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The EMpower Top 15 Advocate Executives 2019

The EMpower top global advocate executives

The EMpower top 15 advocate executives list celebrates senior leaders who are not people of colour but are dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive business environment for ethnic minority employees.

All the executives listed were nominated by peers and employees. Nominations were then reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel, who scored nominees on: the influence of their role; their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace; and their business achievements.


1. Nick Owen - Deloitte North West Europe chairman

Deloitte's Nick Owen

Deloitte is focused on having an inclusive culture, which is representative of society. Nick’s role as chair has been to encourage Deloitte’s executive leadership to further embed the principles of respect and inclusion throughout the company’s culture.

In the last 4 years, Deloitte has rolled out mandatory training, to encourage respect and inclusion among all employees, including inclusive leadership workshops with over 6,000 senior leaders, providing absolute clarity on the respectful behaviours expected from everyone, regardless of seniority.

Following Deloitte’s initial progress in gender diversity, Nick has challenged the organisation to include more emphasis on ethnicity, and to start to explore further inclusion opportunities, with reference to neurodiversity, disability and social mobility, through blind and contextualised recruitment. As chair of a client-centric organisation, Nick is able to drive Deloitte’s inclusion message externally. As such, he sponsors the BAME on boards programme, which supports senior BAME individuals on their journey to boardroom positions, through a tailored programme of training, mentoring and networking events, in parallel with a similar programme he sponsors to develop women on boards.

Nick encourages FTSE chairs to nominate participants, in collaboration with the BBBA. The programme has raised awareness of BAME progression at the most senior levels and given FTSE Boards a practical opportunity to take action to improve ethnic representation in their organisations.

2. David Hynam - Bupa UK CEO

Bupa's David Hynam

As CEO of Bupa UK, David is proud that 20% of the organisation and around 10% of senior leaders are BAME — as are 15% of his own direct reports.

He is an active sponsor of Bupa’s employee network, DiverCity, which has a dedicated group focused for BAME employees. Bupa UK joined EMpower in 2018, strengthening their commitment to creating an even more inclusive business, and David led the launch of Be You at Bupa; a public commitment to inclusion which has now been adopted at all offices across the Bupa footprint. David sponsored the update of their D&I policies to align with the ethos of Be You at Bupa. He also led the launch of Bupa UK’s Code of Conduct, which helps Bupa to be an inclusive organisation where nobody is treated differently.

As part of the opening of Bupa’s new office in Salford, David led the launch of the Everyone’s Welcome pledge, engaging the support of other organisations. David has been a Trustee of the UK Foundation, an independent grant-giving body, which has actively supported a number of important, charitable projects to support people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. This includes the charity, Key Changes, who have a programme of health and social activities for BAME men experiencing severe and enduring mental health problems.

The UK Foundation has also funded the Asian Lone Women Parents Association’s mental health project, and the Southall Community Alliance to provide more than 60 weekly sessions to help physically inactive older Asian and African carers to manage their health and get fitter. Beyond his corporate role, David is the chairman of HomeServeUK, where he also champions (diversity and inclusion) D&I.

3. Jennifer Rademaker - Mastercard executive vice president of Global Customer Delivery

Mastercard's Jennifer Rademaker

Jennifer drives change beyond a balanced slate, focusing on developing people of colour and increasing role models.

Her focus on role models transformed her leadership team from 29% executives of colour to 50% in one year. She is preparing the next generation of executives by personally coaching 11 high potential ethnic minority leaders at Mastercard.

She also serves as the executive sponsor for Mastercard’s African descent employee group (LEAD) in Europe, hosting activities in Mastercard’s European offices with topics geared to supporting career advancement, personal development, and sponsorship for ethnic minority employees, as well as showcasing role models.

In addition, Jennifer spends career coaching time with members of the LEAD steering committee to support their advancement. Outside of work, she serves on the New York board of the American Red Cross and is a member of the House of St Barnabas, an organisation that provides job training to combat homelessness.

4. Dominic Christian - Aon global chairman of Reinsurance Solutions

Aon's Dominic Christian

At Aon, Dominic has ensured that his leadership team have to sponsor three to five diverse colleagues and have diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals in their objectives, ensuring a strong pipeline of diverse talent.

He is committed to driving social mobility to enable those from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds to have the opportunities that privileged, majority communities take for granted. Dominic has supported the development of Aon’s traineeship programme, Step Up, which attracts young NEETs (those not in education, employment or training) who are aged 18-25 to gain valuable experience and skills to enable them to enter the job market.

Alongside one of the BAME women he sponsors, Dominic worked on two initiatives recently to attract BAME talent to Aon, an “Insight Week” to give a week’s work experience to 15 young BAME individuals, involving presentations, skills workshops, and job shadowing to help introduce the candidates to the type of work that Aon undertakes, run by role model volunteers; and a brand new two-day workshop designed to attract BAME individuals and fast-track them to the assessment centre for Aon’s graduate programme.

Beyond Aon, Dominic sponsors the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which supports social mobility and encourages minority groups. As chairman of Inclusion@Lloyd’s, Dominic also has influence across the whole of the insurance industry and works with leaders at other firms to drive a culture of inclusion. Additionally, Dominic is actively involved in mentoring BAME women to assist with their career progression in the city.

5. Mairead Nayager - Diageo chief HR officer

Diageo's Mairead Nayager

Recognising the importance of diversity to Diageo’s business ambitions, Mairead led efforts across the business to put a real focus on ensuring they are recruiting, developing and retaining people of all backgrounds, which includes people from all ethnic backgrounds.

In South Africa, Mairead worked to transform Diageo JV’s approach on the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) agenda, significantly improving its BBBEE contribution from a “Level 8” contributor to “Level 6” over 3 years, with Diageo SA now 100% compliant at “Level 4”.

Following Diageo’s recent pledge to improve the career outcomes for BAME employees in the UK, they have signed the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, and Mairead has become Diageo’s “executive sponsor for race”.

She is also executive sponsor for the newly formed “REACH” Employee Resource Group, which aims to foster an inclusive working environment where everyone can be at their best, by providing a community structure and support system that promotes the recruitment, retention and development of ethnically diverse employees.

6. Ileana Sodani - BNY Mellon EMEA head of Sales

BNY Mellon's Ileana Sodani

In her role as EMEA executive sponsor for IMPACT, a resource group supporting BNY Mellon’s commitment to ethnic diversity and inclusion (D&I), Ileana is steadfastly committed to leading efforts to embed the mission of “driving ethnic diversity and making it an asset” within BNY Mellon’s company culture, focusing on ethnically diverse talent both internally and externally and ensuring everything is measurable, for the purpose of benchmarking, data gathering and monitoring.

This year, Ileana launched the network’s “self-disclosure” campaign, which aims to understand the reasons behind why people don’t disclose their ethnicity. Ileana continues to challenge BNY Mellon’s senior team to embed diversity in promoting and hiring practices, and establish a diverse stream of internal talent for middle and senior management roles. She is also partnering with BNY Mellon’s HR to review their university recruiting programme and the ways in which they could improve diversity in the talent pipeline.

Ileana regularly shares her personal commitment by participating on industry panels, most recently on a “Women in Islamic and Ethical Finance” panel. She is also one of the original founding members of The Network of Networks, which aims to connect women’s network leaders, BAME network leaders and LGBT+ network leaders from 50 companies to share experiences and ideas surrounding D&I.

7. Philip Davidson - KPMG managing partner

KPMG's Philip Davidson

Philip is a visible and active champion for inclusion at the most senior levels of the firm to ensure that KPMG is a magnet for talent and the clear choice for their clients.

He is the sponsoring partner of KPMG’s Black Heritage (BH) Reverse Mentoring programme, which helps partners understand the experiences of BH colleagues at KPMG, by matching them with a more junior BH mentor for confidential and supportive discussions. In addition to the programme providing increased exposure to the partnership, Philip has personally ensured that BH mentors are allocated a partner sponsor to help build their internal networks and drive career development.

Philip also founded KPMG’s BH Working Group, which brings together BH partners, head of People, co-head of IDSE and the chair of our African Caribbean Network to track progress on FY19 BH targets, deliver specific actions to help advance BH inclusion and provide challenge and critique to internal strategies and campaigns.

He sponsored KPMG’s Black Entrepreneurs' Award (BEA), designed to support black entrepreneurs and their start-ups to become investment ready beyond the firm, providing winning entrants with investment in their business, a senior KPMG mentor and membership of the Enterprise Nation small business network.

8. Kevin Ellis - PwC chairman and senior partner

PwC's Kevin Ellis

Kevin aims to create a culture where everyone feels empowered to be the best they can be, whatever their background and however they identify. This is why PwC has voluntarily published their ethnicity pay gap for the past two years in their digital annual report, alongside a clear action plan to drive diversity and inclusion (D&I).

PwC have invested in creating progression coaches to provide career advice and advocacy specifically aimed at high-potential ethnic minority and female directors. The programme is designed to directly improve gender and ethnicity pay gaps by ensuring PwC has a strong pipeline of senior people to fill these roles in the coming years. Kevin has also changed PwC’s partner income allocation process to ensure those leaders within PwC who are making a positive contribution to gender and ethnicity targets are recognised and rewarded. This is helping to drive accountability for D&I among each of the firm’s leaders who all have a role to play in setting the right tone from the top.

With Kevin’s guidance, PwC has recently joined forces with UKBlackTech to encourage greater diversity in the technology sector and to inspire more young people from a range of backgrounds to pursue careers in technology.

Passionate about social mobility and ethnic diversity, Kevin championed PwC’s investment in Bradford as a way of enacting change in an area identified by the government as an opportunity area. Kevin also mentors ethnic minority future leaders from other PwC network firms and is the long-term sponsor of PwC’s GLEE (gays, lesbians and everyone else) network, which has grown to over 900 members.

9. Samantha Mobley - Baker McKenzie partner

Baker McKenzie's Samantha Mobley

In October 2017, to coincide with Black History Month, Samantha and her team launched the Colour Brave campaign.

She distributed their message through variety of forums including sharing personal stories, a Colour Brave video, a pledge board and a panel discussion. Ahead of the campaign, Samantha presented the Colour Brave concept to all London office partners and Baker & McKenzie’s global chair. As a result, almost half of Baker & McKenzie employees signed the Colour Brave pledge, pledging to become comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations about race.

Following the launch of Colour Brave, Samantha has continued to champion the ethnicity agenda through regular participation in Baker & McKenzie’s employee network group, BakerEthnicity. On being appointed to the London Management Committee, Samantha has sought to maximise her increased platform to pursue the agenda with her peers and she has supported the introduction of ethnicity workforce targets and publishing the ethnicity pay gap, alongside statutory gender pay reporting. Through the network, Samantha is not only introducing the concept of intersectionality to diversity discussions, but is also proactively building these conversations into relationship meetings with clients.

She is an active participant and supporter of the POWER gender network, and is encouraging debates on race and gender through an intersectional lens. Samantha is also determined to launch a cross sector ethnic minority initiative, which encourages firms across the City to get together in a joint effort to embrace the Colour Brave concept.

10. Robert Lawson - BP global head of M&A and Gas & Power Trading

BP's Robert Lawson

In 2006, Robert co-founded and initially chaired BP’s ethnicity business resource group, the Positively Ethnic Network.

Since that time, he has been an active and committed supporter of ethnic minorities in BP and has continued his involvement with the Positively Ethnic Network by serving as an ambassador, sponsor and speaker at related events.

Over the past few months, Robert has become the lead executive overseeing ethnicity and related activities in BP’s Canary Wharf offices, running regular events that have helped increase awareness of ethnicity issues for non-ethnic staff whilst enhancing workplace inclusivity for all staff. In particular, progress has been made around mentoring and recruitment initiatives. Robert is also a passionate advocate for the need to analyse and benchmark ethnicity data relating to the workforce in order to monitor progress, remove any biases and drive sustainable change.

Robert is personally involved with three world leading business schools: Stanford Graduate School of Business (MSx Advisory Board); Cambridge Judge Business School (Honorary Fellow); Cass Business School (M&A Research Centre Advisory Board); and he regularly provides career coaching to emerging ethnic minority leaders.

11. Michael Fraccaro - Mastercard chief human resource officer

Mastercard's Michael Fraccaro

As chief human resource officer, Michael is committed to a number of key diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.

He aims to acquire diverse talent through requiring diverse candidate slates for all VP+ searches, auditing existing external partnerships to ensure access to people of colour (POC) for current and future roles, and building relationships with Historical Black Colleges & Universities.

He has hosted focus groups with POC to understand how to create a more inclusive environment, leading to a series of actions. He also initiated annual salary surveys to ensure no inequity in pay due to ethnicity, gender etc. As global executive sponsor for the Leading Employees of African Descent (LEAD) BRG, Michael and the group are embarking on an exciting pilot program for mid-career leaders (in partnership with an external consultancy) for people of African descent. The program will help LEAD members navigate nuanced situations they may encounter and coach them through areas of opportunity from their assessments.

Michael also mentors BRG steering committee members to help maximise impact. Michael champions and raises awareness for the need for greater diversity through numerous external organisations, helping them to fulfil their mission of unlocking potential for diverse job seekers.

12. Diane Chadwick-Jones - BP human performance director

BP's Diane Chadwick-Jones

Diane is a co-chair of BP’s Positively Ethnic Network (PEN), an influential, employee-led group that is at the forefront of a step change in diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Building upon her work in safety culture, Diane has led an impactful strategy review that consolidated the direction on mentoring, sponsorship and recruitment, and also leads the “Engaging Senior Leaders” workstream, producing workshops to counteract unconscious bias through empowering teams to make structural changes to systems and processes.

Diane believes that ethnic diversity gives a competitive advantage that a big difference in creating value, and feels that mentoring and sponsorship are vital in skills-building for success.

To this end, Diane designed and implemented a mentoring scheme which involved senior leaders mentoring people of colour, which was then successfully applied widely in the diversity groups in BP. She is an advocate and mentor, supporting numerous ethnically diverse candidates internally and external to BP to manage dilemmas and focus on fulfilling their potential. Diane is also a member of “The Circle NGO”, which fights for equal rights for women all over the world.

13. John Graff - Ashby & Graff Real Estate CEO

Ashby & Graff Real Estate's John Graff

When Ashby & Graff first launched in 2017, John mandated that any content produced by the company would always endeavour to reflect the diversity of America, so everyone who encounters the Ashby & Graff brand will instantly know they are welcome and can count on being provided the same effective, honest, and ethical service afforded to all clients.

John, who is openly gay, says his own personal experiences with discrimination and feeling unrepresented motivated his decree that affects all content, social media and other marketing produced by the company. Externally, John serves on the board of directors of the National Association of REALTORS and the California Association of REALTORS where he is heavily involved in promoting minority homeownership, especially among the African-American community which suffers from the lowest rate of homeownership of any group in the US.

At the national level, he serves on the Multi-Cultural Leadership Advisory Council, which convenes the leaders of the various multicultural real estate organisations in the United States including the National Assoc. of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the National Assoc. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the National Assoc. of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), the Asian Real Estate Association (AREA), and the Women's Council of REALTORS (WCR).

He currently represents NAGLREP on the council, but works collaboratively with his friends from NAREB and other organisations to find solutions to discrimination against black Americans in housing.

14. Brian Corr - Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) head of Retail Competition

Financial Conduct Authority's Brian Corr

Brian is part of the Spectrum (BAME network) leadership team and is co-sponsor of a Directorate’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) working group. In Spectrum, Brian is a role model for non-BAME support for the network. He has delivered several career progression events for Spectrum members and established a strong working relationship with Black British Business Awards (BBBA), where he sits on a steering committee, attends events, secured slots on the first BBBA BAME talent accelerator programme and will support the second programme this year.

Brian mentors BAME colleagues and is part of the FCA BAME sponsorship programme. He co-sponsors a diverse and committed group to progress the D&I agenda, seeking stretch opportunities and exposure to senior management for both BAME and non-BAME staff in the group.

Brian and his working group have introduced a BAME mentoring programme in his Directorate, bringing together senior leaders and BAME colleagues and have introduced regular support and challenge sessions where directors are held to account for their progress on D&I. Furthermore, he co-led the design and delivery of an inclusive leadership event for 140 leaders in his Directorate and a dedicated programme of action that led to a positive shift in BAME colleagues’ staff survey scores on their experience of working in the Directorate.

Externally, he delivered a coaching session for Business in the Community’s BAME mentoring circle, and has been involved with a team running career aspiration and leadership sessions with 14-16 year olds from local schools that are mainly from BAME backgrounds.

15. Jackie Uhi - HSBC UK head of Mortgages and Wealth

HSBC UK's Jackie Uhi

Jackie has a number of active roles in driving the inclusivity agenda at HSBC UK, including the EMpower steering committee; being an EMpower sponsor, nurturing internal BAME talent. She is on the UK Culture & Engagement committee, the Executive Women’s Forum steering committee. She proactively contributes and promoting Women on Boards and supports the Atlas Mentoring Platform, Women Ahead.

She has been the executive sponsor for Embrace for the last 18 months, and has been instrumental in acting as a trusted advisor for the network committee. Jackie ensures all things inclusion are discussed at board level to help shape strategy. She has mentored chairs, sponsors and committee members, alongside BAME colleagues aiming to achieve director-level roles.

She presents at events, promoting all aspects of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and has pushed a recruitment drive for increasing BAME leadership.

Externally, Jackie has worked with the CEO of the Diana Award which has led to opportunities for HSBC employees to mentor and make a difference to the lives of young people mostly from a BAME background. The team have run mentoring programmes, offering career insight which is fun, diverse and truly benefits young people’s personal and professional development.