As a British born Sikh, Raj was Sodexo’s first ethnic minority Global Senior Vice President in Human Resources, and continues to be very visible across the organisation. He regularly meets with employees from ethnic minority backgrounds, regardless of where they work in Sodexo, as they often reach out when they know there are ethnic minority leaders in the organisation. Raj maintains his reputation as a welcoming role model by providing coaching and development opportunities, both formally and informally, as well as supporting emerging talent from different backgrounds. He is a strong advocate of mentoring those who may not otherwise get the chance and is the Executive Sponsor of the Sodexo Culture and Origins Taskforce for Local Minorities. Externally, Raj is a mentor on the acclaimed Warwick Business School Mentoring Programme, which has a high degree of internationally diverse students. He regularly makes presentations at Universities and Schools on different subjects to a cross section of backgrounds. His aim is to provide visibility at ‘grass root’ levels and not for ethnic minority leaders to be seen as unusual.
In 1998, Michelle was the first black woman to successfully join the prison service graduate scheme, where she set up mentoring for black men in prison from black businessmen in the local community. She initially was approached by Sodexo to work at HMP Peterborough, the only dual gender prison in the UK, where she pioneered a gender inclusive service and received recognition for leadership and diversity. She sits on the Sodexo Origins network that represents people from diverse backgrounds, and broadcasted a podcast to inspire others within the business to be inclusive. Michelle has also set up an executive sponsorship scheme for female talent and a recruitment initiative to tackle unconscious bias. Externally, Michelle has worked with young ethnic minority people serving community sentences, focusing on role modelling and making them see how unique they are, and continues to mentor young black men.
At Sodexo, Harpreet has created a manager toolkit to support our frontline managers break down barriers and understand why we must focus on BAME employees. This was in response to recent research from an Origins network member survey and by engaging with BAME employees and their line managers on its development. The intention of the toolkit is to help address the imbalance Sodexo has from its frontline to banded management, which has to change – a more diverse workforce is a more productive workforce! Harpreet created communications, including the first Origins newsletter, which was sent out to network members and to all Sodexo’s retail outlets that supported promoting faith based events such as Diwali. This helped educate and promote key dates. He also supported in growing the network membership base which grew by 50% in the first year. He also helped pull together and execute Sodexo’s first ever Inclusion Conference.
Sajna is a natural networker, connector and champion of diversity and inclusion. With her enthusiasm and infectious personality, she uses every opportunity to promote the importance of this agenda. Sajna has been an active member of internal and external committee networks, where she has led various successful initiatives and events. This included encouraging several BAME and non BAME executives to share their career journeys and conversations via a podcast on the ‘importance of visible role models’. Having worked for Sodexo for the last 6 years, she has held diverse roles. In 2015, she launched an internal event ‘Get to know the SLT’, which brought talented frontline employees and the Senior Leadership Team together. This was a platform to help people to share their career aspirations in a relaxed environment. Passionate about developing a diverse talent pipeline, she later became the co-founder of ‘Tomorrow Meets Today’ an external annual event, where she uses her influence and extensive network to bring together today’s leaders and tomorrow’s future leaders, providing an opportunity for both groups to meet, develop and grow. Outside of work Sajna is often invited to speak at events and participate in round table discussions about diversity and inclusion’
A British-born Sikh, Amolak leads as Co-Chair of the Origins network in Sodexo UK & Ireland. Through this role he has been instrumental in developing a number of initiatives, including: creating a much more focused members network to drive forward the BAME agenda, and launching pod and webcasts where senior managers talk about their careers and what BAME means for them. At the recent Inclusion conference, Amolak acted as compere during the event which included introducing a staff network panel discussion and raising the profile of the Origins network, to an audience of 250 people. He has also promoted on-line training modules including: ‘understanding bias’ and ‘Race-creating an inclusive workplace’ for all teams across Sodexo UK & Ireland. Externally, Amolak has recently become a governor at a local academy to encourage the understanding and development of the BAME agenda, and has established close links with other organisations outside Sodexo to help understand best practice in this area.
Recently promoted to Head of Digital Communications, Stephen also is co-chair of the Sodexo Cultures and Origins Employee Network, through which he has created strategies focusing on learning and development, cultural awareness, managers’ information, and organisational change. He has also launched a Sodexo-wide campaign called “My culture and me”, which aims to create a more inclusive workplace by raising cultural awareness of different BAME backgrounds. Stephen led the implementation of Your_Sodexo, an employee facing website in the UK and Ireland, and he is now spearheading its development into a global project across Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands and France. Recently, Stephen was instrumental in creating a podcast with a senior BAME leader from Sodexo, talking about role models in the workplace and the community. Outside of work, Stephen has been working towards a professional coaching and mentoring qualification, with the goal of becoming a mentor both in and out of work. He also works with Springboard, OCM, Spark Life, and is very keen to expose young BAME people to the workplace.