TOP 10 - Champions (Allies) 2021

The Champion (Ally) recognizes those that are able to demonstrate that they have effectively helped further the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority agenda within their workplace.
CA Anne Sheehan


Business UK Director


Anne has been Director, Vodafone Business UK since December 2017. Her responsibilities include running Vodafone Business and overseeing Vodafone’s fixed, mobile, unified communications, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) services and support. Before this she led Vodafone Ireland’s enterprise business for four years. Previously, Anne worked for a number of years at IBM where she held a variety of senior positions, including Vice President of Sales for the Nordic Region, Sales Director for IBM Ireland, Head of Channel, Head of Services and Territory Leader.




Anthony leads the Commercial Real Estate Group and has a significant real estate practice. Anthony is heavily involved with Inclusion; he is co-chair of our Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage staff network, a Diversity Committee member and sits on the firm’s management board. He advocates for ethnic minority inclusion at the very top of the firm and provides ongoing mentorship and sponsorship. Anthony was a recent mentee on the firm’s reverse mentoring programme and is leading a five year action plan which sets out the tangible steps the firm is taking to achieve new gender and ethnicity partnership targets.

CA Benjamin Story


Strategic Marketing Director


Ben joined Rolls-Royce as Strategic Marketing Director and as member of the Executive Leadership Team in October 2016. Ben has over 25 years of investment banking experience, working with clients around the world on privatisations, M&A, restructurings, equity raisings and financings.

Throughout most of his career, Ben has focused on the industrials sector, including aerospace & defence and transportation. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Ben was Head of UK Investment Banking & Broking at Citi from 2013.

Previously, he worked at Deutsche Bank from 2005 to 2012, where he was Head of Industrials EMEA & Asia Pacific, and at Morgan Stanley from 1997, where he led the Transportation & Business Services EMEA & Asia-Pacific team.

Ben has a BSc in Management Sciences from Warwick University. He is a Board Member of Transport for London.

CA Catriona Simons photo.1


Chief Executive

The Guinness Partnership

Catriona Simons is CEO of The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s oldest and largest housing associations, providing over 65,000 homes across the country, as well as care services to hundreds of customers in their own homes. Catriona has worked in the housing sector for 25 years, and as well as being an executive has also served on a number of boards. She is a visible and active champion of inclusivity at Guinness, having introduced Guinness’s award-winning Diversity & Inclusion strategy in 2018. As sponsor for the organisation’s EDI work, she provides insightful thought leadership and was the architect of Guinness’s Great Place to Be Me campaign. Catriona has been vocal about anti-racism, participating in Conversations with hundreds of Guinness colleagues, and making public commitments through our organisational Anti-Racism Statement.


She is committed to increasing ethnic diversity throughout Guinness and particularly in senior and board roles, and to developing talent for the wider housing sector – spearheading the creation of new cross-sector programme for BAME colleagues, to be delivered through a leading university. Catriona’s commitment to making a difference in EDI extends to creating opportunities and cohesion in communities.


Through the Aspire grant funding programme she oversees at Guinness, she has enabled donations to be made to BAME charities and grassroots organisations, as well as to individual Guinness residents who need financial support to develop business ideas or further their education and profession. Catriona is a strong ally, believing that everyone should be valued and treated with respect, able to have their voice heard, and able to be themselves.



Partner and head of banking and capital markets consulting business


Darren is a partner at PwC and leads PwC’s banking and capital markets consulting business. He also chairs PwC’s Financial Services Consulting BAME inclusion team driving education, awareness and action for Inclusivity, fairness and equity for his BAME colleagues in and out of the workplace



Chief  Operating Officer

Wealth Businesses of NatWest Group

James is the Chief Operating Officer for the Wealth Businesses of NatWest Group, which includes the market-leading brands of Coutts & Co and Natwest Premier. He took on this role in July 2017, having joined Natwest in 2004 after several years as a derivatives lawyer in a leading law firm, Allen & Overy.

James is a proud executive co-sponsor of Diversity & Inclusion within NatWest Wealth and co-founder of the Ethnicity Allies of the Natwest Multicultural Network.

James lives near Brighton with wife Annie and four children. He is an active member of St Peters Church, Brighton and a keen long-distance trail runner.

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Co-Chair, Impact EMEA

BNY Mellon

Jamie is a Co-Chair of IMPACT EMEA, BNY Mellon’s Multicultural, Business Resource Group. His own journey of awareness and education as an Ally has accelerated since the global events in 2020. It reached a point where he felt had to do something constructive to contribute to the drive for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplaces.

In support of this goal he has championed a number of initiatives, most significantly he launched a “Terminology Matters” series, where employees explore commonly used and often misunderstood words and phrases to increase awareness and promote discussion.

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President, ViacomCBS Networks UK and Australia

ViacomCBS Networks

Maria Kyriacou is President of ViacomCBS Networks UK and Australia, with additional responsibility for Ireland, New Zealand and Israel.

Based in London, Kyriacou has full management oversight of all ViacomCBS’ operations in its two most valuable international markets, which includes flagship brands MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, as well as free-to-air broadcast networks Channel 5 in the UK and Network 10 in Australia. Kyriacou is also charged with leading ViacomCBS’ streaming strategy in these markets, including growing AVOD platform Pluto TV and launching SVOD service Paramount+.

Prior to her existing role, Kyriacou was President of International at ITV Studios where she oversaw its international production business and worldwide distribution arm, ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Kyriacou joined ITV Studios from The Walt Disney Company where she was Senior Vice President, Digital Media Distribution EMEA, with responsibility for the company’s digital media sales and strategy across both channel and programme distribution.

Kyriacou sits on the board and is the former chair of the Creative Diversity Network (CDN).  She is also a Non-Executive Director of Wizz Air PLC, one of the fastest growing low-cost airlines in Europe.

Before entering the media world, Kyriacou worked in the Audit and Advisory Services division at Price Waterhouse Coopers, where she qualified as an ACA.  She holds a BSc Economics and Geography from University College London.

CA Simon Olenka


Regional Head of UK & Middle East

BNP Paribas Securities Services

Simon Olenka is responsible for BNP Paribas Securities Services’ activities in the UK and Middle East, and for helping the bank achieve its growth targets in these locations. He is a member of the senior global BNP Paribas Securities Services Extended Management and Territory Executive Management Committees.

Until April 2020, Simon was responsible for BNP Paribas Securities Services’ Client Delivery activities in the UK which includes operations IT and change management across a number of services such as middle office, fund accounting, local and global custody, depository and corporate trust services. In June 2020, Simon was appointed UK Executive Sponsor for Race and Ethnicity across the Corporate and Institutional Banking division.

His mandate is to eradicate all forms of racial injustice within the organisation, and drive a culture of inclusion and opportunity regardless of race at BNP Paribas, for today’s and tomorrow’s employees. Prior to joining BNP Paribas in June 2018 Simon was the managing director of a significant global digital transformation programme for RBC Investor and Treasury Services.

Simon has worked within the investor services industry for nearly 30 years and spent more than 21 years at RBC in a variety of roles including Head of UK and Ireland Operations, Global Head of Change Management, Global Head of Product Management and UK Country Managing Director. Simon also held leadership positions at Natwest Markets and Lloyds Securities Services having started his career with the asset management company, Touche Remnant & Co.

CA Stacey Youell


Executive Director


Stacey Youell is the Chief of Staff for the Cloud platforms technology division at JP Morgan. Stacey serves on the firm’s Global Technology D&I leadership teams, actively driving global diverse hiring and retention, and passionately promoting inclusion and equitable opportunity for employees worldwide. She organized multiple open conversations to raise awareness on difficult topics like Black Lives Matter and increased hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islanders, and led several events celebrating cultural diversity and achievements of underrepresented groups. She also created the firm’s first Global Technology Women’s Intranet site that provides development resources and visible spotlights for female technologists.