One of the country’s leading diversity experts, Barrister, Equalities Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Black Cultural Archives, Miranda Brawn, has launched the UK’s first diversity lecture which is called” The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture”. This was attended by around one hundred 14 to 21 year old Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) future leaders and hosted by the UK’s leading law school, The University of Law on Saturday, 15th October 2016. Some of the best BAME talent from across the UK attended the trailblazing diversity lecture. This is the first time that a diversity lecture has taken place in the UK to include the 14 to 18 year old age group. The diversity lecture raised awareness about the importance of incorporating a broader representation of backgrounds in the workplace, both from a moral and business perspective.
Miranda Brawn, set up her eponymous foundation, The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation, to provide the next generation of BAME future leaders with opportunities for success via diversity lectures and scholarships which include funding, mentoring and work experience. This year, Miranda has also teamed up with Black Cultural Archives, aims to preserve and celebrate the heritage of black people in Britain and The Prince’s Trust, youth charity that helps young people aged 13 to 30 get into jobs, education and training founded by Charles, Prince of Wales.
Miranda offered more insight on how to close the diversity gap, while educating the next generation about the various forms of diversity issues currently facing the UK workforce for race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, faith, age and social mobility, in order for the young leaders to start to think about how they can make a difference taking action now in order to close the diversity gap.
Miranda was also joined by fellow legal and diversity luminaries, including Dame Jocelyn Barrow DBE, Patron of the Black Cultural Archives and Founder of the Campaign against Racial Discrimination (CARD); who provided a keynote talk on the history of the UK race relations. Among the diversity experts who led the debate moderated by Miranda were Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, JP, DL, Chancellor of The University of Law, partner at CMS Cameron McKenna and was the Lord Mayor of London for the year 2013/14; Daniel Winterfeldt, partner at Reed Smith; Dawn Hill, Chair of the Black Cultural Archives; and Darren Allaway, managing director of UBS Wealth Management. Each recounted their knowledge and experience of fighting for diversity across the different diversity strands, emphasizing to the young audience that they too needed to take positive action to create a diverse workforce.
The diversity experts recognised that while some advances had been made, they were still challenges ahead. In particular, engagement of diversity champions at board level was highlighted as a key measure for tackling the lack of minorities’ representation within organisations. CEOs and senior leaders need to promote diversity in public, in the boardroom, in their day-to-day interactions with their direct reports and with their employees if they want to see the message of a more diverse workforce become a reality. Hiring practices should also be improved, for example by using CV-blind policies for job interviews. Finally, the speakers discussed the importance of educating and raising awareness of the current diversity issues faced by the UK workforce with the next generation of workers while they are still at school.
Dame Jocelyn Barrow, Patron of The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation and Black Cultural Archives applauded the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture & Scholarships stating:
“It is our responsibility to make sure that we leave our space in a better place than when we found it. Each and every one of us should see ourselves as agents of social change.”
Jacqueline Cheltenham, Associate Professor, National Programme and Student Affairs Director – BPTC commented:
“The University of Law was delighted to host the inaugural Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Lecture and Scholarship event. The stellar speakers and panel were informative and inspiring, as were the young recipients of the scholarships. As diversity is such an important issue, The University of Law hopes to continue its sponsorship in years to come.”
Miranda Brawn, Founder of The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation and Vice Chair of Black Cultural Archives said:
“I am delighted that history has been made during UK Black History Month 2016 as the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture is the first diversity lecture to be held in the UK for 14-21 year old young leaders from a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) background. The young people who attended the event are just so inspiring and committed to their own careers and diversity. My main focus has been to educate and inspire others on the benefits of diversity and help to drive all forms of diversity, especially race and gender to the forefront.
Diversity is important, not just because it is the right and moral thing to do, but because it makes a good business sense. Companies that champion and promote diversity, in every sense of the word within their organisation, reap very real rewards from their efforts, such as enhanced business performance, reputational strength, a more innovative and collaborative culture and the ability to attract the best talent in the market.
The applications for the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarships were of a very high quality which highlighted the wonderful BAME talent which exists in the UK. It is crucial that we nurture and grow the next generation of talent from an early age while they are still at school, with the objective of diversifying the talent pipeline to close the diversity gap. The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation via the Lectures and Scholarships will help to provide a focus on diversity and leadership by highlighting how this can be transformative and help increase all forms of diversity in the UK workforce. Engaging in positive dialogue and action are essential steps in creating understanding and progress for diversity within the UK workforce. We need to focus much more on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ diversity matters in the 21st Century.”
Seven of the UK’s best and brightest BAME future leaders were awarded with scholarships from The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation which included sponsorship from Hogan Lovells LLP. The scholarships were presented to Leanne Lashley, Owner of the Miswits Comedy Club, who was granted the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship for The Prince’s Trust; Suffian Hussain from The University of Birmingham, presented with the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship for Hogan Lovells’ Law; and Jacqueline Gomes-Neves from New College of the Humanities who won the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship for Multi Sector. They each received £1,000, mentoring and work experience.
Additional Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarships were awarded to Zahra Haque from The Tiffin Girls School, Kingston; Mobeen Salih from the University of Oxford; Imani Jeffers from University of Cambridge; and Savannah Odeyemi from Walthamstow School for Girls.
The scholarships were presented by Rebecca Coppock (Programme Manager at The Prince’s Trust), Gavin Prentice (Board Director at Levmet Holdings Ltd), Rashida Abdulai (Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells) and Jessica Huie MBE (Founder of Color Blind Cards and JH Public Relations).
The Judging Panel
The esteemed judging panel consisted of 15 leaders at the top of their profession. In alphabetical order these were Andrew Palmer (CEO of Aston Martin), Catherine McGregor (Editor-in-Chief of General Counsel Publishing at The Legal 500), Darren Allaway (Managing Director of UBS Wealth Management), Dawn Hill (Chair of the Black Cultural Archives), Gavin Prentice (Board Director at Levmet Holdings Ltd), Jessica Huie MBE (Founder of Color Blind Cards and JH Public Relations), Julie Chakraverty (Non-Executive Director for Aberdeen Asset Management), Kim Hollis QC (Director of Public Prosecutions of the British Virgin Islands and 25 Bedford Row), Lauren Riley (Founder & CEO of The Link App and Ex-BBC Apprentice 2015), Liz Rivers (Women’s Leadership Coach, Mediator and former City lawyer), Michael Parkinson (Group CFO & Head of Compliance for DC Advisory), Michael Togobo (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Airedale General Hospital), Nicholas Cheffings (Global Chair of Hogan Lovells), Tolu Osinibi (Head of FCMB Capital Markets Limited) and Vanessa Valley (Managing Director of We Are The City).