Hardeep Kundan

Hardeep Kundan | EY

Diversity being the core of what I do in my role in recruitment and network lead, I am particularly passionate about gender and BME equality.

Core member of D&I for both recruitment and Data Analytics- leading on the BME workstreams to harness the relationship between recruitment and the various EY Networks.

Having full recruitment oversight over Data Analytics recruitment means I am in a position to have an impact on diversity and am able to influence this through building relationships and trust.

I have introduced a number of initiatives in the past year in an attempt to influence our gender & BME mix.

  • Revamped interview matrix- to ensure that every BME/female candidate has one stage of their interviews with a BME/female interviewer.
  • Worked with brand and marketing team to profile and curate case studies on role models within the Data Analytics team, to showcase how EY supports them via flexible working.

Result: Have been able to positively influence our Diversity mix from:

Gender hires- 24% last year to 50% this year.
BME hires- 32% last year to 50% this year

Chair one of the BME faith based networks at EY; EY Sikh Network

Integral role in planning, designing and executing activities which enhance EY’s market leadership.

I have arranged & executed a number of events which tie in to and have influenced our talent pipelines and attract female and BME candidates

Outside of work, Trustee and volunteer for a charity called Binti www.binti.co.uk

Binti promotes menstrual dignity through access to sanitary protection and education.

In many parts of the world, unfortunately menstruation is a huge cause of gender inequality. Binti enables women within these communities to produce and sell sanitary towels in a sustainable social enterprise model, empowering them to fight against social stigma and become more equal participants within society, whilst also providing an extra source of sustainable income.

I have ran and lead menstrual education classes in India and East Africa. Spending time with these young children, both girls and boys has been hugely rewarding for me.

Using my background and experience in recruitment, I am also involved in dealing with the large number of applications we receive as a charity from volunteers and ensuing their skills are utilised in the appropriate projects.

I am thrilled to be able to have an impact on diversity both at work and outside of work and would love to inspire others to do the same.

Emma Horsfall

Emma Horsfall | Barclays

I started working for barclays back in 2007 after an accident that left me disabled, so I could no longer continue to work in the food industry.

After many years working as a cashier I applied for a promotion and my boss said he didn't see me in that role, he challenged me to become the digital eagle for Leeds as I believed I was destined for something more. Out of sheer grit and stubbornness, I threw myself into doing it and have done so for the past 2 years now. To my amazement my boss was right as being a digital eagle took me to projects that still amaze me and I pushed to do more in the way of helping people with disabilities, be them physical or learning.

I even went as far as approaching the BBC so that we could make a BBC microbit that would allow me to teach people with disabilities, something that awarded me the golden title. I then set up a work experience programme for people that again had disabilities, to great success, proving if you remove the DIS from disability you get ABILITY.

I was then asked to chair the reach group for Barclays world wide that helps it's staff member who have a physical or medical condition. Along side this I worked on a very small team of people to try and bring the focus of diversity and inclusion to the north. So much focus is placed on London but up north we are forgotten so I'm now working to have more things happen up here and we are doing it in conjunction with PWC.

I have done projects like national access day, completely taking over the branches and even had a flash mob, created by dance students and the participants were all from local charity groups all with physical or medical conditions.

I'm now working on a project to help transgender customers get a better banking experience all across Barclays and writing the training for our staff, teaching them about non binary, transgender and things that people don't want to ask about but in order to help our customers best, we need to understand our customers.

All of this I do while still being a full time cashier and having had a traumatic time with my family.

I've been married for 20 years now, with 2 wonderful daughter's, but my eldest has had issues over the last year and a bit and has tried to take her own life twice and I myself have had lots of medical issues and am currently awaiting a full radical hysterectomy for those conditions. But even though I've had lots of surgeries over the past few years and treatments and spent many hours in family councilling, I'm still trying to show my boss he should of promoted me! But when I was asked to go and speak at the houses of parliament in December about diversity and inclusion, to represent all of Barclays, my boss did tell me that's why I didn't promote you, so you can do all of this.

Some of my next projects going forward are to teach in job centres and to do digital and life skills classes with deaf children and adults. Years ago I went to night school to learn to sign so that I can help the deaf customers that come into branch, just because I felt rude writing on paper, it took me 2 years but I did it.

I also write for GLOBI, which was a huge dream of mine to write. It just shows if you have a passion to help others, you don't stop till you have made as much of a difference so that others join you and you can step back and breathe, I'm still trying to take that breath but I think soon enough I will have made enough of a difference to do that.

Joanna Abeyie

Joanna Abeyie | Hyden

“I’m driven by the passion to see real and lasting change. My mission is to continue to steer the diversity agenda and create a more inclusive environment in creative industry for people from a myriad of ethnicities and backgrounds. From the boardroom, all the way down to entry-level.”

Joanna Abeyie is in a class of her own, a new breed of business leader, she is an award-winning, agenda-setting Diversity champion and recruiter, social campaigner, TV executive, broadcaster and journalist.

Aged just 29, there are few under 30s that can claim similar achievements, one of which being among Broadcast magazine’s hotshots of 2016. Joanna founded the award-winning creative industry diverse talent recruitment business Shine Media in 2009, which recently morphed into Hyden (taken from the old English word for ‘hidden’), as part of leading global recruiter SThree PLC. Hyden is an Executive Search Firm and Diversity Consultancy Practice Having helped to place more than 3,000 people from diverse backgrounds in permanent and freelance jobs in the creative industries, it is Joanna’s efforts in improving the creative industry’s diversity that truly have made her stand out.

As a campaigner for diversity within the publishing, TV, Radio, Digital and Creative Industries, Joanna is regularly at the centre of the diversity agenda, leading conversations around inclusion and representation. She is often called upon to steer, lead, plan, create or participate in established industry events or radio and TV discussions around the diversity conversation. Joanna worked as a consultant and became a key diversity partner for the BBC, ITV, ITN, Channel 4, Sky and The Guardian among others.

Joanna grew up in South London to a Ghanaian civil servant father and English mother. It was a working class family and she regularly witnessed a dearth of opportunities amongst her local community. Following graduation from Reading University where Joanna studied English and Sociology, these observations continued into her working life as she worked in a string of roles at many of the big magazine publishers, going onto do a Masters in Magazine Journalism at London’s City University.

“I noticed that in every one of my placements, everywhere I went the workplace had little or no variety. Where was the working class, where were the ethnic minorities? I was 17 years old, and I decided I wasn’t going to rest on my laurels. I wanted to do something to help bring about change.”

Displaying a rare work ethic, creative vision and sheer drive for someone so young, Joanna co-founded employment charity Elevation Networks aged just 19 while studying English & Sociology at Reading University. The charity still exists today and is a multi-award winning youth employment charity that develops the leadership potential in talented young people.

Joanna’s story doesn’t end there. She also harboured a passion to tell stories that challenge preconceptions of stereotypes and unearth hidden social subcultures. This saw her set up own production company LH Productions in 2014. It has seen her produce and present programmes on children of alcoholics for ITV This Morning at the end of 2016, as well as segments on female ex-offenders struggling to find employment for BBC Inside Out. In 2016, Channel 4 gave Joanna her biggest commission to date with Hip Hop Millionaires, a series of C4 shorts co-produced by LH with Sugar Films, Big Head Productions and supported by The TV Collective.

“It was a really exciting time for me, to get my first big commission from Channel 4, my aim with my TV work is to create spiky factual content, it isn’t always comfortable to watch, but I feel I have to find those stories, those individuals that are hidden from the rest of society and help them find a voice.”

“Joanna is a really exciting talent,” enthuses Sugar Films managing director Pat Younge “She combines her important work off-screen with a growing portfolio of commissions on a range of stories and subjects. She is definitely one to watch.”

The final string to Joanna’s bow is being a multi award-winning journalist and broadcaster with over ten years of experience in current affairs, news and entertainment news both in the UK and America. Joanna has interviewed some of the business and entertainment world's most reputable and successful professionals, politicians and celebrities for the BBC, ITV, Sky News, The Times Online, The Mail Online, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC London, The Sun and Daily Mirror. Joanna also presents her own Sunday evening news and events roundup on BBC Radio London’s Dotun Adebayo show.

Joanna’s social campaigning has seen her gain a seat on the NUJ’s Black Members Council, a role on the Board of Director’s for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, The Media Council, Investor in People and the board of advisers for Ghana-based leadership and upskilling initiative Cedi Street. She has also been a judge for awards including Audio Production Awards, Professional Publishers Association New Talent Awards, Royal Television Society Awards to name just a few.

Joanna’s TV work stands out in that it will decidedly be away from the worlds of showbiz and entertainment, but instead the purpose of her content will be not primarily to entertain, but to educate and inform. This strategic mission to create, lead and inspire, in tandem with Joanna’s ambitions for Hyden, reveals a visionary approach.

“I feel that I have a social responsibility to keep campaigning for change. I am passionate about helping individuals achieve their full potential regardless of background. My ultimate goal is to facilitate social change through my work.”

Twitter & Instagram: joanna_abeyie

Charlotte Jackson

Charlotte Jackson | Ministry of Justice

I have been active in LGBTQI advocacy ever since university in the 1990s, when I lobbied Parliament for the repeal of Section 28, lowering the age of consent for gay and bisexual men, and campaigning for better support for LGBT students at a time when it was scarce. At that time, I worked in the infamous LGBT cafe/bar, First Out, and became involved in promotions and fundraising in Soho in the late 90s. I began my professional career in the voluntary sector where I spent 10 years as a Communications Manager working on campaigns such as reproductive and sexual health projects in Africa and Asia; community and social enterprise with economically-deprived UK communities; and welfare to work initiatives with lone parents and ex-offenders.

I joined the Civil Service in 2008 in the Home Office and then Victims and Witnesses Policy, establishing myself as an expert in assessing equality impacts of policy decisions.. In 2012 I moved into a corporate role in HR, where I work in Diversity and Inclusion. Since 2015, I have been voluntary Chair of Spirit, the MoJ LGBTQI network and on the steering board of the consortium of LGBT+ networks in the public sector. During my tenure I have helped drive LGBTQI inclusion in MoJ through reforming HR policy, developing LGBTQI guidance for all staff, nurturing over 70 LGBTQI staff and allies to share their stories, and leading MoJ from 204 to 13 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index as well as achieving Gold status in the a;gender TIP measuring workplace trans inclusion. I also volunteer for the charity Diversity Role Models where I share my story as a LGBTQI role model in school to build LGBTQI awareness and reduce homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

When I first came out, following a difficult period of acceptance, I found a community of solidarity which me recognise that I could put this experience to good use in showing others that even though it is scary, we have the power to change culture and thinking by being authentic and part of a wider dialogue. I have never been in the closet at work. And this meant that I was the victim of banter, stereotyping and direct discrimination. However, I developed resilience and with each new job I pushed the boundaries further in incorporating LGBTQI inclusion in my work. I have always had the belief that you sometimes have to make it hard for yourself now to make it easier for others in the future. It has meant that I have led from a position of understanding and experience as I was there as some of the worst times when we didn’t have equality legislation to protect us. It means I can constructively challenge where I still see inequality happening.

Rachel Esilaba

Rachel Esilaba | American Express

Rachel is a tenacious and results-driven Global Procurement professional with over five years of experience working within global matrix organisations. She currently works as an EMEA Category Manager at American Express and co-chairs the UK Chapter of the Black And Asian Network. She is also one of the founding committee members of Toastmasters in the London office.

Christina Riley

Christina Riley | Kier Group plc

Christina transitioned from male to female in the workplace in 2014 while working at Balfour Beatty in the construction sector. She graduated at the University of the West of England with a Building Engineering & Management Degree in 1993. Her career began working as an assistant site engineer at St Johns College Oxford, and went on to work on projects like the British Airways World Cargo Centre , where she was an Assistant Site Manager.

Christina moved into the Planning Department and moved onto more challenging projects including the Olympic Village ,Lakeside Shopping Centre and All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. After 23 years with Gallford Try she moved to Balfour Beatty to work on 13 schools including a new secondary school in Reading.

Since her transition , Christina has become an ambassador for the company and has given over 35 industry talks on Equality, Diversity , Inclusion , Fairness and Respect. As well as talks on mental health support in the workplace.

Christina became chair of the Balfour Beatty LGBT and Allies Network in 2015 , and has been recognised with a number of awards including the British LGBT Awards Corporate Rising Star. Christina lead the network to win at the CECA Civil Engineers Contractors Association Awards in 2016.

Christina is also a CITB Construction Ambassador , giving talks in schools on careers advice.

Her volunatary work over laps with her day job, and has been invited to a number of high profile clients to speak on Diversity and Inclusion , and transitioning in the workplace. Christina works closely with Executive Sponsors on the Balfour Beatty board, raising awareness of greater diversity and inclusion in the Construction industry.

Linda Esilaba

Linda Esilaba | Barclays

Linda is currently working as a Business Manager in Barclays for Macro with a focusing on Regulatory Implementation for the front office. Her team plays an integral role in providing commercial guidance and client-focus on Regulatory projects impacting the business. Most recently, she supported the delivery of MiFID II and GDPR, ensuring challenges for the business as a result of these two new regulations were identified, well understood and the eventual handover to BAU owners was planned for, communicated and executed.

Prior to this, Linda worked in Risk and Finance Change and Strategic and Regulatory Change, gaining a broad knowledge of large-scale regulations including IFRS9, Spanish Market Reform and Target-2 Securities. Her professional experience covers project management, business and functional requirement analysis, stakeholder management and governance.

Linda graduated with a First Class Honours Master of Engineering degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Loughborough University. She joined Barclays after graduating in 2014 and completing a summer internship with the firm in 2013. Linda has also held prior internships with Google, Goldman Sachs and Nomura International.

Paige Horton

Paige Horton | Citi

Paige is a Diversity & Inclusion Advisor at Citi specializing in BAME, disability and LGBT+ inclusion. During her time at Citi, Paige has worked on award winning projects and was selected to be part of a small innovation circle for the HR department. Paige is a committee member of the Citi Pride (LGBT+) Network in London, where she acts as the Trans* representative and D&I Advisor. Outside of work, Paige is the youngest member of the Gay Women’s Network steering committee and runs monthly networking events in Canary Wharf for LGBT+ women and non-binary people. She is an alum of the Stonewall Young Leaders programme and a volunteer for Diversity Role Models, a UK charity which aims to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015 with a BSc in Business Studies.

Lauren Seaman

Lauren Seaman | Deutsche Bank

After completing a Business Science degree at the University of Cape Town, I moved to London and joined The Royal Bank of Scotland. Two years later in 2009 I moved into Structured Finance at Deutsche Bank (DB).

While at DB I was nominated to join the department's Sports and Social Committee, later chairing the group, and also the Global Transaction Banking (GTB) Connectors Committee. Both leadership groups aim to bring employees together through social, sporting and charity initiatives. In addition, the latter provides a conduit between senior management and staff fostering open communication and inclusion.

Throughout my time in GTB I was keenly involved in charity initiatives; contributing as a fundraiser, volunteer and being a department representative for the bank's charity events. In late 2017 my career took an exciting turn when I was giving the opportunity to join DB’s Corporate Social Responsibility team (CSR). I now run DB's Born to Be youth engagement programme. In the UK, Born to Be helps less advantaged young people reach their full potential through education initiatives.

Whist still working in the business in 2016, I was approached to join the Steerco of Deutsche Bank's disability network - dbEnable. Made up of 15 employees across Deutsche Bank UK and Ireland, the Steerco's objective is to enable an inclusive and supportive workplace where all people affected by disability or illness can flourish. Becoming part of dbEnable was a transformative step in my career. It exposed me to the diversity landscape and ignited a passion to create a more inclusive environment in the banking sector.

dbEnable arranges numerous awareness events throughout the year on topics such as Autism, Dyslexia, Stammering, Mental Health, Physical Disability to name a few. We engage with staff and senior management internally and are part of various external disability and mental health forums such as “This is Me in the City”, Purple Space and Wharfability.

At the start of 2018 I was nominated for the role of dbEnable Co-Chair. We strive to embed a culture of inclusion in the workplace and continue to drive awareness while at the same time have a keen focus on the bank's disability and mental health policies. dbEnable is the bank's go-to group on disability, mental health and illness matters and I am extremely proud to be leading it.

Sonal Shah

Sonal Shah | Barclays

Many years experience in Programme, Project Management Office and Tech, working in large IT and business change programmes and projects.

Successfully changed careers to Tech by taking a year out to study for MSc in Computing & IT and have since worked in a range of IT, Change, Regulatory and digital security projects to the present role as Vice President Delivery PMO at Barclays International.

Outside the Investment Bank day job my commitment, enthusiasm and passion are well received through all voluntary activities whether through my company or externally, where I organize and participate to inspire and share my passion to encourage diversity.

This ranges from Tech or women in senior management to inspire others from deprived backgrounds, from school age through to professional women.

I like to encourage and influence within the fast paced, growing Tech industry and also women in senior management through my active charity work to inspire and be inspired from others by regularly giving back to the community.

An active committee member of Barclays Gender network co-chairing Enable & Engage committee, Lead on the Wellbeing workstream and organize many tech and non tech community based voluntary activities outside the day job. I’m delighted that my company encourages diversity and this is one of the qualities I really appreciate which further give the opportunity to create real impact on the issues that matter such as encouraging more into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and improve the pipeline.

Use of previous experience as a keen voluntary worker ranges from teaching OAPs in my spare time in the local community centre to learn / coach on PC and iPads to become more 'IT savvy' to sharing tips through my passion and knowledge influencing – for example, encouraging more women into IT through my blogs (that have over 12,000 hits and have been published on corporate sites) and help and mentor young people to assist in careers an Tech such as CV help, mentoring to encourage interest for females to join the Tech sector. Also share skills and experience in a professional women’s forum where I actively participate such as speaking at a conference and participate and organise many voluntary forums.