It’s one thing to show up when a moment arises, it’s another to keep that momentum going. In the midst of the boiling point year that was 2020, corporations and organizations committed resources and revenue to enact real, tangible change.
Nearly two years later, it’s safe to say that DE&I perhaps more important than ever before. And as always, it’s important to shine a spotlight on the people behind that real, tangible change.
Diversity and inclusion membership organization INvolve, with support from Yahoo Finance, sought out to highlight those in the business industry who have continued the good work.
Just like last year's list, the 2022 EMpower Advocates Executive Role Models ranking celebrates 50 senior leaders who are not from ethnic minority background themselves but are championing and advocating for their ethnic minority colleagues. These people are leading by example and removing barriers on the pathway to success for ethnic minority employees.
The 20 highest achieving executives have been ranked while the remaining 30 are celebrated in no particular order, reflecting the achievements of each individual.
The executives on the list are all within at least three levels of the chief executives at large companies, or are the leaders of smaller organisations.
1) Mark Read, Chief Executive, WPP
In June of 2020, Mark announced WPP’s set of commitments to combat racial injustice and support Black and minority ethnic talent, which included pledging $30m over the next three years to fund inclusion programs and support anti-racism charities. Since then he has continued to take steps to improve diversity and inclusion, launching an initiative called NextGen Leaders which sees WPP working with 300 colleges and universities, including HBCUs, to build a diverse future talent pool. Of the program’s first 850 participants, 50% were students of color.
Mark also established a Global Inclusion Council where underrepresented voices can advise on D&I goals, recommend new systems and identify barriers to progress. In October 2020, WPP appointed its first Black Board Member, Tom Ilube, while for the first time from 2021, Mark introduced D&I goals into WPP Senior Leaders’ annual incentive plans.
2) Anne Richards, CEO, Fidelity International
Anne joined Fidelity International as CEO in December 2018 and was appointed a Director of FIL Limited in September 2019. Anne has almost three decades of experience as an analyst, portfolio manager and CIO and is a strong proponent of ESG investing. Her career path spans many blue-chip global names in the financial sector including Alliance Capital and JP Morgan.
Anne is a Chartered Engineer and began her career as a research fellow at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. She is a former chair of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Practitioner Panel and was appointed a board member of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in December 2020. Anne was appointed a Dame Commander (DBE) in June 2021 for services to Financial Services, Women, Education and Science.
3) Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt Technology Services
Keri founded Colt's first Inclusion & Diversity Council and chairs the TM Forum's Diversity & Inclusion Council, the aim of which is to make the telecommunications sector more diverse and inclusive. In response to 2020's Black Lives Matter protests, Keri held listening sessions with a cross-section of employees from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to find out what was on their minds and gain an understanding of what Colt could do to support them.
The insights she gathered led to a collaboration between HR and the YOUnited employee network group, aiming to ensure that Colt was focused on removing any biases inherent within its systems, processes and structures, and that all employees, including those who identify as BAME, had a fair chance to join and develop at the firm. Over the past year, under Keri's support, Colt has sponsored 12 employees through the Black British Business Awards Talent Accelerator programme.
4) Jim Fitterling, Chairman and CEO, Dow, Inc.
Under Jim’s leadership Dow announced a bold framework aiming to address systemic racism and inequality within the company and its employees’ communities. Named Dow ACTs, the program’s acronym represents the three pillars of the strategy: Advocacy, Community, and Talent. Dow ACTs includes pledging $5 million over the next five years to help accelerate change, establishing a paid time off policy for voting and other non-partisan related civic activities, and including an additional $4.6 million investment in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and community college skilled trades programs through 2024.
Jim also serves as the Executive Sponsor of the Global African Affinity Network (GAAN) Employee Resource Group, which works to provide advocacy for one of the most underrepresented populations in Dow. Outside Dow, Jim regularly participates in discussions with other companies and organizations on the importance of inclusion and equality in advancing the world's economy.
5) Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels & Resorts
Under Keith’s leadership DE&I has been made integral to IHG’s company strategy. The firm’s 2030 business plan, ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, includes commitments specific to DE&I, such as doubling the representation of under – represented groups across leadership teams and building a culture of inclusion.
Steps taken to achieve these goals include strengthened policies and programs, rolling out a ‘Conscious Inclusion’ program to all corporate employees and driving more focused events and communications to increase colleague awareness.
Keith actively participates in industry-level discussions around the importance of inclusion and has signed both the Race at Work Charter and the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance DE&I in the workplace.
6) David Shelley, Group CEO, Hachette UK
David works closely with Hachette UK's ten employee networks, including THRIVE - the organisation's Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Employee Network – and holds quarterly strategy meetings to agree on their respective goals and any actions for the company to help improve its levels of representation. In addition, David also co-chairs Hachette UK's open-forum workshops to discuss its ethnicity pay gap reports and drive associated actions. All of which have contributed to a 1.3% increase in representation across the business.
In 2020, David and his team also created a Mirror Board Leadership Programme for high-potential colleagues from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, which ran for 18 months and involved strategic tasks to expand business understanding and provide first-hand learning from Board members. He also started an internal programme to pair staff from backgrounds currently under-represented at Board level with a Board member for a 12-month mentoring period.
7) Anne Erni, Chief People Officer, Audible
As Chief People Officer at Audible, Anne leads both HR and Real Estate, two areas that are inextricably linked, as highlighted by the global pandemic. Anne activates caring at Audible by embracing a culture that celebrates all the glories of the human spectrum. She introduced the D&I function at Lehman Brothers, Bloomberg, and Audible, by setting the strategy and actively driving results.
She is a mentor with W.O.M.E.N. In America (WIA), a development program for high potential women with a focus on women of color. She has also supported Johns Hopkins University's efforts to drive diversity in its faculty. An effort that Anne is most proud of pioneering is “Encore,” the first back to work program for women who had left the workforce to care for their children. She launched the program at Lehman Brothers in 2005 and it continues to thrive throughout the U.S. today, including at Audible.
8) Jason Tarry, CEO, UK & ROI, Tesco
Jason is Executive Sponsor for the Race and Ethnicity at Tesco colleague network. In this capacity he works to create a safe, supportive, and connected space which colleagues can feel proud to be part of. The efforts he has undertaken to achieve this include running listening sessions, celebrating and raising awareness of key cultural events, developing new resources (anti-racism guide and video) and leading pathway calls with leaders to understand barriers to colleagues getting on.
Tesco's ethnic diverse colleagues now increasingly feel Tesco is an inclusive place to work 79% (2% increase YOY). Jason has supported Tesco in becoming founding members of The Black British Network and is Executive Sponsor of its Black Action Plan which sets about to bring about fair and equitable change for the Black community. Jason has set up in conversation with the Executive team at Tesco to ensure Black inclusion is discussed at board level.
9) Diana Conrad, Chief People Officer, GSK
As Chief People Officer for GSK, Diana has amplified and integrated Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) into the wider agenda, with an approach focussed on people, business and communities. Under Diana’s leadership, GSK has launched a number of key projects focussed on ethnicity including, annual mandatory all-employee I&D training, the Accelerating Difference Ethnic Diversity development programme and expectations of diverse shortlists of qualified candidates for all key roles.
In 2021, Diana worked with the Board and GSK Leadership Team to set aspirational targets of at least 30% (US) and at least 18% (UK) ethnically diverse leaders in Vice President and above roles by end of 2025, with year-on-year disclosure of progress against ethnicity sub-categories. One year on, GSK has made good progress with 27.1% (US) and 12.9% (UK) ethnically diverse leaders in VP and above roles, as well as increased ethnic diversity at all levels leadership – not just the most senior.
10) Robyn Grew, Global COO & GC, Head of ESG, Head of Man Group US, Man Group
Robyn chairs Man Group's diversity, equity and inclusion network, Drive, and is a senior sponsor of BEAM (Black Employees and Allies at Man Group), an employee network which led Man Group's signing of the Race at Work Charter, committing the firm to following the Charter's five calls to action and taking practical steps to tackle barriers impacting ethnic minority groups in recruitment and progression.
Robyn oversees Man Group’s ‘Paving the Way’ initiative, which seeks to improve access to the industry for underrepresented groups. Last year, the firm continued to work with #10000BlackInterns and North Carolina A&T University (a historically Black university) as part of ongoing efforts to encourage a broader range of diverse talent into the industry. Robyn is a member of several industry groups, including the Diversity Project, where she sits on the Advisory Board, and the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) council, where she chairs the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group.
11) David Schwimmer, Chief Executive Officer, London Stock Exchange Group
David has set a clear vision for a diverse culture where inclusion is a constant practice. He has established priorities against which to measure the Group’s progress globally; LSEG employs 23,000 people, more than half of whom are based in Asia Pacific. In 2022, one of LSEG’s strategic objectives is to ‘foster a diverse, inclusive culture’, a goal embedded throughout the organisation.
David has introduced senior leadership gender and race/ethnicity targets aiming to achieve 40% women in senior leadership roles by the end of 2022, 20% underrepresented groups in senior leadership roles by the end of 2023 and 25% by the end of 2025. With great pride, the London Stock Exchange Group was shortlisted for the "Company of the Year" category at the British Diversity Awards in 2022 and continues to build momentum in advancing its diversity, inclusion, and belonging agenda.
12) Helen Redfern, Group HR Director, Kier
Helen is committed to breaking down barriers at her firm and in the wider industry, making the company accessible to everyone by driving ethnically diverse inclusion. To do so, Helen, as the chief people officer at Kier, has in the last two years created the D&I roadmap, including reporting on Kier's ethnicity pay gap in FY23, and launched Kier's Expect Respect campaign, designed to educate employees on the importance of inclusivity in the workplace. She also led the creation of Kier's employee networks, including the Racial Inclusion Network and chairs the D&I committee.
Furthermore, Helen is creating a leadership development program designed for diverse employees, increasing diversity in Kier's leadership succession pipeline, and organizing a race and ethnicity upskilling training for Kier's executive committee to ensure a most inclusive workplace leadership.
13) Jon Holt, Chief Executive, KPMG LLP
Driving inclusion, diversity and equity is at the heart of Jon’s leadership strategy. He has actively championed the firm’s new inclusion, diversity and equity strategy and is a proactive participant in a number of initiatives, such as our Black Lives Allyship Programme. As Chief Executive, Jon is committed to driving sustainable change and ensuring that KPMG is an organisation where everyone is able to thrive. Jon is a member of KPMG’s Inclusive Leadership Board, a group which acts as a catalyst for achieving our ambitions in this space.
Jon’s commitment to inclusion has been longstanding, and in his previous role as the Head of Audit, he was responsible for several strategic initiatives including mentoring programmes, leadership goals and awareness sessions. Outside of KPMG, Jon is an ambassador for the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes, encourages and supports the active participation of young people from disadvantaged and minority communities in British democracy.
14) Cindy Noble, Chief People Officer, Compass Group USA
As Chief People Officer for Compass Group USA, Cindy leads the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda for the one of the largest companies in the United States, empowering associates to succeed through a culture of belonging.
Since serving on the Executive Committee, Cindy has overseen the first-ever company-wide D&I survey, the establishment of initiatives confronting unintentional biases and micro-aggressions, growth in salaried ethnic minority representation and the recognition of best practices through an Associate Inclusion Excellence Award.
Cindy's leadership and commitment to diversity is reflected in Compass Group USA's consistent acknowledgement by outside organizations, including being named a Forbes Best Employer for Diversity five years in a row. Cindy’s service on the boards and committees of numerous external organizations, including Charlotte Center City, American Heart Association, and Jose Andres World Central Kitchen, focus on D&I-related issues.
15) Sue Fox, Non-Executive Director, Scottish Power Energy Networks
In Sue’s previous position as CEO of HSBC, Channel Islands and Isle of Man (2019-2022), through her CEO communications with employees, such as all-employee webinars, leadership calls, and team meetings, she stressed that diversity and inclusion are among her core values and the foundation of how she runs her business.
One way Sue manifested this commitment to D&I is by serving as Executive Sponsor of HSBC’s D&I Allies group. The group includes EMBRACE, the ethnicity network made up of self-nominated employees who put on events and trainings and write articles to give colleagues deeper insights, and highlight biases and discrimination. For the last two years the group has run a full month of activities during Black History Month, which Sue endorsed and took part in through panel discussions.
Sue also supported HSBC's corporate sponsorship of The Diversity Network in Jersey, which runs events and networking to spread understanding and break down barriers around inclusivity.
16) Carolyn McCall, CEO, ITV plc
Carolyn set up the Diversity & Inclusion Council when she joined ITV in 2018. In 2020, she worked with senior leaders and the Council, particularly the Embrace Network in order to create a Diversity Acceleration Plan. The plan included increasing diversity on the management board and in senior leadership teams across ITV; commissioning content to ensure ITV better represents contemporary British life on screen; improving diversity and career progression in TV production and educating ITV colleagues so everyone understands racism and their role in creating an inclusive culture.
Carolyn appointed a Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion who joined the executive committee in 2020, making ITV the first FTSE 100 company to do this. She initiated the creation of an independent external advisory council who advise and often challenge the leaders at ITV on pace and progress.
Carolyn has also enabled on screen initiatives such as the Black Voices campaign, a platform for Black people to share their stories, as well as ITV's biggest ever Black History Month, showcasing Black talent, stories and original commissions
17) Jean-Marc Ollagnier,Europe CEO, Accenture
Jean-Marc has been at the forefront of Accenture’s commitment to promoting ethnic diversity and fighting racism in Europe. He plays a key role in various initiatives aiming to address racism in the workplace, and he is a strong internal and external advocate on the topic.
He recognizes that various geographies approach the notion of ´ethnicity’ differently due to their history and legal environment, and he has strongly encouraged all Accenture offices in Europe to have their action plan and report progress, based on Accenture’s global set of principles but with enough flexibility for them to adapt. He strongly believes that awareness needs to be built with a local approach, so that people feel ‘it’s about them’.
He represents Accenture at the Board of B4IG/OECD Coalition, where Accenture leads the Diversity & Inclusion taskforce with special focus on Ethnicity & Race, contributing to diffusing best practices and need for change.
18) Christiana Riley, Management Board Member and CEO of the Americas, Deutsche Bank
Christiana Riley’s leadership and personal commitment has increased the prioritization of D&I at Deutsche Bank since she took over as CEO of the Americas in 2019. In June 2020 Christiana Riley made a public statement condemning racism and followed up with open-door sessions, before announcing a ‘Seven Actions in Seven Months’ plan which spanned culture, talent development, advancement, recruiting, business, and community impact in order to advance ethnic diversity and inclusion.
Christiana made implementing this plan a leadership priority and delivered on it ahead of schedule. She also increased representation at the highest levels of the bank by elevating a Diversity Champion to the Americas Executive Council, and diversifying the Deutsche Bank Board of Directors by appointing Paula Price.
On the development side, Christiana launched a dbBOLD (Black Opportunity Leadership Development) program, offering Vice Presidents and Directors exposure to senior leaders and a place at in McKinsey's Black Leadership Academy.
19) Joerg Ambrosius, Executive Vice President, CEO Europe Middle East & Africa, State Street Corporation
As Executive Vice President and CEO of Europe Middle East & Africa at State Street Corporation, Joerg is a sponsor of one of the corporate "10 actions to Address Racism and Inequality" initiatives at State Street.
For many years, Joerg acted as a sponsor for multiple ethnically diverse talents in EMEA and the US across all management levels. This sponsoring focuses on actual career progression via role expansions, mentoring, and promotions to ensure clear accountability. He regularly hosts employee town halls and workshops where he invites external speakers to talk about race and ethnicity and to help initiate internal dialogue.
In addition, Joerg is a senior representative and corporate sponsor of "reboot" – the think-tank made up of financial services professionals who talk about race in UK businesses. Involved from the start, he has supported this initiative through funding their inaugural FS Race to Equality report and Index and acting as an ambassador.
20) Aimie Chapple, CEO - Capita Experience, Capita
Aimie is a big supporter of diversity and inclusion and empowering others. She is an active supporter and sponsor of many of Capita’s Employee Network Groups, which provide a space for all employees to feel heard, valued and supported. Our networks include gender equality, multi-faith, wellbeing, family, generation, embrace and rainbow alliance. Aimie hosts monthly colleague coffee & chats on important topics emerging from these networks.
Aimie is also helping to drive a more inclusive and ethnically diverse business through her active membership of our Mutual Mentoring programme and also our new RISE programme focussed on creating opportunities for ethnically diverse colleagues to move into leadership roles.
Outside of Capita, Aimie also advises start-ups, such as TechPixies, a digital learning organisation that helps women to change jobs or start businesses using digital technologies. In 2021, Aimie was recognised in the HERoes Top 100 Women Executives list, showcasing leaders who are championing women in business and driving change for gender diversity in the workplace. Aimie has also previously been recognised as Business Woman of the Year 2012 and in 2018 featured on the Kindness & Leadership 50 Leading Lights list.
Renata Correia Cubas, Tax Partner, Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados
Renata is a Partner and member of the Executive Committee of Mattos Filho. She sponsors the firm’s racial equity initiatives such as Soma Project developed to attract and retain non-white talent, that created in 2019, Soma Talentos, an affirmative action which aims to hire and include non-white Law school students and first year associated in the firm. In less than four years, Mattos Filho's went from 1% to 11% non-white talent within their legal team.
Renata represents Mattos Filho in the Legal Alliance for Racial Equity as a Member of the Board, which gathers 12 Brazilian full-service law firms around racial equity in the legal industry. At last, she is a co-founder of Women in Tax Brazil, which aims to promote diversity in tax, and gathers over 3,000 women, and together with other C-level women she is also mentor at Women in Law Mentoring.
Jeffrey Russell, President of Accenture Canada, Accenture
Jeffrey is the Founding Executive Sponsor of BOLD (Black Outreach Leadership Development) employee resource group, established in 2019. This ERG aims to identify, engage, and increase Black talent at Accenture Canada, focused on learning and development, recruitment, community, and building allyship.
Under Jeffrey's leadership, BOLD ERG has increased membership by 300% by facilitating cross-collaboration between other ERGs and Accenture Canada's I&D leadership team. In addition, under Jeffrey's leadership, Mediacorp named Accenture Canada one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers in 2022. He has also helped establish ASPIRE, an internal mentorship program for people of color. This program is part of Accenture's commitment to supporting the development and advancement of BIPOC employees in Canada.
Moreover, he is on the advisory board of Catalyst Canada, whose mission is to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion.
Lisa Levy, Head of Marketing & Communications, Europe, Jacobs
Lisa knows that as a Jacobs business leader her words and actions act as a lever for cultural change. With this in mind Lisa is currently serving as Executive Sponsor of Harambee, a Jacobs network committed to positively impacting the Black employee experience through the recruitment, development, and retention of Black talent.
Lisa has mentored Harambee ambassadors to help them grow the network’s membership, and has promoted the group’s work, objectives, and successes through multiple internal communication channels across Europe. She has also stepped forward to support the team in designing and delivering engagement events and to amplify the group's voice to senior leadership, as well as using her professional network to find advocates and external speakers that can support Harambee’s activities.
Since the global launch of Jacobs’ Action Plan for Advancing Justice and Equality, Lisa has worked to set actionable and measurable objectives to address systemic racial inequalities.
Emma Hind, Director, Global Revenue Strategy, IHG Hotels & Resorts
As ERG Lead Coach for IHG Hotels & Resorts, Emma drives ERG strategic planning, lobbying for budgets, and developing group leaders. She partners with HR to ensure all groups align strategically to the business and are resourced to serve ethnically diverse and other under-served colleague groups. She identifies and assesses under-served groups to create new ERG programming and resources, recruiting new executive-level ERG sponsors.
Engaged with community efforts to advocate for civil and human rights, and as an engaged and active ally to the multiple diverse colleague populations at IHG, Emma chooses to lead colleague-driven efforts to create a more inclusive culture at IHG. She serves as a member of IHG’s Americas DE&I Board.
As a member of IHG's Global Commercial & Technology team, Emma recognizes that more diverse organizations make better decisions, achieve greater success more quickly, and positively impact the communities they're part of.
Kathleen Russ, Senior Partner, Travers Smith
Kath sponsors Travers Smith's BAME recruitment and retention strategy, which seeks to introduce formal mechanisms to create fairness at critical inflection points of BAME lawyers' careers. This includes mentoring as well as implementing processes to ensure fair access to opportunities to work for important clients, to help address structural inequality in the division of work assignments.
Kath also sponsored the firmwide response to the BLM movement, which saw the delivery of anti-racism and effective allyship training for all staff and partners and the publication of Travers Smith’s ethnicity pay gap reporting. The firm also signed up to Rare Recruitment's Race Fairness Commitment and the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance.
In addition to sponsoring these initiatives, Kath helped set up and is an active participant in the firm's reverse mentoring scheme to enable junior BAME colleagues to share their experiences with senior leaders.
Laura Juliano, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Since 2020 Laura has led the creation and evolution of the MDP Champions program, engaging managing directors and partners to have an active role in the development and success of Black consulting staff. With more than 150 pairings to date, Laura is now expanding the program to the firm's practice areas to further champion Black managers.
In 2021, Laura founded the Center of Excellence for North America Career Development, bringing together firm leaders to engage in critical conversations about supporting Black consultants in their career journey.
Additionally, Laura has been working for the Retention and Advancement Parity Team within the North America Racial Equity Taskforce to achieve retention parity and strengthen advancement opportunities for Black consulting staff through various programs and initiatives. Laura also chairs the Board of Directors at the Houston Food Bank, America's largest food bank in distribution.
Sarah Gosler, Chief Operating Officer - Global Operations and Technology (GOT) Strategy & Governance, BNY Mellon
As COO, Sarah oversees Leadership, Governance and Engagement for the BNY Mellon's Global Operations and Technology division. In her role, she acts as an agent of change and a leading advocate for DEI, serving as a committee member / executive sponsor on several E/BRGs, and co-chair of the Ops and Tech DEI Council.
Sarah works with executive leadership and Black, LatinX, and Asian colleagues to increase diverse representation at all levels. She has developed integral internal campaigns that spotlight diverse employees, including a monthly Diversity in Leadership Event series in which Black, Asian, LatinX, and other diverse leaders share their personal stories across BNY Mellon.
As a Board Member of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Sarah launched an exclusive mentor-to-intern program to provide opportunities for overlooked and underserved students to gain experience and employment at BNY Mellon. In 2022, she scaled this to include CUNY and CCAC in Pittsburgh.
Roanne Parry, SVP HR Global Commercial, GlaxoSmithKline
As the HR Lead for GSK's Global Ethnicity Council, Roanne translates GSK’s external commitments into tangible internal actions, driving change for better diversity, equity & inclusion. She ensures Senior Leaders are accountable for demonstrating active and visible allyship, being ambassadors for race and ethnic equality at GSK, and taking personal responsibility for increasing awareness and understanding in support of diversity aspirations.
Roanne is committed to mentoring and sponsoring ethnically diverse talent at various management levels. She is currently mentoring six ethnically diverse employees and is an active sponsor for ethnically diverse colleagues in our talent approach.
In addition, Roanne has made challenging norms and micro-aggressions a lifelong commitment, while promoting a safe environment for others to speak up, ensuring continuous learning and belonging.
Larry Tomei, Country Head – Wealth & Personal Banking, HSBC Bank Canada
Larry Tomei has been a tireless and passionate advocate for Diversity & Inclusion, particularly in regards to empowering women, throughout his career. Since becoming Country Head – Wealth & Personal Banking for HSBC Bank Canada, Larry has championed a three-year diversity and gender promotion objective and has achieved a gender balance of 50% in his leadership team. He supports diversity through advocacy and engagements with the firm's ERG and events.
In addition, he provides mentoring and sponsorship of women throughout the organization, such as promoting senior women executives for key external awards, and hosts panel discussions to bring attention to critical issues impacting ERG groups. Larry has also created a platform for female leaders to gain exposure, providing role models for female leaders throughout the team.
Larry’s motto is to ‘treat others as you want to be treated’. He not only speaks about change, but is actively engaged in bringing change.
Jessica Walsh, Managing Director, Health and Wellness, H+K Strategies London
Jess has led international health communications and advocacy teams for 20 years, 13 years out of London, with a special interest on how creativity and technology can be applied to keep healthcare human. She leads a team whose motto is “People Not Patients” and works at the intersection of advocacy and policy.
Jess sits on the leadership team of H+K Strategies London and is also the co-founder of the firm's equity culture change program EquALL. For two years in a row she has been named to EmPower's list of Top 30 advocates for diversity and inclusion in UK business. She's worked extensively in HIV, oncology, anaesthesia, rare disease and vaccines.
Fraser Longden, Chief Operating Officer, Wickes PLC
Fraser uses his privilege to drive change across the organisation and industry. Specifically focussing on the area he is most authentic, the change a hetrosexual, white, cisgender man should lead to create a more equitable workplace. He describes this as real, leadership work that is as important as any other business change initiative. He shares his personal stories and journey with other non-diverse leaders, to encourage them to step up, become allies and lead change, always asking ‘if not you, then who? If not now, then when?’
Fraser is Executive Sponsor for Wickes’ Raising Awareness and Action for Culture and Ethnicity (RAACE) and Let’s do it with Pride (LGBTQ+) networks, listening to and amplifying the voices and concerns of these communities. His Allyship has led him to personally run 12 month development programmes with teams from under-represented communities, coaching, mentoring and connecting them to his network to help their personal development
Jennifer Remling, Chief People Officer, WPP
As WPP's Global Chief People Officer, Jennifer Remling is laying the groundwork for unlocking the creative potential in all 109,000 employees within the WPP network. Central to that is ensuring DE&I is embedded in all aspects of the People strategy – from talent acquisition and total rewards to employee engagement and leadership development.
Jennifer has a wealth of experience building high-performing teams in agency environments in roles at Essence, R/GA, AKQA, 360i and most recently GroupM. There, she transformed the People team to deliver a world-class People proposition that ensured a fair, equitable and inclusive workplace for all 36,000 employees in 80 markets.
Jennifer is passionate about helping people find meaning and purpose in what they do, no matter their background. That’s why she published “Carve Your Own Road: Do What You Love and Live the Life You Envision” in 2009 and has made it her lifelong ambition to help as many people as possible reach their full potential.
Natasha Harrison, Managing Partner, Pallas Partners LLP
Natasha launched Pallas Partners in February 2022, starting out as a majority female firm with significant representations of ethnic minority background and LGBTQ+ colleagues. Diversity is integral to the firm-wide strategy she introduced, with the firm pledging to achieve diversity parity by 2025.
When launching Pallas the vast majority of the partners, associates and staff from Boies Schiller Flexner’s London office joined her. That office, which Natasha founded, was ranked #1 for the highest proportion of U.K lawyers identifying as LGBTQ+ by Law.com, and #1 in AmLaw’s UK A-List for diversity and female equity partner representation in 2020.
Natasha is passionate about equality and has been leading the way on innovation and change in the legal sector for years. She won plaudits for overhauling BSF’s diversity programme when she was the Deputy Chair there, securing the firm Mansfield Rule Certification.
Natasha sponsors The Brokerage, a charity creating internship opportunities for diverse and under-privileged candidates. She was invited to join their Changemakers Board from September 2021.
Adam Kansler, EVP, IHS Markit and President, Financial Services, IHS Markit (S&P Global)
Adam has placed DEI at the center of his leadership agenda as an integral part of the Market Intelligence division at S&P Global. Through the partnership of the DEI team at S&P Global, Adam has embedded DEI into the Market Intelligence business strategy. Adam has been at the forefront of driving DEI at IHS Markit (now part of S&P Global) and was responsible for hiring the first ever full-time DEI Lead.
Adam, with the support of his teams, has increased diverse representation in internship schemes and grad programs, setting up partnerships with Wall St Bound, St Francis College, Posse New York, and SEO London. Adam has also sponsored several DEI trainings across the business, including inclusive leadership training, live bias reviews and interview skills training.
Additionally, under Adam’s steering, the organization has funded a financial scholars literacy program, equipping students, particularly from unrepresented backgrounds, with the skills necessary to thrive in a fintech job.
Kelly McGeehan, Managing Director/VP, Global Head of Issuer Solutions, IHS Markit (S&P Global)
Kelly has a passion for driving inclusion at S&P Global and is an active ally for diverse talent. As a leader, her goal is to build a more diverse team and have personal and business KPIs related to recruiting and retaining diverse talent, and creating a more inclusive environment.
Kelly won the 2021 Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology Awards, in the category of Best Advance in Diversity and Inclusion Innovation based on a career development program she led with Pilot, an award-winning, software-based employee coaching product.
In addition, she has been leading the DEI Committee for NIRI San Francisco, with the mission to create a welcoming environment for all and promoting greater diversity within the chapter and the profession. Kelly also participates in and leads programs to support women’s issues ranging from the lack of senior female leaders in Finance to the challenges facing women in South Africa.
Matt Sinnott, Group People & Property Director, Lloyds Banking Group
Matt’s visible leadership has helped to transform Lloyds Banking Group's culture and create a more inclusive environment for ethnically diverse colleagues, customers, and communities. Matt advocated and supported the implementation of the Group's Race Action Plan. He sponsored a complete review of the organisation's people policies and processes to remove any issues of bias and deliver a proportional outcome for its ethnically diverse colleagues, leading to the production of the first Ethnicity Pay Gap Report in December 2020.
Matt's authentic leadership means his organisation-wide communications have regularly addressed matters that impact ethnically diverse colleagues, helping to build trust in the Race Action Plan. Matt has created a more diverse People Team, and provided significant funding to a People Academy & Sponsorship Programme for ethnically diverse talent, that saw 60% of the 2021 cohort achieve promotion within six months.
Catherine Johnson, Group General Counsel, London Stock Exchange Group
Catherine is Executive Committee Sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion at LSEG, Chair of the D&I Working Group and sponsor of the Women Inspired Network. Her thoughtful, compassionate and visible leadership on diversity and inclusion has seen LSEG introduce targeted initiatives designed to aid the progress of underrepresented and emerging talent and build a sustainable, diverse pipeline of prospective new joiners.
These initiatives include an inclusive leadership programme, accelerator programmes to identify and progress Black and Latinx talent, colleagues based in Asia Pacific, and the LSEG Returner programme addressing the gender gap at middle management level and above.
Catherine is driving progress against LSEG’s gender and ethnicity senior leadership targets, which will be extended to apply beyond leadership. She is a prominent advocate for allyship at LSEG and long-time champion of the Group’s intent to build an open, inclusive culture where everyone feels they belong.
38) Rhonda Childress, Vice President, Cyber Security CTO, Deputy CISO, Kyndryl
Throughout her career, Rhonda has been a positive influence on the professional community as a Global champion for the advancement of women and other underrepresented minorities across IBM/Kyndryl by using "outcome-based mentoring," which helps to achieve a specific outcome, such as obtaining architectural certification or filing a patent. As a result, the women Rhonda has mentored in IBM/Kyndryl have created patents, obtained IT Architect and IT Specialist Certifications, and been promoted to STSM and Distinguished Engineer.
Furthermore, she has been taking her passion for helping others in the world of technology outside IBM by building a pipeline of students interested in STEM careers. While working with young people by showing "outcome-based" projects that would interest everyone in learning the technology behind the outcome, she aims to inspire future generations to choose STEM careers.
Rhonda has been guiding, supporting, and sponsoring many people to achieve their goals, from coaching and mentoring adults joining the workforce to those wanting to advance their careers.
John Langley, Head of Wells Fargo International, Wells Fargo
Head of Wells Fargo International and Executive Sponsor for the EMEA Black Connections Network, John, in 2020, secured funding and helped create the network. He was instrumental in signing the Race at Work Charter in October 2021, and he ensures that DE&I is a regular topic at EMEA Executive meetings. As a result, in 2021, the EMEA Executive Committee developed a set of DE&I expectations & actions for all members.
John has been key in ensuring hiring practices promote diversity. All interview panels have diverse representation, diverse candidate slates, and partnerships with external recruitment firms that draw candidates from diverse backgrounds. He is actively involved in the program BOLD- Building Organisational Leadership Diversity. Additionally, he worked with Wells Fargo's black connections lead to secure sponsorship of the Black British Business Awards in 2022.
Louise Prashad, Chief HR Officer, Diageo
In January, Louise was appointed Chief HR Officer and is the Executive member responsible for the design and implementation of Diageo's Inclusion and Diversity strategy. Under Louise's leadership, Diageo has fostered a culture with inclusion and diversity at its heart.
In 2020, Louise led the creation of Diageo's progressive Ethnic Inclusion & Diversity Framework to support markets to define multi-year plans covering representation, capability, and external partnerships that impact society. This also included setting an ambitious goal to increase ethnic diverse representation across leadership to 45% by 2030, and after only one year, representation stands at 37%.
Thanks to Louise's efforts, the company was praised by the FTSE Women Leaders Review, Bloomberg Gender Equality Index and Equileap's Gender Equality Global Report.
David Armstrong, Group Managing Director, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
In 2021, BAE Systems established company-wide support of core diversity and inclusion themes within the organization to ensure leadership support, action and accountability. As Group Managing Director, David volunteered to partner with the strategic theme lead for race and ethnicity and their ERG, Embrace, to shine a spotlight and drive positive changes around race, ethnicity, and religion in the workplace. He has raised awareness and visibility of the ERG, helping it grow by 31%.
In addition, he has supported the establishment of new subgroups, such as Understanding Islam which won a Chairman's Award. David sponsored group-wide objectives for recruitment and more diverse recruitment avenues such as the use of partners like MindWeaver and has also been involved in the review of the internal ethics process and the proactive review and assurance of no bias in reporting and resolution.
Raffaella Tempority, Europe CHRO, Accenture
Since joining Accenture in 2016, Raffaella has played a meaningful role in promoting ethnic diversity and fighting racism. Working across multiple countries prior to that, allowed her to grow her passion for culture, engagement and the unique value that people bring to organisations. As Accenture Europe CHRO since 2020, her goal to encourage conversation and action on ethnic diversity has been instrumental in launching initiatives across Europe.
Raffaella was pivotal in Accenture Europe's anti-racism training, facilitating a conversation with employees on their stories, Accenture’s zero-tolerance for retaliation, and commitment to fighting racism. She role models the leadership behaviours required to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for ethnic groups through regular connects with employees, ensuring their experiences and feedback are incorporated into the Europe Ethnicity strategy.
Raffaella has also sponsored Accenture's involvement in partnerships with other organizations across Europe, to ensure continued focus and commitment on the topic.
Michael Elliott, Vice President Development, Gilead Sciences
Vice President of Development and Medical Affairs at Gilead Sciences and Executive Sponsor at European Pride Alliance. Michael is also a close collaborator with Gilead Leadership Organization of Black Employees (GLOBE) where he focuses on Industry placement and internships.
Over the course of his recent career, Mike has been an active speaker at the Career Nuggets Academy, an information and support hub for Black and Ethnic Minority professionals, and a committed supporter of NAZ, a sexual health agency led by people of color working to address sexual health inequalities within ethnically diverse communities.
Peter Koffler, Senior Managing Director, Legal & Compliance, Blackstone
As Senior Managing Director, Peter has been a consistent champion and supporter of D&I initiatives. He helped to establish OUT Blackstone as Blackstone's LGBT+ affinity network in 2015, serving first as chair and then co-chair. He has been a vocal advocate of D&I for internal and external events and has been a model for allyship by his consistent willingness to support programs, causes, and various initiatives.
Peter is an active supporter and champion of several charitable partners, including the Ali Forney Center, Trevor Project, and the LGBT Center, and has participated in the Legal & Compliance's Collaboration and Development Committee and the numerous Pro Bono activities in which they engage.
John Tierney, Chief Operating Officer, NEHS, Nomura
John is the senior executive sponsor of Nomura’s EMBRACE Inclusion Network, an employee resource group focussed on driving cultural change and advancing race and ethnicity within Nomura.
The network was founded in 2020 and has since built a strong network across the region with almost 600 active members. It celebrates events such as the UK National Inclusion Week, Black History Month, Pride and Diwali. Working alongside Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, the network also participates in a mentoring programme aimed at providing access and opportunities in financial services to individuals from under resourced and underrepresented backgrounds.
Under John’s leadership, mentoring, accountability of senior leaders, bringing in industry experts to share best practice and advocating allyship has strengthened the attraction and retention of diverse talent pipelines and ensures Nomura promotes a fully inclusive environment where all employees can flourish.
As EMEA COO, John has ensured that Nomura’s DEI strategy incorporates geographical sensitivities to make it impactful and meaningful for colleagues across the region. Passionate about fostering a diverse and inclusive culture at Nomura, John is committed to highlighting courageous conversations internally around racial equity in the workplace.
Neale Belson, Senior Vice President UK & Ireland Pharmaceuticals and General Manager UK, GSK
As General Manager at GSK, Neale raised the profile of D&I across Europe. As a leader, Neale drives the importance of improving the experiences of ethnically diverse colleagues to the 500+ employees in GSK UK, and thanks to the input of his reverse mentor, he has been able to learn about his own biases and the experience of others.
Neale speaks about D&I in regular meetings and embeds D&I into his leadership team's personal objectives. Thanks to his commitment, he has moved D&I from being seen as an addition to being part of the core of GSK and consistently encourages other leaders from across the UK and Europe to make the same change. In 2021, Neale received an EMBRACE Ally Award for his continued and enthusiastic allyship.
Ellis Rosenberg, Senior Director, FiscalNote
As Managing Director at FiscalNote and a DEIBA and Inclusion Ambassador, Ellis has been working to promote diversity of all types for fifteen years. He achieved a DEI certification and was evaluated as one of AARP's most culturally competent employees. His commitment to DEI brought him to FiscalNote's Equilibrium business, where he leads sales and business development for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Solutions for global corporations that are headquartered in the Americas.
Prior to FiscalNote, Ellis led Marketing and Communications and Strategy Development and served as a public spokesperson for SourceAmerica. Furthermore, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post to protest the College Board's approach to scoring minorities which was well received, resulting in the policy's removal.
Jackie Uhi, Head of Network, HSBC
2021 saw Jackie continue developing her Step Forward programme aimed at restoring confidence, improving engagement and encourage commitment by all to step forward and become real advocates for racial equality and inclusion in the workplace. The programme saw 23.7% of enrolled individuals gain promotion or move laterally to a position more suited to their skillset and saw 75% of new senior network positions filled by people from a BAME background. This success has resulted in other business lines adopting the Step forward programme.
Alongside Step Forward, Jackie acts as a trusted adviser for HSBC senior executives, is the inclusion executive sponsor for Wealth and Personal Banking UK, an advocate and activist for Embrace, the BAME employee network. Jackie utilises these connections and experience to help the group engage with senior stakeholders across the industry and beyond. An in demand key note speaker, panellist and influencer on the topic of inclusion and ethnicity inequality.
Brenda Wylie-Kay, Global Sales Vice President - Business Development, Precisely
Brenda is deeply passionate about advocating for diversity in the technology space. For this reason, she worked with Precisely's female CTO, to set up and co-chair the Precisely Women in Technology (PWIT) – a network that connects women employees across the business, providing access to key development, executive job shadowing, mentoring relationships, and fireside chat events with leading industry experts. Brenda is a tireless mentor to many women with diverse backgrounds teaching leadership, providing career guidance, and teaching negotiation skills.
Last October was PWIT's first anniversary, which is now 206 members strong. It has already helped empower ethnically diverse women employees and access opportunities for career advancement. Thanks to Brenda's efforts and commitment to having better DEI across the company, 31% of the overall Precisely workforce are now women, and 27% of executives, senior-level, and management positions are women.
Sally Lake, Group Finance Director, Beazley Insurance
As an Executive Member of the Inclusion & Diversity Steering Committee responsible for setting and implementing the diversity strategy with other senior individuals at Beazley, Sally has been involved in overseeing the implementation of executive targets regarding diversity for both gender and race, and ethnicity and increasing representation throughout the countries that Beazley operates within. She advocated for her management team, who have attended training on diversity and inclusion, and monitors their recruitment and engagement data accordingly.
Sally joined the executive sponsor of the Beazley Race network in a 2021 presentation about the importance of allyship and presented the importance of being an ally to the company, and shared guidance on how to challenge non-inclusive behavior. Additionally, she mentors several people of color across the organization and continues to be one of the most vocal supporters of the D&I initiatives across the company.