Gift Ajimokun started at Penguin Random House at 19 years old, developing the work experience programme which randomly selects candidate to remove bias. Six months into her role she founded ‘Colour[full]’ Penguin Random House’s first internal network for BAME employees, currently with 90 members. Since founding Colour[full], Gift has organised four talks promoting BAME authors, provided consultation on the ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama book campaign and curated a day-long workshop for women of colour from deprived areas of Birmingham and surrounding areas. Colour[full] has also since been shortlisted for the ‘ENEI network of the year 2019’.
Isabella is a multi-award-winning Associate Editor in Hearst STUDIO, working across titles including Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar. She was named one of PPA’s 30 Under 30 in 2018 and as a Rising Star in the creative industries by We Are The City. As a leading member of Hearst’s Diversity & Inclusivity Steering Group and BAME network, Izzy is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusivity in all areas of the industry and was shortlisted for Hero of the Year at the European Diversity Awards.
Sandra Clough is a Database Manager at BNPParibas she is responsible for managing the data content, of the internal procurement, expense and people management systems.In addition, Sandra has spent the last five years as the Co –Chair of the Banks’s Multicultural Network. Within this role she has spearheaded, many initiatives for the Banks BAME employees. She has also worked collaboratively with the other employee networks in an effort to support and promote the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Sandra is a Fellow of the RSA and sits on the Board of an Educational Business Partnership. She is a mother of one and in her spare time tries to emulate Mary Berry with varying degrees of success.
Ade joined Santander in 2011 as Brand Manager, responsible for the management of the Santander UK brand across advertising, design, sponsorships and events; more recently moving into a Marketing Communications role.
Ade obtained his Electrical Engineering degree from Lagos University and worked in a number of engineering roles. After moving into Product Design with Vodafone, he decided to study for his MSc in Engineering & Business Management at the University of Warwick, lighting his passion for brand, communications and marketing. He continues to be a University Alumni Ambassador.
Ade is a founding member of the Santander Ethnicity at Work network.
Sharon Salmon works as a Commercial Analyst in Network Rail and as a business focused individual enjoys expanding and learning new skills outside of her Analyst role. This led her to be part of the government initiative to mentor young job seekers from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background and to actively encourage, support and help them with their journey to employment.
An ambassador for change Sharon Co Leads the Ethnic Diversity employee network, she engages with senior management within the business as well as with other organisations to look at best practices to shift the dial in recruitment and progression.
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.
Yinka is a Senior Audit manager, within RBS. Prior to RBS Yinka has worked in Audit functions in other companies such as Bank of England, Barclays and PWC. Yinka has recently become one of the Global co-chairs of the RBS MCN Network, which allows her to pursue her passion in supporting BAME professionals’ progression in the Banking sector, in an inclusive environment. In addition, Yinka is involved in mentoring junior members of staff across the bank. Yinka also has established a code club for a Newham primary school and organised events for BAME STEM girls from a Southwark secondary school
Listed as one of the UK’s Top Most Influential Women in Tech & an international multi-award winner for her services to Diversity & Inclusion in industry, Sheree (@nirushika) is the U.K. Consulting Inclusion Lead, Deloitte; Board-Appointed Global Ambassador, Women Who Code; Contributor, Forbes. Sheree is a global outreach leader, having worked in many regions providing leadership and training to C-suite/Executive leadership to aid development of focused diversity and inclusion strategies.
As an industry leader, she has spoken at many global events, conferences and leadership sessions and is regularly profiled for her work. Sheree & her work have been featured in many publications, such as Forbes, FastCompany, Evening Standard, HuffPost, Business Post, Marie Claire, Wired, ComputerWeekly, The Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Newsletter & many more. The aim of her career is ensuring people are aware of the fantastic opportunities the industry has to offer & make certain that people (regardless of gender, race, social stature) are able to benefit from these & reach their full career potential.
Sereena Abbassi is the Worldwide Head of Culture & Inclusion at M&C Saatchi Group. She is an Activist, Public Speaker, Consultant and Writer and has worked with organisations such as Creative Equals and was one of the few Diversity & Inclusion experts advising the U.K. Advertising & Media Industry Diversity Taskforce and the IPA’s Leadership Talent Group.
Last year Sereena was nominated as one of Campaign’s 50 Trailblazers of the Future and Stars of 2018, Pitch Magazines 100 Creative Superwomen, and The Dots 100 top Black Creatives. Sereena currently sits as an advisory board member to The Other Box and Masculinity In The Workplace; as well as previously the Diversity in Marketing and Advertising Summit (DIMA).
Sereena sits as a Board of Trustees for the charity Sour Lemons and is currently working towards a part-time masters in Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Rina is part of the Women’s Business and Cultural Diversity Networks at Fujitsu, along with her day job of being Sales Leader. Rina was born and raised in India and moved to the UK at the age of 13. This life changing circumstance gave her first-hand experience of the challenges that exist for BAME community. She is a mentor to a number of graduates and second-jobbers and has recently joined the ‘Future Me’ scheme to support early-career women. Rina is a STEM Ambassador and a minority role model within her local community. During summer holidays, Rina has run Kids Mindfulness and Coding camps to encourage 5-10 year olds to embrace STEM. Rina is doing an Executive MBA at Henley Business School and continues to network with BAME entrepreneurs. Rina won the ‘Woman of the Year’ Award for her contribution to Science and Technology in 2010 and continues to inspire BAME presence in IT.
Sarah has held a number of senior roles within finance working at Logica, Virgin Management Ltd and now Sainsbury’s. Sarah moved from her functional area in Finance into an operational role leading North London’s Convenience store operations with a team of 600. Sarah was promoted to Group Financial Controller responsible for over £30 billion of Group sales and £600m of profit. Now as the Head of Logistics Finance, Sarah is the most senior black colleague and a visible female role model. Founded in 2017 by Sarah, she leads the BAME network with 1000+ colleagues where she is a great mentor.
Mandeep has 20 years of Human Resources experience and has spent many years as a commercial HR generalist before developing her career as a people strategy and transformation expert.
She has vast experience of leading succesful people transformation initiatives and advising C suite Executives through the process of strategy and implementation of such programmes.
Mandeep is passionate about enabling organisations to deliver greater gender and race diversty and inclusivity. She created and led the BAME network and strategy at Telefonica UK. She introduced BAME representation and candidate targets, reverse mentoring, drove a BAME conference and Think Tank with a 100+ organisations, created a partnership approach to driving greater diversity in the legal supply chain, and many other initiatives that focused on driving a culture change through developing awareness and understanding in the business.
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.
Syed Bashir Ahmad is a well-regarded veteran in Financial Services, where he has held multiple influential senior management positions with reputable banks such as ABN AMRO, ING and was Head of Private banking at Bank of Singapore in the UK. In 2010, Bashir took on a more entrepreneurial direction and founded Halkin Investments LLP, an FCA authorised Wealth Management and holistic family office tailored to professional UHNW clients.
Bashir has always promoted equal opportunity and fair representation of minorities in senior positions specifically from the BAME, by promoting initiatives and policies intended to create a more open and inclusive workplace.
Edleen came from very humble beginnings and worked her way up to start her career as an Investment Banker. Over the years, she has held a number of roles across the Financial Services sector leading to her current role as a Director and the Co-Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality (IDSE) at KPMG. Edleen is immensely passionate about the recruitment, retention and development of historically underrepresented groups and works tirelessly inside organisations and in her personal life to support this agenda. Prior to KPMG, Edleen worked at Morgan Stanley, where she was the youngest person in EMEA to ever be promoted to Vice President within HR. In 2019 she was also named a “We Are The City” Rising Star.
Rupal is a Director in Oliver Wyman’s London office on the leadership team across Oliver Wyman’s newly launched ‘The Forum’ and their Social Impact team.
The Forum is a diverse community of influencers across the ecosystem of public and private sectors who are engaging together to shape and co-create ideas and practically test solutions to shared global challenges.
In 2017, Rupal founded Mission INCLUDE, an innovative, cross-company, cross-industry, cross diversity strand, mentoring and inclusion movement across FTSE 100 firms in London.
Rupal is a director of her family charitable Foundation and Trustee of national child bereavement charity, the Lullaby Trust.
Jatin is Products and Digital Director at TSB and joined the Bank in 2013. Prior to this he was the Current Accounts Director at Lloyds TSB.
Jatin is also TSB’s Executive Sponsor for the BAME network. As such, he is the driving force behind the Bank’s activities to raise awareness of cultural diversity and address BAME representation. This includes unconscious bias training for managers, mentoring programmes for BAME Partners and Internships for future talent. He’s also leading an internal campaign to improve data collection for benchmarking and to help track areas of improvement and the progress we are making.
Asif is a Chartered Accountant and is currently the Director of Internal Audit and Risk for the Whitbread Group Plc and Chairman of Gloucester City Homes. Over the last 20 years he has held senior finance roles in a broad range of companies and industries including the John Lewis Partnership, Universal Music, PolyGram, Trinity Mirror and has held non-executive roles with the East Thames Housing Association and Global Partners & Associates, a political change consultancy.
Judy Kawaguchi is a senior executive in the Financial Technology sector, with a strong track record of leading large-scale global organisations through disruptive change and delivery of complex, business-critical programmes. She has been passionate about moving the needle on the D&I agenda for over 15 years, especially for women in technology and multi-cultural ethnic groups. Judy is an executive sponsor to multiple employee networks and actively mentors and coaches aspiring leaders and students to overcome ethnic stereotypes and to turn their multi-cultural experience into professional strength. Judy has a passion for change, both in and outside of her professional career. She was on the Board of Solace Women’s Aid for 8 years, and currently serves as the expert advisor on their Business Development Sub-Committee. Judy is also the Founder of eCubed, a non-profit volunteer organisation, with the mission to Engage, Empower, and End Violence across London, raising unrestricted funding for local non-profit organizations with an aim to build safer lives and strong futures free from sexual and domestic violence.
Geeta is Chief Executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley. Across a career of nearly 30 years she has held a variety of leadership roles in the housing sector. She joined Metropolitan as Chief Executive in October 2017, and led Thames Valley Housing as Chief Executive for nine years – overseeing a top quartile performance in the sector for customer service, and the establishment of a successful market rent subsidiary, Fizzy Living. Geeta is a board member of the National Housing Federation, a non-executive director of McCarthy & Stone, a FTSE 250 retirement housebuilder, and has served on the boards of a number of other housing organisations. She is also an ambassador for the charity World Child Cancer. In 2013, Geeta was awarded an OBE for achievements in social housing.
Allen & Overy is an international law firm providing legal services for global business and industry. Diversity is one of our strategic priorities. All of our work is underpinned by a set of guiding principles based on impact, accountability and openness. We want to build a balanced workforce, where everyone feels supported and where the differences between our people create opportunities not barriers. Ensuring that people from different ethnic minority backgrounds are well represented is a priority for us, and is something we tackle at a local level across our network of offices.
Channel 4 is a unique and distinctive part of the UK. Publicly owned but entirely commercial and self-sufficient, our public service remit mandates us to take risks and offer alternative programming, commissioning all of our programmes externally. We’re a network of 12 television channels plus a streaming platform, All 4. We have the youngest-skewing PSB channel in the UK – and we reach more 16-34-year-olds than any other commercial broadcaster across TV and VOD. Through Film4, we back creative excellence and invest in British filmmakers, to huge critical acclaim – Film4 films have produced 138 Oscar nominations and 35 wins in our 37-year history. We bring to life new creative ideas and, in the process, create thousands of jobs and support hundreds of independent production companies across the UK.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world’s leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on ground-breaking and business-critical mandates. Our people make our firm, and we are committed to increasing BAME representation at all levels through our global employee network as well as helping to increase access to the profession through talent initiatives aimed at BAME individuals, including through the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme. Our aim is to be a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential.
HSBC is an incredibly diverse global organisation. With employees representing many different races, ethnicities, nationalities and cultures it is important that the ethnicity and race agenda is integral to all we do. We know that difference of opinion, thinking style, background and culture drives new ideas and innovation, enabling sustainable business growth and commercial success, enabling a great workplace for our colleagues. In an increasingly complex and changing global market place, having a diverse and inclusive workforce will help us achieve our strategy and purpose. We are focused on attraction, retention, engagement and inclusion, ensuring everyone can fulfil their potential.
KPMG is a leading provider of professional services, including audit, tax and advisory services. We work across industry sectors, providing services to private and public-sector organisations. BAME inclusion forms a key part of our Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality (IDSE) strategy and we aim to be the most trusted, a magnet for talent and the clear choice for our clients, people and communities. Our strategy is underpinned by a set of stretching BAME targets, which were shared publically in 2018. We have also publically shared our ethnicity pay gap since 2017, despite this not being a legal requirement.
Lloyds Banking Group is committed to ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of our customer base and we were proud to be the first FTSE 100 company in February 2018 to set a public goal to increase B.A.M.E representation at senior levels as part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. Our ethnicity strategy is led from the top and supported by comprehensive plans to ensure we make sustainable progress, including targeted career development interventions, a robust focus on increasing visibility of B.A.M.E role models and a range of activities to build cultural awareness understanding and advocacy across our workforce.
Macfarlanes is a distinctive London-based law firm, delivering excellence in the international legal market. We strive to foster an inclusive, forward-thinking culture, the continued development of which is a key priority. For us, the focus is on recruitment, retention and promotion to ensure that our staff have the opportunity to develop and advance their careers. Through our BME & friends network, we have significantly increased cultural and religious awareness, and our People Commitments which align to three main strands – balance, clarity and development – are an important element in our objective to create a more diverse workforce.
National Grid is one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies, committed to delivering electricity and gas safely, reliably and efficiently to the customers and communities we serve.
We play a vital role in connecting millions of people to the energy they use, through our regulated utility businesses in the UK and US; with principal operations in electricity and gas transmission and distribution, as well as National Grid Ventures. Our ambition is to operate and develop our business in a way that results in a more inclusive culture. We are committed to building a workforce that represents the communities we serve and creating an environment where each individual feels respected, fairly treated, valued and able to reach their full potential.
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.
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) UK & Ireland operates 20 channels featuring the best in entertainment, documentaries, comedy, reality and kids’ programming through its portfolio including free-to-air Channel 5 and pay TV brands MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK’s third latest commercial TV station. It has been owned by VIMN since 2014 and reaches 75% of the UK viewing public each month. MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people, including the best in music and reality content. In the UK, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon are part of the VIMN portfolio through joint ventures with BSKYB. The pay TV brands have held marketing leading positions across the three genres of music, comedy and kids for more than 10 years, reaching 22.9 million UK homes through SKY, cable and Freeview. VIMN is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), which comprises many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Channel, VH1, VIVA, COLORS, Game One and Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más. Viacom brands are seen globally in more than 705 million households in 169 territories and 37 languages via more than 184 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties.
Kush Unadkat is a marketing professional who has a multi-faceted background in publishing, advertising and consultancy.
Through the different cultures and businesses, he has worked at, it has motivated him to challenge the status quo on diversity issues and he has been active in joining and contributing to diversity and inclusion initiatives at the companies in which he has been at. He created and founded the Dentsu Aegis’ first ever multicultural network which is aimed at creating a likeminded area within the business to share experiences and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of operations and ultimately aim at changing industry perceptions.
He has been working with the UK senior management team on how to increase diversity and inclusion at group level.
Guled Yusuf is a Senior Associate at Allen & Overy, London. He has experience in private practice and intergovernmental organisations, including representing an African State at the UN General Assembly and serving as a legal adviser to the Food and Agriculture Organization. His areas of practice include public international law, investment treaty arbitration and international commercial arbitration. Guled has published a number of articles and book chapters on international arbitration and public international law.. He regularly speaks at international arbitration conferences and has lectured at several Universities, including New York University Law School, Queen Mary University of London and Columbia Law School.
Donna Fraser is a former sprinter, who competed at four consecutive Olympic Games for Great Britain, has developed a wealth of experience within the field of equality and diversity communications since her retirement from competitive athletics in 2009.
Between 2011-2015, Donna held the position of president of the South of England Athletics Association, while from 2013-2015 she also undertook the role of chair of the BAME Network (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) at EDF Energy.
In December of 2015 Donna became Vice President of UK Athletics Members Council, a role she will remain in as agreed with the other members of the council. After 19 years at EDF Energy, Donna returned to her passions in 2017, taking on a new role with UK Athletics as their Equality, Diversity & Engagement Lead and for the organising committee of the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in London.
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.
Key Statistics are
• 3000+ Sign Ups
• 120+ Speakers
• 169k+ You Tube Views
• 90k+ Facebook fans
As Technical Specialist, Corporate Responsibility focusing on Diversity and Inclusion at the Financial Conduct Authority, Movell has been a D&I practioner for 15 years in the public and private sector. Movell led the award-winning Embrace Career Development Programme for HMRC and consequently consulted on the development of similar programmes in Foreign and Commonwealth Office and private sector organisations.
Movell developed expertise in Corporate Responsibility during her time working as a Business Connector for Business in the Community in the London Borough of Lewisham. Qualified as a Personal Development and Strengths Coach, Movell enjoys working with a variety of people, helping them lead more fulfilled and purposeful lives based on their goals and aspirations. She enjoys helping others by volunteering as a mentor and tutor in schools and running her Coaching practice specialising in Strengths Personal Development Coaching.
Shalah works within PwC’s Tax practice with nearly 8 years of experience, having joined the firm as a school leaver. Following her own personal experiences with mental health, she has become a mental health advocate particularly for those from a minority or faith based background. During her time at PwC, she has driven a number of D&I strategy initiatives and campaigns including driving forward PwC’s ‘This is Me’ video released in April 2018 tackling the stigma from a faith and culture perspective. She also sits on PwC’s mental health steering committee and is Mental Health First Aid qualified.
Katie George is currently the Europe, Middle East and Africa Specialised Programs Lead at AWS (Amazon Web Services). After 13 years specialising in University student attraction, recruitment and retention, Katie is now using her programmatic hiring experience to attract and hire talent from a broad and diverse set of pipelines ranging from experienced talent who have been out of the workplace for up to 10 years, to career changers and entry level talent from untapped pipelines. Katie is passionate about mapping talent to opportunities and creating an exciting and inclusive culture that allows all employees to be and feel themselves in the workplace.
Aneesa is a Solicitor working in the Dispute Resolution team at Ashurst. Throughout her career, Aneesa has been actively involved in Ashurst’s multiculturalism network (All at Ashurst) and organised events to raise awareness of ethnic and cultural diversity at the firm.
Most recently, Aneesa has played an instrumental role in the establishment of a BAME Working Group committed to working on the race and ethnicity diversity agenda at Ashurst. As part of this, she has worked with senior members of management (including the Chairman of the firm, London Multiculturalism Partner and the Global Head of Diversity) to refine a mentoring programme in order to facilitate the retention and progression of BAME employees at the firm. Further, Aneesa has participated in cross-border diversity calls with her colleagues in the Ashurst Sydney office, to collaborate and exchange ideas on diversity initiatives and events. Aneesa is also a mentor to many BAME individuals both internally and externally, providing professional advice and guidance in order to support and encourage those around her.
Outside of Ashurst, Aneesa is a member of the NOTICED steering committee, the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network aimed at celebrating and educating on diversity across the legal sector. Finally, as an Alumni of the University of Warwick Multicultural Scholars’ Programme, Aneesa has recently participated in a panel event aimed at supporting more students from unrepresented groups or disadvantaged backgrounds into post-graduate study.
Christine is a Lawyer & Regulatory Compliance Manager working at HSBC. Christine is the 2019 winner of the Rising star Award in Banking & Capital Markets hosted by We are the City, an organization that spotlights the achievements of women in the pipeline.
Throughout her career Christine has been active in joining and contributing to diversity and inclusion initiatives. She Co-chairs the Europe Region Compliance Network, and also sits in the HSBC EMBRACE network steering committee as its Community Engagement Lead.
As Community Engagement Lead at EMBRACE, Christine has led over 300 BAME and non BAME members of staff into getting involved in various types of community service initiatives around the country.
Christine’s aim is to ensure that the BAME network is involved in serving under represented and disadvantaged people in the community and to provide an opportunity for staff to make a difference and connections outside of work through service.
In his role as Macquarie’s head of security for Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Alan Leung has delivered a broad range of security training, with recognition of cultural and ethnic sensitivities, to over 1400 staff across 11 countries. Alan is a founding member and Co-Chair of Fusion, Macquarie’s ethnic and cultural diversity network. As part of Fusion Alan is helping drive the strategic growth of the new group to highlight the vast range of backgrounds among Macquarie staff. Among the initiatives he has led or coordinated include the first Black History Month event with UK champion boxer Nicola Adams in Macquarie London’s office, and hosting a lion dance troupe performance to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The Collective is Channel 4’s Employee Network Group committed to creating positive change for BAME staff at C4 and have been running for two years. We aim to promote inclusion by celebrating cultural diversity in the workplace and we act as a task force to encourage greater diversity across all departments and levels within the organisation. The Collective proposes strategy and initiatives to senior leadership for the recruitment, culture, progression and retention of BAME employees. We also organise regular events to celebrate our different cultures and our differences through screenings, panel discussions, talks and socials.
‘ONE’ Employee Resource Group (ERG) is National Grid’s multicultural network. It represents Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees as well as the faith@work groups. ONE is not exclusive – it is open for all employees to join.
ONE’s ambition is to drive and embed an inclusive culture which attracts and promotes a diverse workforce at all levels to help us exceed the expectations of the diverse customers, stakeholders and communities we serve today and in the future.
Started as a social group in 2011, the African Caribbean Pioneers Network (ACPN) became the first official RR ERG in 2014, breaking barriers and becoming a flag bearer for the other five minority ERGs that currently exist at Rolls-Royce Plc. ACPN is open to all employees who embrace difference and aims to raise awareness of unconscious bias by championing cultural diversity. ACPN shares insights, addresses perceptions and promotes Rolls-Royce Plc as an inclusive employer externally. The network’s vision is for everyone to be at their best and embrace their own style while accommodating the styles of others, creating an environment where as an ERG, it no longer needs to exist.
Kaleidoscope is the Cultural Diversity network at L&Q. The Network was launched in March 2018 after the L&Q/East Thames merger.
Our key aims is to address issues that affect minority groups, and to promote an atmosphere that reduces non-inclusive behaviours and its impact on them. We will also be providing training and development opportunities to support career progression.
It’s important to L&Q that staff and residents are treated fairly and with respect regardless of cultural background, and to be a fully inclusive organisation where everyone can feel confident to bring their whole self to work. Kaleidoscope are a crucial part of making this a reality.
As a global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation with over 200,000 team members in more than 40 countries, Capgemini benefits from a truly diverse mix of cultures and ethnicities. We are committed to hiring, developing and progressing more talented people from groups that are under-represented, and to foster a culture where everyone who works for or alongside us feels valued, included and empowered, whatever their race or ethnicity. In the UK, we are a proud member of Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race Equality campaign, and signatory of the Race at Work Charter.
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
GMB Race is the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) workers self- organised group in London Region. The aim of the group is to ensure that Race is always on the agenda: Organising, recruiting and promoting equality at work and in society for all who identify as BAME. We oppose all forms of prejudice and discrimination, acting as a contact and support for all GMB BAME members & develop training and events for BAME members.
Adobe’s Black Employee Network (BEN UK) is one of the employee networks created within Adobe’s UK office to enable groups to come together to celebrate the power of unique differences and shared similarities, in order to champion diversity and make Adobe an inclusive place to work. The network was launched in October 2018 during Black History Month, and has since facilitated career days for underrepresented groups, attended school career days or have external speakers joining us as part of the D&I Masterclass program . The group has grown eightfold in less than a year and now has over 30 members and 25 supporters . BEN UK seeks to reflect the value of diversity and inclusion within Adobe, unite as a global family and give back to the community in an inclusive and effective way. The network focuses on facilitating professional growth, participating in activities that uplift local communities and increasing diversity within the recruitment pipeline.
The Accenture African Caribbean Network (AACN) is an Inclusion & Diversity team within the firm which puts the accent and focus on ethnicity. Whilst most of the events the AACN organise tend to revolve around Black History Month, they also run The Accelreate programme. this programme is essentially a leadership skills development programme for members of the AACN which is separate from their day-to-day roles.
Balfour Beatty’s Multicultural Affinity Network (MCAN) was set up to help the business better understand cultural issues, communicate & promote the business case for a diverse workforce with a focus on addressing the underrepresentation of and to proactively support existing ethnic minority employees, to create an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about race related issues. MCAN’s activities have led to a board report with several recommendations for positive action in support of BAME employees. The network continues to raise the profile of ethnic minority issues within the business and sector more broadly.
Amit is Bulb’s co-founder and COO. After reading mathematics at Cambridge University, Amit spent 8 years trading European gas and electricity for Barclays. It was here he discovered the need for a new type of energy supplier that would have a positive environmental and social impact. In 2014 he decided to leave Barclays and apply his in-depth knowledge of wholesale energy markets to set up Bulb alongside Hayden. With the team, Amit and Hayden have built Bulb’s technology-led operation from the ground up, helping over 1.3 million homes to save on their bills and reduce carbon emissions.
Umar Kamani is the co-founder of fashion retailer “PrettyLittleThing.com”, which he started with his brother when he was just 24. Umar represents the third generation of his family’s entrepreneurial spirit, which began in a more traditional form of clothing shipping that supplied high street brands. PrettyLittleThing has become a prominent shopping site which is now also stocked by Asos and Next, whilst launching multiple successful collaborations with celebrities such as Hailey Baldwin and Courtney Kardashian.
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.
Steven Bartlett is the 26-year-old CEO of Social Chain Group – a global, social-first marketing agency and production house. From a bedroom in Manchester, this university dropout built the group’s two flagship companies – Social Chain and Media Chain – when he was just 22 years old. With offices in Manchester, London, Berlin and NYC, Steven leads a company of 270+ like-minded individuals who are quickly disrupting the ever-changing social sphere through the creation of pioneering and innovative campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands, reaching over 1.8 billion people a month.
Perkbox is Europe’s fastest-growing employee experience platform.
Chieu Cao is Co-founder of Perkbox and was responsible for building the Perkbox brand from scratch. Now, Chieu focuses on leading Perkbox’s culture as it goes global, while also championing happier workplaces across the UK.
Saurav Chopra is Co-founder and CEO of Perkbox. Prior to founding Perkbox, Saurav spent 10+ years in global business development roles with Deloitte Consulting, Yahoo! and VC-backed startups – Bytemobile (sold to Citrix) and Amobee (sold to Singapore Telecom).
Eddie Lim is the CEO of the Mango Tree Group which consists of 10 restaurants throughout England, including Mango Tree. Lim also has various outlets for Malaysian cuisine such as Chi Kitchen, Singapore Garden and Chai Wu in Harrods.
Jimmy Choo is one of the most well known female shoe designers in the world. Jimmy Cho Ltd., co-founded by Jimmy himself, is known for its luxury, hand-made designs. More recently the brand also branched out to include accessories such as handbags.
Ozwald Boateng is a fashion designer specialising in tailoring. Based on the corner of Savile Row, Boateng aims to amplify his customers’ voices through style, whilst pushing the craft of bespoke tailoring further. Drawing on his heritage, he uses vivid colour palettes and a contemporary cut for his garments, forging a style that is uniquely his own.
Rajeeb Dey began his journey as an entrepreneur at the age of 17, founding the English Secondary Students’ Association. Since then he has founded Enternships.com, co-founded StartUp Britain, and founded Learnerbly. Much of his work revolves around enabling others in the corporate world – for example, Learnerbly aims to connect employees to the best learning and development opportunities, and Enternships.com connects students and graduates to work placements at start-ups and SMEs.
Rami Ranger is the founder of Sun Mark, an international marketing and distribution company. He started out in a shed with just £2, and today Sun Mark is massively successful – winning the Queens Award for Enterprise: International Trade for 5 consecutive years. Ranger also chairs the British Sikh Association and is a campaigns against extremist Sikh organisations for their misrepresentation of the British Sikh perspective.
Paula Stannett’s career at Heathrow spans 17 years with the past 6 years as Chief People Officer. Over this time her passion in curating a diverse and inclusive culture has been at the heart of her priorities. Paula’s leadership has seen the strengthening of relationships with key external D&I allies, and the growing success of Heathrow’s D&I networks (winning awards and breaking a world record). Paula has personally championed the development and progression of Heathrow’s BAME individuals. Paula is a mother of two daughters, a trustee of Green Corridor and a Governor of Heathrow Aviation Engineering University Technical College.
Martin Etheridge is Head of Notes Operations at the Bank of England with responsibility for the operations and policy for the distribution of Bank of England notes, and the regulation of banknotes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. He is also responsible for the Bank’s work on digital currencies and wider crypto-assets. Prior to this role, Martin held a number of senior positions in Prudential Regulation at the Bank, and previously at the Financial Services Authority. In 2018, Martin co-led the creation of the “Allies” pillar of the Bank of England Ethnic Minority Network, aiming to inform, inspire, promote and advocate BAME-related matters.
Ileana Sodani is the Head of EMEA and APAC Sales, driving strategic client engagement and focusing on market strategy in both regions. She is a member of BNY Mellon’s Global Corporate Senior Leadership Team for Asset Servicing, the EMEA Leadership Committee and a member of the EMEA Operating Council.
Ms Sodani has been with BNY Mellon since October 1991 in a number of roles across various businesses in the U.S. and EMEA. Prior to her current role, she was the Chief Relationship Officer for Pershing Ltd.
Ileana is the EMEA executive chair of the company’s multicultural employee resource group, IMPACT and actively supports the company’s commitment to diversity. In 2018, Ileana was ranked 7th by EMpower out of the 15 top advocates for Ethnic Diversity. In 2019, she was ranked 6th.
As the EMEA executive sponsor for IMPACT, Ileana is committed to:
a) Leading efforts to embed BNY Mellon’s mission of “driving ethnic diversity and making it an asset” within the company’s culture.
b) Focusing on ethnically diverse talent both internally and externally.
c) Driving measurable process through benchmarking, data capture and monitoring.
Paul Holland is head of the Banking and Finance Department at Dentons in London. Paul principally deals with the financing of aircraft and acts for a range of clients including export credit agencies, commercial banks, operating lessors and airlines. Paul is based in London but has spent many years working in the Middle East and much of his work continues to be linked with the area with which he maintains close ties.
Paul is a strong supporter of diversity and has consistently leveraged his senior position to support a number of diversity initiatives at Dentons, including in particular the firm’s Black Professionals Network.
Sarah is Head of Distribution leading all distribution in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Sarah reports directly to the CEO. She joined LGIM in 2014 from Insight Investment, where she held the title of Head of Distribution. Prior to that, she worked at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and JP Morgan. Sarah started her career at Cazenove as a UK equity analyst. She graduated from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University and has an MA in history.
Sarah is a member of the LGIM Board and Executive Sponsor for Ethnicity and Socio-Economic Mobility. Through Sarah’s leadership both employee network groups have focussed their efforts on encouraging young people to consider a career in the investment profession through student outreach, mentoring, LGIM education days and with work experience. Legal & General were one of the first signatories to the Race at Work Charter and contributed to the Government’s ethnicity pay reporting consultation which supports our commitment to increasing ethnic diversity at all levels of our business.
Georgia Arnold is Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at Viacom International Media Networks and the Executive Director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation.
Ms. Arnold was instrumental in establishing the MTV Staying Alive Foundation in 2005, and was appointed Executive Director in October 2007. MTV SAF is a global charitable body that provides grants to grassroots, youth-led organisations to set up HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns in their communities, and have supported 207 organizations, totaling over $6million. MTV SAF also produce the multi award-winning MTV Shuga – a 360-degree mass-media HIV prevention edutainment campaign.
Jackie Uhi, The Head of Mortgages & Wealth at HSBC UK leads a team of 2,000 colleagues working across a number of channels. Jackie has been instrumental in driving change and evolving the business into a more inclusive place to work through a number of active roles including as a member on the UK Culture & Engagement committee and the EMpower steering committee; being an EMpower sponsor, nurturing internal BAME talent.
As an executive sponsor for Embrace Jackie’s been instrumental in acting as a trusted advisor for the network committee ensuring all things inclusion are discussed at board level to help shape strategy. She presents at events, promoting all aspects of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and has pushed a recruitment drive for increasing BAME leadership having mentored chairs, sponsors and committee members, alongside BAME colleagues aiming to achieve director-level roles.
Externally, Jackie has worked with the CEO of the Diana Award which has led to opportunities for HSBC employees to mentor and make a difference to the lives of young people mostly from a BAME background. The team have run mentoring programmes, offering career insight which is fun, diverse and truly benefits young people’s personal and professional development.
Ben Tidswell is the Chairman of Ashurst, a leading international law firm with over 1600 lawyers in 16 countries. Ben was educated in New Zealand, settling in the UK in 1993. He has worked at Ashurst for more than 25 years, as a partner since 2000 and for the last 6 years as Chairman of the firm. During his tenure as Chairman, Ashurst has been one of the first law firms to set gender diversity targets. More recently, Ben has focused on ethnic diversity and in particular the retention of socially mobile BAME lawyers in the firm.
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.
Claude is a partner at global law firm Reed Smith. In 2018, Claude was ranked #13 in the FT Empower advocates of ethnic diversity. He is a committed ally and champion of diversity, and worked with external organisations such as the Black Lawyers Directory Foundation and Aspiring Solicitors. Claude is dedicated to promoting diversity initiatives, and is on the steering committee for the firm’smulticultural network. He regularly speaks at BAME events and offers students and junior lawyers from BAME backgrounds training and guidance on how to enter and succeed in the legal profession. His advocacy, work and efforts in diversity have been instrumental in attracting diverse talent to Reed Smith.
Alesha Dixon’s career has been varied and exciting. Over the years, she has acted as a singer, rapper, model, television presenter and talent show judge. She began her career in all-female R&B/garage trio Mis-Teeq, before pursuing a career as a solo artist in 2008 with hit singles such as “The Boy Does Nothing”. In 2007, she won Strictly Come Dancing, and later became a judge of the show in 2009. She has also demonstrated her judging talents on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. 2018 saw Dixon become a children’s author with her girl-power-driven debut, Lightning Girl.
Dev Patel has been a recognisable face on British screens since his youth. Starting out in the cult teen-drama series, Skins, Patel has gone on to act alongside Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith to name but a few. After his breakout role in Danny Boyle’s ground-breaking Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, he has been nominated for BAFTAs, Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and, of course, an Academy Award for his performance in 2016’s Lion. This year, audiences will see him play the titular role in Armando Ianucci’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ The Personal History of David Copperfield.
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.
As the star of BBC’s Luther, Idris Elba has established a reputation as a formidable British acting talent. Deservedly, Elba’s reputation is international thanks to his outstanding performances in films such as Beasts of No Nation and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He has also lent his voice to some of the most successful animations of the twenty-first century, including Finding Dory, Zootopia and the live-action remake of Disney’s The Jungle Book. This year, Elba will star in Tom Hooper’s hotly anticipated film adaptation of the musical, Cats. He also has a thriving music career; this year, he featured alongside Wiley and Stefflon Don on the hit track, “Boasty”.
Sir Lenny Henry is a true legend of British comedy. From Tiswas to The Lenny Henry Show, Henry is a comfortingly familiar presence on British television. In 1985, alongside fellow comedy writer Richard Curtis, Henry established Comic Relief: a charity that continues to thrive and aid some of the world’s most vulnerable. In 2009, he made his Shakespearean debut, playing the titular role in a production of Othello to widespread critical acclaim. Over the years, Henry’s achievements have been recognised through a variety of accolades, including a CBE, an honorary doctorate from Nottingham Trent University and, of course, a knighthood in 2015.
Eighteen million Britons tuned in to watch Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry and officially become a member of the British monarchy. But this woman is remarkable beyond her marriage. Markle has enjoyed a career as a talented actress, best-known for her role in the hit US television series, Suits. Her profile as a philanthropist and charity worker is also renowned. She was a global ambassador for World Vision: a charity committed to improving education and health provisions for the world’s most disadvantaged children. She has also been an advocate for the United Nations, visiting a refugee camp in Rwanda and claiming that this kind of work “feeds [her] soul”.
Pat McGrath MBE is a make-up artist known for her adventurous experimentation with her medium. For over 20 years McGrath has been establishing herself through various brands, fashion shows and editorial projects. She is known for helping to incite trends such as dewy skin and airbrush-free foundation, whilst also using audacious and bold techniques. Her creative vision is truly a force within the fashion industry, she has worked with everyone who is anyone – such as Calvin Klein, Balenciaga and Versace.
Riz Ahmed is an actor, rapper and activist. Rising to fame after his appearance in Four Lions, he has more recently landed roles in Rogue One, from the Star Wars Anthology, and HBO’s The Night Of. On top of this he raps as a member of the Swet Shop Boys and campaigns, partially through rap music, for Rohingya and Syrian refugee children.
Steve McQueen CBE is a director and screenwriter known best for his work on 12 Years a Slave. McQueen first became prominent in 2008 with his film ‘Hunger’, and he is also known for ‘Shame’. He works in a neo-noir experimental style, that often doesn’t hold back. Grappling with difficult subjects, his artwork is massively influential through its gritty social commentary that is partially a product of his fine art background.
Will.I.Am’s success began as a member of The Black Eyed Peas when the group’s single “Where Is the Love?” reached number one in the British singles chart. Since then, he has worked as a producer with artists such as Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. In 2009, Will performed at Obama’s inaugural celebration concert at the Lincoln Memorial with Stevie Wonder. What’s more, he has featured as a judge on The Voice UK since 2012. His passion for technology has also reaped rewards as he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from The Institute of Engineering and Technology in 2017.
The Anthony Walker Foundation is a legacy created by his family after his racially motivated murder in 2005. The AWF’s efforts are widespread, but their main aim is to encourage racial harmony through celebrating diversity as well as offering support in education and against hate crime. Charity activities involve arts and education based workshops and a yearly arts, sports and education festival in Liverpool. On top of this, the AWF work with young offenders who commit hate crimes in order to reduce re-offending rates. Focusing predominantly in Merseyside, the AWF is committed to improving the community and help realise the potential of all young people.
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.
Creative Access is a social enterprise that finds creative roles and opportunities for young people from BAME and other underrepresented backgrounds. Their objective is to work “towards a day when Britain’s society is truly reflected in our creative industries”. The creative sector is notorious for being exclusionary, but Creative Access work across a broad range of creative sectors, including publishing, film, museums, radio, PR and TV in order to amend this. They predominantly work with BAME and SES (lower socioeconomic status) people nationwide in order to secure jobs and paid training in creative companies. All of the profits made by this work are reinvested.
Girl Dreamer is a platform designed to empower the next generation of women of colour through leadership programmes, community initiatives and online resources. Positioning themselves between local communities and companies, the team at Girl Dreamer tries to bridge gaps for BAME women, especially working with communities of girls who struggle with accessibility, opportunities and confidence. Their mission statement is to “educate, elevate and empower” other GirlDreamers to break stereotypes in order to create better inclusion and representation for all women of colour.
Mandela8’s main mission statement is to construct an art installation and memorial site to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s humanitarian legacy at a Toxeth Liverpool 8 heritage site. Mandela was an important role model for Liverpool’s Toxeth area, and Mandela8 hopes to create a permanent tribute that conserves historical and contemporary heritage, whilst also supporting community development. In addition this charity runs the Mandela8 My67 programme in the Liverpool City area. This is a programme transported by Mandela8 from South Africa that aims to enable an individual or community to give 67 minutes of the day (the same number of years Mandela fought for social justice) to help someone else.
ReachOut is a youth mentoring charity that works with young people in disadvantaged communities to end disparities fostered by low confidence, low aspirations and low attainment in education. What started out in 1994 as an after school club has now become the largest mentoring charity in the UK. ReachOut organises weekly meetings between young people aged 9 to 16 and a dedicated ReachOut mentor at after-school projects in partner schools during term time. In the 2017/18 academic year 980 young people were referred to ReachOut and they received 10,224 hours of mentoring by 863 volunteers.These sessions involve one-to-one help with core education subjects, character building, arts and crafts as well as team sports and team building.
Refugee Action work throughout the UK offering help and advice services, increasing justice, tackling poverty and resettling refugees. With an aspiration of making refugees and asylum seekers more welcome in the UK, this charity gives refugees basic support to help and rebuild happy and secure living situations. Much of this work also relies on heavy campaigning. Most recently Refugee Action have run the ‘Stand Up For Asylum’, ‘Let Refugees Learn’ and ‘Lift The Ban’ campaigns. Although this charity was initially founded in 1981 to help Vietnamese refugees in the UK, Refugee Action have maintained their work in order to tackle the very real crises of refuge that many people experience today.
The Runnymede Trust is a charity dedicated to ending racial and classist institutional prejudice. As the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank, the Trust conducts rigorous research and thorough analysis into social policy in order to make all citizens and communities feel empowered and enjoy equal opportunities. The Runnymede Trust publishes their research which forms a body of evidence that address key race equality challenges such as migration, integration, localised inequalities and Islamophobia. Their research covers a wide range of topics linked to BAME issues and makes these available to the public – not just policy makers – through their website.
The Chineke! Foundation has an ethos of “championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music”. Established in 2015, the foundation aims to provide career opportunities to young BAME classical musicians in the UK and Europe. At the forefront of this organisation is the Chineke! Orchestra, which comprises of exceptional BAME musicians from across Europe and performs a mixture of standard orchestral pieces as well as works by BAME composers. The foundation also works with BAME youth through the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, with senior musicians acting as mentors, teachers and role models to the young musicians.
The Other Box is an organisation dedicated to celebrating people of colour and people from other underrepresented backgrounds in the creative industry. This organisation was founded on the premise that the diversity conversation was still too focused on gender, and their aim was to represent and empower those that were still being left out. Now they work with global companies on diversity and inclusion through training and workshops, recently expanding into the fashion and tech industries. The Other Box’s ultimate aim is to make diversity in the workplace more than a box-ticking exercise.
Adam Abdullah is the Young Mayor of Lewisham. His manifesto included tackling period poverty, support for striking workers, bridging the gap between politicians/police and the schools in the community, youth representation in media/politics and building links between schools and local higher education. He is an advocate for underprivileged youth in particular. So far he has contributed to discussions around serious youth violence at Downing St, APPGs and has almost completed his manifesto pledges; this, including representing Lewisham in media around issues facing young people and giving verbal testimony to the UN general rapporteur on poverty.
Patrick Vernon OBE is currently Associate Director for Connected Communities at the Centre for Ageing and Independent Adviser on Equality and Diversity for Lambeth Council. He also founder Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons, which develops education programmes, publications and films on cultural heritage. A leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK, Patrick helped to expose the Windrush Scandal and also launched the Windrush Justice Fund with JCWI.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is the nucleus of the award-winning celebration and protest that is UK Black Pride. Widely known as Lady Phyll – partly due to her decision to reject an MBE to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTQI penal codes across its empire – she is also the executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an organisation working towards the liberation of LGBTQ people around the world; a community builder and organiser; an Albert Kennedy Trust patron and public speaker focusing on race, gender, sexuality and class. She’s regularly called upon to advise rascent LGBTQ organisations internationally to help leaders create cogent organising strategies.
From child prodigy to MBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of STEMettes, the award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) roles via a series of prestigious events and opportunities.
Leyla Hussein OBE is a psychotherapist, independent training consultant and FGM activist. Along with Nimco Ali, she founded the non profit organisation Daughters of Eve, which works to advance and protect the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health rights of young people from female genital mutilation practising communities. Leyla Hussein is very passionate about young people having a voice.
Nimco Ali OBE is a social activist and independent training consultant who, as well as co-founding Daughters of Eve, co-founded The Five Foundation, the Africa-led partnership to end FGM. Ali has served as a Network Coordinator for the End FGM/C Social Change Campaign as well as writing extensively on national gender writes. In June 2019 her book, What We’re Told Not to Talk About (But We’re Going to Anyway): Women’s Voices from East London to Ethiopia, was published.
Akeela Ahmed is an equalities campaigner specialising in youth and gender issues. She has over ten years experience of supporting vulnerable individuals with complex social and mental health difficulties, providing high intensity support services to young and homeless people from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, asylum seekers, ex-offenders and BAME groups.
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.
Mark Trevor Phillips OBE is a writer, broadcaster and former politician. He is Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Equality Standard, chairman of Green Park Diversity Analytics, director of WebberPhillips, and director of Pepper Productions. His commitment to racial equality has been channeled throughout his life vociferously, writing books such as ‘Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-racial Britain’.
Samantha Asumadu is a former documentary filmmaker and journalist. She is the founder of Media Diversified, Edmalia Ltd and the Bare Lit Festival. Her decades long commitment to grassroots activism led to her campaigning on issues such as women’s representation in Theatre, child abuse in war zones and Sickle cell anemia. She has also written for various publications. She is currently working with the Stuart Hall Foundation on a research project.
Shelina Janmohamed is the bestselling author of Love in a Headscarf, a memoir about growing up as a British Muslim woman. She is an established commentator on Muslim social and religious trends, writing for the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the National, and the BBC. She is also the vice president of Ogilvy Noor, a bespoke global branding practice for building brands with Muslim audiences.
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.
After launching in 2017 with a ground-breaking forty foundation shades, Rihanna’s self-titled cosmetics company has transformed the industry’s attitude towards diversity and inclusivity. According to Rihanna herself, the brand was born from a desire to create make-up for “women everywhere”, including those with skin tones that have traditionally been considered “hard-to-match”.
Accordingly, the brand’s marketing has always echoed this sentiment. Advertising campaigns have consistently demonstrated how Fenty’s products are designed for a range of skin colours and types whilst championing models of diverse ethnicities, races, religions and sizes. Through such campaigns, the brand’s ethos is clear: when it comes to make-up, everyone deserves to have fun and feel empowered.
It is astonishing to think that images of black fatherhood have never before been depicted on packaging for big-brand baby products. This year, Huggies have sought to rectify that. The brand have launched a new line, appropriately called “Special Delivery” featuring seven new designs. Three of these designs feature images of fathers with babies, one of which depicts a black father with his infant daughter.
Huggies’ brand director has suggested that the ad campaign echoes the company’s belief in “celebrating all parents”. This message of inclusivity reflects the brand’s willingness to champion the diversity of parenthood and challenge damaging stereotypes based on race and gender.
L’Oréal have an impressive reputation when it comes to workplace inclusivity, being recognised by Thomas Reuters in 2018 as one of the Top 10 companies in the world for Diversity and Inclusion. This is unsurprising when one considers L’Oréal’s history, particularly the role they have played as a founding member of the French Diversity Charter in 2004. This charter has gone on to ensure that employers in France do not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or disability. This inclusive ethos is encouraged internationally, with the German branch of the brand establishing the “INTERNgration Project”, aiming to integrate young refugees into the community through internships with the company.
Monzo is a relatively young and fast-growing company, but it is successfully demonstrating how workplace inclusion and diversity should be managed. The digital bank has, in its own words, worked hard to make sure that it is “an incredible place to work for everyone”, and that their team represents the diversity of their global customer base. As such, Monzo can celebrate that their inclusivity initiatives have led to a 4.06% increase in the number of people of colour in their workforce across 2018. What’s more, the company are committed to ensuring that this increase continues in the years to come in order to achieve a truly representative team of employees.
In 2018, Netflix launched a marketing campaign entitled A Great Day in Hollywood. With Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin’s narration, the ad celebrated the excellence of actors and filmmakers of colour; the campaign features forty-seven stars from a range of its self-produced films and television series, including Orange is the New Black, Dear White People and Glow.
This ad perfectly reflects Netflix’s ongoing commitment to promoting BAME storytelling on an international scale. The streaming platform continues to create and feature television series and films that present the black experience as nuanced, complex and captivating.
When it comes to championing diversity and equality, Nike’s marketing track record is difficult to rival. In 2017, Nike released an ad campaign in which NFL player and civil rights activist, Colin Kaepernick, encourages us to “dream crazy”, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or disability. Similarly, in February this year, the brand produced a campaign narrated by Serena Williams highlighting the double-standards affecting women in sport, including those based on race and religion.
Through both of these campaigns (and beyond), Nike unequivocally champions progressive movements, promoting the excellence and achievement of those that would be traditionally overlooked or underestimated.
As Europe’s leading entertainment company, Sky has fostered a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives, particularly in relation to BAME representation in the work place. These include targeted work-experience programmes and pro-active employee networks founded to ensure the company’s progress.
Additionally, Sky’s Multicultural team have encouraged British advertisers to “be braver” and submit advertising that targets ethnic minorities. In 2017, the head of the team stated the following: “77% of British Asians feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them; that’s 4 million people. This should be a wake-up call to advertisers.” Consequently, it is clear that Sky are eager to listen to and directly address the BAME community.
Vodafone is a place where everyone can be themselves and everyone can be different.” These are the words of a Vodafone employee in the video for the brand’s “Be Yourself and Belong” campaign: an initiative that aims to promote a diverse and inclusive working environment.
Vodafone’s purpose is to connect for a better future and make a significant and positive contribution to society. The tech comms giant has introduced training programmes and toolkits to combat unconscious bias and regularly measure the inclusivity of its workplace culture on an international scale. Ultimately, this is a company driving diversity and inclusion with a sense of ambition and commitment.
This high-street fashion retailer has long been known for its visually luxurious campaigns. But, recently, Zara have incorporated the brand’s commitment to inclusion and diversity into their advertising and visuals. This includes a nod to modest fashion with a diverse range of models wearing scarves and head wraps in their Autumn/Winter 2018 campaign.
In terms of workplace inclusion, Zara is a brand that claims that “multiculturalism, diversity and respect are a key part of our DNA”. It is clear, therefore, that this company wants to empower all of its employee regardless of culture, belief, ethnicity or race.
Inspired by Jenny Livingstone’s ground-breaking 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning, FX’S hit drama POSE depicts the LGBTQ and gender non-conforming African-American and Latino ballroom scene of 1980s Harlem. And the ways in which the programme is ground-breaking are numerous. With the majority of the cast being people of colour, it is also (according to the show’s producers) the largest transgender cast ever assembled for a scripted TV show. What’s more, through her direction of the series’ sixth episode, Janet Mock became the first transgender woman of colour to write or direct any episode of television. Following the release of the show, actor Indya Moore became ELLE’s first transgender cover star.
In Danny Boyle’s latest film, Yesterday, Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik: a young musician who, after falling unconscious, wakes up to find that he is the only person on the planet aware of The Beatles or their music. The casting of Patel has been widely celebrated owing to the rarity of South Asian leads in comedies, particularly those in which the character’s ethnicity is barely referred to. Patel has commented that the casting wasn’t a diversity box-ticking exercise, but rather that he was simply the best fit for the part, regardless of race or ethnicity.
In New York in 1990, five innocent young men of colour were convicted of a sexual assault that they didn’t commit, without any counsel or substantive physical evidence to connect them to the crime. Now, this story has been retold. This year, Netflix dropped Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of this shocking miscarriage of justice, entitled When They See Us. The four-part series is a harrowing exposé of the impact racial bias and discrimination can have on the lives of peaceful citizens of colour. Finally, this story is being told from the long-neglected perspectives of the wrongly convicted and has been celebrated by critics and audiences alike.
Coronation Street is a mainstay of British television and is, in fact, the country’s longest running soap. And yet, in all its 58 years, a black family has never lived on the Street – until now. Cue the Bailey family. Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has said: “Manchester is a city which has a large proportion of black residents […] It did feel sort of overdue that we did this and represented modern Manchester a bit more accurately.”
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.
In December 2018, BBC News announced that they would finally have an LGBT+ correspondent to report on the country’s stories, issues and debates surrounding sexuality and gender. The BBC also announced that the first person to fill this role would be Ben Hunte. Hunte has previously presented his own series of LGBT- themed programmes on BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra and has talked extensively on his media platforms about the prejudice and discrimination he has faced as a gay man of colour.
At this year’s BRIT Awards, singer song-writer, Jorja Smith, took to the stage to perform her single “Don’t Watch Me Cry”. During this performance, she demonstrated to the nation the ease with which she could produce the most powerful and stunning vocals. Social media was immediately abuzz with praise for the twenty-two-year-old, with many declaring it the highlight of the award ceremony. Since then, the performance has amassed over two million views on YouTube, reaching an international audience.
This year has been a remarkable one for English cricket as the national team were crowned champions at the 2019 World Cup. When Irish-born team captain, Eoin Morgan, was asked whether the team had “the luck of the Irish with them” at a press conference following the win, Morgan replied that teammate Adil Rashid had told him that “Allah was with them”. “It actually epitomises our team,” he said. “[We’re from] quite diverse backgrounds and cultures and guys have grown up in different countries.” As such, this response sent out an important message about unity and inclusion across cultures, both within and outside of the world of sport.
Last year, the BBC declared that, for the first time, it would be airing a season of programmes that they called “The Big Asian British Summer”. British Asians are the largest minority group in Britain, numbering over three million. This season of programming was an attempt to represent and appeal to the experiences and stories of this demographic. Broadcast on BBC 2, programmes included Passengers, recounting the extraordinary experiences of immigrants as they travelled to Britain from the Indian subcontinent. As well as this, chef Nisha Katona revealed her secrets to the best curries on cookery show A Taste of Home.
This year, an online poll by YouGov found that Michelle Obama was the most admired woman in the world. What’s more, this sentiment is reflected by the number 1 position of her autobiography and memoir, Becoming, in the 2018 Christmas book chart. In fact, in reaching this position, she became the first person of colour – male or female – to have a number one Christmas book. Further to this, she is the first woman to reach the position since J.K. Rowling. Astonishingly, Becoming managed to sell 92,000 copies in the UK in the final shopping week before Christmas alone and has sold more copies than any other book published in the United States.
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.
As the first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful is a true icon of fashion journalism. Born in Ghana and raised in Ladbroke Grove, Enninful demonstrates through Vogue the vibrancy and beauty of a multicultural Britain. In his own words, diversity is not “just about skin colour but of perspectives”. As such, he continues to ensure that this reputable publication offers a platform to a diverse array of voices, establishing mentoring schemes within the magazine to aid the career-progression of young people from inner-city areas. Championing racial, ethnic and cultural representation, Enninful is a genuine figurehead for the evolution of fashion journalism as inclusive and diverse.
The 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians, saw British-Malaysian actor, Henry Golding, play the romantic lead in a blockbuster rom-com. This role was quickly heralded as ground-breaking. With only four of 2017’s 100 top-grossing films featuring an Asian protagonist, and the last Hollywood-produced film featuring an entirely Asian cast being released 25 years before, Golding’s representation of an East Asian romantic lead has been heralded a “watershed moment” by British journalists. 2019 will see Golding continue his success as a Hollywood trailblazer, starring opposite Emilia Clarke in one production, and being directed by Guy Ritchie in another.
In 2008, Jourdan Dunn became the first black model to walk the Prada runway in over a decade – and her accomplishments have continued in the decade since. Having graced the runways of Jean Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton, she was watched by millions internationally as she walked for the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony. In 2017, to celebrate the success of her collaborations with fashion retail giants Marks and Spencer and Missguided, Dunn was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year award ceremony.
London-born KSI has used his digital platform to make waves. His YouTube channel has accumulated over four billion video views and has twenty million subscribers spanning the globe. Starting out as a gaming YouTuber, KSI has now ventured into boxing, using his thriving channel as a means of broadcasting his achievements. In fact, his boxing match with Logan Paul in August 2018 has been labelled by The Independent as “the largest event in YouTube history” as well as “the largest ever amateur boxing fight”.
Leigh-Ann Pinnock is a member of one of the biggest girl bands on the planet right now: Little Mix. With her band-mates, Pinnock has sold over fifty million records worldwide and had four number-one singles in the UK. Individually, Pinnock has amounted a staggering 4.8 million followers on Instagram and is frequently featured in magazines like Teen Vogue as a source of fashion inspiration. Leigh-Ann’s influence as a style icon has been extended this year with the launch of her new swimwear line, In’A’Seashell. What’s more, the swimwear range is being promoted with an empowering message: everybody has a beach body, regardless of skin colour or size.
The evolution of Reggie Yates’ career has been remarkable. Emerging from children’s television, Yates now regularly creates ambitious, engaging and culturally-relevant documentaries for the BBC. The past few years have seen him investigate matters of race, sexuality and gender internationally, from Russia to South Africa. In his most recent documentary, he explores the rise of the black narrative on our television screens, revealing his plans to contribute to this movement through his own screenwriting endeavours. But (from being “imprisoned” in a Texan jail, to shovelling toxic waste in Ghana) it is Yates’ immersion in the environments he investigates that allows him to stand out as an exceptional documentarian.
Starting out as a young pop star in groups like S Club 8 and The Saturdays, Rochelle Hulmes has become one of the most recognisable faces on British television. Regularly hosting This Morning with her husband Marvin, the couple will be the stand-alone presenters of their own television show for the first time later this year. Alongside her television work, Hulmes has successfully collaborated with fashion retailers Very and New Look. She is also a children’s author, releasing her debut, The Mega Magic Hair Swap, earlier this year; the book aims to encourage young girls to accept and celebrate all hair types, placing emphasis on the beauty of natural curls.
Grime artist Stormzy consistently and publicly champions the BAME community. His publishing imprint with Penguin Random House, #Merky Books, continues to offer a platform to young writers of colour. Furthermore, 2019 marks the second year in which he has offered to pay the tuition fees of two black, UK-based students for the University of Cambridge. In the words of the man himself, the “Stormzy Scholarship” aims to remind young black people that “the opportunity is yours for the taking”. Aside from his political and social activism, Stormzy continues to flourish as a performer, becoming the first black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury Festival this year.
Tinie Tempah has had more UK number-one singles than any other rap artist, with hits like “Pass Out” and “Trampoline”. It is no surprise, therefore, that he has won three MOBO awards and two Brit awards amongst a host of other nominations. However, Tinie Tempah is also a prominent figure in the world of British fashion, acting as an ambassador for London Fashion Week Men’s since 2011. In 2017, he used his platform at LFWM to launch his fashion label, What We Wear. Crucially, the collection has an ethical and eco-conscious ethos behind it and is inspired by the positive impact of cultural diversity.
In 2006, Anna Rothery was elected Councillor for Liverpool, becoming the city’s first ever black female Councillor. As such, she became one of the 2.5% of Liverpool Councillors who are people of colour. In this role, she has sought to demystify politics (particularly for women and BAME people) and highlight minority community issues. Impressively, she became the first Liverpool Councillor to speak at the United Nations in 2012, delivering a speech about minority communities and political participation in her home city.
David Lammy is a Labour politician who has represented Tottenham since 2000. Frequently using his platform on social media, he has established a reputation as an outspoken campaigner, offering his support to those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster and (as the son of Guyanese parents) speaking up on behalf of the Windrush Generation. Lammy has also frequently expressed his views on the political disenfranchisement of black youth, criticising the cutting of youth services and outreach programmes.
Elected as the Labour MP for Battersea in 2017, Marsha de Cordova acts as the Shadow Minister for Disabled People. De Cordova is registered blind and has, in the past, volunteered her time at sight loss charity, Thomas Pocklington Trust. Inclusivity is at the heart of de Cordova’s politics. For example, during her first speech in parliament as an elected MP, she raised the issue of the stagnant disability employment gap and has subsequently spoken out against matters like the Windrush scandal.
When Marvin Rees became the Mayor of Bristol in May 2016, he also became the first directly-elected mixed-race mayor in Europe. Born to a British mother and a Jamaican father, Rees originally worked as a freelance journalist and radio presenter. During his political career, however, he founded the The Bristol Leadership Programme which, each year, aims to help a dozen people from impoverished backgrounds to attain their professional and personal ambitions. At the heart of Rees’ policies are inclusivity and the desire to make Bristol “a fairer place for all”.
A member of the Labour Party, Muhammed Butt became the leader of Brent Council in Greater London in 2012 and has acted in the role ever since. Butt has used his political platform to speak out against various government cuts as well as to campaign against investment in fossil fuels by taking part in a Momentum protest. He has also attended and contributed to fundraisers aiming to sustain food banks that support Brent’s most vulnerable families.
The daughter of a Polish mother and a Pakistani father, Rosena Allin-Khan has been the MP for Tooting since 2016. Before her political career took off, she spent time as a Humanitarian Aid Doctor in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In fact, she remains a registered NHS GP and is the doctor for her amateur boxing team! As Shadow Minister for Sport, she has spoken out against various forms of discrimination in sport, including homophobia and the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people. The snap election in 2017 only increased her majority, strengthening her position as a representative for Tooting.
Labour politician, Sadiq Khan, became London Mayor in 2016. Khan was born in Tooting, London to a working-class, British Pakistani family. He went on to practise as a human rights lawyer before joining the Labour Party in 1994 and kick-starting his political career. As Mayor, Khan has committed himself to building bridges between different cultures and communities, holding iftars at synagogues, churches and mosques in 2016. His work promoting London’s environmental wellbeing has been just as innovative, including the establishment of the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zones. Khan’s politics are famously inclusive, as he has regularly marched at London Pride and has declared himself “a proud feminist”.
Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad is the Baron of Wimbledon, a Conservative peer and a member of the House of Lords. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Lord Ahmad became a successful businessman working in the financial sector, earning him the position as Associate of the Institute of Financial Services. After the 2015 general election, he was appointed Minister for Skills and Aviation Security as well as Minister for Countering Extremism. Two years later, Lord Ahmad attained a position as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Baroness Amos is a Labour Life Peer, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. Following her appointment as Secretary of State for International Development in 2003, Baroness Amos became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Since then, she has worked as the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, as well as the Director of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in 2015, making her the first black woman to lead a University in the UK.
Lord Waheed Alli is a Labour Life Peer and media executive. Growing up in Croydon, Alli’s Trinidadian mother was a nurse. During his career, he has worked for a finance magazine, in investment banking and, perhaps most famously, in the television industry. He has acted as chairman of ASOS.com and director of Olga Television, Paul O’Grady’s production company. He was 34 when he was made a peer in 1998. As such, Baron Alli was the youngest peer, as well as the only openly gay peer, in parliament. In fact, he is thought to be one of the few openly gay Muslim politicians in the world. He regularly uses his platform to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
As the profile of British netball continues to rise, so does Ama Agbeze. Originally from Selly Oak in South West Birmingham, Agbeze plays in goal defence and as goal keeper for Team England and has represented England in the sport since 2001. She helped the national team to win a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. She received an MBE this year for her services to netball.
As the first British heavyweight to win both an Olympic gold medal and a major world title, Anthony Joshua is one of the most formidable boxers on the planet. His 2017 fight with Wladimir Klitchko (in which he emerged victorious) was declared “Fight of the Year” by boxing magazine, The Ring. In 2018, he held claim to four separate heavyweight champion titles and justifiably received an OBE in the same year for services to sport.
Denise Lewis became a household name when, despite injury, she won the heptathlon gold medal during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Consequently, she was awarded an OBE a year later following her MBE in 1999. Since retiring from British athletics, Lewis has become a familiar face on British televisions, acting as a pundit for the BBC during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, as well as the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. She has also presented for the BBC’s The One Show and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing.
John Barnes is a legend of British football. Born in Jamaica, Barnes has had a remarkable career, representing Watford, Liverpool and England as a left-winger. By the time left the England squad in 1995, he had played for the team more times than any other black player. Since then, he has worked as a manager for Celtic and Jamaica, as well as a commentator and pundit for ITV and Channel Five. He also famously rapped alongside New Order on the 1990 FIFA World Cup track, “World in Motion”. Crucially, Barnes frequently speaks out against racism and other forms of discrimination, both within and outside of the world of football.
Liverpool-born Katerina Johnson Thompson is a track and field athlete specialising in the heptathlon. She has represented Team GB at both the London and Rio Olympics and broke the British high jump record in 2015. In 2018, she won the World Indoor pentathlon title, as well as the European Championship. Thompson is certainly fierce competition and this year has seen her smash her personal best with a score that would have earned her a gold medal in four of the previous six Olympics.
Mo Farah is quite simply one Britain’s best-loved athletes; so much so, that he even has a trademark celebratory dance move! Originally a Somali refugee, Farah has gone on to become the most successful British track athlete in the history of the modern Olympic Games. Specialising in distance running, he is also the most decorated athlete in the history of British athletics. At the 2012 Olympic games, he won Team GB’s first ever 10,000m gold medal. This led to him gaining a CBE in 2013 and, of course, a dedicated golden post box in his home town of Isleworth in Hounslow, Greater London.
Natasha Jonas was born and raised in Liverpool, where she discovered her love and talent for boxing. Having taken up boxing in 2005, she had one a remarkable five ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) Championships by 2010. She won gold medals at the 2009 and 2011 EU championships and, in 2012, she became the first female British boxer to compete in the Olympic Games. Jonas retired in 2015 with only one loss throughout her boxing career.
Leeds-born Nicola Adams broke ground in 2012 as the first female boxer to ever win an Olympic gold medal. She also became the first openly LGBTQ+ person to win a boxing gold medal and then went on to become the first female boxer to become a double Olympic champion when she earned a subsequent gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics. To this day, she has won every fight of her professional career. In 2015, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Leeds and received an OBE in 2017.
2019 has been an exceptional year for women’s football and for England’s Lionesses in particular. One such Lioness is Nikita Parris: a forward with forty-one caps and thirteen goals to her name. This year, Parris scored her first World Cup goal, as well as the first goal of the tournament for England, during the team’s opening game against Scotland. Manager, Phil Neville, subsequently called her the team’s “best penalty taker”. Born in Toxteth, Liverpool, she has represented Everton and Manchester City and now plays for French team, Olympique Lyonnais.
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.