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Harish Sodha

Difference is celebrated at Diversity Travel; the organisation works on the ethos that all minorities should be championed and encouraged whether this relates to gender, ethnicity or religion. This is represented across the business, with staff speaking over 20 languages, coming from 15 nationalities and there is a 45:55 male to female gender split. Different sexual orientations, religious and political beliefs are represented at all levels of the organisation and the Board is 33% BAME, 17% female and 33% LGBT. For 35+ years Harish has been focused on expanding and running companies and has embedded and created an inclusive culture within all organisations. He has also used his position in the UPstanding 100 list 2016 to spread the word about BAME success and achievements in business through local and industry press articles.

Bridget Lea

Bridget is the Director of Stores, Online, Multichannel & Supply Chain at O2 UK and is responsible for leading a team of 2,795 employees, representing 42% of O2’s total staff base. Bridget’s area serves 25 million customers through their 470 stores and 30 million unique visitors through the website and app annually. She is an expert at leading customer focused transformational change to deliver in a multichannel world and has conceived and delivered a number of initiatives across culture change, multichannel and new store concepts. Bridget is the only White and Black African person at her level in the business, and has led her department to many industry awards. Bridget runs a programme called ‘Inspirational Women’ for women in the workplace who have overcome adversity, many of whom are from the BAME community. She is also a mentor for individuals across the industry, is an ambassador for the Retail Week ‘Be Inspired’ campaign and champions diversity inspiring both women and BAME individuals to achieve their potential. In addition she is the official business sponsor of the LGBQT society and a member of the Women’s Network.

Bernard Adjei

In January 2016, Bernard Adjei set up the RISE (Reach Inspire Support Empower) initiative to support younger generation of Ethnic Minorities in Secondary Schools and Colleges from underprivileged backgrounds. They cover modules related to CV workshops, mock interviews, diversity and inclusion and opportunities available in Lloyds Banking Group and the industry as a whole. Bernard also set up the Densu Online Marketplace to provide a platform for small to medium black businesses as well as Entrepreneurs in the UK. The marketplace has been featured on BBCAfrica and other media platforms. Bernard was named one of Ghana’s Top 30 under 30 for his support of black businesses, as well as being named UK Young Banker of the Year in 2016 for his innovation to improve visibility on international transfer for Ethnic Minorities. Bernard has donated and been involved in supporting the Apeguso village in Ghana with equipment and resources to support the education of the locals.