Society has been reckoning with racial inequalities following Black Lives Matter protests around the world last year.
The business world is no different and renewed energy has gone into tackling the problem of poor ethnic minority representation at the top of the corporate world. Many organisations have announced new initiatives to elevate ethnic minorities internally or pledged funding for organisations that help the cause.
But there is still so much more to do.
Elevating, celebrating, and amplifying the visibility and voices of people of colour from across the globe is more important than ever.
The 2021 EMpower 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.
The list was created by diversity and inclusion membership organisation INvolve and is supported by Yahoo Finance UK.
All of the leaders on the list were nominated by peers and colleagues. Nominations were reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel, including former head of Yahoo Finance UK and now director of creative content development for Yahoo, Lianna Brinded.
Each nomination was scored on the influence of their role, their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
Read more from the EMpower lists:
1) Carolyn McCall, CEO, ITV
Carolyn set up a 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 includes increasing diversity on the management board and senior leadership teams, 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 also appointed a group director of Diversity and Inclusion role, making ITV the first FTSE 100 company with a dedicated diversity director on its board. She is also initiating the creation of an independent external advisory council who will advise on and challenge inclusion and diversity initiatives.
Carolyn has also championed 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.
2) Mark Read, CEO, 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 (£21.6m) over the next three years to fund inclusion programmes 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 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), to build a diverse future talent pool. Of the programme's first 850 participants, 50% were students of colour.
Mark also established a Global Inclusion Council where underrepresented voices can advise on diversity and inclusion (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.
3) Jim Fitterling, chairman and CEO, Dow
Under Jim’s leadership, Dow (DOW) announced a bold framework aiming to address systemic racism and inequality within the company and its employees’ communities.
Named Dow ACTs, the programme’s acronym represents the three pillars of the strategy: Advocacy, Community, and Talent. Dow ACTs includes pledging $5m 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 $4.6m investment in HBCUs and community college skilled trades programmes 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 organisations on the importance of inclusion and equality in advancing the world's economy.
4) Anne Richards, CEO, Fidelity International
Under Anne Richards’ leadership, Fidelity’s Global Operating Committee (GOC) signed up to the Race at Work Charter in the UK and the BlackNorth initiative in Canada. GOC members then convened focus groups to identify how race and culture were impacting people's experiences at Fidelity, and the learnings informed a new strengthened cultural diversity action plan and employee toolkit.
Ethnic diversity is consistently monitored at each level of the company to assist in setting and measuring progress against specific targets. Additionally Fidelity supports the Catalyst After School Programme, 100 Black Interns, and the Investment Association Kickstart Scheme in order to encourage more BAME young people to enter the sector.
The firm has also adopted a new approach to apprentice hiring in the UK, partnering with Entrepreneurs in Action and the local Job Centre Plus. 65% of the 17 apprentices hired through the new programme were from an ethnic minority.
5) Cindy Noble, chief people officer, Compass Group USA
As chief people officer for Compass Group USA, Cindy leads the D&I agenda for the 6th largest company in the US, 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 organisations, including being named a Forbes Best Employer for Diversity four years in a row. Cindy’s service on the boards and committees of numerous external organisations, including Charlotte Center City, American Heart Association, and Jose Andres World Central Kitchen, focus on D&I related issues.
6) Joe Davis, managing director and senior partner, chairman of North America, Boston Consulting Group
Joe has always made DEI a priority throughout his 30+ years at BCG.
As chair of BCG North America, where he oversees operations in the US, Canada, and Mexico, Joe has been committed to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive BCG. During Joe’s tenure, BCG appointed more women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ people to leadership roles than ever before, while making progress in achieving retention parity across identities and ethnicities.
Joe is also responsible for expanding BCG’s DEI networks and allyship groups’ membership by over 75% in North America. Most recently, Joe founded BCG’s Racial Equity Task Force, which developed seven public racial equity commitments and implemented numerous initiatives to support these goals, including over $100m consulting services and donations over five years. Joe also led the effort to develop BCG's inaugural US diversity, equity and inclusion report this year to increase transparency and accountability on DEI.
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 recent pandemic. Anne activates caring at Audible by driving a culture that embraces all the glories of the human spectrum.
She introduced the D&I function to three organisations – Lehman Brothers, Bloomberg, and Audible and helped set the strategy. She is a mentor in W.O.M.E.N. In America (WIA), a development programme for high potential women, with a focus on women of colour. 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” programme for women who had left the workplace for extended periods to care for their children, which launched at Lehman Brothers in 2005 and thrives nationally in the US today, including at Audible.
8) Keith Barr, CEO, IHG
Under Keith’s leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has been made integral to IHG’s company strategy. The firm’s 2030 business plan, ‘Our Journey to Tomorrow’, includes commitments and targets specific to DE&I, such as doubling the representation of minorities across leadership teams and building a culture of inclusion.
Executive committee members have DE&I related goals. Steps taken to achieve these goals will include strengthened policies and programmes, rolling out a ‘Conscious Inclusion’ programme 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. The impact of IHG’s action plans is already noticeable, with ethnic minority representation in senior roles up 5% over the last six months.
9) David Schwimmer, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group
David marshalled London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG.L) response to demands for social justice in 2020, following the death of George Floyd. His statement committing the London Stock Exchange Group to a fresh approach on inclusion began a process that has led it to develop new recruitment and retention policies, better support mechanisms for ethnic minority colleagues and the use of data to create a more racially-balanced and diverse organisation.
As well as leading an organisation that’s pioneering a new framework for all employers to disclose their racial diversity metrics, David has committed LSEG to the Race at Work Charter and advocated for Black inclusion through an open letter to UK business following #BlackLivesMatter.
10) Natasha Harrison, deputy chair and managing partner, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP
Natasha is a leading international disputes lawyer, one of few women running a major international law firm, and the only British woman currently running a US law Firm.
As is reflected in the London office Natasha built from scratch, she cares passionately about equality – the office topped AmLaw’s UK A-List for diversity and female equity partner representation and was recently named on the 2021 Global Inclusion Index.
Diversity is integral to the firm-wide strategy Natasha introduced last year. She has formed a Diversity Council and appointed a dedicated DEI officer and external consultants to ensure DEI is implemented in the most impactful and sustainable manner. She has also set firm-wide diversity targets and introduced a diversity budget to ensure these are achieved.
Externally, Natasha has made a public stand about how firms can tackle inequality. She also sponsors The Brokerage, a charity creating internship opportunities for diverse and under-privileged candidates.
11) Sinead Lynch, chair, Shell UK
As the executive sponsor for Race in Shell UK (RDSB.L), Sinead’s focus has been three-fold. First, she has placed an emphasis on listening to the voices of Shell’s employees to better understand their lived workplace realities, including setting up an all-staff ‘town hall’ to discuss the need for change both within Shell and in the wider sector.
Second, she has taken action by working with leaders, HR and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employee networks to implement a 10-point plan covering visible leadership and role models, recruitment targets, allyship guides and new development programs for Shell’s BAME talent pool.
Sinead’s third focus was on transparency, leading Shell UK in voluntarily reporting their ethnicity pay gap for the first time in 2020, as one of the first in the industry to do so. Sinead is also a founding member of the Energy Leaders Coalition, a group set up to collaborate across the energy sector to achieve better diversity.
12) Jeremy Amias, vice-chairman, Standard Chartered Bank
As the chair of Americas’ Diversity and Inclusion Council at Standard Chartered (STAN.L), a banking group that employs over 120 nationalities, Jeremy oversees the team which champions how the region can enhance its D&I culture and harness the potential of its diverse workforce.
Jeremy is also a senior advocate on the Black Leadership & Development Initiative where he has created several opportunities for professional and personal development through networking, community volunteering and safe spaces for connection and support.
His role as an executive sponsor of the Europe and Americas Ethnicity Strategy, which has established a three-year plan to improve racial diversity and equality in the UK and US, helped informed the plans to increase the number of Black and LatinX colleagues in the US senior leadership team by 2025 through numerous initiatives. They include the implementation of regional Unconscious Bias training for all staff and partnerships with diverse schools, colleges and non-profit organisations.
13) Christiana Riley, CEO, Americas and member of the management board, Deutsche Bank
In June 2020, Christiana Riley made a public statement condemning racism and followed up with four open-door sessions with approximately 500 employees.
She then announced 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. As well as appointing the chair of the Black Leadership Forum to the Americas Executive Council as a Diversity Champion, and diversifying the Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE) board of directors by appointing Paula Price, Christiana also launched a dbBOLD (Black Opportunity Leadership Development) programme, offering vice-presidents and directors exposure to senior leaders and a place at McKinsey's Black Leadership Academy.
Overall, Christiana’s leadership and personal commitment has increased the prioritisation of D&I at the global management board level.
14) Paula Lindenberg, president – BU West and Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, AB InBev
In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Paula chaired several employee listening sessions with over 100 employees, seeking to understand how colleagues felt and what they would like to see more of.
Following these meetings, Paula commissioned INvolve to conduct a RADAR report assessing the position of Budweiser Brewing Group in relation to inclusion and to gather and analyze D&I data. This meant that future work could be evidence-based and strategically led. She also challenged the company to identify partners that could help Budweiser Brewing Group to become a more diverse workforce when recruiting.
She is a champion of the company’s scholarship at the University of Bath and gives her time to mentoring students. Paula sits on the company’s European D&I Council and has commenced monthly Diversity and Inclusion meetings at Budweiser Brewing Group to ensure the company continues to progress at pace.
15) David Shelley, CEO, Hachette UK
After receiving an email from a colleague whose experiences of the company, as woman of colour, were very different to his own, David got permission to set up a working party which later became Hachette’s diversity and inclusion program: ‘Changing the Story’.
In 2018, when David became CEO of Hachette, it felt imperative to him that ‘Changing the Story’ became one of the company’s four strategic pillars. Since then, Hachette has become the first publisher to voluntarily share their Ethnicity Pay Gap figures as part of a commitment to inclusivity, and the latest company report reveals that representation of BAME employees increased to 9.6%.
This year the firm refreshed its publishing traineeship programme, which focuses on making publishing more accessible to under-represented groups. The programme will be partnering for the first time with literary agency Curtis Brown and booksellers Waterstones.
16) Adam Kansler, EVP and president, financial services, IHS Markit
Adam has placed DE&I at the centre of his leadership agenda as an integral part of the financial services business at IHS Markit. He was responsible for hiring the first ever full-time DE&I programmes lead at IHS Markit. He made funding the DE&I function a strategic priority and was a key sponsor in setting up the chief diversity officer role and office.
Adam, with the support of his teams, has increased diverse representation in internship schemes and grad programmes, setting up partnerships with Wall St Bound, St Francis College, Posse New York and SEO London.
Adam also sponsors inclusive leadership training, live bias reviews and interview skills training. Under Adam’s steering, IHS Markit has funded a financial scholars literacy programme, equipping students with the skills necessary to thrive in a fintech job.
17) Diana Conrad, SVP HR, GSK
On appointment to the position of chief human resources officer at GSK (GSK.L), Diana worked to amplify and integrate Inclusion and Diversity into the wider agenda, establishing an I&D strategy across the core areas of People, Business and Community.
She set out a number of key projects specifically focused on ethnicity, such as mandatory annual I&D training for all employees and diverse shortlists of qualified candidates for all senior vacancies. Aspirational targets were put in place, aiming for 50% ethnically diverse early talent hires (UK and US), and at least 30% (US) and 18% (UK) ethnically diverse leaders in roles at vice-president level and above by the end of 2025, with year-on-year disclosure of progress against ethnicity sub-categories.
The executive committee of GSK now have the latter target built into their personal objectives.
18) Doug Butler, CEO, Reward Gateway
Doug is very proactive in all of Reward Gateway’s D&I networks. He understands it as being an opportunity to learn from employees, learn from his mistakes and create a place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable.
In light of this objective, Doug launched a global learning & awareness course on unconscious bias, anti-racism and diversity for all employees. Complimenting this course, Reward Gateway began a video series in which Doug had open conversations with employees on all aspects of diversity including the racial trauma inflicted by micro-aggressions, and conversations with Black employees on the racial equality movement in 2020. Doug shared his thoughts on these topics, and opened up conversations further through his weekly blog updates.
Doug continues to work with the leadership team, managers and employees at Reward Gateway to build a diverse team with different voices, different perspectives and different day-to-day life experiences.
19) Anne Sheehan, director, Vodafone UK
After running a series of 45 minute ‘lunch and learn’ sessions with members of the BAME community at Vodafone (VOD.L) to hear first hand their experiences and better understand challenges they have faced, Anne fed back recommendations to HR for direct action.
These steps included making improvements to unconscious bias trainings, running mandatory ‘Let’s Talk Race’ training sessions for line managers and ensuring non-UK holidays were more widely celebrated throughout the year.
Anne also set up Vodafone’s Business Reciprocal Mentoring Scheme, where mentors from the BAME community form a professional relationship with white senior leader mentees to exchange knowledge and workplace experiences, providing opportunities to learn from each other. Nine members of the Business Senior Leadership team have signed up to this reciprocal mentoring scheme.
Another result of Anne’s efforts has been the celebration of cultural holidays as part of monthly webinars, helping facilitate inclusion, increase awareness, and redress the imbalance of only celebrating British cultural holidays.
20) Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt Technology Services
Keri founded Colt's first Inclusion and Diversity council, and chairs the TM Forum's Diversity and Inclusion Council, with the group’s aim 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 to 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 first that Colt was focused on removing any biases inherent within its systems, processes and structures, and second 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 eight employees through the Black British Business Awards Talent Accelerator programme.
Dominic Christian, global chairman, Reinsurance Solutions, Aon
Together with one of the Black women he sponsors at Aon (AON), Dominic worked on two initiatives to attract diverse talent. The success of these led the pair to develop a brand new two-day workshop called Future Leaders Workshop, designed to attract ethnically diverse individuals and fast-track them to the assessment centre for Aon’s graduate program.
In 2020, 38% of Aon’s early careers hires, including graduates, interns and apprentices were Black, Asian or ethnically diverse. As chairman of Inclusion@Lloyd's, Dominic also works with leaders at other firms in the industry to drive a culture of inclusion. He was instrumental in devising an industry-wide diversity & inclusion festival called Dive In. Now in its sixth year, Dive In stretches globally with over 30,000 attendees in over 60 locations across 32 countries attending in 2020.
Dominic was recently honoured to join the Race Equality Commission.
David Hynam, chairman (CEO), HomeServe UK (Bupa Global & UK)
David passionately believes that we must celebrate inclusion and diversity in the workplace and in society. He was the very first signatory to the government-backed pledge to champion diversity and inclusion in business and believes that we should all strive to outperform diversity benchmarks.
During his time as CEO of Bupa Global & UK, David transformed the organisation, building an award winning culture of inclusivity, launching Bupa’s global ‘Be You at Bupa’ commitment and the ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ pledge celebrating diversity.
As chairman of HomeServeUK, with his support they have built an inclusive organisation which was recently voted one of the Best Workplaces for Women in the UK.
Kathleen Russ, senior partner, Travers Smith
Kathleen 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. Kathleen 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, Kathleen lead on hosting a ‘Celebration of Black Music’ event as part of Black History Month and implementing a reverse mentoring scheme to enable junior BAME colleagues to share their experiences with senior leaders.
Robyn Grew, COO and general counsel, Man Group
Robyn chairs Man Group's diversity 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 launched partnerships with #100BlackInterns, #10000BlackInterns and North Carolina A&T University (a HBCU) 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 & Inclusion Working Group.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner, PwC
Believing in the importance of engaging people through honest communications, Kevin chaired a firmwide livestream with three Black PwC leaders discussing Black Lives Matter.
The candid conversation centred on how PwC has dealt with racial inequality and barriers to progress and what it can do in the future. One initiative, implemented following this discussion, has seen HR teams and volunteer 'Colourbrave Champions’ hold discussions with ethnic minority employees to better understand their experiences of working at PwC and the ways the firm can continue to evolve its culture to create a stronger feeling of inclusion.
Over the last four years PwC’s ethnicity pay gap has seen a substantial reduction. Having been one of the first companies to voluntarily publish their ethnicity pay gap, PwC has now gone one step further by publishing the breakdown of ethnicity subcategories in its 2020 Annual Review.
26) Julio Bruno, CEO, Time Out Group
As CEO of Time Out Group Julio oversees a media and hospitality business that operates in 328 cities and 58 countries. To ensure that the organisation is reflecting the diversity of the cities it serves, Julio works closely with the HR team to review hiring practices to ensure opportunities are being provided to a diverse range of job applicants.
Currently the organisation uses the practice of blind recruitment and demands a minimum of 50% diverse candidates. Julio has also overseen the implementation of a D&I portal and education programme as a global resource for all staff to help fight conscious and unconscious bias, and has introduced externally run training for the whole company.
These efforts have resulted in more diverse leadership and management teams throughout the organisation. Outside Time Out, Julio uses his social media platforms to support causes that affect the culture of the organisation’s cities, including issues around DEI.
Kate Priestman, senior vice-president, SPO, GSK Research and Development
Kate has served as Executive Sponsor of GSK’s EMBRACE employee network since early 2020 and in that time she has grown its membership from under 500 to over 1800.
By embedding targeted programmes across her global organisation to increase diverse representation, the division was able to meet, and in some cases exceed, its diversity targets. These targets included training over 30 diverse volunteers to take part in recruitment panels to eliminate unconscious bias and encourage new joiners, and arranging sponsors and mentors for early career BIPOC talent to accelerate development and career progression.
The programme also saw the introduction of targeted pay reviews of BIPOC talent across the business to ensure equity and to correct any anomalies in compensation. Additionally the new ‘grade mobility’ tracking system ensures the firm is committed to achieving genuine BIPOC mobility and not just filling the funnel anew at each level.
Sue Fox, CEO, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, HSBC
In Sue’s CEO communications with employees, such as all-employee webinars, leadership calls, and team meetings, she stresses that diversity and inclusion is one of her core values and the foundation of how she runs her business.
One way Sue manifests this commitment to D&I is by serving as executive sponsor of HSBC’s (HSBA.L) 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 endorses and takes part in through panel discussions. Sue also supports HSBC's corporate sponsorship of The Diversity Network in Jersey, which runs events and networking to spread understanding and break down barriers around inclusivity.
29) Nick Studer, managing partner, Oliver Wyman
The Racial and Ethnic Diversity group Nick sponsors at Oliver Wyman is called EMPOWERED. After starting off with eight members in 2016, the group has now grown to over 400 members across 19 offices.
Another initiative sponsored by Nick was an education programme for leaders focused on allyship, anti-racism and advocacy. It saw 10 senior UK leaders attend a multi-session programme, work with reverse-mentors for nine months, and launch sponsorship programmes for Black colleagues.
Other internal activities Nick has been involved with include the development of racial equity targets, the launch of a pre-emptive analysis of ethnicity pay gap data and a series of conversations about race with Black colleagues to reach alignment on prioritisation.
Nick’s championing of diverse recruitment strategies has contributed to a three-fold increase in entry level offers to Black candidates at Oliver Wyman and a five-fold increase in BAME new joiners, bringing the proportion to 22%.
Jack Azagury, senior managing director – US Northeast lead, Accenture
Jack Azagury is Accenture’s (ACN) market unit lead for the US Northeast and responsible for clients, people, offices, community involvement, and financial performance across the region. He has strategic responsibility for integrating Accenture’s services to tackle and solve our clients’ most complex problems.
Leading more than 10,000 people in the Northeast— Jack maintains a focus on empowerment and creating a culture of equality where people feel like they belong. Jack strives to bring continuous innovation to clients while attracting and retaining top talent and strengthening Accenture’s impact in the local communities. He also is a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee and North America Leadership Team.
Jack’s authentic leadership approach exemplifies a commitment to cross-cultural dialogue and substantive allyship for underrepresented communities. Jack is proud be a board member of Hillel, the largest Jewish student organisation in the world, dedicated to creating pathways for young adults.
Jason Tarry, CEO, UK & ROI, Tesco
Jason is the executive sponsor for the BAME at Tesco (TSCO.L) network. In this capacity he works to create a safe, supportive, confidential and connected space which colleagues can feel proud to be part of. The efforts he has undertaken to achieve this include running listening sessions to elevate diverse voices, developing new resources such as allyship guides, celebrating and raising awareness of key cultural events, and signing off new and updated internal policies.
Jason has also overseen the introduction of ethnically diverse talent communities, designed to strengthen succession plans and support colleagues to realise their potential. Jason has also promoted the establishment of partnerships with specific universities, to diversify Tesco’s internship programme, which resulted in an intake of 51% ethnic minority representation in 2021, compared to 14% in 2020.
Additionally, Jason has supported the launch of a range of leadership development programmes looking at race, intersectionality and privilege.
Jessica Walsh, managing director, Hill + Knowlton Strategies
As the co-founder and executive sponsor of EquALL, Jessica has been a strong advocate for the creation of what Hill+Knowlton calls 'a louder culture of equality'.
Last summer, the firm created and hosted a series of open conversations, reaching 200 of 227 people in the agency through a series of five 50-minute conversations where employees could talk about racial justice and the experience of being black at H+K. Jessica co-organised this discussion series, with CEO buy-in, and showed up at every conversation.
Following those listening sessions, EquALL developed a fourth work-stream dedicated specifically to race and justice, and Jessica helped supervised a team of three young people to curate a race and justice resource library, which was shared globally to drive learning and support change. Jessica’s proudest achievement this year was helping implement a level-appropriate performance metric on equity, diversity and inclusion for every person in the firm.
Jon Holt, CEO, KPMG UK
Driving inclusion and diversity is at the heart of Jon’s leadership strategy. Jon actively champions the progression of underrepresented groups across KPMG UK and has been instrumental in setting diversity targets at the highest levels of leadership.
As head of audit, Jon developed and championed a Black Lives Action Plan which led to the launch of mentoring circles for Black heritage colleagues. He set diversity goals for partners and directors to ensure that all leaders play a role in creating a diverse and inclusive culture. As chief executive, Jon is committed to making a bigger impact and driving sustainable change. He continues to advocate for applying a diversity lens across all people processes to ensure greater transparency and action.
Outside KPMG, Jon is an ambassador to the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes, encourages and supports the active participation of young people from disadvantaged and minority communities in British democracy.
David Farrow, head of Corporate Bank client coverage, Barclays
As an executive sponsor of Corporate Bank’s Embrace network, David has driven the Corporate Bank contribution at Barclays (BARC.L) to the Race at Work action plan, pushing forward a number of initiatives including the reporting of ethnicity data at executive committee monthly meetings; the encouragement of all managing directors to sign up for reverse-mentoring schemes; the launch of a pilot career development programme for ethnically diverse colleagues, and the promotion of internal and external role model events.
Membership of the network has increased, and activities have continued to grow across David’s global teams. David’s other efforts have involved establishing regular listening groups, championing greater transparency of data, promoting education to all colleagues and providing development programmes to ethnic minority employees.
David has served as a panellist for Embrace on a number of internal and client sessions, as well as speaking at a global town hall ‘Talking about the Tough Stuff’ event.
Mairéad Nayager, chief HR officer, Diageo
As Chief HR Officer Mairéad is responsible for Diageo’s (DGE.L) Inclusion and Diversity strategy which strives for 50% female and 45% ethnically diverse representation across leadership positions by 2030.
In addition to creating Diageo's Progressive I&D Framework on ethnic diversity, Diageo was a founder member of the UK’s Change the Race Ratio campaign and in 2020, announced a $20m community fund to help black communities and businesses to recover from COVID-19 in North America.
Mairéad is the executive sponsor of the employee REACH group focusing on Race, Ethnicity And Cultural Heritage. With Mairéad's sponsorship REACH has taken action by creating a reverse mentoring programme and hosting educational sessions on topics including the importance of discussing race.
In 2019 Mairéad led the introduction of Diageo’s equal parental leave policy, giving all UK employees the opportunity to take 26-weeks fully paid, and more recently the launch of Diageo’s first-ever Global Menopause Guidelines.
Sarah Gosler, global head of operations & technology relations, BNY Mellon
Sarah governs People Experience and Communications for the firm’s Global Operations and Technology division. She is an agent of change and a leading advocate for DEI including serving as a committee member or executive sponsor on several ERGs, including the organisation’s DEI Council, WIT and DiverseTech, where she works directly with executive leadership and Black and LatinX technologists to increase diverse representation at all levels.
Sarah has developed integral internal campaigns that spotlight diverse employees on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. One key programme includes a recurring content series “Courageous Conversations” in which Black, Asian, LatinX, and other diverse leaders are invited to 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 programme to provide opportunities for overlooked and under-serviced students to gain experience and land full time jobs at BNY Mellon.
Paul Stacey, executive partner, Slaughter and May
Paul is the executive sponsor of Slaughter and May’s BAME network, and the lead partner on the firm’s Race Working Group. The Race Fairness Action Plan he commissioned and led was designed to embed and drive racial equality by improving how the firm recruits, retains and promotes BAME talent.
Paul also launched a pilot scheme in which each trainee lawyer was assigned a partner to be their mentor for the duration of their training contract in order to increase inclusivity amongst the BAME population and achieve higher retention rates.
This scheme sits alongside the reverse mentoring programme Paul launched, which pairs BAME employees with business leaders in the belief that inclusive leadership styles can be developed by consulting different viewpoints. Paul also sponsored the firm’s first Race Equality Week and hosted and chaired the 2020 Black History Month event, which recorded attendance double that of previous years.
Jackie Uhi, head of network, HSBC
In 2020, Jackie created Step Forward, a programme aimed at restoring confidence and improving engagement among BAME colleagues. Jackie encouraged her direct leadership team and her colleagues on the executive committee to become Step Forward sponsors.
The initiative aims to encourage a commitment by all to step forward and become real advocates for racial equality and inclusion in the workplace. The programme has now been widely adopted across a number of areas, with over 150 BAME colleagues now part of the programme.
Alongside Step Forward, Jackie acts as a trusted adviser and executive sponsor to Embrace, the BAME employee network, a role which sees her leverage her connections and experience to help the group engage with senior stakeholders. In October of last year ,Jackie was awarded HSBC UK’s Visible Advocate Award for her work to support ethnic diversity and inclusion at HSBC and beyond.
Alicia Pittman, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group
As people chair for North America and co-lead for BCG’s Racial Equity Task Force, Alicia helped spearhead DEI efforts including: starting in 2019 revamping first-year evaluations for consultants from communities historically underrepresented in professional services, creating dashboards to track DEI aspirations, and a Champions’ Programme to match consultants from communities of colour with senior leaders.
Alicia’s team is also building on BCG’s DEI network model to launch Inclusion Accelerators, which create space for colleagues of all identifies and ethnicities to raise awareness and encourage open dialogue on culture, identity and belonging in every office across the region.
Additionally, her team partnered with the Groundwater Institute to educate senior leaders on structural racism and rethinking the meaning equity. Over 100 leaders participated in the two-day training. The programme will be scaled up and rolled out across BCG and beyond.
Matthew Newick, partner and global head of litigation & dispute resolution, Clifford Chance
Over the last two years, Matthew has made diversity and inclusion at Clifford Chance an explicit strategic priority.
As well as being an active ‘partner champion’ for the firm’s REACH network (Race Equality and Celebrating Heritage), he has been deliberate about giving issues of ethnic diversity and inclusion maximum airtime through town hall meetings, one-to-one discussions, and engagements with clients.
While continuing to educate himself about the issues confronted by minorities in the organisation and broader community, Matthew is sponsoring a detailed plan to improve the business's attraction, retention and promotion of ethnic minority lawyers.
Another of his efforts has been the implementation of a ‘diverse slate’ policy, which requires the firm to consider diverse candidates when appointing third party suppliers such as barristers, arbitrators, mediators, expert witnesses. During Black History Month, Matthew participated in four graduate recruitment events, including engagements alongside broadcaster June Sarpong and historian David Olusoga.
Ronnie West, chief people officer, IHS Markit
As CPO, Ronnie promotes a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion at all levels. He is the founder and moderator of IHS Markit’s (0UAI.L) well received Courageous Conversations series which launched in 2020 and recorded over 1500 attendees.
As well as playing a key role in hiring IHS Markit’s chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer, Ronnie has championed partnerships with early career programmes targeting BAME students such as Wall St Bound, St Francis College, Posse New York and SEO London, making public commitments to hire directly from the programs.
In addition, Ronnie has been a key adviser in helping build IHS Markit’s first ‘Collaborative Mentoring’ programme where Black employees reverse-mentor the firm's partners. Other efforts include funding a third-party provider to conduct live bias reviews during the promotion process, funding unconscious bias training for all promotion panel members and championing learning opportunities for all colleagues through their learning and development platform.
Clive White, senior vice-president, critical missions solutions international, Jacobs
When Clive joined Jacobs a year ago he became an executive sponsor of the Harambee employee network in Europe, which advocates an inclusive culture and work environment that actively supports the recruitment, retention and advancement of Black talent.
He has helped to raise the profile of the network, driven the production of a regional action plan to promote equity for current and future Black employees, supported the plan’s implementation, and actively participated in network events.
Clive is also currently the chair of the Jacobs’ European TogetherBeyond Council, which addresses and promotes all aspects of inclusion and diversity across the company.
Furthermore, in line with Jacobs’ Global Action Plan for Advancing Justice and Equality, he has taken on the personal mentoring of a junior female Black employee. Throughout his career, Clive has actively promoted inclusion and diversity, encouraging colleagues to proactively participate and drive forward work in this area.
Lorraine Barnes, partner, Deloitte
After hearing the workplace experiences of some of her Black colleagues first-hand, Lorraine joined them in creating the Black Community Group, a network designed to bring Black colleagues together to talk, develop and grow.
As one of its leads and sponsors, Lorraine supports Black Community Group events including career coaching from internal and external Black leaders, cook-a-longs, afrobeat dance classes and guest speeches.
In response to George Floyd’s murder, Lorraine amplified and mobilised a Black Action Plan crafted by the firm's Black colleagues and impacting 6,000 people in consulting. As part of this plan, Lorraine encouraged her senior leaders to share personal stories of awakening to racism and their reflections on how they will implement change.
Lorraine’s other efforts include identifying, developing and promoting diverse talent through specialist recruiting agencies, reinvigorating sponsorship programmes, and creating a leadership development programme for underrepresented groups.
Fraser Longden, chief operating officer, Wickes
Fraser used internal forums like monthly briefings and leadership conferences to raise the issue of diversity and inclusion at Wickes (WIX.L) and start important conversations.
After leading listening exercises across the business, including with the whole board, he supported numerous measures to drive progress at the firm.
These measures included championing a ‘Conscious Inclusion’ live training event with every store manager and leader, focused on creating better understanding across the business, working with the Underrepresented Ethnicity Group to update policies and target positive actions across the business, and introducing a ‘Let's Care for Each Other’ campaign nationwide to involve colleagues and customers in combating racism and other forms of aggression.
Fraser has created a group of 20 store managers from underrepresented ethnicities that he will mentor, train and bring into his network, sharing experiences and knowledge.
Katherine Basile, partner, Reed Smith LLP
Katy, a partner at Reed Smith LLP, acts intentionally to cultivate diversity and inclusion in her profession and law firm.
Leading by example, she nurtures the careers and aspirations of her diverse colleagues. She successfully creates and sustains diverse client teams where her colleagues demonstrate their legal acumen and talents, building their own relationships and networks.
Katy is co-chair of the Silicon Valley ChIPs Chapter and vice-chair of the ChIPs Social Justice Committee, and successfully advocated for Reed Smith to participate in the ChIPs and Diversity Lab’s Inclusion Blueprint survey. Using the firm’s success in the survey, Katy organised a major meeting with the legal department of one of the world’s largest multinational technology companies, introducing Black partners and diverse associates to in-house leaders.
Katy mentors and sponsors the firm's Black junior attorneys, participates in the firm's reverse mentoring programme, and is speaking on allyship at Reed Smith’s Mental Health Summit.
Alex Brown, managing director, head of sales management, UK Corporate Bank, Barclays
As an ally and advocate for Embrace, Barclays’ (BARC.L) multicultural network, Alex leads by example to create an environment where over 1,000 colleagues can feel they have a strong career pathway regardless of their race or ethnicity.
In order to do this, Alex has been engaging senior leadership across the business to drive the multicultural and Race at Work (RAW) agenda. Membership of the UK Corporate Bank Embrace network has increased by more than 30% due to clear strategy formulation and is now at more than 1,000 members.
Alex also sponsored colleague listening groups in collaboration with INvolve, the first time this has been done in Corporate Bank. The sessions provided a safe environment for colleagues to give open and honest feedback and share the issues they have faced at Barclays. During 2020, Alex frequently coached other leaders across the business on their responses to Black Lives Matter.
Robert Lawson, global head of mergers & acquisitions, BP
In 2006, Robert co-founded and initially chaired BP's (BP.L) ethnicity Business Resource Group, the Positively Ethnic Network (PEN). Since then he has been an active and committed supporter of ethnic minorities in BP; as well as serving as an ambassador and sponsor for PEN, he has spoken at many internal events.
Robert has also been a passionate advocate for the need to analyse and benchmark ethnicity data relating to the workforce in order to monitor progress, remove any biases and drive sustainable change. He has used his position on advisory boards at three of the world’s leading business schools (Stanford Graduate School of Business, Cambridge Judge Business School, and the City of London University Business School), as an opportunity to provide career coaching to emerging ethnic minority leaders.
Michael Bates, UK regional managing partner, Clifford Chance
As the UK regional managing partner at Clifford Chance, Michael has responsibility for promoting inclusion and diversity within the UK firm.
His leadership has seen the implementation of a new strategy for work allocation to ensure colleagues of particular backgrounds are not under-utilised and suffering negative impacts on their career progressions.
UK ethnicity targets have also been introduced for 2025, setting out goals for BAME professionals to account for 15% of Clifford Chance’s partners and 30% of its senior associates.
Other initiatives at the firm include the development of training on the nature and impact of micro-aggressions and the introduction of independent diversity champions at promotion meetings to avoid any bias in decision making. As well as publishing their own ethnicity pay gap data, Clifford Chance has been involved in discussions with the Law Society to establish the best ways for law firms to record and publish this data.
Lisa Levy, head of marketing and 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.
John Graff, CEO, Ashby & Graff Real Estate
John is a leading voice in efforts to bring a stronger focus on D&I into the real estate industry. He has published and contributed to articles on the history of racial discrimination in real estate and the importance of taking action to make your business anti-racist in industry press, including Realtor Magazine, and in mid-2020, his company published their report on diversity and inclusion.
John previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Realtors and also sat on the Multi-Cultural Leadership Advisory Council, but when the National Association of Realtors invited then-President Trump to speak at their annual meeting, John resigned his position due to his deep disappointment with the US' leading housing organisation inviting a man with a history of accusations of racist discrimination in his real estate work.
John continues to consult with national organisations devoted to promoting fair housing.