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Shanika Amarasekara

As general counsel and company secretary at the British Business Bank, Shanika was a founding member of the bank. She was the first ethnic minority member of the senior leadership team, was instrumental in establishing the organisation’s diversity & inclusion group. She has also ensured that as the bank has grown, the senior leadership team and board membership have good representation of individuals who are from an ethnic minority background. Shanika is spearheading a drive for suppliers to have to provide diversity data as part of their tender process, in particular in the area of suppliers of legal services who are currently under represented by ethnic minorities in senior positions. As a board member of the London Legacy Development Corporation and London Stadium, Shanika is responsible for ensuring that the legacy of the Olympic Park in East London and development which takes place within the park is inclusive of local communities, which is significantly represented by ethnic minorities. She frequently speaks at legal community events as a senior leader and an ethnic minority role model. Shanika also works with the law society’s D&I agenda, with the civil service recruitment team to encourage more EM applicants, with the Mayor of London’s D&I programme and with a number of Universities to promote graduates from ethnic minority and underprivileged backgrounds to progress into careers in financial services.

Piers Linney

Piers is personally involved in a number of businesses as an investor, shareholder, director or adviser, and diversity and inclusion from the board down is fundamental. Until 2017 he was a director of a listed company with Sir Ken Olisa also on the board, which is rare representation on the board of a UK PLC. He regularly leverages his public profile to bring about change by raising awareness and inspiring ethnic minority people to aspire. This has included being visible as an investor on prime-time TV shows such as Dragons’ Den or as a non-executive director of the government-owned British Business Bank. He has also been recognised on the Power List 100 and was the winner of the inaugural Black British Business Awards as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. Additionally, Piers is a founding trustee of The Aleto Foundation, which hosts multi-day leadership programmes structured to provide delegates with a life-changing confidence boost which will enable them to deal as equals with their student peers. He is also a regular public speaker for corporates and in schools, colleges, and even prisons, instilling confidence and opening minds to empower ethnic minorities. Piers now creates content across social media and speaks publicly to promote diversity and inclusion.

Piers Linney

Piers is personally involved in a number of businesses as an investor, shareholder, director or adviser, and diversity and inclusion from the board down is important. Until 2017 he was a director of a listed company with Sir Ken Olisa also on the board, which is rare representation on the board of a UK PLC. He regularly leverages his public profile to bring about change by raising awareness and inspiring ethnic minority people to aspire. This has included being visible as an Investor on prime-time TV shows such as Dragons’ Den or as a Non Executive Director of the government-owned British Business Bank. He has also been recognised on the Power List 100 and was the winner of the inaugural Black British Business Awards as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. Additionally, Piers is a founding trustee of The Aleto Foundation, which hosts multi-day Leadership Programmes (or ‘boot camps’) structured to provide delegates with a life-changing confidence boost which will enable them to deal as equals with their student peers. He is also a regular public speaker for corporates and in schools, colleges, and even prisons, instilling confidence and opening minds to empower ethnic minorities.

Shanika Amarasekara

Shanika was part of The British Business Bank at its inception and was responsible for setting up the bank’s governance framework and corporate structure. She is a key member of the senior management team and has been actively involved in developing its culture as one of inclusion and collaboration. To date she has acted as an unofficial mentor to most BAME employees who joined the organisation during the first 3 months of their employment and ensured their successful integration into a fast growing organisation. She also acts as a role model for the civil service recruitment process and has attended and spoken at events within the public sector on the subject of how to recruit and retain BAME talent within the public sector. Externally, Shanika has been actively involved with a number of different organisations to provide mentoring to aspiring BAME people, including the Women of the Year network and MOSAIC. She has also built strong networks within a number of University councils to encourage them to treat BAME students in a more inclusive manner and to allow the universities to leverage the diverse community groups better for innovation within the university environment.

Shanika Amarasekara

Shanika is the General Counsel and Company Secretary to the plc Board and General Counsel to British Business Bank. She is responsible for ensuring that the legal interests of the bank and its stakeholders are protected and ensuring that the governance aspects of the institution function smoothly. Shanika acts as the legal and business advisor to the CEO, members of the Board, senior management team and British Business Bank as a whole.
As the first BAME person on the senior management team Shanika has played an important role in setting the culture of the organisation and ensuring representation at the senior level of people from diverse backgrounds. The senior team at the bank is comprised of 50% women and 25% BAME.
As part of their CSR initiative British Business Bank have been working with inner city schools in London and Sheffield to encourage teenagers from BAME backgrounds to engage in entrepreneurial activities and to participate in debate about the economy and the importance of the activities of small and medium businesses in contributing to the economy.