Cecil Adjalo

Cecil is a visible Black role model to aspiring talent, sitting on the board of Hiberus Tecnologia. In his previous position, Cecil led the partnering of charity Place2Be, setting up a business challenge day with 15 students from the London Bridge area, 95% of participants were ethnic. On the board of Hiberus Tecnologia, Cecil is a voice for the under-represented when it comes to recruitment strategies. He also acts as a mentor to BAME colleagues, and plans to set up an official BAME initiative within the next year. Cecil dedicates time to building startups with founders from BAME backgrounds through Foundervine CIC, where he is significantly involved all planning, decision making, and execution of high impact initiatives. Their flagship programme, Startup 54, has seen the creation of 24 startups, with 116 graduates exploring new business ideas, teaming up and forming business ventures that are then pitched to VC and investor judges. He has also made significant contributions to The Summer Gathering and Founderfest, gatherings of innovators, entrepreneurs, future founders and investors, bringing people together who are highly ambitious, like-minded and thirsty for knowledge. Recently, they partnered with BAME focused colourintech and sponsored a young BAME founder to go to Silicon Valley for a week visiting companies like Weebly, WeWork, Google.Org, Mindspace and more. They have been recognised in the Sunday Times and invited to Downing Street.

Sandra Milan Ph.D.

Sandra is the founder of Genentech Women in Science and Engineering (gWISE), whose mission is to help Genentech become the leader in advancing the role of women in biotech. Sandra recruits women of colour to attend and participate in gWISE-sponsored events and developed strategies to find, retain and address the needs of women, and in particular women of colour, in scientific roles at Genentech. gWISE sponsored unconscious bias training for executives, and she has developed policies designed to encourage those leaders to think more about creating a level playing field for recruiting and hiring women, and in particular women of colour. Sandra is a Genentech Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, regularly serving as a panellist, and mentors for the Genentech Leader-Intern Exchange (gLINX) Programme. She also serves as a Keynote Speaker for internal organizations such as the South East Asian Club. She has also spoken at organisations such as the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and at National Latino Cancer Summit. She frequently serves as a panellist for many different minority-focused organisations at leading universities, such as UC Berkeley and SFSU helping place many students in laboratories and industry internships.

Tetlanyo Lekalake

In 2016, Tetlanyo co-founded the African Professional Network of Ireland, (APNI) a community that aims to connect, empower and foster collaboration between young, African professionals living in Ireland, particularly Dublin. Since its establishment, APNI has organized numerous events to promote diversity and inclusion in Ireland, in collaboration with organizations such as Facebook, Google, Citi and Dublin City Council. In 2017, Tetlanyo co-founded the Dublin Chapter of Facebook’s Black@. The chapter’s first big event was Africa Week, a celebration of Africa Day with the theme “Changing the Narrative of Africa” through experiencing different aspects of African culture. Tetlanyo aims to offer different images of Black people and of Africa to the ones often portrayed in mainstream media. For instance, the chapter wanted to get away from the Africa presented solely as a place that is poor, at war and dying, because these “single stories” or stereotypes not only present a distorted image, but they work against the progress of the African continent and Black people across the globe. Instead, Tetlanyo aims to show the vibrancy, huge potential and beauty of the continent and its people. Since then, the chapter has hosted various other initiatives that are focused on raising cultural competency internally and fostering a greater sense of inclusion for employees of colour.

Minal Mehta

Minal Mehta is a Senior Digital Strategy Consultant at IBM iX, driving technical change globally for clients in the finance, media and industrial sectors. As a Certified Scrum Master, she is currently leading delivery of Salesforce for a client in Financial Services. Minal is a recognised ambassador for Diversity & Inclusion at IBM. She is a core team member of IBM UK’s BAME employee network and iX Diversity Council. To make the workplace more welcoming and inclusive, Minal launched eMentoring in 2017 (37 KCL mentees and IBM mentors) and Uni Insight initiative in 2018 (50 BAME students) with Kings College University, highlighting STEM careers. She recruited BAME IBM employees to showcase emerging technologies, such as Robotics, Cognitive/AI and Blockchain and organised a panel of BAME graduates to host a Q&A session. Minal has won several internal awards including Inclusion Champion of the Quarter and for her work on University Insight. Following being awarded a place in 2018 EMpower 50 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders list, she is now recognised as a Role Model internally and externally: shortlisted in the 2019 Asian Women of Achievement Awards – Technology and Digital; and invited to share knowledge on BAME D&I with IBM’s clients at panel events, resulting in reverse mentoring requests from senior leadership. Minal has been invited to speak at universities and mentors several students, promoting STEM careers to young BAME individuals. She also works with “Shiva Soundsystem”, aiming to challenge the perception of Asian culture in the UK across music, film, radio and events.

Andrew Monu

As ERG lead for ethnic minorities at LinkedIn, Andrew has focused on encouraging and empowering other BAME employees to have the confidence to act as role models themselves. He has spearheaded numerous initiatives, including listening sessions with BAME employees to make LinkedIn more inclusive; a Black History Month programme, educating employees and the wider industry about the value of building a more racially inclusive workplace; and mentoring BAME employees. Externally, Andrew regularly undertakes speaking engagements, including being a panellist at INvolve’s ‘How do media portrayals of ethnic minorities impact on workplace dynamics?’, and at the Telegraph’s D&I Conference (Bridging the Diversity Gap). He has written articles on the importance of D&I, acknowledging bias and media representation. In addition, Andrew works with schools and young people to inspire the next generation of BAME leaders, participating in EMpower’s Emerging Leaders Programme, to teach high potential BAME students/young professionals the soft skills required for making the transition into senior roles. Andrew has received numerous awards and recognition from LinkedIn’s EMEA VP of Sales as well as LinkedIn’s CMO for delivering stellar results for LinkedIn’s EMEA business, and has been voted Top 5 Global People Manager twice.

Farah Siddiqui

Farah Siddiqui is the Founder and Global President of Faithforce, the interfaith employee resource group at Salesforce, and a Manager of Trailhead Programs and Processes. Farah is a proud Muslim, Pakistani-American woman, an ally, and a role model for many. About two years ago, Farah recognized a gap in Salesforce’s equality story — there were employee resource groups around race, gender, ability and sexual identity, but none around faith. In partnership with the Office of Equality and another Salesforce employee, Farah founded Faithforce, now the fastest-growing employee resource group, with more than 1,700 members in 12 regional chapters around the globe. With Farah’s leadership, Faithforce has worked to build a culture of empathy and belonging for people of all beliefs through inclusive educational, intersectional and philanthropic events that celebrate and honor our faith diversity. Faithforce rallied the company in support around their Muslim, Christian and Jewish employees after hate-motivated attacks in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and Pittsburgh. Farah has also worked to create faith inclusion initiatives like multi-faith prayer spaces at customer events and conferences as well as in their offices. Inspired by her parents’ commitment to uplifting their community in South Florida, Farah’s commitment to equality extends beyond Salesforce. Farah is part of the Muslim Women’s Association in Chicago, who work to empower Muslim women, fight for social justice, give back to communities as well as provide mentorship to young Muslim women from various cultural backgrounds. Farah took part in and helped organize service projects, was chosen to MC their annual Celebrate Muslim Women event, and has been part of their mentorship program. She also volunteers with IMAN, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, an organization that offers health, wellness and healing to Chicago’s inner-city neighborhoods.

April Crichlow

To truly drive an inclusive culture within SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass, April is instrumental in aligning business goals with HR goals, and has helped push an innovative diversity initiative. Through a variety of diversity and progression programmes, she has set targets for diversity representation with the organisation, to be reached by 2022. She has also worked to promote supplier risk and supplier diversity solutions that help SAP Ariba buyer and supplier customers support ethnic-owned and women-owned businesses. Externally, April mentors and coaches young future business leaders through a variety of community projects aimed at students from ethnic minority backgrounds. April serves on the board of GiveClear, and has served on the board of Liberty Foundation, and served for 2 years as the lead of Visionaries, the business community of Liberty Church in NYC. In these roles she mentored, coached and supported business people in both the entrepreneurial fields and corporate functions. April is regularly asked to speak on gender and ethnic pay parity, and often appears in the media discussing the importance of diversity & inclusion.

Gail Peterson

Gail founded the Black Leaders Forum at Ecolab, a group of Black directors and above whose purpose is to raise courageous truths about the experience of Black employees throughout the organisation. The insights this group has provided have been invaluable in enhancing Ecolab’s D&I practices, improving the connection between Black employees and top executives, and has even become a sounding board for non-D&I specific initiatives well before implementation. She is also a member on Ecolab’s executive D&I council, with the influence and power to help move the organisation in an accelerated way towards their desired end goal. Through this work the council has reshaped ERG leaders as a truly differential development opportunity, helped retool recruiting and interview practices, and provided oversight to ensure the company is making progress against key leading and lagging metrics in the day to day practices of business groups. Externally, Gail participated in the 2019 rites of passage cohort, sharing stories and tips on how to best manage a personal brand to 15 promising Black high school seniors. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Minnesota Children’s Museum (MCM), where she is helping to promote a D&I agenda, removing barriers to museum access. She has also been part of many outreach efforts to ensure diverse communities in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are aware of what the museum has to offer for their families.

Ernest Nicolas

As Rockwell Automation began its Culture of Inclusion (COI) Journey in 2007, Ernest was already busy diversifying his global teams and providing opportunities for people of colour. Following the company receiving the prestigious 2017 Catalyst Award, Ernest was asked to provide his unique perspective in a Bloomberg article entitled, ‘White Men Can Change at Rockwell Automation: A common sense approach has diversified the workforce.’ Ernest also leveraged his influence and established the Black Executive Leadership Council for director and vice president level leaders at Rockwell and serves as the first executive advisor for the African American Professionals Network. As the first Rockwell Automation executive invited to join the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the preeminent membership global organization for the development of Black leaders, Ernest, in turn, introduced the ELC to the company to help continue to develop leaders whose impact would permeate throughout the company. Additionally, he leads Rockwell Automation’s recruiting efforts at key national diversity engineering and tech conferences, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Ernest is regularly called upon by external organizations to help address diversity issues and consult on initiatives to help increase opportunities for people of colour. He is an advocate of building sustainable change on a local level, he served on the board of directors for the Milwaukee Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and is currently serving on board of directors for the Milwaukee Urban League as they usher in their centennial year of existence. A continual advocate for students of colour graduating from college, he regularly contributes to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) through his financial and volunteer efforts.

Donna Herdsman

As a Client Partner, Donna is at the heart of creating long-term relationships based on trust, thereby enabling an environment where the {Emergn} team can do their best work. As the most senior person of colour, Donna’s initial priority has been on leveraging her experience of working at a senior level in large corporations, to the benefit of one that is on a journey of growth. Donna is a leader in business growth, working with both sales and delivery on a global scale (USA,UK, Russia and Latvia). She has also been asked to play a central role, working with the rest of the team, in driving the recruitment initiative and thereby acting as a role model by focusing on the value that people can bring, and in alignment with providing leadership, guidance and purpose to the client teams. Donna is also a judge for the Black British Business Awards (and Women in Trade Awards). Donna has given numerous presentations on the importance of D&I and mentors BAME talent through various schemes. One of her mentees cited Donna’s inspiration in her creation of the BBB Awards. (Donna has recently left Emergn)