifically targeting non-Russell Group universities, promoting various career opportunities and giving advice to students on their CVs and interview preparation techniques.
April Crichlow, head of marketing, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP
At SAP SuccessFactors, April acts as an executive sponsor of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Her accomplishments include: supporting the creation of the first mothers’ room at SAP Hudson Yards; launching initiatives to support working moms in the pandemic such as ‘Back to Best for Parents’ with the ‘Female Founder Collective’; creating D&I forums at major events and championing the topic across all major programmes at SAP.
April has spoken at the UN Commission on the status of women, at the Cannes Lions’ Goals House about supporting supplier diversity and at the New York Stock Exchange about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
She sits on the board of GiveClear and SheGone, as well as being a member of AAPI Marketing Executives Network. April has advised various organisations on DE&I, from large corporations, startups to non-profits.
Tanvi Gokhale, director, segmentation & propositions, Lloyds Banking Group
Since joining Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) in 2008, Tanvi has passionately driven the inclusion agenda.
She is a key diversity sponsor for the Retail Bank, a member and speaker for LBG’s Inclusion and Diversity Forum and Inclusion Strategy Working Group, and LBG’s Ethnic Diversity Network, REACH.
Tanvi founded the chief customer office’s diversity committee, increasing colleague disclosure rates and advocate involvement, and leads customer inclusion within LBG’s Race Action Plan for greater inclusivity of diverse groups.
She pioneered 'Ask Me Anything' sessions, encouraging diverse colleagues to share experiences and be more confident.
Other initiatives include a hiring and retention programme for diverse talent and reverse mentoring programme.
Tanvi was invited to the ‘Deloitte Academy Diversity on Boards Programme’ and is a regular panel speaker at industry diversity events.
She also heads up the development and roll-out of LBG’s consumer propositions, and her career has spanned strategy and commercial executive roles across divisions.
Laurent De Cock, HR director, Accenture
In 2020, Laurent stepped up to become Accenture’s Ethnicity Inclusion Sponsor for Europe, keen to drive progress across the whole region in terms of anti-racism efforts and the promotion of ethnic diversity.
Despite Europe’s complexity, with varying levels of maturity on this topic, and data collection challenges, Laurent defined a common strategy which was supported by the Europe CEO and communicated to all geographies.
Since then, the commitment to promoting ethnicity diversity has been turned into action, with various initiatives being launched across the region including: listening sessions with underrepresented ethnic groups in selected countries; the organisation of awareness sessions with all employees about racism and how to address it in the workplace; and the communication of an internal guide for managers with recommendations on how to recognise and address discrimination.
Kenneth Olisa, chairman, Shaw Trust
In his role as chairman of the Shaw Trust, Kenneth oversees the creation and implementation of D&I policies within the organisation’s overall strategy, which commits to a fully diverse and representative workforce.
As part of this strategy, Kenneth proposed partnering with the National Equality Standard (NES) to ensure that Shaw Trust was at the vanguard of the not-for-profit sector when it came to D&I. Outside of the Shaw Trust, Kenneth speaks regularly and participates in panels to promote ED&I and its competitive advantages. He has recently been hosted by City University, Barings, Natwest Bank, the Armed Services and the Black FE Leadership Group, and was a keynote speaker on the BT-sponsored Business in the Community Manifesto for Action event.
Kenneth also champions inclusion in his position as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London and through the Aleto Foundation, which he founded to identify and equip young leaders.
Loreal Torres, chief people officer, Vested
Ever since first joining Vested, Loreal has had DE&I policies and recruitment practices fixed as one of her priorities.
In 2020, her accomplishments included: creating a partnership between Vested and the LaGrant Foundation by sponsoring scholarships for their students; formalizing the Vested DE&I policy and statement; securing funding to bring in a consultancy firm so that Vested could evaluate and audit its existing programmes; and implementing blind feedback processes for candidate interviews to help eliminate bias.
She also partnered with the marketing department to create an ongoing series of DE&I focused interviews and panel discussions around topics like Black representation in historical currency, Latino influence on financial services, and how COVID has affected working women and mothers.
Another of Loreal’s achievements was the fact that nine of Vested’s 14 new hires in 2020 were candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
Manroop Singh Khela, head of specialist business units, Santander UK
Manroop is the executive sponsor of ethnicity at Santander UK. His key accomplishments include launching the Santander Black Inclusion Plan, with the objective of doubling Black representation in senior leadership roles in two years and championing the first ever Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting at Santander UK in 2021.
Manroop was also responsible for delivering the roll-out of listening programmes across the organisation, which were set up to understand the challenges and issues ethnic minority colleagues face. He also ran six panel sessions, each with up to 2,500 attendees, featuring both internal and external role models such as Akala and Baroness Amos.
Beyond Santander, Manroop has been a speaker and panellist at engagements for the City of London’s ethnicity conferences. He is part of the Black in Tech’s taskforce for the Confederation of British Industry and sits on the Race Leadership Board for Business in the Community.
Tapaswee Chandele, global vice-president of talent & development, The Coca-Cola Company
Tapaswee has a long history of involvement in diversity and inclusion work, with past accomplishments including initiating the first Diversity Council in India and launching a Women in Leadership Programme which was expanded to the whole region.
She has continued this work in her current role at Coca-Cola (KO), ensuring that all practices have the company’s D&I ambition hardwired into them.
As part of this work, Tapaswee has encouraged investment in recruiting, succession planning and the development of diverse talent, as well as helping run company programmes such as ‘Global Women in Leadership’ and ‘Multicultural Edge’.
Tapaswee personally mentors and coaches women and other diverse talent in the company so that they can achieve their full potential, and she has spoken on diversity and inclusion at numerous events including for The Chapman Consulting Group’s HR Leaders’ Networking Sessions and for Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence Conference.
Ansumana Bai-Marrow, chief compliance officer, Cairn Capital
Following the raft of developments in the US, including George Floyd’s death exposing racial injustice, Ansumana contacted Cairn Capital’s executive management committee and was asked to set up a D&I committee.
Now serving as the chair of the committee, Ansumana has started creating a new level of awareness of D&I issues within the firm, including advising the executive management committee on its strategy.
In October 2020, the executive management committee agreed to a broad suite of D&I initiatives that the committee would work to implement over the coming year. These included: establishing more diverse hiring processes; securing the assistance of a D&I consultancy firm; launching a mentoring scheme; and giving to diverse charities and organisations.
In March 2020, the committee completed the firm's first ever D&I staff survey, the results of which will be shared with management to inform the Cairn Capital’s strategy and the committee's activities going forward.
Noreen Biddle Shah, head of corporate communications EMEA, State Street
One year ago, Noreen wrote a story on her father's experience of workplace racism and posted it on LinkedIn. It received 200,000 views and an outpouring of responses.
The feedback to the post, as well as to the white paper Noreen wrote based on interviews with 'kiddgrant' professionals *children of immigrants), led her to set up a non-for-profit group, reboot with fellow senior communication professionals, as a way of ensuring these stories would continue to be told across the UK.
Since reboot’s launch in January it has had lots of media coverage and is gaining momentum with in financial services. Reboot started off with 10 powerful interviews with senior minorities and is now focussing on its 2021 strategy with the help of an advisory panel.
Noreen has also been pushing for change within State Street by participating in round tables, presenting to senior management teams, and sharing recommendations on race dynamics in the workplace.
Allyn L Shaw, president & CTO, Recycle Track Systems
As the President and CTO of Recycle Track Systems, Allyn heads all D&I efforts across the company.
One of his initiatives has been to host a biweekly ‘team huddle’ bringing all people together to openly discuss their experiences. When Allyn joined RTS 18 months ago, 20% of employees were BAME. Today that figure sits at 37% and he has made impressive advancements in achieving a gender balance too.
This year Allyn has participated in over fifteen panels, eight speaking engagements and four ‘courageous conversations’ around Black Lives Matter and systemic racism in the workplace.
Allyn’s ambitions for the next 25 years of his career include creating opportunities for LGBTQ+, Black & African American and Women entrepreneurs to have access to credit, capital, and support networks. He also wants to work with organisations to educate and support LGBTQ+ and communities of colour to run for elected office at the city, state, and federal levels.
Gautam Bhattacharyya, partner, Reed Smith
Gautam is one of very few UK-based ethnically diverse senior partners in global law firms the size of Reed Smith LLP. He became a partner in the firm in 2000.
Since 2017, he has been a member of the firm's executive committee, its global board, which among other things oversees the promotion of Reed Smith’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion objectives and is responsible for the successful implementation of the Racial Equity Action Plan.
He is also a Partner Champion of the firm’s Multi-Cultural Network, its PRISM (LGBTQ+) group, and its Disabilities Group; as well as acting as a male partner champion for the Women's Network.
As a mentor, Gautam shows young and up-and-coming diverse lawyers that 'Big Law' is not out of bounds to anyone, with his mentees’ success testifying to this message.
Gautam regularly speaks about careers in the law, ways to succeed, and overcoming obstacles for numerous organisations such as The Brokerage, Speakers for Schools, IntoUniversity and Aspiring Solicitors.
Rak Kalidas, commercial director (head of diversity & inclusion), Levy UK (Compass Group UK & Ireland)
Rak founded the Cultural Diversity Employee Network ‘Within’ at Compass Group UK&I. Now sitting as its chair, Rak has laid out the group’s aims to develop plans to improve diversity within Compass and be a voice for the firm’s employees.
Believing dialogue is essential to making change happen in the right areas, the network introduced listening groups where ethnic minority employees’ experiences can be heard. The impact of the company’s D&I programme has seen increased visibility of D&I across all sectors through comms and educational work, including a new programme of InclustiviTEA sessions.
Rak is also the UK&I representative for the Compass Group Global D&I Champion Committee, sits on the board of WiHTL (the Festival of Inclusion in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure), and serves on both the Deloitte D&I Committee and CMI Race Advisory Committee.
TJ Castro Lim, global co-head of product (private wealth management), Goldman Sachs
TJ is part of the divisional Inclusion and Diversity Council at Goldman Sachs (GS) Private Wealth Management, focusing on the culture pillar. He is actively involved in creating safe spaces, recruiting and interviewing diverse talent and promoting and leading open conversations about inclusion, covering topics such as sexual orientation, gender, and race.
In his previous role at Fidelity, TJ worked with HR to launch the Pride network, and whilst at UBS he supported the firm’s efforts for the United Nations Women in the World Summit and the women’s segment strategy. At Goldman Sachs, he is continuing this promotion of diversity through his active support of various initiatives affecting various minority groups, including, Asian, women, black and LGBTQ+ groups.
During this time of anti-Asian sentiment, TJ has been engaging in discussions about encouraging empathy towards Asians, and all minority groups in general.
Vishal Dixit, director of strategy & wholesale; member of executive board, Vodafone UK
Vishal re-launched Vodafone’s Multicultural Inclusion Network in 2019 whilst serving as its sponsor. With a specific focus on race and ethnicity, Vishal spearheaded key initiatives to drive systemic change.
These included propelling the #CountMeIn campaign, which was aimed at capturing ethnicity data to help enhance diversity across all areas and levels, pioneering a new ‘Inclusive Leadership Training’ module that will be mandatory for senior leaders and developing a comprehensive Roadmap for Race & Ethnicity, with a structured series of policy, training and communications improvements over the next 12 months.
Vishal has also been coaching 10 key regional chairs of the MIN Network as part of a ‘Speak Out and Speak Proud’ initiative. He participates in monthly all-company webinars on race and ethnicity, encourages executives to participate in listening sessions and bringing allies into Vodafone’s employee networks.
Crystal Wallace, SVP, data technology and insights, SparkFoundry
Crystal is the chair of the management committee for SparkFoundry’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, and co-chairs Publicis Media Atlanta’s Women In Technology (VivaWIT), a Business Resource Group for women in technology and their allies.
She is also an active participant in numerous other BRGs, such as Égalité (an LGBTQ+ BRG), VivaWomen of Color, and the Men of Color Alliance.
This year Crystal gathered a team to run the first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Measurement Framework and Employee Survey at SparksFoundry, using data and metrics to decide upon action items for growth and development.
Beyond SparkFoundry, Crystal is a mentor for the Emma Bowen Foundation, which recruits promising students of colour and places them in multi-year paid internships at some of the nation's leading media, PR and technology companies. She also served as a co-sponsor of Advertising for Change’s ‘Advancing Women in Technology’ event.
Keisha Garcia, VP digital foundations programmes, BP
Keisha is the VP of digital foundations programmes at BP (BP) leading the delivery of modern, secure and compliant digital operations in service of net zero ambitions.
Joining the company 15 years ago, Keisha has held a number of leadership positions, including director of the cloud information and end-of-serviceable-life programmes, digital foundations senior manager for Upstream IT&S, and regional CIO and head of global end of user computing and business analytics.
Keisha is the 2020-21 Golden Torch Outstanding Woman in Technology recipient by the National Society of Black Engineers and 2020 finalist for IT team of the year, Women in IT awards.
Additionally she also holds ambassador roles for Prairie View A&M University and the International Smart Advancing Women organisation.
Keisha is actively involved in promoting the presence of women and other minority groups in technology careers, for example Grace Hopper, and supports Katy's Independent School District Junior Achievement's mentorship programme in Houston, Texas.
Anit Chandarana, chief of staff, Network Rail
Following George Floyd’s death in 2020 and the subsequent protests, Anit used the increased focus on racial injustice to push the issue of ethnic diversity at Network Rail right to the top of the agenda.
His willingness to be bold in starting uncomfortable conversations about white privilege with his peers on the executive team has resulted in D&I becoming a whole organisation objective.
Anit is committed to investing more and working harder with minority groups over coming years to redress the inequality that exists. He recognises racial justice not just as something we must make a business case for, but as a fundamental right which should not be up for debate.
Some of the panels Anit has spoken on over the last few years include the Ethnic Diversity in the City summit and a rail industry panel discussion during Race Matters Week.
Reshma Ramachandran, senior vice-president & group head of transformation, The Adecco Group
Reshma’s work as a vocal advocate for both women and ethnic minorities has prompted not only her own rise through the corporate ladder but also that of several other demographics. Women, ethnic minorities from Africa and India, and women of colour are all groups Reshma has advocated for in each of the organisations she has worked for in the past.
Alongside being an active promoter of women and ethnic minorities within Employee Resource Groups, Reshma has also formed her own informal group for women of colour in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), where she personally mentors and coaches around 30 women in order to help them progress in their careers.
Reshma was a Microsoft Trailblazer Award finalist for her work promoting ethnic minority women in technology. She was invited to take part in a panel discussion on intersectionality at the Women in Technology Sharjah Summit.
Kally Kang-Kersey, former VP global talent, Zebra Technologies
As one of the most senior members from an ethnic minority background in the organisations she has worked in, Kally is a role model for others to drive change.
Serving in HR roles for nearly 30 years in the technology space, her passion and resilience has allowed her to champion diversity. She has developed and driven Zebra’s inclusion and diversity strategy, including diversity-driven mentoring and sponsorship for internal talent.
Kally also helped remove barriers to entry, such as getting leaders to re-examine the need for a college degree for varying roles, eliminating biased language in job descriptions, and helping build a strong internal inclusion network for employees, creating a diverse global team.
In addition, she was involved in the launch of an externally sponsored STEM programme for ethnic minorities in EMEA.
After a rewarding corporate career, she is now developing her own consultancy business to help companies drive change and inclusion within their organisations.
Bansi Nagji, president, healthcare, GoodRx
Bansi was attracted to GoodRx for two key reasons. First, because of its vision to make healthcare more affordable for all Americans — with lack of access to healthcare being a problem that particularly affects minority populations.
Second, because GoodRx itself is particularly diverse, with half its employees identifying as people of colour.
The mission of a diverse company serving diverse customers was one Bansi was eager to be part of. As president of the firm, Bansi helps lead internal DEI initiatives, and has been a champion of their successful recruiting of minority talent.
He also serves as a mentor to many diverse employees at GoodRx, helping them to progress through sponsorship and career guidance. As a member of the Campaign Board for INSEAD business school, Bansi has helped raise and personally donated funds for scholarships targeted at diverse candidates.
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