The EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Models of 2019

INvolve is releasing the annual EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model Lists 2019, supported by Yahoo Finance.

The EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model Lists 2019 celebrates business leaders breaking down barriers at work and those using their position to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of the business agenda.

The lists are launching at a time when disparity between ethnic minorities and their white colleagues is increasing, particularly with regards to pay and opportunities. To kick start change, INvolve is currently calling for the government to make ethnic minority pay gap reporting mandatory for businesses with 250 or more staff. Fifteen companies, including Deloitte, Sodexo, WPP, and Bank of England have signed a commitment to work towards reporting their ethnicity pay gap and influence others to do so ahead of any government mandate to report.

Suki Sandhu OBE, INvolve Founder & CEO, says:

Whilst we wait for more formal mandates to ensure equality, role models who have successfully broken down barriers continue to act as inspirations for future generations whilst being agents of change. This is why we believe it’s important to continue showcasing our Role Model Lists, especially while we have research showing there are more CEOs called Steve than ethnic minority CEOs.”

Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard, today tops the EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Executives List in recognition of his work creating equal opportunities across all strands of diversity within the organisation, whilst also working hard to encourage fellow leaders from across the globe to follow suit. 

Farah Siddiqui, Business Operations Manager, Salesforce is being named number one on the EMpower 50 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List, which celebrates the world’s next generation of business leaders. Farah is Founder and Global President of Salesforce’s multifaith business group, Faithforce and is also being celebrated for her work with the Muslim Women’s Association in Chicago.

Nick Owen, Chairman, Deloitte, has been awarded the top place in this year’s EMpower Advocates List. This list celebrates white leaders who have used their influence to drive diversity and inclusion in all forms. Nick is being celebrated this year in recognition of the fundamental work he’s done at Deloitte to create equal opportunities for ethnic minorities, including signing INvolve’s commitment to work towards ethnicity pay gap reporting.

This year the EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model Lists 2019, supported by Yahoo Finance, saw a great increase in listers from the media and communications industry since 2018, as well as financial services. It’s also another great year for our next generation of female leaders; 64% of the EMpower 50 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List are women – an increase of 4% from last year.

Current landscape for ethnic minority employees

  • The Resolution Foundation estimates the UK ethnicity pay gap stands at £3.2bn
  • Analysis by INvolve has identified there are more CEOs in the FTSE 100 called Steve than ethnic minority leaders and 51% of UK boards have no ethnic minority members
  • Parker review has found only 8% of director positions in the FTSE are held by a business leader from an ethnic minority
  • Just 16.1% of Fortune 500 board members are ethnic minorities
  • An INvolve report shows the most ethnically diverse workplaces are 35 percentage points more likely to financially outperform industry averages

Suki Sandhu OBE, INvolve Founder & CEO, says:

“In 2019, it’s horrific that we’re still seeing fewer opportunities for ethnic minority employees and people of colour, and alarming ethnicity pay gaps across businesses. Each year, we create our Role Model Lists to celebrate incredible individuals and businesses who are working to drive ethnic diversity and empowerment in workplaces across the globe. Role modelling is fundamental to create more diverse and inclusive organisations, and everyone who has featured on this year’s Lists is using their success to inspire the next generation of ethnic minority employees and future leaders. By working collectively with our annual Role Model Lists we hope to create a level playing field for minorities across the globe.”

Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard, says:

“I consider myself incredibly lucky to work at a company where decency is the foundation for how we approach the work we do. When we lead with decency, all of our other values are supported. They’re made even stronger by a commitment to diversity. And that’s the importance of this program, recognizing and celebrating those who will inspire others to take action and support them as they pursue new opportunities and new paths forward. I congratulate all of the honorees and look forward to how we can inspire and help those who will follow us.”

Farah Siddiqui, Business Operations Manager, Salesforce, saysL

“I am incredibly honoured to be recognised by EMpower for the work we’re doing to champion faith diversity and inclusion at Salesforce! It’s one thing to say we respect and value everyone’s differences but another to actively engage in work that fosters understanding, builds trust, and shows that respect. With Faithforce, our interfaith employee resource group, we strive to show it in a meaningful and impactful way across the company so people from any faith, culture or ethnic background can feel valued, seen and heard. I am truly grateful for this recognition and for the support of senior leadership, our Office of Equality, and the entire global Faithforce team for their dedication to creating a more inclusive, more connected community at Salesforce.”

Nick Owen, Chairman, Deloitte, says:

Providing an inclusive culture is a priority for Deloitte. We want to enable our people to thrive and feel able to be themselves, regardless of ethnicity, gender or social background.  It is therefore an absolute honour to accept this award on behalf of Deloitte.

“As a business we experience extraordinary benefits from diversity, at all levels.  Our BAME action plan puts practical steps in place to ensure we improve opportunities for our BAME people and applicants, underpinned by our culture.  Externally, our BAME on Boards programme gives FTSE Boards the opportunity to take action to improve their own ethnic diversity.  We aim to accelerate the numbers of BAME role models at the most senior levels, who will inspire future generations in business and in society.”

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