The 2021 HERoes Future Female Leaders list celebrates 100 inspirational women who are not yet senior leaders in an organisation but are making a significant contribution to gender diversity at work.
The list was put together by diversity and inclusion organisation INvolve, with support from Yahoo Finance UK.
All of the future leaders must identify as a woman at work and can be of any nationality in any country. Each were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward.
Nominations were reviewed by the HERoes judging panel, which includes director at Yahoo, Lianna Brinded. The panel scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
1) Marilyn Lin, head of MuleSoft Global customer support strategy and operations, Salesforce
Having always been an advocate for gender equality, including being the co-founder of Salesforce (CRM) Women’s Network, the company’s first employee resource group (ERG), Marilyn recently shifted her diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) focus to address the challenges and struggles faced in the workplace by those who identify as belonging to more than one underrepresented group.
Over the last two years she has started shining a spotlight on intersectionality in one-on-one discussions with executive leaders at Salesforce, helping them understand the importance of having representation up and down the organisation beyond just gender.
In light of recent events, Marilyn has shared her experiences of anti-Asian hate as an Asian American woman through company-wide meetings and external events.
Both in and outside of Salesforce, Marilyn serves as a mentor and coach to several individuals each year, including former direct reports, and she is often contacted via her social network to share her career journey and to guide women on how to navigate their own career changes.
2) Ramat Tejani, programme lead, Amazon Web Services
At Amazon (AMZN) Web Services (AWS), Ramat leads the AWS GetIT education programme in the UK and Ireland. It is designed to inspire young students aged between 12 and 13, especially girls, to consider a career in tech, by challenging them to design an app which could help their school or local community.
AWS GetIT simultaneously empowers female talent within the business to build confidence and leadership skills through a 10-month executive speaker training programme.
The women, known as AWS GetIT ambassadors, go on to use some of the skills they learn to mentor students at the schools involved in the school stream of the programme. This year, Ramat increased the total number of ambassadors to over 150 women, from across a variety of business units.
For Amazon UK’s Black Employee Network, and in collaboration with the Women@AmazonUK, Ramat curated a series of financial wellbeing workshops, after recognising the importance of financial literacy especially for women.
3) Diana Velarde, senior manager at Deals, PwC Mexico
In addition to her commercial role, Diana is also the director of the firm's first diversity and inclusion staff council. As part of her work within the council, she leads the gender inclusion efforts to reduce gaps, stereotypes, and unconscious bias both inside the firm and within its process, through conversations with senior leaders.
She supports women who suffer, or are at risk of suffering, any forms of gender-based violence inside PwC and her communities, by providing tools and a support network.
Diana co-founded the Deals Women Network (DWN), which promotes networking and skills development for women. To reduce female turnover in the DWN group, she advocates improving existing benefits for working mothers too.
Another programme she co-founded was Women in Mergers & Acquisitions Consulting. Her involvement in this project includes speaking in online forums focused on inviting female students and graduates to apply to Deals' open positions.
4) Amrit Teja, operations manager, Digital Acceleration, National Grid
Amrit Teja is an operations manager in the Digital Acceleration team at National Grid. Over the past 18 months, Amrit has driven the Inclusion agenda within National Grid, was appointed as co-chair of the Women in National Grid (WiNG) employee resource group and embarked on her current role helping to shape National Grid’s digital future.
Co-led by Amrit, WiNG promotes gender equality and the professional development of women. The diverse steering committee spans eight teams delivering projects across the business. The network has 400 members.
Whether it’s offering training and development, professional accreditation support, events, networking, mentoring, lean in circles, allyship or inclusive culture; WiNG is a powerhouse network.
During the pandemic, working full time and home schooling her children, Amrit ensured the continued success of WiNG and is now excited to focus on future projects around women in science, technology and the green workforce of the future.
5) Melisa Turano, head of sales – global liquidity and cash management, HSBC Bank Argentina
For three years (2017-19), Melisa chaired the BALANCE network at HSBC Argentina, engaging more than 100 colleagues to drive change towards a gender-balanced, inclusive and equitable workplace.
Melisa is also co-founder of HSBC’s (HSBA.L) Mujeres al Mundo (MAM), a programme aimed at accelerating women's economic inclusion and empowerment by way of providing training, networking, mentoring and financial services to female customers.
For MAM, Melisa has trained more than 100 relationship managers and developed a network of 30 women ambassadors to embed gender perspective in business positions. Up to date, over 2,000 businesswomen and entrepreneurs already signed up as part of MAM community, from which they have free access to an online training programme of 21 masterclasses on key business topics, along with mentoring days and networking meetings.
Also, from March 2021 to date, as part of MAM's financial proposal, HSBC disbursed $40m (£28.8m), with lower interest rates, to boost female-owned commercial projects. MAM is certainly changing the way we talk about gender across the financial system.
6) Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president, Islamic marketing, Ogilvy
As one of the few high-profile women of colour at Ogilvy, Shelina plays an active role in pushing the company’s diversity agenda, sitting on the inclusion boards of both Ogilvy and WPP.
She has served as a panellist next to the WPP CEO and the WPP UK CEO to discuss anti-racism and allyship in an internal WPP-wide 'safe room’.
As well as chairing key public and internal sessions, such as industry discussions on unconscious bias and women, Shelina has represented Ogilvy at International Women's Day events. In the past she has hosted a women’s speed mentoring scheme, and today she mentors junior talent herself with a focus on women and women of colour.
In August 2020, Shelina published a children's book called The Extraordinary Life of Serena Williams, serving to highlight strong female role models. In the same year she received Advertising Week's Future is Female award.
7) Alison Kessler, product director, IHS Markit
Alison founded Women@Englewood in order to help women at IHS Markit arrive at their full potential; to identify and connect with supporters of women at the firm; and to break barriers in the realm of diversity and inclusion.
Attendance of the group has now grown to more than 50 participants each month, with increased awareness, braver discussions, and a strong enthusiasm for the space to learn. Each meeting intentionally 'shares the mic' with women that might not have visibility, and intersectionality is emphasised through partnerships with other affinity groups.
Women@Englewood’s work prompted the publication of gender diversity stats at each level in the company, and led to discussions about the need for systemic changes.
In another role, as Americas Region Champion for the whole of the Women's Network, Alison has helped collaborate on activities across North and South America, including working on global programming such as the celebrations for International Women’s Day, which more than 400 people attended.
8) Leya Teo, sector lead, Edelman
An advocate for coaching, mentorship and learning opportunities, Leya has chaired the Global Women's Equality Network (GWEN) China at Edelman since 2017 - an internal initiative with a mission to continue to foster an environment where women and men of all backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunities to grow, lead and succeed in and beyond Edelman.
She has served as global lead for mentorship programmes and as APAC representative at International Women’s Forum World Leadership Conference Milan. She was also China lead for APAC DE&I Council.
Among the initiatives Leya has launched to engage more than 200 GWEN members was a SHERO Showcase, where strong female leaders in China are invited to Edelman offices to inspire colleagues.
Achievements so far include helping Edelman reach 49% gender parity amongst senior leaders compared to 30% three years ago in this region. Leya is named HERoes 100 Women Future Leaders List 2020 and shortlisted in Top 5 for Women Empowerment Awards in China – Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year 2021.
9) Jennie Koo, Head of Operations Risk Management, Capital One
When Jennie joined Capital One (COF) over two years ago, it was with the understanding that she would continue to drive a gender lens in the financial services sector.
She is currently the UK chapter co-lead for the internal gender business resource group empowHER, as well as serving on the UK Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Partners forum, which pushes for progress with initiatives such as getting more women into senior leadership roles.
She brings a gender lens to all activity and conversations including those within the REACH ethnicity network, and frequently takes part in collaborations between REACH and empowHER – such as career pathways to build community support outside of the organisation, actively engaging in local school career sessions.
Some of the key initiatives Jennie has been responsible for have included establishing safe space meetings to discuss key challenges; running regular bite-sized sessions where senior women share their five guiding principles; and expanding the mentoring programme to include reciprocal mentoring.
10) Rhonda Childress, business information security officer, IBM in support of Kyndryl
Whilst security organisations typically have 8% to 12% women, Rhonda's direct reports are 50% women and across the entire organisation, 24% of employees are female.
Rhonda is the executive sponsor of the Women in Security Excelling (WISE) network, which boasts over 400 members, and has been an active mentor to more than 30 women holding various positions throughout IBM (IBM), with 50% of these women achieving their primary outcome.
Furthermore, a third of women recently appointed to the role of distinguished engineer, the second highest technical rank, were directly mentored by Rhonda, as were 25% of the women appointed to the highest technical rank of IBM Fellows.
Externally, Rhonda mentors girls in a computer class at a high school in Austin, where her positive impact has included successfully encouraging a student to enrol in community college.
For the Austin Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, Rhonda serves as social media leader and helps organise events.
11) Stephanie Danner, senior director, Connections, Anheuser-Busch InBev
As senior director of connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), Stephanie is a female leader in a male-dominated industry, one of a select group of female partners at the company.
She is dedicated to creating an inclusive space within the beer industry for all. Her efforts to advocate for gender diversity in advertising and employment within the beer industry include working with recruiting teams to ensure a minimum of 50% of candidates for new positions on her team are diverse; partnering with external agencies to ensure the teams supporting the organisation are diverse; and recruiting on college campuses to attract more women into the company.
Stephanie has worked to promote and develop female leaders within the company by providing one-on-one mentoring to six women and hosting informal group mentoring through Women in Beer get-togethers and career panels.
She also serves as a captain for the Network of Executive Women within Anheuser-Busch InBev, an educational non-profit committed to advancing all women through the power of community.
12) Katy Goodrich, business manager, strategic growth, Adobe
As global executive co-chair of Women at Adobe (ADBE), Katy launched the group’s strategic pillars within UK&I, including establishing 23 women across tiger teams with a lens on professional development, recruitment, social impact, women's health and communications.
Each team has set a strategy and KPIs to help move the dial on key indicators of diversity in the business and its leadership.
After accepting the executive co-chair role in May this year, Katy has been partnering with stakeholders to advance the mission of women at Adobe globally.
Another way Katy has advanced the group’s mission has been through a women at Adobe speaker training, which saw 25 women participate in a three-month training to enhance their skills and gain opportunities for internal networking. Each participant filled out a profile, which was then referred to Adobe’s marketing and communications teams, expressing their interest in participating in future internal and external speaking opportunities.
13) Melanie Cook, vice-president, assistant general counsel – employment, Dollar General Corporation
At Dollar General (DG), Melanie is executive sponsor of the Women's Professional Network (WPN) ERG, which aims at empowering female colleagues and allies within the company.
She has been instrumental in the company-wide rollout of WPN and has led quarterly events to highlight women and the impact they can make at Dollar General and beyond.
Additionally, she has moderated panels including one of male executives who spoke on the significance of being an ally for workplace diversity, and another for the company's largest annual internal meeting where board members and senior leaders discussed the importance of female leadership.
As well as leading an all-female team, Melanie has served as a mentor to female colleagues and contributes to the formation of the company's D&I strategy, mission, and goals at quarterly Diversity Champions committee meetings.
14) Janelle Sasaki, director, EY Japan
Janelle Sasaki leads the strategy and initiatives of EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) for 200 women athletes and entrepreneurs globally, which has received several external recognitions.
With her 10-year experience as a gymnast, she addresses the needs of businesses to find diverse talent and women athletes on realising their leadership potential in the business world.
As a well-known expert on gender diversity, Janelle is invited to speak at international events including the American and British embassies in Tokyo. Most recently, as an ally of LGBT+ community, Janelle facilitated a WABN workshop at Pride House Tokyo.
Internally, she is a committee member of EY’s Women. Fast forward steering group. As the group’s leader for Asia-Pacific, Janelle manages campaigns and provides skill-building workshops for high potential female managers.
Janelle is a third generation Japanese American. Prior to EY, she served as the diversity and inclusion leader for a technology company in Asia-Pacific, where she launched the company-wide D&I strategy and addressed workplace challenges.
15) Margherita Fontana, EMEAI region purchasing director, Dow
This year, Margherita was named the global leader for the Dow (DOW) Women's Inclusion Network (WIN) ERG.
For four years prior to this she led Dow WIN in the EMEAI Region, helping to move the needle for female representation at leadership levels to 50%. Margherita was responsible for developing and implementing the group’s strategy, including setting up a female sponsorship programme.
Established in partnership with INSEAD Business School, it was the first ever sponsorship programme for female talent in the EMEAI region. Within 18 months, 50% of the female talent who participated had been promoted to leadership roles.
Last year, Margherita developed the second cohort of the programme, which is aiming to help promote 80% of the 36 women participating within 24 months. Other initiatives she has headed up have included attaining an equal pay certification for Dow Switzerland and sponsoring the role model stories of Dow’s Hidden Heroes.
16) Joanne Michelle Manalo, service delivery enablement and integration lead, Accenture
Michelle leads Accenture Women’s Network (AWN) of Accenture (ACN) in the Philippines’ client experience operations.
The group’s objective is to make women and women’s advocates feel empowered, connected and valued, something that Michelle pushes for through a number of key initiatives such as the monthly Women’s Talk events, which average between 100 and 150 attendees, and provide an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
Other initiatives have so far covered themes around working parents, men championing women, and mental health and wellness.
For International Women’s Day 2021 a special Stand Up and Stand Out event was held, which challenged gender misconceptions, and had an attendance of nearly 350 people.
Since March 2021, Michelle has also served as a sponsor for the Google’s #IAmRemarkable initiative that strives to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments and promote themselves to others, breaking gender-related modesty norms.
17) Margaret Gribben, performance manager, Irish Life
Margaret leads several gender equity initiatives at Irish Life, including the Women@Work gender networking group, the Women@Work steering group and the female leader development group.
She has successfully instigated gender balance targets, winning board approval for her approach and managing an action plan that not only delivered these targets but exceeded them.
Subsequently, Margaret has gone on to create Irish Life’s inaugural gender dashboard, which now includes recruitment data, and has authored board papers highlighting the progress made.
Her other achievements include raising the engagement and attendance on the company’s flagship Women@Work Programme with 80% of female employees actively participating; leading International Women’s Day company celebrations; working with cognitive diversity assessments to understand leader preferences; introducing group-wide mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes; and mainstreaming diversity and inclusion into talent management. All of which has contributed to a substantial increase in the inclusion score within Irish Life’s annual engagement survey.
18) Juliana Puntel, lawyer, Mattos Filho
Juliana is a lawyer at Mattos Filho, an international law firm based in Brazil, and part of 4Women, a group that works to boost gender equity and promote women to leadership positions through training, mentoring, and the creation of an increasingly strong and welcoming professional network.
In 2016, the 4Women programme was named by Chambers and Partners as ‘Best Gender Diversity Initiative’ and in 2019, the same programme was recognised by Valor Econômico and Women in Leadership Latin America in the ‘Women in Leadership’ category.
Juliana is involved in several pro bono initiatives offered by the firm to feminist and women’s organisations in Brazil, such as Instituto Alziras, Instituto AzMina, Me Too Brasil (that is starting in Brazil), Reprograma, Mulher em Construção, Mães na Luta, LeME (Leite Materno na Escola), DIVAM (Debates Integrados pela Valorização e Atendimento das Mulheres) and Empodera and Coletivo O Berço.
All these projects are focused on women’s rights or offered to vulnerable women. Among them, Juliana contribution to the creation of Casa Sueli Carneiro should be highlighted, since it is an important institution that honours Sueli’s black feminist activism.
19) Jennifer Ozdinec, senior technology strategist, BNY Mellon
Jennifer is BNY Mellon’s senior technology strategist, agile transformation Lead.
She has been instrumental in developing the Women in Technology (WIT) brand, serving as the Americas lead and overseeing programming for New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and LATAM.
In June 2020, she was recognised as a diversity, equity and inclusion champion at BNY Mellon for her efforts launching the #SitWithMe internal campaign, focused on driving awareness of WIT through conversations about global diversity.
Most recently, Jennifer organised a virtual mobility event for hiring managers to meet directly with the WIT talent pool to increase diverse hiring and improve the attrition of women technologists at BNY Mellon.
20) KC Boas, vice-president, Retirement Group, BlackRock
KC’s achievements to promote gender equality at BlackRock (BLK) include founding the Women in RG network; establishing a next generation leadership development programme; and placing a focus on bridging the retirement gender savings gap through career development, community building and industry engagement.
Over the last few years, KC has had the responsibility of leading BlackRock’s global campaign for International Women’s Day, engaging thousands of employees in a gender equality pledge, orchestrating regional events, and curating the firm’s social media presence.
She has also spearheaded 23 small-group discussions, which generated more than 1,000 ideas on developing female leaders at BlackRock.
In 2021, KC was the inaugural recipient of BlackRock’s DE&I Leaders Award, which recognises employees for their dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion outside their day job and is awarded based on impact achieved within the firm. Her work on diversity initiatives has also won KC the Heart of BlackRock award.
Catherine Wright, vice-president, Bank of Ireland
Catherine is co-chair of the bank’s Corporate & Markets Gender Balance Network and also chair of the UK Network where she is involved in managing a number of initiatives, including organising diversity and inclusion focussed events, whilst engaging with key stakeholders to grow the bank's inclusive culture.
As part of International Women's Day, Catherine spearheaded a series of high-impact Women in Business & Finance webinars with a diverse group of industry leading panellists, including female chairs and CFOs across the corporate sector, achieving the highest net promoter score of any bank event.
Catherine formally mentors upcoming women within the organisation and is also a UK representative of the Psychological Safety working group, where she has been developing ideas and taking action to help women feel psychologically safe.
Externally, Catherine supports and empowers millennial women through bespoke mentorship and coaching. In 2021, she founded the Women in Business Society, a global membership community providing opportunities for professional females to share knowledge, network and create impactful connections.
Rabi Wilson, head of business case and benefits, Help to Grow Digital
At the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rabi initiated and set up working groups to address issues on allyship, women's health, and women's safety including sexual harassment.
After developing a programme of work to engage colleagues, and in particular men in senior leadership positions, to better understand gender equality, the Women Empowered Network saw an increase in membership from allies.
Rabi was also responsible for launching 'Allies Hours', which invites a diverse range of speakers to discuss effective allyship to women and individual actions to promote gender equity, in cross-thematic conversations related to women in business and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) amongst others.
In 2020, Rabi had strategic oversight of the network’s first interactive 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence across the department.
Rabi champions a safe space for awareness-raising discussions focused on women's health, aiming to better equip staff to have honest conversations about conditions that predominantly affect women and the impacts in the workplace.
Gillian Russell, senior programme manager, global military affairs, Amazon
Gillian is a Royal Navy veteran and military spouse who joined Amazon three years ago with the objective of increasing military hiring at the company.
When she arrived she immediately realised that solely increasing the number of veteran hires would do little to impact diversity, so she instigated specific measures to attract female candidates and those with different backgrounds and education.
Working with recruiters and hiring managers, she dispelled myths regarding the perceived lack of transferable skills that military personnel, and their spouses, bring to business.
In addition to designing and executing tailored events, some exclusively for women, to ensure that military leavers understood the breadth of roles available at Amazon, Gillian also managed Amazon’s sponsorship of the Women's Army and Navy rugby game at Twickenham in 2018, which highlighted the company's commitment to the female military community. In 2020, 33 female veterans joined the company, making up 11% of hires.
Sultana Tafadar, barrister, No 5 Chambers
Sultana is a human rights, international law and criminal justice barrister. She is the first chair of the new Religious Discrimination Task Force at the Bar Standards Board (BSB), supporting the delivery of the BSB's statutory objectives to improve equality of outcomes for those in the profession.
As a hijab-wearing female from an ethnic minority background, Sultana has consistently encouraged candidates from diverse backgrounds to enter the legal profession, speaking at dozens of events every year to promote diversity, including at universities and other institutions.
Sultana has mentored scores of aspiring barristers throughout her career, most often female mentees from diverse racial, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
As chair of the Muslim Lawyers Action Group, Sultana is spearheading a mentoring programme for the hiring, retention and progression of minorities in the legal profession, including a new programme for increasing the number of judges and Queen's Counsels from racial, ethnic and faith minorities, with a particular emphasis on supporting gender diversity.
Rebekah Bostan, director – asset valuation, IHS Markit
Rebekah joined InsTech London in July 2021, having previously worked for almost 15 years for IHS Markit. One of the key features of Rebekah's time at IHS Markit was a focus on proactively seeking out opportunities to progress female talent within the organisation, in partnership with HR.
During her time at IHS Markit, she mentored senior leadership on issues that predominantly affect women, such as menopause and flexible working, culminating in the implementation of global awareness programmes focused on both those issues and an award from TimeWise in recognition of her efforts.
As Chair of Parents@IHSMarkit, Rebekah worked with HR to launch a Global Parental Leave Support programme and Global Parental Leave Buddy Scheme. She was also an active mentor for the latter, as well as the Women in Tech programme. Additionally, as co-lead of the Innovation Month, she was able to facilitate a 50% increase in the representation of female and minority groups in the programme over 2020.
Caroline Israel, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group
In addition to her role as a partner in the firm’s consumer practice, Caroline leads diversity, equity and inclusion and Women@BCG for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Australia & New Zealand.
In 2019, BCG Australia moved to equalise leave for all new parents regardless of gender or caregiver status. Under Caroline’s leadership, the programme has grown to over 90% participation from eligible staff.
Caroline has championed the de-gendering of working parenthood, with 20% of female and 10% of male managers working on flex models.
To complement existing women's and Pride networks, Caroline amplified employee action groups around culture & ethnicity, First Nations and disability inclusion. They run intersectional programming and affiliation activities such as a ‘True Colours’ storytelling series where diverse individuals are invited to share their lived experiences with colleagues, and a Women@BCG conference with over 150 attendees.
Under Caroline’s leadership the local diversity network has more than quadrupled, with more than 100 employee champions across six engagement pillars driving grassroots change.
Lauren Fuller, customer journey developer, Natwest Group
At the NatWest Group (NWG.L) Gender Network, Lauren has taken on the roles of strategy committee lead, East regional lead, and communications and marketing deputy lead.
Her diversity and inclusion work includes building an internal awards support hub to encourage more women at NatWest to nominate themselves for awards. As a result, in 2020 the bank saw an uplift of more than 40 women being shortlisted for awards externally.
In addition the financial capability programme she developed to support women with closing financial gaps helped almost 1,000 women with managing their finances, and the Lean In programme she launched currently has 13 circles running with 200 people involved.
Other programmes Lauren has kickstarted include Google’s #IAmRemarkable initiative, which involved 31 facilitators delivering workshops to over 400 colleagues in less than three months. As well as being an inclusion champion, Lauren was a winner of the bank’s 2021 Amethyst Award for Gender Inclusion.
Caroline Spence, UK Risk Reporting Manager, AXA
Caroline chairs the AXA Balance Employee Network, which focuses on gender equality supporting and working families.
In 2021, the network released a flexible working hub designed to help employees understand what flexible working arrangements were available; to normalise taking advantage of them; to empower employees to start conversations with managers; and to escalate issues.
Caroline also supported the creation and launch of a Women's Wellbeing Hub, to allow men and women across the organisation to understand and engage with the issues faced by women in the workplace, and to provide a supportive resource for women.
A 'People Like Me' vlog series was also created, spotlighting those living the life they choose and not letting prejudice, stereotypes or perceived shortcomings prevent them from achieving their goals.
Later this year, the domestic abuse policy and hub that Caroline has helped to design will go live, with the aim of helping employees to normalise conversations and create a safe environment for anyone suffering.
Candice Tse, managing director – US head of market strategy within the strategic advisory solutions team, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Candice is a dedicated manager, mentor, diversity recruiter, and advocate for women, committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment throughout the firm.
She developed an investing framework titled ‘EMPOWER the Female Investor’ to help women gain confidence in investing and take control of their finances, and conducted, produced, and published research for the firm on the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on the gender gap.
As the co-head of the Asian Professionals Network, she ensured that the group took an intersectional approach to its programming so it would address issues specific to women within the Asian community, such as breaking the bamboo ceiling and addressing the model minority myth.
Candice also participates in mentorship pods supporting Asian women, promoting their continued development and professional advancement, and strengthening the diversity of the Goldman Sachs (GS) talent pipeline. She leads diversity recruiting efforts for the Asset Management Division.
Olivia Maguire, fund manager, JP Morgan Asset Management
At JP Morgan (JPM) Asset Management, Olivia instituted and chaired EMEA Women on The Move in Asset Management, and EMEA Women on The Move in Fixed Income.
The ‘Innovate & Inspire’ conference series she organised for internal and external attendees included ‘Investing in your Connections’, designed to encourage the building of networks, while ‘Investing in your Future’ highlighted mentoring, environmental, social, and governance (ESG)), technology and being 'board-ready’.
The fourth annual ‘Defining Success’ panel facilitated an opportunity for junior employees to hear from senior female and male leaders, including the CEO, and a parental leave discussion held with male leaders aimed to increase awareness and encourage male take-up.
Olivia is a partner for the Male Ambassador Programme, a cohort of 50 senior male managing directors committed to being allies for female employees, mentoring young emerging female talent, and encouraging their teams to do the same.
Externally, Olivia chairs CFA UK's Inclusion & Diversity Committee and is personally committed to various diversity initiatives.
Yasmine Dong, senior policy adviser, UK Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy
In her role as joint head of events, learning and development, and volunteers for the Women Empowered Network at UK's Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Yasmine has raised the profile of the network internally and externally by aligning gender equality initiatives with departmental strategy and increasing collaboration with cross-government and private sector allies.
Throughout the pandemic, Yasmine revamped the network’s events offer to accommodate new ways of working with a focus on community. This involved creating a bespoke programme called Elevenses, which provided safe spaces to discuss challenging issues including gender pay gap and returning to work while breastfeeding.
She also led the network's delivery of the first 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, where she curated thought-provoking sessions on topics ranging from sexual harassment in the workplace to victims’ safe access to justice.
Externally, she provides pro-bono legal advice at the Waterloo Action Centre where she particularly focuses on representing victims of domestic violence and those affected with respect to their legal rights.
Jeanette Gitobu, project developer, Windlab
Jeanette joined Windlab as the only Black female project developer working on Africa’s first of its kind renewable power project, Meru County Energy Park, in November 2019.
The $150m project is an innovative 90 MW power project that combines wind turbines, solar PV technology, and battery storage capabilities. It involves more than 1,700 landowners with approximately 27% of the owners being women, who will receive income over the lifetime of the project.
Jeanette has successfully worked with senior management to ensure that women empowerment and women-led companies are given preferential procurement during feasibility and construction phases, in addition to ensuring that women’s voices will be represented in the Community Trust which is responsible for developing projects in education, health, agriculture, and access to clean water.
This year, Jeanette was chosen out of 200 candidates to represent the Kenyan emerging market at the Women in Wind Global Leadership programme hosted by the Global Wind Energy Council.
Nikki Jamieson, transformation manager, NatWest Group
Currently a transformation manager at Natwest Group, Nikki has taken on additional roles to progress the diversity and inclusion agenda.
She is an inclusion and gender champion, lead for the intergenerational workforce, member of the Gender Balanced Steering Group and an LGBT, disability, ethnicity and neurodiversity ally.
She’s coached and mentored many women including executives, senior managers, software engineers and graduates. These experiences led to opportunities to speak at events including ‘Neuroscience during COVID-19' and ‘Resilience and Positive Mental Health in Women’.
In both the all-female Bereavement Café and in a panel looking at mental health in women and the return to the office, Nikki shared her advice and experience of loss.
During lockdown, she took two additional female graduates onto her team, coaching them on soft skills and strategies they’ll need to succeed in a complex and largely male environment.
Lastly, she is coaching women with autism - having disclosed she has Asperger's syndrome as well as multiple sclerosis.
Dipti Kulkarni, vice-president, senior business support manager, Bank of America
Dipti is a business support manager for the consumer, Small Business and Wealth Management Technology team.
As a decade-long advocate for diversity and inclusion, she received Bank of America’s (BAC) Global Diversity and Inclusion award in 2019. A member of the bank’s Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development for Women employee network, she was a panellist at its ‘The Power of Your Authentic Voice’ event to inspire women to raise their voice and recruit male allies.
She mentors young, diverse female talent through many bank partnerships to encourage their interest in and pursuit of careers in technology.
Other efforts to promote gender equity include championing the inaugural Chief Operating Office Innovation challenge to continue to promote inclusive workspaces and foster innovation, as well as her involvement in organising the ‘Courageous Conversation: Coming together against racism’ event co-hosted by the Asian Leadership Network, the Black Professional Group, and the Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement at Bank of America.
Amanda Scott, managing director, Willis Towers Watson
Amanda is a senior leader at Willis Towers Watson and advises clients on organisational transformation, gender equity, inclusion and diversity, climate, talent management, rewards and leadership.
Amanda launched a diversity and inclusion programme within the firm to drive employee experience and a culture of inclusivity. The programme includes ‘diverse diversity’ to encourage broader thinking about diversity, an educating matters series, promotion coaching, mentoring scheme, diversified hiring processes, recognition, and community impact through a partnership with Inspiring the Future.
Amanda is passionate about mental health issues, a gender balanced workforce and ESG issues.
She founded the mental health charity Mike’s Mates, and sits on the board of Global Women 4 Wellbeing. Amanda regularly publishes industry thought leadership, provides commentary to the UK press and social media and is an active public speaker. Amanda recently led a lecture masterclass series across Europe communicating key issues about the future of work to tens of thousands of delegates.
René Lumley-Hall, chief operating officer, Corporate Technology, BNY Mellon
As COO, Corporate Technology, René has made a tremendous impact so far in her four-year tenure at BNY Mellon, to include hiring and coaching 11 women of varying ethnic, educational and professional backgrounds in support of the firm’s Digital and Product Management efforts.
She successfully promoted high performing women on her team, ensuring their compensation was commensurate with their contributions, and has advocated for and mentored women on a formal and informal basis.
René also sits on the invitation-only IMPACT Black Leadership Forum, a group of senior Black leaders across BNY Mellon who serve as catalysts for promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Lin Yue, executive director, Goldman Sachs
Lin is a multi-award winning thought leader, keynote speaker, an original thinker in delivering the intersection of diversity, culture and psychology to business.
Alongside her executive director role at Goldman Sachs, Lin informs management about East Asians’ experiences. She led a Lunar New Year event for the Asian Pacific Network, delivering a keynote speech on ‘China – A Personal Journey’, and a ‘What did you hear me say?’ diversity session, where she partnered with senior female clients to drive changes across the industry.
She articulates East Asian professionals' experience and leads discussion on Stop Asian Hate and Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling, focusing on intersectionality of gender and race.
She has created groundbreaking talk series such as 'If the World listens to China', to inspire vital curiosity about China and the influence it will have, and 'How to find your voice' to empower more women. She influences via leadership positions at Diversity Project, UK Chinese Women Connect, and Rising Network.
Seema Bansal, partner and director, Boston Consulting Group
As only the second woman to be recruited into Boston Consulting Group India, Seema pioneered the Women@BCG India programme, driving a rigorous agenda from recruiting to retention as well as mentorship and enablement.
As the group’s membership has increased, the focus has now evolved into supporting women to aim for larger leadership roles, an objective orchestrated through bold aspiration setting and individually focused mentoring.
Today, BCG has more than 35% female representation, including over 20% at leadership levels - significantly higher than BCG's peer group and directly comparable to the best-in-class in India.
Seema is also the Asia Pacific Leader for the Social Impact practice at BCG. This leadership position sees her regularly deliver lectures, host discussions and be a part of senior panels within and outside BCG – inspiring scores of women via these channels. Seema’s biggest focus externally has been on inspiring young female students – and she speaks at more than 10 Indian university campuses every year.
Bola Adesina, founder and co-chair of Culture Club, Legal & General Investment Management
Bola has worked tirelessly to empower women and ethnic minorities, both in the tech sector and within the workplace.
As a member of the C-suite led Women in Technology (WIT) forum, she has represented the company at cross industry events such as the Women of Silicon Roundabout, where networking opportunities are promoted and best practices and insights shared.
Her appearances at these events have encouraged other junior women in tech to stay put and to look to their role model for guidance as they navigate a male-dominated industry.
Bola is also founder and co-chair of Culture Club, where she works to ensure an inclusive workplace by collaborating with stakeholders at all levels, gaining buy-in, and aligning diversity initiatives with overall business strategy. Her experiences with Culture Club have led her to mentor and coach other ERG leads to build an effective intersectional diversity and inclusion outcome.
Nina Ma, technology, data & analytics senior associate, PwC
At PwC, Nina is an active member of the Midlands' committee and the national communications team of the Gender Balance Network (GBN), where she regularly contributes to the weekly digests and monthly newsletters to talk about gender-related issues.
She has organised many successful events to raise awareness of gender equality within the firm and also with clients, including International Women's Day events, discussion clubs and Everyday Sexism initiatives.
Nina is also part of the Women in Technology, Data & Analytics (WiTDA) team, which aims to create an environment where everyone feels empowered, inspired and supported to bring their authentic self to work. The special initiative she supports within WiTDA helps women at the manager level break the glass ceiling and progress further in their careers.
Nina has spoken at many internal and external events and conferences, including for the Diversity Network, Generation Success, Females of the Future and Women in Tech.
Chidi Onyeche, associate, Latham & Watkins
Chidi has successfully led Latham's award-winning Black Lawyers Group (BLG) in London for two years.
Based on this success and on her track record as an associate, Chidi made history as Latham's youngest affinity group global leader. In this role she has been instrumental in the recruitment, retention and promotion of black women.
Her efforts have included mentoring and training each group of BLG trainees since 2017; hosting events focusing on black female excellence; assisting in creating safe communities and housing for orphans impacted by the Rwandan genocide; establishing an internal system within the London Women Lawyers Group to nominate exemplary female attorneys for awards and co-founding The Ultimate Guide Group to empower and educate the black community on careers, finances, wellness and property.
She has also assisted in the expansion of Latham’s pro bono partnerships with organisations supporting the black community, including the Making of Black Britain and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants to help individuals impacted by the Windrush scandal.
Elena Gonzalez Malloy, investment associate, Bridgewater Associates
Elena Gonzalez Malloy is an investment associate at Bridgewater Associates, a team lead in the group that runs and develops systematic strategies for investing in commodity markets, and is a founding member of the firm’s Hispanic/Latinx Network.
Elena helps advance Bridgewater’s diversity and inclusion initiatives by working with Bridgewater's investment recruiting team to help engage previously untapped pools of minority talent, with a particular focus on women STEM candidates.
She regularly represents Bridgewater at recruiting conferences where she advises on how to prepare for careers in the financial services industry, covering topics like application processes and finding mentorship and how to create immediate impact when starting a new role.
Elena has led efforts to examine Bridgewater's investment training programme to ensure it was optimal and inclusive for all. Externally, Elena is a volunteer with the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs where she helps immigrant members of the Hispanic/ Latinx community through educational programmes on their legal rights and available pathways to citizenship.
Anne Collins, senior associate – dispute resolution, Clifford Chance
At Clifford Chance, Anne is responsible for helping to ensure the firm is targeting pro bono support towards issues that particularly affect women and girls.
She jointly led a global team of lawyers on a pro bono project for an international NGO in support of its campaign for the reform of national laws and practices regarding protections against violence and harassment at work. These efforts were significant in promoting engagement across Clifford Chance's global gender parity Accelerate>>> network.
For the past two years, Anne has also acted for a not-for-profit sporting organisation which supports women and girls, seeking protection and justice for female players alleging systemic sexual abuse by officials.
In 2020, Anne was a finalist in both the Inspirational Women Awards in the Under 35 category and the Law Works Pro Bono Awards in the Best Contribution as an Individual category.
Eunice Heath, corporate director, environment, health & safety and sustainability, Dow
Eunice is actively engaged in the Women's Inclusion Network’s (WIN) +5 programme, which matches up-and-coming female employees with potential mentors.
For this scheme, she has provided mentoring and coaching support for women across functions including supply chain, purchasing, commercial, R&D and manufacturing.
Through these engagements, female leaders have successfully been able to position themselves for broader accountability within their current roles as well as for promotions.
As the keynote speaker for Dow WIN’s partnership with EY, Eunice actively shared her personal experiences throughout her career as an African American woman, wife and business leader. As a result of authentically telling her story, many young female leaders asked Eunice to serve as their mentor for her to coach them through challenging business and personal situations, whilst male leaders in attendance recognised the importance of allyship.
Jane Green, chair and champion advocate, Sussex EDS and Hypermobility Group
Jane promotes accessibility issues in all areas, including with a gender lens. She believes we need 360-degree insight into accessibility issues, which has been particularly relevant during COVID.
Jane designed COVID-19 alert cards, free, as all the main charities were in lockdown and unable to help. They now sit on the Department of Health and Social Care.
She also designed online cards so women could be fully included in virtual meetings by offering different means of communicating.
Jane founded and chairs the multi-award winning charitable social enterprise and chronic ill/disability group mainly for all women, plus Autism Connected for autistic/neurodivergent adult women and those who are non-binary, who have historically been left out of any support or belief.
The first autistic trustee for the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Jane sits on the DE&I Gender Equality, Diversity steering and co-production group.
Recently, she was co-chair for the National Institute of Health research and policy lead for autism health training medical students. She also leads the content on the new hypermobility School Toolkit UK and oversees health strategies.
Sarah Hepworth, business manager, London Stock Exchange Group
At the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG.L), Sarah participates in and promotes all the Women Inspired Network’s internal and external events, ensuring new joiners are connected to this network if they wish to be.
During the pandemic and the summer of the Black Lives Matter protests, Sarah and her team swiftly recognised the impact external events were having on Black colleagues and their experience working in the city. They sourced relevant external partners to support coaching and counselling for Black staff, and following a successful pilot they have now had approval to develop this into the current employee assistance programme, which ensures black, Asian and other ethnic minority colleagues have a counsellor or coach they can relate to and connect with.
In 2020, Sarah facilitated a virtual panel event with LSEG’s COO and the COO of their external partner City Mental Health alliance, where they talked about mental health, race, and diversity and inclusion.
Gerardine Doyle, associate dean of the University College Dublin College of Business
As director of the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Gerardine was responsible for leading the school's first dedicated female recruitment campaign, which is aiming to increase the number of women on MBA and MSc Finance programmes up to 40% within three years and 50% within five years.
Since 2018, the average percentage of women in these programmes has already increased from 49% to 54%.
As well as creating a new executive MBA programme designed specifically with women in mind, in order to address key barriers including flexibility, confidence and cost, Gerardine also established three new scholarships for women and one new DE&I scholarship, the first of its kind in an Irish business School.
Additionally, the Smurfit Women Inspiring More initiative co-founded by Gerardine, along with students and alumni, was designed to raise awareness of challenges that women face when transitioning from education to a professional environment, and to form a network where these topics can be safely discussed.
Samantha Price, head of client solutions – RPOne, Morson
Samantha is the founder of the Morson Group Diversity Champions.
Her achievements in promoting gender equality include launching a series of reverse mentoring sessions for directors from the company’s population of future female leaders; formalising a partnership with Women in Rail including sponsoring its Big Rail Diversity Challenge and its mentoring programme; and extending the group-wide Diversity Champions network to ensure it is gender balanced and includes all under-represented groups.
She was also responsible for launching a Women Leaders in Transport network together with Telent, Siemens, Crossrail and TfL.
Most recently, Samantha has introduced an ‘inclusion moment’ for every meeting, put in place plans for inclusive meeting training, and finalised and promoted the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Inclusion Report.
Her work on gender inclusion within the Morson Group and its client base played a pivotal role in their awards recognition, receiving the accolade for the Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy by the Firm Awards.
Lara Byrne, director, global digital commerce, Fiserv
Lara is head of the Women's Impact Network (WIN) in EMEA at Fiserv. She has overseen the launch of WIN in Ireland, the UK and Poland, with Germany, Slovakia and the Netherlands launching later this year.
Under Lara’s leadership, the network is dedicated to building gender equality by empowering, supporting, developing and advancing the careers of women, and cultivating an environment where women are represented at every level and in every corner of Fiserv.
Lara’s activities are primarily focused on building a platform for networking and career development; partnering with external organisations to support women-owned businesses; spotlighting topics previously taboo in the workplace like menopause, fertility and maternity; and funding women-specific development programmes.
Lara has always been passionate about empowering women in her industry and making a difference to women's enjoyment of their work and their belief in their ability to develop, progress and thrive both professionally and personally.
WIN provides a forum for women to discuss challenges and share experience without judgement, and to relate to and support one another in a meaningful way. Lara also mentors five associates at Fiserv, with the objective of making an impact on others which lasts even in her absence.
Paola Maffezzoni, head of marketing & communication, GroupM and PR & marketing Director, WPP Italy
Paola is operations director of the WPP Winspire Board, a cross-agencies WPP Italy project inspired by the WPP Stella Project, whose aim is supporting and promoting female talents and leadership with internal and external audiences and stakeholders.
The group collaborates with big players in the industry such as Google and Facebook in order to create events, speeches and roundtables on gender equality and diversity.
Some of the initiatives Paola has been responsible for organising have included ‘Fast Forward Women’ training with Facebook, inspiring women in their careers; a WPP ‘#IAmRemarkable’ workshop in collaboration with Google Italia; the first ‘Lean In: about your circle’ event; and a pro-bono activity day to support women in the world of technology and entrepreneurship.
For International Women’s Day, Paola organised a roundtable with SheTech and Facebook, which engaged two role-models with different backgrounds, belonging to different generations.
Sabrina Pyneeandy, project manager, Aon
At Aon (AON), Sabrina is co-chair of both the Gender Inclusion Network and the Gender IQ business resource group.
She has played a pivotal role in Aon UK's mission to strive for gender parity by running events for International Women's Day, International Men's Day and Non-Binary Day across the country.
As well as developing key diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives, Sabrina has been working with HR on the gender pay gap and women's issues, particularly women's safety. She has spoken out about men’s rights, toxic masculinity, the andropause (male menopause) and menstrual leave, and has changed the narrative at Aon for non-binary colleagues, including by sharing how this narrative change could benefit clients.
Sabrina’s work running the industry-wide Gender Inclusion Network has seen her create a gender strategy from ideation through to execution. She has helped use the network’s position within the sector to offer insightful events and informative content to advocates, allies and mentors.
Sophie Salway, geomatics consultant, Shell
Sophie’s achievements as chair of Shell’s (RDSB.L) Balance Employee Network have included delivering programmes to develop female talent with the overall goal of achieving gender balance.
The mentoring scheme had 52 joiners to five mentoring circles, and the staff development programme resulted in reviews of career development plans of over-60 employees.
Sophie’s teams' initiatives to retain female STEM talent included a dedicated session on 'Accelerating Technical Careers’ and two panel sessions on International Women’s Day and International Women in Engineering Day.
Sophie served as a focal point for female staff after long career breaks in the government Return to Work programme.
In order to take further steps to transform company culture, Sophie and her team organised the Role Model Awards, where 412 staff voted to recognised their diversity and inclusion champions, and celebrated International Men's Day, creating 200 information packs on men's health. Collectively these initiatives contributed to Shell's application to become a Times Top 50 Employer for Women.
Namita Singh Thakur, business manager, LinkedIn UK
Namita Singh Thakur leads Global Strategic Accounts for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in the UK.
She is also co-chair of the Women@LinkedIn ERG for EMEA, co-leading the operations across 10 countries where LinkedIn has a presence. The ERG's mission is to create an inclusive community that empowers women to advance their careers whilst being their authentic selves.
LinkedIn has made great strides in gender diversity and currently prides itself on achieving gender parity across all levels of the organisation. Throughout the year and across EMEA, Women@LinkedIn has found ways to bring its mission alive through a line-up of events, learning and development programmes, workshops and speaker series.
Besides her formal involvement in the ERG, Namita regularly participates in speaking engagements related to women's education, empowerment and endorsement. She is particularly perceptive about women and their role in corporate life and personal experiences that have shaped their journeys. This has enabled her to help and create impact for women around her.
Lillian Bijl, senior director, account management, FiscalNote
At FiscalNote, Lillian co-founded the DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) Task Force, which, among a number of initiatives, facilitates cross-company discussions around equity and gender diversity in the workplace.
As well as actively seeking women candidates for open roles as a hiring manager, Lillian has mentored younger women professionals on career development, supporting two internal promotions.
She has also pressed senior leadership to expand the board of advisers/directors to include more women, with the addition of two new female members.
Externally, Lillian is a member of the DC Young Leaders Council of Vital Voices, the local chapter of a global organisation which invests in the women leaders who are taking on the world's greatest challenges.
She also served as a judge on the WE Empower United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Challenge, assessing applications to help advance participants to the next round in an international competition for funding for women entrepreneurs.
Lillian is also a sustaining member of the centre for Feminist Foreign Policy.
Aisha Adedeji, digital engagement manager, Barclays
Aisha is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council of Barclays (BARC.L), as well as the Black Professional Forum and the Women’s Inclusion Network.
She has hosted various events including ‘Women In Business’ conferences held at the head office of the bank. These events were hosted internally but open to external female entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs.
The impact of the events on the bank’s reputation and income included on-boarding more than 20 new female business clients who were impressed by the offering.
Aisha is also part of an initiative titled Ethnically Diverse Founders, a programme launching in 2021 and aimed at educating businesses on a variety of matters including access to finance, digital engagement and growth. She pioneered the initiative to ensure the selection process includes a 50:50 male to female ratio.
Externally, Aisha runs Youtube channel The Hustle Table, which aims to empower young women in their career aspirations.
Sarah Dal Pozzo, executive adviser – banking risk, KPMG
After joining KPMG’s Network of Women (KNOW) in 2014, Sarah became the national co-chair in 2021. She is also the chair of the Leeds network, where she drives events covering important but often overlooked topics such as impostor syndrome and menopause, as well as tackling issues around women's safety.
Sarah represents KNOW on the MyLeeds committee which runs events for International Women's Day, International Men's Day and Mental Health Awareness Week. She hosted KPMG's flagship International Women's Day 2021 event which achieved more than 800 attendees globally.
In her performance leader role, Sarah actively challenges leadership to consider diversity, leading to the recent promotion of three women to director roles, where previously there was no female representation.
She was also responsible for arranging for KPMG Leeds to support Smart Works, a national charity which helps women to re-enter the workplace after an absence or due to difficult background circumstances by providing clothing, coaching and interview preparation.
Mamaa Duker, associate director, business development, WPP
Mamaa has led Roots, WPP's ethnic and cultural diversity employee network since 2019. The group actively amplifies ethnic minority voices within the business, particularly those of ethnic minority women.
Her work to expand Roots and embed inclusive thinking throughout the global network has led the community to grow by more than 400% since 2017, with 160% more agencies participating.
In 2020, Roots expanded to the Netherlands and Canada, with ongoing expansions into Australia and Asia.
Rallying WPP’s people and leaders to support women in the business through times of distress and grief has been another of Mamaa’s priorities.
In response to Sarah Everard's murder, rising Asian hate crimes and India's COVID crisis, Mamaa built and hosted educational resource libraries and held safe room discussions to encourage judgment-free conversations. She is also committed to ensuring female voices are overrepresented both at Roots events and in speaker nominations for WPP town halls.
Mary Alice Kirby, senior director, inventory accounting, Dollar General
Mary Alice served as the first president of Dollar General's Women's Professional Network (WPN), one of five ERGs that work to leverage differences and build a more inclusive culture consistent with the company’s mission and core values.
The WPN strives to cultivate an inclusive and empowering women's group through networking, leadership, and educational opportunities, as well as partner with national and regional chapters of the Network of Executive Women.
Mary Alice also launched Ignite, a women’s development programme designed to boost WPN participants’ career progression, and was instrumental in expanding the WPN company-wide.
Additionally, Mary Alice promoted support for women in the workplace through an internal #ChoosetoCelebrate campaign during the 2021 Women's History Month, empowering and inspiring women and their allies. She also regularly participates in a mentorship programme, providing guidance to upcoming female leaders at Dollar General.
Amandeep Khasriya, senior associate, Moore Barlow and founder, Women Back to Law
As co-founder of Moore Barlow's Women in Leadership group, as well as co-chair of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Amandeep played a key role in the firm's application to a gender pilot programme run by the Law Society for its Diversity and Inclusion Charter.
In the process, she secured senior buy-in; created a 'self-assessment' team; and helped to prepare a submission which involved collecting, analysing and presenting gender diversity data, in addition to researching benchmarking statistics from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Her contribution is now helping the Law Society to develop a final version of the charter and the firm has since then celebrated a milestone at leadership level, with its equity partner female to male ratio now sitting at 50:50.
Outside of Moore Barlow, Amandeep plays an active role as a committee member of the Law Society's Women Lawyers Division and as a mentor within the Reignite programme, and has been heavily involved in high-profile projects that promote gender equality.
Ligia Lima Godoy, senior associate, Mattos Filho
Since 2019, Ligia has been one of the three leaders of the Women of the Arbitration and Litigation Team, a support group of 80 whose main purpose is to provide a space of comfort, encouragement and debate about the main challenges that women face within society and the legal business.
Besides having conversations during which women of different levels of seniority share their personal experiences, Ligia also brings outside guests to speak to the group. She is particularly responsible for coordinating the monthly meetings, suggesting topics of common interest, and inviting speakers who can contribute to the gender diversity and women's inclusion discussion.
Since the group was created in 2019, Ligia and her team have noticed a deeper engagement of all associates, including men, and a greater commitment to gender equality within the organisation.
They have also recognised an increased in the number of female associates hired, now representing more than 50% of the Litigation and Arbitration Team.
Gunjan Sharma, client service delivery senior manager, Accenture India
Gunjan is currently leading a diversity and women retention initiative for software & platform client businesses under Accenture India Operations.
Her efforts in this role include creating Location Wise Women Retention Champions, to strengthen women’s engagement networks and activities and to engage with high potential women employees expressing their desire to quit; launching a women retention roadmap across all India sites; and creating business-wide visibility around weekly, monthly and year-to-date diversity and women attrition gap numbers to further create awareness and develop mitigation plans.
She has also been engaging with internal staffing teams to find alternate career opportunities for female employees quitting due to relocation or the nature of their work. Other programmes Gunjan has driven forward include a mentorship programme, a platform to support women employees to speak about their challenges and seek help, and a Women Centric Engagement Survey to empower females employees to voice out their opinions about their experience at work.
Aimée Sykes, business liaison manager, UWE Bristol
At the University of the West of England, Aimee’s achievements in promoting gender equality include spending a year as a coordinator for the Women’s Forum, where she implemented and managed their social media.
During her tenure, membership almost doubled and event attendance tripled. Aimée facilitated a partnership with the Red Box Project that resulted in every campus hosting a donations box.
She contributed to UWE's Engineering Our Futures and Inclusivity and Diversity blogs. Aimée also hosted sessions at other campuses to ensure a cross-campus approach and organised collaborative events with the Disabled Staff Forum and the Parents’ Network, to promote intersectionality. In addition, she founded and manages the Aurora Alumnae Network.
Outside of work, Aimée wrote articles for the City Girl Magazine, providing careers guidance that led to the creation of a careers segment.
Aimée spent a year as head of communications and engagement for the Women’s Higher Education Network, where she contributed to a significant rise in social media following and recruited many volunteers.
Maya Welford, global wellbeing manager, Barclays
Maya is dedicated to having a positive impact on society and championing inclusion. She does this in various ways at work and beyond, such as through her podcast, That's My Name, which focuses on lived experiences of bias related to names and identity; leading Like Minded Females Network's Social Mobility programme; and mentoring young people to raise their aspirations.
Maya has multiple leadership roles within Barclays' Gender Network, Win. She is founder and leader of the Charity Mentoring Programme, one of Win's flagship offerings, which supports the professional development of network members and staff at charities.
In 2019, the programme formed 43 mentor partnerships which ran formally for six months. This grew to 257 partnerships and 19 charity partners in 2020. The programme has had a positive impact in developing the leadership and coaching skills of over 500 mentors and mentees.
Maya also co-leads Win's community-focused committee, which develops campaigns to raise money for charity partners and skills-based volunteering.
Valerie Henninger, director, strategic planning, Mindshare
At Mindshare, Valerie has led a number of client campaigns promoting gender diversity and inclusion.
In the Chicago office, she works to keep the director level community – which is 80% female – connected through peer mentorship, training opportunities, knowledge sharing and support.
In light of the pandemic and remote working, she launched a monthly series to this effect, keeping directors across different teams better connected, and uplifting future women leaders across the office. She also personally mentors and guides junior-level women in their careers at the agency, developing and implementing plans to help them succeed.
Valerie’s work with General Mills has resulted in programmes that drive diversity and women's empowerment across the media industry and society at large. In the past year, her work won in the Multicultural and Social Good categories at the MMA's Smarties, and was shortlisted for the Inclusive Campaign of the Year category at the Festival of Media Global.
Ngozi Emeagi, senior consultant, Powerscourt Group
In her previous role at MS Amlin, Ngozi initiated the first celebration of International Women's Day, arranging for the chairwomen and chief people officer to talk about why the day was so important and what it meant to them, thereby encouraging others in the organisation to do the same.
Believing it was important for women to be known for being excellent at their day job as well as for being diversity and inclusion champions, Ngozi started a women's visibility programme to externally promote the work that senior female leaders were doing outside of the D&I area.
She also organised a number of journalist meetings with the chief people officer in order to actively promote the company’s emerging policies aimed at helping women work more flexibly and encouraging equality in the workplace.
In her current position at Powerscourt Group, Ngozi continues to be responsible for addressing gender and diversity issues. She is also currently vice-president of Women in PR.
Sarah Primrose, associate, King & Spalding LLP
Sarah is a member of the firm-wide Women's Affinity Group, which plans and hosts a number of events each year to promote leadership training, mentoring, advocacy and inclusion.
As well as being a member of the hiring committee and helping to give platforms to diverse women candidates, she also serves, through the firm's formal mentoring programme, as a link with new associates, meeting them on a frequent basis in order to ensure their success, and making introductions to partners and other associates.
As part of the firm's pro bono programme, Sarah has worked with a number of organisations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Street Law.
Externally, she is a member of the Junior League, which helps to promote voluntarism, develop women leaders, and inspire people to positively impact the community. Her role in the organisation is to help with fundraising, leadership trainings, and other educational and community service events.
Hannah Farmer, associate director, CBRE GWS
Hannah was appointed co-chair of the Proud Network at CBRE GWS 12 months ago, and has already grown the network to more than 500 members in that time.
This year the network is focusing on underrepresented subjects such as trans awareness and allowing conversations to happen in safe spaces, and aspiring to be a role model for employees to come out at work.
To help progress this agenda, Hannah published an online interview with a male colleague and his trans son, who transitioned female to male. The interview went out to 30,000 employees and represented a huge advancement within the business as something which had never been tackled before.
Hannah’s proudest moment so far is hearing the volume of people who have now come out at work, as well as having three employees who will be transitioning following the education, awareness, and freedom promoted by the Proud Network.
Hannah is also involved in the executive steering committee, supporting the wider diversity, equity and inclusion action plan for CBRE GWS.
Rocío Del Mar Cárdenas Coronilla, associate technical services engineer, Fujitsu
As a volunteer and organiser of the diversity and inclusion group at Fujitsu (6702.T), Rocío actively collaborates on activities and awareness-raising proposals.
She is a facilitator of Google’s #IAmRemarkable campaign, and managed to teach online workshops this year even with the difficulties presented by the pandemic, to help empower women and minority groups to break the glass ceiling
In addition, she has put together a Spotlight blog and prepared a Brave, Bold & Brilliant podcast together with Tulia Lopes to inspire and help other women.
Rocío has also had the opportunity to collaborate externally with other companies, and made an inspirational presentation ‘Hangout’ for people from both Fujitsu and other companies to learn about all the activities she is undertaking.
For International Women’s Day this year, Rocío was involved in putting together events including inviting a female Spanish scientist to give a speech to inspire the company’s employees.
Jessica Gosling, senior international policy adviser, UK government
Jessica has used her role as a diversity and inclusion ambassador in her directorate to recognise the intersectionality of culture and gender. She was responsible for organising the rollout to over 400 colleagues across government of the #IAmRemarkable training, a Google initiative that encourages women to speak openly about their accomplishments.
She has also supported wider D&I practices by volunteering to be on recruitment panels at all levels, ensuring that a diverse and inclusive culture was being realised within the broader department.
Through utilising a positive, proactive, and solution-focused view, Jessica has also managed to commit to several pro-bono initiatives in her spare time, including launching both Growth & Grace Collective, a global community changing the narrative of upskilling, learning and development, and Gosling & Co, a platform designed to challenge the perceptions faced by under-represented groups around self-promotion, unconscious biases and imposter syndrome.
Tamara Makoni, senior communications specialist, Deloitte
As a volunteer member of the Panel & Proposal Promise team at Deloitte, Tamara pushed for all panels and teams to have at least 40% women, 40% men and 20% people from underrepresented groups.
For one of the team’s events, Tamara created promotional text and materials and developed the event flow and content, including putting together questions and discussion points for panellists. She also created 'how to' guides, highlighting everyday inclusion actions.
Another of Tamara’s D&I efforts this year has been voluntarily delivering Inclusive Leadership labs to senior leaders, involving more than 100 attendees to date. During these labs she shares proven approaches to increase gender diversity and inclusion, giving participants time to reflect, share stories and create action plans, and sharing insights with trainers from other geographies so that they can run their own local labs.
Since 2018, Tamara has also been leading the public speaking training initiative she co-founded, offering special programmes tailored to female colleagues.
Teneeka Mai, senior analyst, Oliver Wyman
Teneeka joined Oliver Wyman as digital specialist in data and analytics in 2019 after graduating with a degree in physics from the University of Oxford.
She founded the Women of Oliver Wyman (WOW) Digital group in late 2020, where she leads a team which focuses on three core pillars: development, inspiration and community. To drive these initiatives, she has organised a variety of events including speaker events, networking sessions and discussion groups, and also works with the global team on reverse mentoring.
The group regularly engages with senior stakeholders and colleagues across the digital practice, spanning multiple offices across three continents and collaborating with other D&I groups within the firm.
Outside of work, Teneeka has an interest in social impact and has volunteered her skills with an organisation that supports other charities to generate operational insight from their existing data. In 2021, she was also recognised as a Rising Star in Digital by WeAreTheCity.
Kathryn Mattox, lead technical project manager, Nestlé
In 2019, Kathryn relaunched the Nestlé USA Women in Engineering (WiE) Network, growing membership and attendance 300% in the first year. Kathryn acts as a one-on-one mentor to multiple WiE members.
She also leads a team of nine women with two executive sponsors to organise multiple development and connection events per month. The number of event offerings per year has risen from one prior to 2019 to 35 in 2021.
Kathryn led the WiE support of the Nestlé (NESN.SW) Black Employee Associates by launching 10 training and listening sessions on allyship over the summer of 2020.
In 2021, Kathryn developed an Unconscious Bias and Allyship workshop for the senior leaders of the Nestle USA engineering team.
Kathryn’s success with WiE meant her team set the global benchmark on how to create Women in Engineering ERGs, and she was invited to present their results to global engineering chiefs.
Stephanie Robles, director of global client development, GroupM I Xaxis
During her time at GroupM, Stephanie has been involved in numerous diversity initiatives. She participated in WPP’s award-winning global female empowerment programme Walk the Talk, which has been rolled out to GroupM and WPP globally, and engaged more than 10,000 women to increase the number of senior female leaders.
Stephanie stayed involved in many diversity programmes by being responsible for global communications working together with WPP’s senior leaders. With her gained experience, she rolled out other local initiatives.
She co-founded the Future of Work programme to drive change by setting up ERGs focused on gender, sexuality and ethnicity. The aim was to build better teams, to enrich talent pools, and to create more inclusive and diverse strategies together with clients.
Another role Stephanie is committed to is chair of Gender Equality Network (GEN), where she creates awareness for the gender gap and takes actions accordingly, making sure it’s each and everyone's responsibility to build a gender equal business.
Joanne Rose, head of Salesforce platform, Centrica
After being an active member of the Centrica (CNA.L) Women's Network since 2018, Joanne became co-chair from September 2020. One of her focuses is on ensuring an intersectional lens is applied to everything the network does.
For International Women’s Day 2020, the network commissioned articles from diverse female Centrica employees sharing their experiences, whilst the main event featured a panel of women from different ethnic backgrounds.
At a joint event with Centrica’s ethnic minority network, Joanne spoke about the importance of being an ally to BAME women. Other efforts Joanne has undertaken include introducing the Google #IAmRemarkable programme in 2020, for which she facilitated workshops for over 180 people, as well as co-drafting and championing the 2021 diversity and inclusion objectives, with key targets cascaded as measures through the technology directorate.
Joanne has served as a main stage speaker at both the London Women of Silicon Roundabout and the Panasonic Toughbook Innovation Forum.
Yanique Williams, founder and CEO, Young Ambitious One
As a technologist and the founder of learning and career development company Young Ambitious One (YAO), Yanique also serves as an advocate and mentor for women in business, technology and entrepreneurship.
She is deliberate about creating pathways and opportunities for success that develop and promote women leaders, adopting the motto ‘empowered women, empower women’.
The annual women empowerment workshops Yanique and her team co-created, are called ‘Ambitious Women In The Workplace’ and ‘Women At Work’. Both have impacted over 1,500 attendees in the past four years. The programmes aim to accelerate professional and career development, and enhance the technical skills of aspiring diverse women leaders. Several attendees have landed jobs, secured promotions, and started businesses.
Yanique specialises in information security and data privacy. Over the past five years she has served as a guest instructor and career adviser at several universities, MPACKU.org, and the National Association of Black Accountants’ Eastern Region Student Conference, to co-lead these impactful YAO workshops.
Jennifer Burns, senior manager, talent development, London Stock Exchange Group
Jennifer joined London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) to support talent development in the Americas, but quickly stepped forward to offer support to the Women’s Inclusion Network and broader diversity and inclusion efforts.
In 2019, Jennifer established a partnership with the Ellevate Network, securing more than 50 memberships for LSEG women in 2020, which allowed them to participate in hundreds of career development events, including cross-company mentoring.
Her other biggest achievements have included co-developing a global 'Breaking the Bias' course, which featured women’s stories of bias as course audio recordings; identifying women for executive coaching and leadership development programs, which led to promotions or expanded roles in several instances; and serving as the global Workplace Choice co-lead, a role through which she developed flexible working policies with a particular focus on attracting and supporting female talent.
After serving as a mentor to several women at LSEG, Jennifer was nominated in 2020 for the Inspirational Mentor of the Year award.
Patrícia Souza, senior consultant, EY
As part of the D&I TaskForce within EY Luxembourg, Patrícia has been working to promote inclusion and equality amongst the workforce.
Beginning back in February 2020 with the advent of the pandemic, the taskforce asked its employees to share their views on diversity and inclusion. Then, on International Women's Day 2021, women within the organisation were asked to share the successes they enjoyed throughout their careers.
Patrícia is currently involved in the committee organising the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, to ensure equal representation and raise awareness of LGBT+ inclusion.
She and her team are also organising a diversity day event, where they will share with their external community the ways they have been supporting companies throughout Europe to move the dial on their inclusion agenda.
The taskforce is also working together with EY’s talent team to prepare D&I metrics and a roadmap to measure their work.
Divya Steinwall, head of sales enablement and business management for iShares Canada, BlackRock Asset Management
Divya was chair of the Canadian Chapter of BlackRock's Women's Initiative Network from 2015 to 2020. During this period, network membership grew by 23% overall, with male membership increasing by 83%.
Over her tenure, Divya placed a deliberate focus on providing educational opportunities to support career advancement. Divya’s primary contributions to the network included piloting a two-year facilitated training programme focused on developing important tools in career progression such as building influence, enabling engagement and presenting effectively.
She also made sure the network continued to offer virtual programming to support its members over the COVID pandemic, including a three-part wellness series focused on nutritional and physical health while working from home and a session on achieving financial wellness.
In 2020, Divya piloted a career and personal development programme for working mothers called ‘The Sophia Project’, and in 2021 she transitioned to the role of DE&I business lead for the Canadian office.
Martina Satherland, programme director – market data, Fidelity International
Martina co-founded the Fidelity Women in Technology (WiT) network so that women in all stages of their career could come together and discuss relevant topics such as STEM, personal branding and women in leadership.
She is currently active in setting the strategy and driving the group, including organising webinar discussions of topics such as personal branding, mentoring and career journeys which have reached thousands of people, and establishing career roundtables in which groups of 15 men and women meet senior female leaders to learn how careers are not linear.
The ‘Let's get ready to rumble’ article Martina wrote for WiT addressed the importance of having gender balance in the technology sector, and in 2020 she won the network’s technology award. Since 2017, Martina has actively enlisted both male and female mentors to support women, a scheme which has led to more women progressing to senior roles.
Shivani Tannu, investment banking associate, Avendus Capital
Shivani has recently started a new role at JP Morgan & Chase, coming from an investment banking associate role at Avendus Capital.
She goes beyond her everyday work in order to sign up for initiatives to improve gender diversity in investment banking. She has volunteered for every campus recruitment fair and careers fair that Avendus Capital attends, so that she can address some of the concerns that young women have regarding banking as a career and demonstrate that there are women working in these domains.
Shivani has also mentored an intern, who was struggling to network as the only female intern at her previous organisation. She had an informal chat and shared some of her workplace experiences to put her mentee at ease, acknowledging the struggles that exist for women within the industry.
This year Shivani was selected as an Ambassador of Change by Women in Private Equity, a not-for-profit helping to create more opportunities for women and pioneering a platform to transform mindsets in favour of gender diversity in the private equity industry.
Suman Sidhu, investment consultant, Lane Clark & Peacock LLP
Suman is a committee member of Lane Clark & Peacock’s (LCP) Women’s Network and helped lead the firm's four-week educational programme 'Let's talk about Gender Equality covering a range of topics such as the history of women's rights, celebrating differences, women in the workplace, and legislation and the gender pay gap.
Information was shared internally and discussed with the rest of the firm in weekly discussions.
In addition, Suman and her team have now held three Women's Talent Academies, which are unique mentorship schemes giving undergraduates access to women working within investment consulting with the aim of improving gender diversity in the investment industry, pensions and at LCP.
Suman also sits on the Gender Equality workstream of the Diversity Project and has recently set up a podcast called Spotlight on Women in Investment, which offers female students a chance to voice their opinions on diversity and inclusion related topics such as the imposter phenomenon and EQ vs IQ.
Ankita Gupta, head, model risk management, risk technology, Standard Chartered
Following the launch of Standard Chartered's (STAN.L) D&I strategy in 2018, Ankita has continually raised awareness of diversity and inclusion within the organisation through means such as hackathons, virtual trainings and forums.
She also founded the Women on Work (WOW) team, which aims at supporting teams to improve their gender balance so that they can contribute to the bank's overall female ratio target, as well as identifying allies, promoting inclusivity, and conducting virtual trainings to address cultural gaps.
In addition to her work with WOW, Ankita is one of the mentors for the Bank’s ASCEND initiative, which aims to create and enable a platform for learning, mentoring and coaching in order to nurture future senior female leaders in the technology and innovation space.
As someone active on both internal and external professional networking sites, Ankita made a LinkedIn video for International Women’s Day 2021 promoting diversity in all its forms.
Preeti Singh, IT audit assistant manager, KPMG
Preeti was a graduate when she joined the IT's Her Future programme in 2017, an initiative to improve gender diversity at KPMG. As part of the programme, she dedicated herself to driving inclusion for women, both within and outside KPMG.
Since 2019, Preeti has led the Juniors workstream, which is aimed at younger women outside of KPMG to help tackle the gender diversity issue within technology. Preeti also leads various events for students aged 10 to 18, such as bespoke primary school technology workshops, insight events with a long-term mentoring scheme and reunion events to ensure that students are kept engaged.
In addition, Preeti has supported and promoted the national roll-out of the internal KPMG mentoring for IT audit females.
Preeti is an inclusion and diversity ambassador at KPMG, training and advocating existing and new D&I workstreams and supporting IT’s Her Future’s mission, which has seen its efforts result in an increase in female headcount from 26% to 42% over the past five years.
Haydi Adel El Lamey, regional head of customer experience – Wealth & Personal Banking EMEA, HSBC
After almost 20 years of experience in the industry, Haydi noticed that the inclusivity of women in the workforce had been an ongoing battle.
Once in a managerial role, Haydi felt she had the capability of making a change and she now leads an all-female team. Within the last two years she has received women from the global graduate programme on to her team so that they can learn and move up the ladder of success, with her priority being to make sure that they have a voice and are heard.
Haydi has also been driving and managing a transformational Customer Experience Strategy at the bank for the last two years, in an attempt to encourage a culture shift across all layers of the organisation. She is driving this change through the SMILE (Service Magic through Innovation, Listening & agile Execution) programme and has already started seeing signs of success in the first two years of the scheme.
Amy Bird, senior associate, Clifford Chance
Amy took over as co-chair of the UK arm of the Accelerate Gender Parity network in February 2021, and since then has implemented a number of initiatives including running an International Women's Day month of events to drive forward discussions and educate colleagues on achieving cultural change.
She has also influenced the content of the firm's new code of conduct, including principles around inclusive environments and respect for flexible working; and called for enhancements to family leave/benefits, to embrace shared parenting culture.
Amy created a working group on work culture and campaigned to adopt true agile working. She was instrumental in establishing the firm's principle of up to 50% home working, serving on the steering committee with senior management to drive through this cultural change, with the potential for generational impact.
Since autumn of last year, Amy has also been on the firm’s ESG board and as an employment lawyer works with clients to maximise the impact of their own diversity and inclusion work.
Plaxedes Makura, legal manager, disputes, Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
Plaxedes is an experienced disputes lawyer in the Alternative Legal Services (ALT) team at Herbert Smith Freehills.
She was integrally involved in setting up the Johannesburg ALT team in 2017, which forms part of a market-leading, innovative global team of 350 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts operating across 11 international locations.
As well as serving on the Johannesburg Pro Bono Committee and the Regional Race Champions Committee, Plaxedes was instrumental in setting up the Social, Diversity, CSR and Mental Health Committees.
In addition to managing complex cross-jurisdictional international disputes projects, Plaxedes’ responsibilities include the recruitment of legal analysts as part of the market-leading International Legal Development Programme.
When recruiting, Plaxedes ensures that she and her colleagues are championing individual uniqueness, and that the teams they recruit are diverse. As a result, more than half of the legal analysts recruited in January 2021 were women.
Outside of work, Plaxedes has raised funds for a breast cancer patient who could not afford treatment and for a biokinetics student to be able to register for her second year of studies.
Elena Koycheva, senior requests for proposal (RFP) writer, BlueBay Asset Management
Elena contributed to the establishment of BlueBay’s women’s forum, having led the restructuring of the group’s activities to become the diversity and inclusion forum, building greater intersectionality.
She has contributed to a diversity and inclusion vision and strategy and organised working groups on data, volunteering, and interview practices.
As vice-chair of the D&I Forum, she sets its agenda and chairs its meetings while collaborating with the ERGs of BlueBay's parent company, RBC, and other financial organisations.
In addition to spearheading BlueBay's participation in the inaugural summer internship programs with GAIN and 100BlackInterns, Elena led BlueBay's International Women’s Day panel with senior females from across the business. In 2021, she became a member of the BlueBay Corporate Responsibility Committee, Charity Forum, and RBC’s RWomen ERG.
Externally, Elena leads the CFA UK Job Profiles working group and supports greater diversity awareness as the recently appointed CAIA London chapter head. She also mentors in cross-industry mentoring programmes and is a Diversity Project Ambassador.
Sneha Shah, CEO, Curaty
Over the last two years Sneha has built a database of more than 3,000 artists, 72% of which are female.
She has created paid opportunities for female artists to show their work across the commercial sector, and curated an all-women exhibition of recent art-school graduates titled ‘Resilience’ in the prime location of Oxford Street.
One service Sneha and her team launched for their art rental client businesses was curated collections of artwork for the walls of workplaces, commenting on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The artworks stood as a daily reminder to employees and visitors of the company's commitment towards this goal.
More than 30,000 individuals have experienced, interacted and engaged with these exhibitions and art programmes. Sneha has personally mentored over 40 female artists on their public image and on pricing their artwork, after it was discovered that female artists tend to undervalue their works in comparison to their male counterparts.
Sinéad Maxwell, EMEA corporate citizenship programme manager, Fiserv
One of the ways Sinéad has pushed to create an environment that celebrates inclusion in the workplace has been through ERGs. She is an active member or ally of all the ERGs in region and continuously looks for ways to support and promote them.
The ERGs she is involved in include the LGBTQ Community UNITY, the Asian Leadership Council, the Women's Impact Network (WIN), the Young Professional Leadership Council and the Black Leadership Council.
Together with some colleagues, Sinéad is also leading an initiative to form groups across EMEA called Culture Circles, based on a tried and tested model first established in Ireland. The aim is to bring employees from all backgrounds together to network, have fun, celebrate different cultures and festivals and educate others along the way.
Within the last 18 months, five Culture Circles have been set up in office locations across EMEA under her guidance.
Virginia Mayo, distinguished engineer, IBM
As a recently appointed technical executive and the first Filipino-American distinguished engineer at IBM, Virginia joins an elite group of innovators and pioneers of today’s modern digital infrastructure built for the future.
In her technical leadership role, Virginia acts as a mentor to many up-and-coming top female technical talents, both within her own IBM business organisation and outside it. She believes outcome-based mentoring is most effective, so works with her protégés on achieving specific career goals rather than meeting for the sake of meeting.
A frequent speaker on diversity in senior leadership roles at IBM, Virginia was the keynote speaker for the IBM Innovation Centres' 2021 International Women's Day in Hungary, Czech Republic, and South Africa. The event was attended by more than 1,000 professionals ranging from entry-level employees to senior professionals.
Louise Woods, partner, Vinson & Elkins
Louise is the office lead for the Women's Initiative (WI) at Vinson & Elkins, placing her at the forefront of the WI's activities in London.
Her responsibilities have included organising internal skills training and client events; writing on diversity; spearheading a cross-office senior female networking and mentorship programme; mentoring women colleagues herself, both formally and informally; and acting as talent lead for her practice group.
She is also the office lead for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, a role which has seen her drive D&I efforts including a schools outreach mentoring programme; internal training on topics such as implicit biases and DISC assessment; cultural and religious celebrations; and a London office book club to discuss race and gender issues.
Together with HR and graduate recruitment teams, Louise has worked to ensure the diverse hiring, retention and promotion of lawyers at the firm.
Swastika Somaddar, programme manager, risk functions, Standard Chartered
Swastika is an active contributor to the fourth pillar of Standard Chartered's new Global Functions initiative: People.
The People pillar includes diversity and inclusion, primarily focusing on retaining, attracting, developing and engaging female talent, and championing wellbeing, a workstream which concentrates on awareness, mental health and wellness sessions held by expert external agencies.
Since becoming part of the Women on Work and Wellness teams in early 2021, Swastika has been mentoring upcoming women leaders within the organisation, and has also been involved in supporting and empowering Risk Functions women at all stages of their career.
Outside of Standard Chartered, Swastika is co-founder of community 'Livia and its Events' in Singapore, which organises activities like a trek, a talk show or cultural events to encourage awareness among races. Swastika strongly believes that these creative and cultural events are the best way of spreading the right message in communities.
Kyoshia Jackson, compliance paralegal, LVMH-Moet Hennessy USA
Kyoshia has been a driving force in raising awareness of the black experience at Moët Hennessy (MC.PA) USA (MHUSA) and reinforcing the company’s commitment to foster a more inclusive workplace.
Over the last four years, she has organised cultural celebrations and thoughtful discussions to help celebrate diversity and increase the visibility of underrepresented populations, specifically women of colour while working to drive policy change that focuses on equity.
Her influence has extended beyond MHUSA and has permeated throughout LVMH. She was a panelist during one of LVMH's D&I events and a founding member of the MH Noir Assemblage, MHUSA’s ERG, that advocates for the inclusion and advancement of Black employees at MHUSA/LVMH.
In December 2020, she was the recipient of MHUSA’s Spirit & Stars Award and was nominated for the Women at MHUSA’s Everyday Inspiring Women award. Most recently, Kyoshia was selected by EllesVMH, LVMH’s women’s ERG, to participate in their pilot allyship programme.
Caroline Southall, senior sales manager, small and medium business, Vodafone UK
Caroline assumed the role of the chair of the Women's Network at Vodafone UK (VOD.L) at the end of 2020, with the purpose of reinvigorating an inactive network by engaging a broad and diverse workforce.
To date, she has established an operating model; recruited 40 voluntary roles to form the network committee; and held sessions with the CEO and the network’s executive sponsors, to gain support and to highlight how the company can better support its women employees.
Under Caroline’s leadership, the Women’s Network has gathered feedback from its membership and defined a programme of activity in 2021 based on their insight and input. This has involved taking an intersectional approach with other diversity and inclusion networks and using events to target key topics such as imposter syndrome, menopause, and striking a work-life balance throughout COVID.
Caroline has also worked with HR and the D&I Team, highlighting gaps in Vodafone's employment policies and support materials relating to women and working in collaboration to develop and launch new support tools.
Eunice Zhu, director, head of XVA Trading, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets
At Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s (SMBC) Nikko Capital Markets, Eunice is an active committee member of the BALANCE network, a group which supports gender balance and aims to empower all female and male colleagues.
Through BALANCE, Eunice organised and hosted the 'Learning from Leaders' session in September 2020, where she interviewed the CEO of SMBC Nikko Capital Markets in front of an audience of more than 150 colleagues.
Eunice’s other work championing diversity has seen her actively mentoring and tutoring for the Young Women into Finance programme and career lead to help develop the female talent pipeline for the finance industry, as well as participating in initiatives such as women’s networking and support groups.
Outside of SMBC, Eunice founded and now leads the Lean In Circle for Women in Banking & Finance, connecting and empowering women who have career ambitions in finance. She runs monthly and sometimes bi-monthly events for the Circle’s more than 230 members.
Rachel Waters, head of investment management technology, Man Group
Rachel became co-chair of Women at Man (WAM) in 2020. Under her leadership, engagement in the WAM working group has improved and a focus has been placed on retention and personal growth, empowering women at the firm to reach their full potential.
The Mentoring Circles she introduced provide women with an opportunity to share their varied experiences on topics like 'Getting Out of your Own Way' in a facilitated environment, whilst development workshops focus on offering support in areas commonly highlighted as gaps for women, starting with impact, authority and presence.
In addition to running interview sessions with Man Group’s three new female board members, whose presence took the board to gender parity, WAM has also been investigating the ways it can build ally support from male colleagues, and how this can lead to sponsorship opportunities for women.
Sherena Masharani, business integration manager, Centrica
At Centrica, Sherena is the head of communications and engagement for the VOICE Network, a role through which she works to care for all colleagues, including female ethnic minority women.
In this role she led the network’s relaunch, creating a distinct platform as a forum for colleagues to support one another. This included promoting a Hidden Figures event, which focused on allowing female ethnic minority colleagues to be heard across the organisation.
Sherena has also brought a fresh perspective to conversations including gender diversity by producing the Amplify newsletter to promote a message of inclusion, share best practices, and encourage readers to engage with the conversation.
Sherena helped coordinate the inaugural diversity and inclusion event for Centrica’s legal function. This event facilitated the discussion on how the future of the legal industry could be more inclusive, especially for women. This event, featured within industry magazines, committed 14 leading law-firms to initiatives providing more inclusive workplaces for employees.
Marion Bentata, senior credit analyst, State Street
Marion strongly believes in the power of education and visibility when it comes to making the workplace more inclusive.
As co-chair of the State Street (STT) UK Pride Network, she acts as a role model for LGBT+ women, regularly appearing on panels to discuss the specific issues they face. This has included featuring on the #ChooseToChallenge panel organised internally on International Women's Day this year, and the Pride Stories event organised by the Poland network.
She has also been responsible for organising events herself, such as a 'Lunch and Learn' event dedicated to an oral history project in which women’s stories were shared, from the birth of the modern LGBT+ movement at Stonewall to the present day.
Previously, Marion was responsible for spearheading a reverse mentoring initiative to educate senior management around specific issues. This included sitting with a number of business leaders to have open conversations about making the workplace a safer space for women and minorities.
Frances Holmes, head of technical innovation, Thales UK
Working in engineering, Frances is very aware of the severe under-representation of women in the sector. At Thales she speaks out to advocate for flexible working and for adapting the workplace environment to become truly inclusive for all.
Most of Frances’ work in aid of gender diversity and women's inclusion, however, has been done externally through the non-profit she founded, Speak Out Revolution.
Speak Out Revolution has a mission to cancel the culture of silence on workplace harassment and bullying. Frances and her team decided that the best solution to these issues was to create the 'Glassdoor' of workplace harassment and bullying: a place to provide insights for individuals to help them navigate the poor systems in place, and to spotlight the challenges faced by different people.
The non-profit has now launched their Speak Out Survey and Speak Out Dashboard designed to capture and present data on these behaviours, to raise awareness and drive positive change.
Sarah Chapman, EMEA application engineering manager, 3M
As a well-respected, full-time technical manager at a global science-based technology company, Sarah is a role model for women in STEM careers.
As a manager, she has always championed flexible working and leads by example as the mum of two young children. Sarah was appointed co-chair of the EMEA Technical Women's Leadership Forum after returning from maternity leave and has led many campaigns to support diversity and inclusion, such as facilitating #IAmRemarkable workshops for more than 200 people, mostly from underrepresented groups.
Her work as a Gold level #IAmRemarkable trainer and recruitment of new facilitators to support the roll-out was recognised at 3M’s (MMM) internal International Women’s Day event.
3M has pledged to create five million unique STEM and skilled trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025 and this is something that Sarah is wholeheartedly supporting through her award-winning STEM volunteering and advocacy work. Sarah mentors numerous female colleagues and is also a mental health first aider.