When Ashby & Graff first launched in 2017, John mandated that any content produced by the company would always endeavour to reflect the diversity of America, so everyone who encounters the Ashby & Graff brand will instantly know they are welcome and can count on being provided the same effective, honest, and ethical service afforded all clients. John, who is openly gay, says his own personal experiences with discrimination and feeling unrepresented motivated his decree that affects all content, social media and other marketing produced by the company. Externally, John serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of REALTORS and the California Association of REALTORS where he is heavily involved in promoting minority homeownership, especially among the African-American community which suffers from the lowest rate of homeownership of any group in the US. At the national level, he serves on the Multi-Cultural Leadership Advisory Council, which convenes the leaders of the various multicultural real estate organizations in the United States including the National Assoc. of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the National Assoc. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the National Assoc. of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), the Asian Real Estate Association (AREA), and the Women’s Council of REALTORS (WCR). He currently represents NAGLREP on the council, but works collaboratively with his friends from NAREB and other organizations to find solutions to discrimination against Black Americans in housing.
Diane is a co-chair of BP’s Positively Ethnic Network (PEN), an influential, employee-led group that is at the forefront of a step change in diversity and inclusion. Building upon her work in safety culture, Diane has led an impactful strategy review that consolidated the direction on mentoring, sponsorship and recruitment, and also leads the “Engaging Senior Leaders” workstream, producing workshops to counteract unconscious bias through empowering teams to make structural changes to systems and processes. Diane believes that ethnic diversity gives a competitive advantage that makes a big difference in creating value, and feels that mentoring and sponsorship are vital in skills-building for success. To this end, Diane designed and implemented a mentoring scheme involving senior leaders mentoring people of colour, which was then successfully applied widely in the diversity groups in BP. She is an advocate and mentor, supporting numerous ethnically diverse candidates internally and external to BP to manage dilemmas and focus on fulfilling their potential. Diane is also a member of “The Circle NGO”, which fights for equal rights for women all over the world.
As Chief HR Officer, Michael is committed to a number of key D&I initiatives. He aims to acquire diverse talent through requiring diverse candidate slates for all VP+ searches, auditing existing external partnerships to ensure access to people of colour for current and future roles, and building relationships with Historical Black Colleges & Universities. He has hosted focus groups with POC to understand how to create a more inclusive environment, leading to a series of actions. He also initiated annual salary surveys to ensure no inequity in pay due to ethnicity, gender etc. As Global Executive Sponsor for the Leading Employees of African Descent (LEAD) BRG, Michael and the group are embarking on an exciting pilot program for mid-career leaders (in partnership with an external consultancy) for people of African descent. The program will help LEAD members navigate nuanced situations they may encounter and coach them through areas of opportunity from their assessments. Michael also mentors BRG steering committee members to help maximise impact. Michael champions and raises awareness for the need for greater diversity through numerous external organisations, helping them to fulfil their mission of unlocking potential for diverse job seekers.
Jackie has a number of active roles in driving the inclusivity agenda at HSBC UK, including as EMpower Steerco; EMpower sponsor, nurturing internal BAME talent; on the UK Culture & Engagement committee; Executive Women’s forum steerco; by proactively contributing to and promoting Women on Boards; and supporting the Atlas Mentoring Platform, Women Ahead. She has been the executive sponsor for Embrace for the last 18 months, and has been instrumental in acting as a trusted advisor for the network committee. Jackie ensures all things inclusion are discussed at board level to help shape strategy; she has mentored chairs, sponsors and committee members, alongside BAME colleagues aiming to achieve director-level roles. She presents at events, promoting all aspects of D&I and has pushed a recruitment drive for increasing BAME leadership. Externally, Jackie has worked with the CEO of the Diana Award which has led to opportunities for HSBC employees to mentor and make a difference to the lives of young people mostly from a BAME background. The team have run mentoring programmes, offering career insight which is fun, diverse and truly benefits young people’s personal and professional development.
In 2006, Robert co-founded and initially chaired BP’s ethnicity business resource group, the Positively Ethnic Network. Since that time, he has been an active and committed supporter of ethnic minorities in BP and has continued his involvement with the Positively Ethnic Network by serving as an ambassador, sponsor and speaker at related events. Over the past few months, Robert has become the lead executive overseeing ethnicity and related activities in BP’s Canary Wharf offices, running regular events that have helped increase awareness of ethnicity issues for non-ethnic staff whilst enhancing workplace inclusivity for all staff. In particular, progress has been made around mentoring and recruitment initiatives. Robert is also a passionate advocate for the need to analyse and benchmark ethnicity data relating to the workforce in order to monitor progress, remove any biases and drive sustainable change. Robert is personally involved with three world leading business schools: Stanford Graduate School of Business (MSx Advisory Board); Cambridge Judge Business School (Honorary Fellow); Cass Business School (M&A Research Centre Advisory Board); and he regularly provides career coaching to emerging ethnic minority leaders.