We are through the first week of October, how are you feeling?
So many of you have done an excellent job at supporting our #BlackHistoryMonth initiative where we shared our STEP ONE on becoming a true black community ally. Thank you for sharing the Black History Month reading list.
It is still not clear to many outside of the BAME community how racial biases can manifest themselves in the workplace and one way you can educate yourself is to follow outspoken BAME female leaders who are doing great work to level the playing field.
Here is our top 50 BAME female leaders to support in 2020.
1. Tobi Oredein
Oredein is the founder of Black Ballad, a UK based platform that tells the human experience through the eyes of black British women. Since 2017 the company has commissioned over 150 black female creatives and worked with brands including Financial Times and Waterstones.
2. Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
Imafidon is the founder of Stemettes, a social enterprise which encourages girls aged 5–22 to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Prior to founding Stemettes she worked at institutions including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Hewlett-Packard.
3. Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia is the founder and chair of, Tech Women Today, the global platform which showcases women in technology and serves a resource for non-technical female entrepreneurs seeking to grow and scale their businesses by leveraging technology.
4. Yvonne Bajela
Recognised in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020, Bajela is a Founding Member and Principal at Impact X Capital, a UK based venture capital fund founded to invest in companies predominately led by black and female entrepreneurs.
5. Sharmadean Reid MBE
Reid is the Founder and CEO of Beautystack, a beauty professional booking app with a big emphasis on social. The company is backed by Index Ventures and Localglobe. Prior to Beautystack Sharmadean founded globally renowned salon WAH Nails.
6. Kike Oniwinde
Recognised in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2019, Oniwinde, is the Co-Founder and CEO of BYP Network, a platform that connects black professionals to each other and corporations.
7. Jessica O’Koro
Jessica Okoro a founder of BeScience STEM- a multi-award winning organisation which gets the whole community engaged in STEM using innovative and creative techniques. As well as managing the charity, she consultants for other organisations shares her stories of #DyslexicApologies and encourages young people to be more bold and courageous in their daily doings.
8. Griselda Togobo
Griselda Togobo is a multi-faceted entrepreneur, engineer, public speaker, author and a CEO of FL (Forward Ladies). She is very passionate about supporting women and works closely with organizations that champion and advocate for increased female entrepreneurship, leadership and empowerment.
9. June Angelides
Angelides is an early-stage investor at Samos Investments. Prior to joining the world of venture capital, she founded a social enterprise, Mums in Technology, which was the first child-friendly coding school in the UK and worked in the early stage team at Silicon Valley Bank.
10. Izzy Obeng
Obeng is the founder of Foundervine, an award-winning social enterprise specialising in digital start-up and scale-up acceleration programs. Since launching in 2018, Foundervine has helped over 2,000 diverse, future leaders create, test and sustain enterprises.
11. Natalie Carter
Natalie is committed to providing a clear pathway for other Black people pursuing a corporate law career, Natalie works with various charities and organisations including the Black Solicitors Network and Urban Lawyers. On top of this, she is the co-Founder of Black Girls Book Club, the UK’s premier Book club for black women creating a safe space for black women to enjoy literature.
12. Deborah Okenla
Okenla is the Founder and CEO of YSYS (Your Startup, Your Story), a diverse startup community for founders, developers, creatives, and investors on a mission to make a difference. YSYS design and deliver entrepreneurial and employment programmes for diverse talent.
13. Charmaine Hayden
Hayden is a Co-Founder of GOODsoil VC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on underrepresented founders in Europe and Africa. Prior to founding GOODsoil VC Hayden co-founded award-winning modelling agency, Face4music.
14. Dr Yvonne Thompson
Yvonne is managing director of the marketing and PR company ASAP Communications, a former director of Choice FM radio, and president of the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners. Her work has had a particular focus on women-owned businesses as well as on global diversity and gender equality. Thompson has been described as Britain’s first black self-made woman millionaire.
15. Abadesi Osunsade
Osunsade is the founder of Hustle Crew, a company focused on making tech more inclusive by consulting and designing training solutions for corporate partners. She is also the co-host of “Techish” a podcast ranked in the top 20 tech list on Apple podcasts.
16. Bola Sol
Sol is the creator of platform Refined Currency which provides information on debt, budgeting, saving and making money. She has also founded sister company Rich Girl Chronicles, a money accountability group for women looking to be empowered by their finances and hosts podcast “The Last Three Digits”.
17. Fiona Daniel
Fiona is a qualified diversity and inclusion leader and D&I company award winner with over 15 years’ experience of leading and growing the global diversity and inclusion agenda for one of the largest banking and finance service organisations in the world, including leading the UK as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion.
18. Courtney Daniella
Daniella is a 22-year-old Cambridge graduate and outspoken beauty entrepreneur who runs a YouTube blog discussing topical issues around equality and how to excel academically. She has been featured in a number of publications such as Channel 4 News and The Guardian and has been credited with making a significant contribution to black applicants to Cambridge University rising by 50% between 2018 and 2019.
19. Suki Fuller
Suki is an Analytical Storyteller is a globally recognized speaker, advisor, mentor and analytical storyteller. She is the CEO of Salaam Ventures and Founder of Miribure; a Strategic & Competitive Intelligence company.
20. Charlotte Mensah
Charlotte Mensah is a British/Ghanaian hairstylist. She is the beauty industry’s authority on natural, textured and mixed heritage Afro hair. She is the founder and creative director of Hair Lounge, the boundary-pushing hair salon on London’s fashionably eclectic Portobello Road.
21. Ayesha Ofori
Ayesha is a CEO of Black Property Network. After over a decade of working in the Financial Services sector Ayesha took the plunge and resigned from her successful banking career to focus full-time on property investing, property mentoring and education and sharing what she knows with others.
22. Ade Hassan, MBE
Ade Hassan is the creator and founder of Nubian Skin, a nude bra and skin tone hosiery brand for women of colour. Since its launch in late 2014, Nubian Skin has been featured in every major fashion magazine; supplied the wardrobes of major productions in the West End; won the Great British Entrepreneur Award for Fashion in 2015; and provided the intimates for the Beyoncé Formation Tour in 2016.
23. Yomi Adegoke
Yomi Adegoke is a multi-award-winning journalist. She is the co-author of the bestselling book Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible and was named one of the most influential people in London by the Evening Standard in 2018.
24. Roni Savage
In 2009, after gaining several years of industry experience, Roni established Jomas Associates, serving land developers across the UK, and achieving a turnover of £2m in 2017, with further plans for growth. Jomas undertake site investigations, engineering and environmental surveys on construction projects across the UK.
25. Genelle Aldred
Ginelle has 13+ years of experience in corporate digital strategy, broadcast communication, digital journalism, video production and corporate image alignment. her communications career has tossed, turned, and thrown her upside down to help her learn more about expressing herself and responding to questions with prowess. Today, Genelle is a gender diversity advocate and the proud owner of her own company where she teaches people how to communicate effectively.
26. Sally Penny
Sally is a high profile award-winning Barrister. Outside of this role, she is also a Public Speaker, Leader, Radio Broadcaster & Contributor, Diversity Leader, Patron and Board Member and most importantly a Proud Mother of three. She leads on, champions and supports a wide range of diversity-related initiatives and projects. This is done as voluntary work across a number of diversity strands (such as gender, ethnicity and social background & well being at the Bar.)
27. Karen Finlayson
Karen Finlayson is a Northern business risk and controls leader at PwC and the only black female partner outside of London at the professional services firm. Karen is also an outspoken gender diversity leader.
28. Lara Oyesanya
Lara Oyesanya is a general counsel and chief risk officer at Contis. Lara is a highly regarded member of the in-house legal practice and has advised FTSE listed companies including Barclays Bank plc, BAE Systems plc, HBOS plc, RAC plc and Lex Autolease. She was named Businesswoman and Corporate Leader of the Year at the FL National Awards & Summit.
29. Heather Melville
Heather is Director and Head of Client Experience at PWC and the chairwoman of CMI Women for the Chartered Management Institute. She is a leader in diversity and inclusion. Heather was awarded an OBE for her ‘services to Gender Equality.’ She was also the founder and Global Chair of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Focused Women’s Network. She is on the list of 100 most influential Black Britons.
30. Jenny Garrett
Jenny Garrett is an Award-Winning Career Coach, Leadership Trainer, Speaker and Author. She is best known for her work empowering working women, particularly female breadwinners, through her book Rocking Your Role. Fairness and empowerment are at the heart of her work, she believes that when women thrive, we all do.
31. Carol Ann Whitehead
Carol Ann is the MD of The Zebra Partnership a publishing, events and campaign specialist agency. She is an RSA Fellow, an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion and part of The People’s Hub team working to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals leading on diversity and women’s rights. She is a regional winner of the year category at the FL National Awards & Summit.
32. Dr Sharon Watson
Sharon is CEO and Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She is also on the list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK. Sharon is committed to improving diversity within the arts by supporting the creative voices of women and black and ethnic minority artists.
33. Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
Shola is a dual qualified New York Attorney and Solicitor of England & Wales with broad corporate and commercial international banking experience in the financial services industry. Shola believes in the powerful impact of human stories and founded the Women in Leadership publication to inspire personal leadership journeys of women.
34. Dr Nike Folayan
Nike is a chartered engineer and has worked for Mott MacDonald, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and now WSP as Technical Discipline Leader – Communications & Control (Rail). Nike is also the founder and chairperson of AFBE-UK. Nike featured in the Academy’s Designed to Inspire project to encourage more engineering students to transition from education into engineering employment.
35. Doyin Atewologun
Doyin, a Chartered Organisational Psychologist, is one of the UK’s foremost experts on organisational development, diversity, intersectionality and leadership. Doyin is a scholar practitioner, a regular media contributor, and multi-award winner in recognition of her innovative methodologies for working with difference in organisations.
36. Dr. Funke Abimbola
Funke is recognised equality, diversity and inclusion leader with a strong track record in the field. In March 2019, she was appointed as a Champion for Action as part of Grant Thornton International’s global diversity campaign. A regular media contributor for the BBC, Funke has been filmed for the First 100 Years Project celebrating 100 years of achievements by prominent women in law.
38. Priscilla Baffour
With a wealth of experience in helping to increase diversity in media, Priscilla is responsible for driving the FT’s Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy. Prior to joining the FT she oversaw ITN’s diversity and inclusion strategy and pioneered their work around the Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap.
39. June Sarpong MBE
June has enjoyed a 20‐year career, in which she has become one of the most recognisable faces of British television. June is currently the Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC and a recognised diversity and inclusion activist.
40. Kisha Bradley
Kisha is an engineer and activist for diversity in innovation. She created Bright Box Makerspace so socially excluded young people can access making.
41. Sophia Aluko
Sophia Aluko is the Head of Service Management at The Transitions Management Office at Barclays. In addition to her day job, Sophia is passionate about empowering others to unlock their career potential. She is the founder of The Steer Network, a non-profit career development initiative, set up to help career-oriented individuals to be successful and thrive in their career through personalised mentoring, coaching and leadership development.
42. Kizzy Augustin
Kizzy is a Partner in the Fraud and Criminal Litigation team at Russell-Cooke LLP and she is leading our Health and Safety practice in London. She is a member of the Health and Safety Lawyers Association and is also a member of the Executive Committee of the London Health and Safety Group.
43. Magdalene Abraha
Magdalene is a writer and publisher at Jacaranda Books. In 2019, she was voted the Bookseller’s Rising Star and awarded the London Book Fair Trailblazer award 2020 for her contribution to publishing. She is also the creator of the new ‘ground-breaking- book series called A Quick Ting On, the first non-fiction book series dedicated to black British culture.
44. Nnena Nwakodo
Nnena Nwakodo is a TV producer at BBH ad agency, where she has produced everything from charity films and radio to large scale TV productions. She is also co-founder of BBH’s exhibition programme Unsigned, which aims to put diverse talent on the industry’s radar.
45. Rachael Corson
Rachael Corson is a Co-founder of the award-winning Afrocenchix. They have become an essential brand to diversifying the beauty industry.
46. Mariolla Baffour Asare
Mariolla Baffour is a Vice President within the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs. Mariolla is also a Partner at Cornerstone, an angel investment network focused on investing in businesses owned and run by Black and diverse founders. Mariolla serves as a mentor in the Raising Aspirations Programme in partnership with Mentivity.
47. Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy
Zainab is Deputy Chair of the Barclays Black Professionals Forum, and oversees career progression and colleague development initiatives. On top of this, she is currently writing a book on Afro hair for an independent publisher, Jacaranda Books, as part of the ‘A Quick Ting On’ series on black history and culture, to be released next year.
48. Nnenna Ilomechina
Nnenna Ilomechina is a Managing Director and Partner within Accenture’s Strategy, Communications, Media and Technology group. Recently, Nnenna has also taken on the Inclusion and Diversity role for the strategy and consulting practice across all sectors in the UK.
49. Rachael Palmer
Rachael helps drive Google’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including leading their diversity recruiting efforts at the Wharton Business School. She has been a featured speaker at Google’s first EMEA “State of Black Women” Conference in the UK and the Wharton Women in Business Conference.
50. Simone Bresi-Ando
Simone is a global communications and PR expert. She is an accomplished public speaker, social commentator and female empowerment activist. In 2009, she founded the social enterprise, I’mPOSSIBLE Global CIC, a network with a global reach that educates and empowers women and girls of colour.
Do you know more inspiring black female leaders to add to the list? Share your suggestions in the comments below!
Don’t forget to join our BAME Leaders Power Circle to connect to like-minded business women and build your network.