It’s our ambition at RBS to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy by 2020 and the work we do as part of our multicultural agenda is incredibly important to helping us achieve that. Whether it’s working to improve the ethnic balance of our organisation or bringing focus to the value that our people can add when they bring their whole selves to work, there is no doubt this agenda is playing a key role in helping make RBS even more representative of the customers and communities that we serve.
Dennis is the founder of Success Talks, a platform which showcases BME leaders across the UK and beyond in order to equip BME professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to advance within their careers. Speakers have included Sir Ken Olisa, Karen Blackett MBE, Vanessa Kingori, Dr Sandie Okoro, June Sarpong, Carla Harris, Sir Damon Buffini and more. Success Talks has held over 30 events and workshops, including large conferences held at RBS and Morgan Stanley.
Born in Wolverhampton, Karen moved to Jamaica at the age of 4 and returned to the UK at the age of 11. She joined WMP in 1992 and was quickly promoted to Sergeant and then Inspector in 2009. In 2019 she became the first black female to become a Chief Inspector in WMP – One of the proudest moments of her life’.
Karen experienced challenges but the support she received from the Black and Asian Police Association inspired her to help others and change the culture within policing. In 2013 she became BAPA Chair, working to raise its profile, improve the environment of BAME staff and enhance the quality of service delivered to the BAME community.
Karen is a registered coach, mentor, federation representative, school governor and has ran several marathons for charity.
Jat’s was born and raised in Southall, west London, which is where his parents settled after arriving from the Punjab in the 1970s, much like many immigrants from India at the time. After a successful time locally at Greenford High School and then a couple of bus rides away from home at Richmond-upon-Thames Sixth Form College, he studied law at the University of Birmingham – another urban and diverse environment. Jat joined Macfarlanes as a trainee in 1999 and progressed to become the firm’s first BME partner in 2011. Jat’s practice focuses on a range of finance transactions including corporate restructuring and insolvency, acting for a wide variety of international clients. Jat is a dedicated member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, the Trainee Solicitor Committee and a partner champion of the BME & friends staff network, using his position to influence and encourage our BME lawyers to be empowered to bring their whole selves to the firm, as well as generating a greater appreciation of diversity matters.
The Race to the top G6/7Network was established in 2016 with the specific aim of supporting BAME colleagues in the feeder grades to the Senior Civil Service (G6/7s) to thrive and progress helping to address the prominent lack of ethnic diversity at senior government levels. The Network’s flagship G6/7 – SCS Shadowing Programme enabling hundreds of BAME employees to shadow senior leaders each year. This includes exciting opportunities to shadow Permanent Secretaries, DGs, Ambassadors overseas and roles in No 10. They recently published a Charter for Change setting out quick wins and more concerted approaches for departments and professions in supporting their BAME G6/7 cadres. They deliver wide programme of leadership development and networking activities providing access to senior leaders and senior thinking on a regular basis, contributing directly to the Civil Service fulfilling its SCS BAME flow targets
Seema Malhotra is the co-founder of Forever Unique, a luxury women’s fashion brand that specialises in affordable occasion wear. Inspired by supermodels of the 80s, Seema was determined to reinvent glamour that was available to everyone. Forever Unique is now a successful fashion brand, which is also stocked by retailers such as ASOS and Very.
Fiona is responsible for the development and implementation of LBG’s responsible business, sustainability and inclusion strategies. In addition, she manages the relationship between the Group and its four charitable Foundations, collectively one of the largest charitable foundations in the UK. Fiona is also Director of the Agile Future Forum. The AFF purpose is to support UK businesses to become more agile. Fiona is author of The Agility Mindset, which proposes a new model of work for organisations in the 21st century. Since the early 1990’s, Fiona has held several public positions and external appointments and has been involved in developing equality legislation over the past 20 years.
Multi-award winning singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé inspires people across the world with her powerful music, finding influences in iconic artists such as Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill. Having grown up in Aberdeenshire in Scotland, Sandé has spoken openly about how difficult it was to be the only mixed-race family in the village, and how she found her identity in music. Now, having performed at the White House and the Olympics, she continues to trailblaze in the stead of her heroes.
Gemma Chan is a British actress, most famous for her roles in Channel 4’s Humans and the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians. This year, she starred alongside Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan in the historical drama, Mary Queen of Scots. Chan has spoken up about racism in the entertainment industry, claiming that she didn’t think being an actress was a viable option after being turned away from auditions because they were “only going to see white women”. Contrary to this, Chan is enjoying a highly successful career that continues to flourish on an international scale.
In 2006, Anna Rothery was elected Councillor for Liverpool, becoming the city’s first ever black female Councillor. This September, she made history once more becoming Liverpool’s first black Lord Mayor. In her role as councillor, she has sought to demystify politics (particularly for women and BAME people) and highlight minority community issues. In her first speech as Lord Mayor she reinforced her motivations to “continue to fight for others; for race equality, gender equality, social mobility and much more.”
Sir Simon Woolley is a political and equality activist, best known as the director and one of the founders of Operation Black Vote. He is also a commissioner for race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Woolley is seen as one of the inspirations and architects for the UK government’s Race Disparity Unity, and serves as the Advisory Chair. As well as his work and commitment to race and equality, he writes for The Guardian, Huffington Post and The Independent.
In 1981, Moira Stewart presented the BBC News, becoming the first African-Caribbean female newsreader on British television. Now, this year, she celebrates forty years as a broadcaster. After spending the best part of four decades at the BBC as both a television and radio newscaster, Stewart moved to radio station Classic FM late last year to present the news, as well as her own show. The daughter of a Dominican mother and a Barbadian father, Stewart truly is a national treasure.
UK Black Pride’s mission statement is ‘Strength through unity’. This group represents Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ people who are also BAME. Their main focus is a Black Pride annual celebration during pride month, but UK Black Pride also put on other activities and events to continuously advocate for the wellbeing of the communities they represent. The latter is tackled through social media, community outreach, advocacy and growth in order to create a sense of safety for BAME LGBTQ people. They are well known for their #stoprainbowracism campaign that encouraged the white LGBTQ community to show solidarity, as well as forging a stronger and more secure space for BAME LGBTQ people throughout the UK.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Raheem Sterling has gone on to become one of the most recognisable names in English football. Since the start of his professional career in 2012, he has represented both Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as the England team in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. What’s more, Sterling has used his platform to speak out about the levels of racism that exist in the world of football and how such forms of discrimination can be fuelled by media representations of black footballers. Following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, Sterling made a substantial donation to those affected by the fire.
As a globally-renowned online fashion retailer, ASOS has long represented models and creatives of colour. In 2018, the brand launched their Made In Kenya collection, collaborating with four black, UK-based designers and SOKO: a socially and environmentally responsible clothing manufacturer in Kenya.
Furthermore, ASOS continues to partner with the LGBTQ+ charity GLAAD to create a size and gender inclusive clothing range. Accordingly, this collaboration frequently promotes cultural and racial diversity in its choice of designers and models. Also, this year, the brand released a line of fashionable modest clothing (including a range of hijabs) in order to expand the diversity of their product range in accordance with their customer base.
Liverpool-raised Amy Jackson started her prosperous career as a model before venturing into the world of Indian film as a highly-successful actor. In 2017, her success continued as she landed her first American role in Supergirl. But it is how Jackson has used her platform that marks her as an influencer. For the past few years, she has taken an active role in promoting the wellbeing of India’s disadvantaged communities, representing The Sneha Sargar Orphanage in Mumbai and St Judes Hospice. She has also acted as an advocate for gender equality on a global scale, representing UN Women.