Today's Community Champion

Toks Okeniyi


Toks Okeniyi is a consultant and currently she is the head of UK Programmes and Operations at FORWARD, a charity that works primarily with women and girls of the African diaspora communities to tackle the practice of FGM in the UK through community engagement, youth activism and advocacy.     She is a persuasive communicator, innovative, with strong personal integrity and reputation for exceeding expectations and making things happen. She serves as a catalyst for change with a commitment to improve efficiency and adopts a systematic approach to problem solving and effectively analyses results and implement solutions. She has worked effectively with people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and communicated ideas in clear and easy to understand terms. 


More Community Champions

Perseverance Magaya


Perseverance Magaya is an entrepreneur, based in Southampton and founder of Ladies Let’s Talk, a talk show with the mission to bring restoration to all women. Ladies Let’s Talk is a movement created to empower, educate, motivate, inspire and transform women.     She is an aspiring motivational speaker, talk show host. She is passionate about women empowerment and she is very active on her social media platforms, and through her movement with Ladies Let’s Talk she tries to address the situations women may be overcoming in silence, creating a support network.

Onyekachi Wambu


Onyekachi Wambu was born in Nigeria in 1960 and arrived in the UK after the Biafran war. Educated in London and at the universities of Essex and Cambridge, he has worked as a journalist since 1983. He has worked extensively as a journalist and television documentary maker for the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS. A respected broadcaster and commentator on African affairs, his commentary has appeared on the BBC, CCTV, Voice of America, Press TV, TVC, and the Guardian.    Onyekachi is also the Executive Director at the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), a charity that seeks to enhance the contributions that Africans in the diaspora make to Africa’s development.  The charity is a pioneer and innovator in the field of policy and practice of ‘diaspora and development’. AFFORD’s advocacy work has contributed to UK an international recognition of the role of the diaspora in international development, and in the subsequent initiation of new policies, programmes, funds and schemes.     His book publications include “Empire Windrush: Fifty years of writing about Black Britain” and “Under the Tree of Talking - Leadership for Change in Africa”.

Pamela Hutchinson

Head of Diversity

Pamela Hutchinson is a  based in London with more than 20 years of expertise in the subject matter across the globe from an strategic as well as an operational perspective.     Cited as one of the most respected thought leaders and vocal advocates for diversity within the private sector, she provides a pragmatic and engaging narrative which is inspiring for action leaders as well as for employees. She partners closely with HR and business leaders to facilitate the integration of Diversity and Inclusion into people and business processes and practices.     She has been awarded for her work numerous times, in 2014, she was a awarded a spot on Timewise’s Power Part Time List. The same year she was recognised by the Black British Business Award as a Financial Services Leader Finalist. In 2013, the European Diiversity Awards named her as an Inspirational Role Model of the year finalist.

Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi

Director of Afghanistan and Central Asian Association

left Afghanistan with his young family in 1999, and in 2001 he established the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association of which he is Director. He wanted to help other refugees, so he began organising cultural events and day trips for the Afghan community in London. Since then, the organisation has flourished and developed into a vibran organisation working to free refugees and newcomers from the isolating feelings which can come with migration.     Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi is also CEO of the European Campaign For Human Rights for the People of Afghanistan (ECHRA), where he is responsible for its strategic direction in Afghanistan and UK, managing projects with up to 7 NGO partners in the UK, EU and Afghanistan, paying special attention on the promotion of human rights in Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora.

Dr. Patrice Baptiste

Medical Doctor

Patrice Baptiste is a London based medical doctor. She is currently trying to become a General Practitioner (GP).     Dr. Baptiste is also a freelance writer, she has written for the British Medical Association (BMA), the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Support of doctors Network, among others. She also contributes regularly to GP online discussing topics pertaining to GP training.     She has also written non-medical articles on her own website and for the Black History Month website (BHM), the Waltham Forest News and the Voice newspaper.     While she studied to become a doctor she realised how difficult it was for her to make an informed decision, this was one of the motivations that led her to launch DreamSmartTutors, an organisation that helps prospective medical students understand more about medicine as a career whilst it also aims to increase diversity within the medical profession. For creating this organisation Patrice was a finalist at the Black British Business and Parecious Awards 2016 and she won a LIFT Effects Rising Star award.

Temi Mwale

Social Entrepreneur, Educator and Campaigner

Temi Mwale is a social entrepreneur, educator and campaigner from London, England. She has been actively seeking solutions to some of the worlds most pressing issues since she was 16.     Temi is the founding director of “The 4Front Project”, a youth-led social enterprise with the aim of empowering young people and communities to live free from violence. She has created an intervention program that empowers young people to find a new path.     Her work has been recognised through many awards, being one of the youngest change makers to be recognised by Forbes Magazine, featuring in their annual list as one of the Top 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in Europe.     She is passionate about building platforms and using film, photography, music and other creative forms to captures and showcase the resilience of marginalised communities. 

Suki Sandhu


Suki Sandhu is a recognised expert in talent, diversity and inclusion. He is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO of two businesses, Audeliss, a recruitment company and INvolve, a motherbrand sitting above OUTstanding, EMpower and HERoes, membership initiatives working respectively across LGBT+, ethnic minority and gender diversity. Through these companies he aims to make a difference by being a destination for diverse talent and the choice for clients wanting to improve the diversity of their leadership teams and boardrooms. With INvolve he delivers events, through leadership and advisory services, helping firms drive cultural change and create more inclusive workplaces.   His work has brought him awards such as “Innovator of the Year” at the 2013 European Diversity Awards and he was also named 64th in The Independent’s “Rainbow List”. He is also a Stonewall Ambassador and supports many charities including The Albert Kennedy Trust and Outright International.

Miranda Brawn

Investment Banker and Barrister

Miranda Brawn has a strong career as an investment banker and barrister, she is recognised as a leading global executive. She is responsible for the legal risk in derivatives and financial regulation at an investment bank. She is also an advisor and patron for companies charities, governments and startups. Having spoken across the globe, her professional experience and personality have made her a public speaker of the highest calibre.     She is also founder and CEO of The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation a social enterprise, for it she has won a UK Prime Minister award for making diversity history. She has been named as one of the best diversity thought leaders for race diversity.   She has been quoted in global press as part of the Top100 Women in European Finance (Financial News), most powerful women in London (CityAM), Top 10 Females changing Britain (Metro) or influential Black business people powerlist (BeMogul) among others.    Her educational background includes law, business, finance, marketing while studying Political Philosophy at Cambridge University and News Journalism at the London School of Journalism. She has also been awarded with an honorary doctorate from University of Brighton for her services to business, finance, law and diversity.

Tuaneri Akoto

Chief Executive

Tuaneri Akoto, based in London, is the founder and CEO of elevated aspirations, a company that provides formal and informal educational activities and programs for children, young people, families, adults and communities.     Additionally, he is the founder and chairman of Elevated Aspirations Charity, which is committed to capacity building communities and individuals through personal and community develpment.    He has held Chair and Vice Chair positions at the Youth Exchange Council Committee of the British Council and has sat on various committees and boards.    He has also written a chapter on social inclusion and education in the international selling book “The Right’s of the Child” and has worked as a professional journalist for “The Journal”

Vanessa Vallely OBE


Vanessa Vallely OBE is an entrepreneur based in London. She is the founder of leading women’s network, job board and website, “WeAreTheCity” and “WeAreTheCity Jobs” which serves an audience of over 200.000 women each month in the UK and India. She also co-founded the UK wide diversity network, “The Network of Networks” (TNON) which includes the heads of women’s networks from 125 FTSE firms.    Vanessa’s experience is borne from a 25 year corporate career predominantly in IT and banking operations.  Vanessa had previously held roles such as Head of Business Management, Head of Governance as well as Chief Operating Officer in IT for a leading bank. For her corporate career and contribution towards female empowerment she has been recognised by a number of award bodies.     Having also judged over 20 different awards she now runs her own annual awards programme through “WeAreTheCity” which celebrates the achievements of women under a senior management level. Vanessa also sits on the board of Cancer Research “Women of Influence”.  Vanessa left her corporate position in 2013 and now dedicates her life to her family, charities, social enterprises, youth initiatives, speaking engagements as well as for running her own enterprises. 

Bernard P Achampong

Programme Director

Bernard P Achampong is a programme director at Premier Christian Communications, he also works with BBC news on digital editorial and engagement culture. He produces audio and video content for UK media leaders including audible, BBC, ITN Productions, Breakthrough Media and The TV Collective. He also runs Ideas Genius Ltd, aimed to build brands and problem solve through Facilitation with creative projects, where he works as coach and blog editor,    He has been widely awarded for his work on Content Production, Development and Promotion.

Bijal Majithia

Business Change Manager

Bijal Majithia, based in London, works as a Business Change Manager, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. As the Hindu faith representative for EY she hosts regular events with the network as well as collaborative events with other networks.    Bijal is the Director and founder of Veda London, a non-profit organisation which shares mindfulness, meditation and wellbeing in the workplace. Veda London has attracted leading speakers on topics related to living a more spiritually focused lifestyle, having grown fast through its multiple events across the city.     She has also won an Award for her on going project “Food for the Mind, Body and Soul” in which she leads a team of 100 volunteers to serve various charitable and community projects across the UK and India. There include cooking for and feeding 9 homeless shelters, supporting an abandoned animals sanctuary, spending time at dementia care homes, collecting toys for Great Ormond street Hospital, helping at a sanctuary that serves autistic children and adults and building care packages for the homeless.    Bijal also project leads an experience she created recently called the ‘Veggie Steady Cook’ experience which aims to educate people on the benefits of a healthy and conscious diet.

Natasha Broomfield-Reid

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultant

Natasha Broomfield-Reid, based in Coventry, is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultant. She has over 20 years of experience working within the diversity and inclusion field, and until recently, was the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for a national charity, “Victim Support”. She has been responsible for the design and delivery of a range of diversity & inclusion consultancy and training projects for clients across the private, public and voluntary sector.    Natasha led the Victim Support organisation to achieve the ‘Leaders in Diversity’ and ‘Investors in Diversity’ accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity and the charity was the first national charity to achieve ‘Leaders in Diversity’ status. She achieved further recognition through being shortlisted in both the 2015 ‘Excellence in Diversity Awards’ and ‘National Diversity Awards’ in the ‘Diverse Company’ category and in 2016 has been shortlisted for the ‘Most Inspiring Individual of the Year’ at the National Centre for Diversity Awards.    Over the years she has gained a wealth of experience in working within the Black and Minority Ethnic communities, disabled communities including around mental health and with young people. She also set up and managed a ‘highly commended’ regional mentoring programme. Due to her skills and abilities she has been able to successfully and positively deliver diversity and inclusion programmes to the highest standard to a wide range of audiences.

Neil Mayers

Education Consultant

Neil Mayers is the founder of “Raising Black Achievement”. Relating to education, Neil has been a Head of Inclusion at Crofton School, after that a Mathematics Consultant at Harris Federation, with the target of raising the grades of underachieving black students above “C”. He is the creator of an effective tool to learn Black History “Pearls or History Calendar”, and also a founding partner of the Carthaginian Conference: a series of ‘wealth education’ lectures.    He has written “Gifted at Primary, Failing by Secondary”, which is a parenting manual packed with simple and practical tips to help black children avoid the “secondary slump”. This is also the focus of  “Raising Black Achievement” which is aimed to give parents, teachers and carers as many means of support as possible to raise their children.

Ibukun Olashore

Chief Executive

Born in Nigeria, Ibukun Olashore, now based in London, is the CEO at OBAC, organisation of Blind Africans and Caribbeans.     The organisation where she is CEO since its creation, was founded in 1988 by a group of visually impared African and Caribbean people and became a registered charity in 1994. The charity was set up to offer services to primarily people with sight loss from black and  ethnic minority backgrounds, and over the years they have included people with other sensory and physical impairments.    Her main duties include organisation development, strategy and fundraising. Her special compromise with disability, equality, diversity and human rights, have driven her to address the importance of these issues through public speaking numerous times throughout her career.

Jiten Patel

Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights

Jiten Patel, based in Harrow (UK), is a Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights at The Open University. He has made a significant impact on the education sector through his passion for diversity and inclusion.     Jiten designed and delivered an outstanding Leadership Mentoring Programme for minority groups at The Open Univerisy, and is course Author for their Centre for Continual Professional Learning and Development. Additionally Jiten has specialised in ‘Positive Action’ and mentoring, and delivered pioneering diversity training to all staff at the National College for School Leadership. Jiten developed the cutting edge ‘Aspire’ programme for BAME staff, which due to its phenomenal success was extended to reach out to staff with disabilities.     An incredible amount of endorsements showcase Jiten as a perfect example of a diversity champion. “Highly commended” for his work in the 2016 and 2017 Excellence in Diversity Awards and Winner of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Awards “Diversity Champion of the Education Sector”.

Cheryl Phoenix

Managing Director and CEO

Cheryl Phoenix is the managing director and CEO of UK Black Links, The Black Child Agenda and managig director of The African and Caribbean Relocation and investment Summit. She is an entrepreneur who specialises in business develpment, marketing and event management.   UK Black Links is a business directory targeted at the professional African and Caribbean Business and consumer community, providing a business directory to the UK Black Community. The African & Caribbean Relocation and investment Summit has the aimed to offer those in the UK diaspora access to business and lifestyle opportunities in Africa and the Caribbean, in order to create business links.    The Black Child Agenda was set up to support young people and families who might face risk of exclusion from mainstream schools, it assists parents with legal help in Education, Immigration or Employment Laws. 

Afia Ahmed

Presenter, Writer and Researcher

Afia Ahmed is a presenter, writer and researcher based in London. She graduated with a degree in BA History, and is currently studying for a Masters at King’s College London on Education, Policy and Society.    Her areas of interest include Religion, Education, Social Mobility and Current Affairs. She has been an Undergraduate Research Assistant to PhD Candidate and Lecturer at the University of London researching into international Human Rights law, and the law of Armed Conflict.     Currently she is a researcher and presenter for the Islam Channel, providing weekly discussions on issues facing women, and political developments around the globe. Also a Secondary History Trainee. She dedicates the rest of her time to his one year old and writing on, a project created to represent muslim women. 

Keshav Singhal MBE

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Keshav has an interest in minimally invasive techniques like keyhole surgery, and needle fasciotomy for Dupuytren’s contractures. He regularly presents at Chair sessions at various conferences and has a research interest in hip biomechanics. Keshav has invented patented instruments for hip resurfacing surgery.

Nageela Yusuf

Charity Treasurer & Fundraiser

Nageela Yusuf lives in London. She is the treasurer of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS). This association is a registered charity that supports advanced research in the humanities and social sciences of South Asia.

In 2015, she ran the Eden Half Marathon to raise funds for Save the Children. Her concern was supporting nnocent children caught in the "midst of mindless acts of violence" as she saw it.

"Conflict is always harshest on children. Their vulnerabilitymakes them targets for exploitation and brainwashing – the impact of which couldlast a life time. They risk death, illness, abuse and exploitation on a dailybasis."

Omar Mashjari

Lawyer and Writer

Omar is the Executive Director of Adalah Yemen, the country’s first international law NGO. Omar holds a first-class Law degree, a distinction grade LL.M and is an admitted solicitor and accreditor mediator. He has experience of providing legal counsel and civil society capacity building in conflict zone.

Paramjit Gill


Paramjit is Professor of General Practice & GP at Warwick Medical School. After qualifying from Southampton University Medical School, Paramjit worked in a number of hospital and community posts before entering academic General Practice.    Before moving to Warwick Medical School, Paramjit was a Reader in Primary Care Research in the Institute of Applied Research at University of Birmingham and retains an honorary position.  Paramjit worked at Rotton Park Medical Centre, Birmingham for 18 years and the practice was rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission . He is now a part-time GP at Priory Gate Practice, Coventry.

Diptiben Bharat Mistry

Charity Worker

Diptiben was born in Surat, India and came to the UK in 1989. She is currently living in Leicester.    Diptiben has over 25 years of experience in working for the community. She has held several keys positions in the ‘Not for Profit Organisations’ like VISTA Society for the Blind, SEWA Education aid project, Leicester Hindu Festival Council, Gujarat Hindu Association and Shree Sanatan Mandir.    She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Graduation in Library and Information Science and is also a qualified Guide Communicator (specialised qualification to work with deaf and blind people in the UK). At Bhaarat Welfare Trust, Diptiben oversee the entire executive functions such as strategy resource mobilization, communication and fundraising event management.    Diptiben brings enormous experience and expertise to Bhaarat Welfare Trust.  She is relentlessly driven to alleviating poverty through BWT’s projects on Zero Hunger, Education Aid, Homeless and Helpless in India.    Passionate about making the significant difference to social issues like poverty, animal welfare, women empowerment, medical aid for disadvantaged, support for disabled & frail and Education for children. Asking the public for their support via promoting the charity and its goal. Her efforts helped thousands in the UK and abroad. She is kind, caring, hardworking person who has dedicated her life to serve the community without any expectation including financial.

Jagtar Singh Dhindsa


Jagtar  came to the UK in 1973 aged 10. The next few years shaped Jagtar’s thinking as he experienced racism and migrant related discrimination from a young age. He always stood up to bullies and those displaying attitudes and beliefs that are not compliant with an equal and fair society. He was educated at a comprehensive school and went on to successfully complete an engineering apprenticeship with Rolls Royce. It is at Rolls Royce that Jagtar got his first flavour of being elected as a shop steward with his union. Jagtar then joined the prison service as an instructional officer involved in the rehabilitation of prisoners through teaching life learning skills. He has been an elected Councillor for the past 23 years and during this time held important roles such as the Leader of his group, a four-member cabinet portfolio holder. Jagtar recently became the Chairman (Civic Mayor) of  Watford Borough Council. He stood as a candidate as elected mayor in Watford during 2014.  He is an active and dedicated trade unionist and currently holds the role of Branch Assistant Secretary.

Baldip Singh Aulak


Baldip is a very passionate and fearless advocate known for fighting the corner of the underdog inside and outside of court. He undertakes pro bono work on a case-by-case basis. Baldip runs various legal clinics within the community in Birmingham and the East and West of London. Baldip Heads the Legal Department for the ‘Sikh Help Line’ assisting the community with legal issues from discrimination at work to sexual grooming. He is regularly invited to give talks relating to the law and issues affecting minorities at Gurdwaras, Temples and Universities across the UK.    Baldip has recently returned to the UK after a legal tour of India where he was invited to lecture at two prestigious universities in India on the ‘English Legal System’ and ‘ Administrative law’. He also visited a number of Bar Associations around India giving talks on ‘The importance of an Independent Judiciary’ and ‘Collecting Best Evidence’.

Elizabeth Njenga

Social Worker

Elizabeth lives in High Wycombe. She is a social worker representative from the The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) England committee. BASW is the largest professional association for social work in the UK, with offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It promotes the best possible social work services for all people who may need them, while also securing the well being of social workers.    Elizabeth Njenga is one of the judges for Social Worker of the Year Awards 2017 for the categories "Best Social Work Employer" and "Championing Social Work Values".

Dr JS Bamrah CBE


Dr J S Bamrah CBE is the Medical Director of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust. He has worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the Trust since 2001, having previously worked 12 years at Trafford. Dr Bamrah was appointed Interim Medical Director in July 2013 and then to the subtantive post in February 2014.    He is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. He has trained and worked at several hospitals in Greater Manchester since 1981, and held senior positions in the BMA and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for over two decades.

The Manhood Academy for Boys

Rites of Passage: Transforming Boys to Men

Co-created in 2016. Each director previously holding a distinguished track record in youth & community work, from BAFA award winning educators, workers in educational institutes to working on the streets of London with youth from diverse communities.

The Manhood Academy for Boys is a Cultural Rites of Passage programme designed, with the intention of exposing the youth to character building experiences, tests of mental and physical fortitude and specifically created critical thinking workshops.

This is geared towards the shifting young people's paradigm.

Bringing about an empowerment, that enables them to take responsibility for the decisions that set the course for their future.

For boys from 8 - 12 years of age &  young men 13 – 19.

100% focused on aiding our boys, make the challenging transition from boyhood to Manhood.


*For more details:*


*fb:* manhood academy

*ig:* @manhoodacademy

Carol Akiwumi

Fundraising Specialist, Trainer & Inspirational Speaker

Carol has a passion for Truth and Justice. Having started out her career as an investment banker, she brought her skills and experience to bear as a Senior Manager and Consultant to several national and international charities. Her expertise includes setting strategy, developing high level partnerships with key Individuals, Community groups and Corporates.    Carol currently serves as the Chair of Black Fundraisers UK, a special interest group of the Institute of Fundraising (IOF), UK. She is a Fellow of the IOF and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, USA. She has an MA in Economics and Finance from the University of Leeds and is the founder of Money4Youth, an award winning innovative training programme for children and young people that equips them with life skills to handle money, manage finances and budget effectively.

Robbie Williams

Vice Chair

Robbie has been a board member of Steve Biko Housing Association since October 2012 and is currently Vice Chair. His working background is maintenance and has over 30 years’ experience of repairs and maintenance for both the local authority and social housing in the Meyerside area.    Robbie's current position is Assistant Neighbourhood Services Manager for the Riverside Group. Robbie is also chair of the Riverside BME Staff Group and has been an active member for 14 years. He is also a workplace rep for Unite the union within the Riverside Group and also an Equality Rep and a member of the Unite Regional BAEM committee. 

Ranjit Sond


Ranjit is an experienced solicitor specialising in personal injury law. He qualified in 1999 and has since developed an expertise in dealing with a wide range of employers’ and public liability claims including manual handling, falls from height, injuries caused by dangerous machinery and slips, trips and falls. He also has a special interest in sports injury claims and claims involving animals.    He has been a mentor to LLB students at the University of Derby since 2011 where he also regularly attends to give careers talks to students.    When not at work, Ranjit’s interests include good food, music and football. He holds the FA Level 1 Coaching qualification and has previously been involved with coaching and managing under 14’s and under 8’s football teams. Having been born and raised in East London, he supports his local team, West Ham United.

Tunji Akintokun MBE

Business Leader

Tunji is an experienced and multi-award winning business leader in internet and communications related technologies. He combines a strategic thinking approach with seasoned sales experience that allows him to evolve visions and strategies into initiatives that can be executed upon and measured for success.     Mr Tunji Akintokun has dedicated his life to mentoring children from disadvantaged backgrounds and inspiring them to pursue their dreams. He grew up an orphan in east London but it was not until IBM visited his school for a career fair that he decided to pursue a career in technology. He now mentors children from disadvantaged backgrounds and created a project called ‘Your Future, Your Ambition’. YFYA introduces students in Key stages 2 to 5 and above to exciting career paths in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects).

Daniel Lister


Daniel lives in London. He has been working tirelessly for over 20 years to improve the conditions of Africans and the diaspora globally.     Daniel has an extensive background from travelling the country as Business and Personal Development Speaker and Coach, to Law, Finance, Media, Marketing and Sales. He is a Best-Selling International Author, co-authoring ‘Multiple Streams of Inspiration Vol. 2’ with Les Brown, voted in the top 3 speakers in the world; billed as ‘A collection from some of the sharpest minds of our time’. He is currently the Founder and Managing Director of My Black Market, a company dedicated to Supporting Black Owned Businesses and their Customers to Build a Black UK Economy through networking resources, people and information, while promoting businesses and their owners to create experts within the community and inspire future entrepreneurs.    He is also the Founder and Brand Manager at Buy Black Clothing, a Fashion and Lifestyle Brand dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship within the Black community while redefining the Black imaging as positive and aspirational. The brand has sold in the UK, Europe, America and Asia.

Zubaida Haque

Research Consultant

Zubaida is a Research Consultant at The Runnymede Trust. She has experience working in several government departments as well as think tanks, academic institutions, national Commissions and the voluntary sector. She has strong analytical research skills, project management experience and managing research contractors. Examples of areas she has worked in: removing barriers for ethnic minorities in the labour market; reducing negative outcomes for BME men in prisons; raising educational attainment among lower achieving groups (white and BME); reviewing race riots; integration of new migrants; engaging Muslim communities; extremism and hate crime; behavioural trials (RCTs) and customer insight in DECC and Ofgem. She has also written speeches for Ministers and peers on a variety of public policy issues.

Darren Chetty


Darren lives in London, where is currently completing his PhD at UCL Institute of Education, where he teaches on the BA Education Studies course. He taught in primary schools for almost 20 years. He is the author of the award-winning paper 'The Elephant in the Room: Picturebooks, Philosophy for Children and Racism'.

Dayo Olukoshi OBE


Dr Dayo Olukoshi OBE is the current Executive Principal of Brampton Manor Academy in East Ham, London. He has been honoured an OBE for services to education. He has helped transform the secondary school. For example, in 2015 ,at least 5 of Brampton Manors' sixth form pupils got accepted into Oxford or Cambridge. The academy saw nearly 90 per cent of students achieve A* to B grades with nearly 60pc getting As or A*s.

Buddhdev Pandya MBE


Buddhdev is a journalist living in Milton Keynes. He publishes 'Gujarat Times UK' magazine for the professionals and people in public life within the Indian diaspora and key -movers and shakers in India.     He leads an international "The INNOVATION Forum" for the medical professionals involved in managing patient care and relevant technology to share examples of good practice and promote achievements globally. His next publication Innovation 360degree is expected to be released in due course.     Buddhdev Pandya MBE is Director of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, a national body that he had helped to establish 20 years ago. He helped developed and published 'The Physician' its medical journal. He was Chief editor of Asain Lite, an award winning ethnic publication and regular contributor to political, social and other columns in many newspapers.

Candice Carty-Williams


Candice lives in South London in a flat comprising almost entirely of books.    Candice was born in 1989, the result of an affair between a Jamaican cab driver who barely speaks and a Jamaican-Indian dyslexic receptionist who speaks more than anyone else in the world.  Candice studied Media at Sussex because her sixth form teachers said that she wasn’t clever enough to do English, but she showed them all by first working at the Guardian Guide and then moving into publishing at 23.    Candice has worked on marketing literary fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels ever since; her first highlight was interviewing David Cronenberg and telling him that if she were a white man she’d like to look like him. In response he called her a ‘delightful person’. In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, a prize that aims to find, champion and celebrate black, asian and minority ethnic writers.

Abha Thorat-Shah

Programmes & Investments Director

Abha has been a member of the founding team at the Trust and continues to be part of the Senior Management Team focussing on driving the growth of the Trust’s charitable investments in South Asia and the UK.    At the Trust, she has developed a unique grant giving model that helps to connect donors directly with the work of grassroots NGOs in the region. Her extensive practical knowledge of networks in the private and public sectors, particularly in India and the UK, has forged key partnerships for the Trust.    In her previous role she was part of the founding team at the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and rose to become its Chief Operating Officer. Both roles at the Trust and UKIBC display her passion for creating and nurturing business, cultural and social relationships between UK and South Asia. Abha discovered this passion when she began her career in the world of reinsurance before making the transition from the financial sector into social cause-led ventures.    Abha has a keen interest for the theatre and the arts and has worked at Asia House, London and the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai. Abha grew up in India and holds a BA Hons from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She came to the UK in 1999 on a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship to read Social and Political Sciences at Hughes Hall, Cambridge.

Councillor Mohammed Aikhlaq MBE


Mohammed Aikhlaq MBE has been a Labour Councillor for the Bordesley Green Ward in Birmingham since 2010 and is  Chairman of  the Councils' Corporate Resources and Governance Overview & Scrutiny Committee. He is also Chair of Governors at  Leigh Primary School in Birmingham. Mohammed was awarded an MBE in the 2017 Queens New Year Honours List for services to Education  (Birmingham, West Midlands).

Councillor Aikhlaq has been the Chair for Leigh Primary School for  15 years. He oversees the strategic planning of the school, he’s involved with the leadership of the school and on a day-to-day basis .

25 years later, the school in Dadyal is still providing a safe and nurturing environment for the children in the local village, which Cllr Aikhlaq regularly visits.

His regular efforts with the school include supplying educational equipment for the students, as well as furniture and whiteboards.

Cllr Aikhlaq’s first venture into the field of education began whilst living in a remote village in Dadyal, Pakistan. He said: “It all started way back in 1991; I was living in a remote village and on my way home one day, I saw children being educated under a tree and sitting on the floor. I went straight home and told my father ‘I want to build classrooms for kids.’”

With thanks also to Asian World News for the above information

Councillor Asher Craig

Deputy Mayor

Councillor Asher Craig is the Deputy Mayor of Bristol, with the portfolio of Communities, Equalities and Public Health.


Cllr Craig has over 30 years experience as a community activist, leader, management consultant and now politi- cian. She has championed the needs of the voice-less, with a particular emphasis on the social-economic development of BME and under-represented communities.

She has led and chaired a number of major partnerships and organisations at local, regional and national level and has worked in the field of employment & training, education & skills, recruitment, advocacy, equality & diversity within local government and third sector.

Ms Craig was elected as the Labour councillor for the ward of St George West, Bristol in May 2016 and was appointed to the cabinet with the wide reaching portfolio of neighbourhoods in August 2016.


In March 2017 she was asked to step into the new role of deputy mayor – communities, bringing into and elevating the issue of public health within this new portfolio.

Cllr Craig is also a school governor, the proud mother of three daughters and follows the Rastafari faith.

With thanks to for the above biography and photograph.


Marie Hanson MBE

Local Councillor and Charity Worker

Councillor Marie Hanson MBE, a Conservative member of Wandsworth Council, was made an Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2015 as a mark of her work with the charity STORM (Support, Trust, Opportunity, Rebuilding, Motivation).

She described herself as "humbled, honoured and proud" to receive the honour.

Coun Hanson, set up the charity in 2004, after a career in make-up and beauty therapy, to help single parents and immigrants among others across the borough. She said: "I started the charity in 2004 after receiving domestic violence and escaping from my partner.I set up the charity to empower other woman.Because I'm dyslexic and have a management degree, I wanted to show people that they could do it."

Coun Hanson said she wants to use her own life experiences to show people that their situations should not hold them back in the future. 

STORM provides free literacy and numeracy classes, a job shop, and a help line to get single parents into work. She also provides similar support to immigrants and victims of domestic violence.

Wandsworth Council expanded her premises around four years ago in order to expand the operation and her annual Peace Concert is sponsored by Wandsworth Police.

Brian Dickens OBE


Brian Dickens is a a former director of the North Lambeth and North Southwark Sport Action Zone, and currently Community Development Advisor and Trustee for the Black Prince Trust.

He once represented Great Britain internationally in 400-metre athletics and since 2002 Dickens had run London's only Sport Action Zone, working to improve health and fitness amongst young people in Southwark and Lambeth by getting them involved in sporting activities. He was a major advocate of improving the lives of low income communities through sport and has helped many individuals and orgnisations improve life chances through sport.

As a result of this dedicated work in 2008, Brian Dickens was awarded an MBE for outstanding contribution to community sports in London, as well as dedication to raising awareness nationally of how sport and physical activity can be effectively used as a catalyst for social inclusion and community cohesion.

In 2009, he was appointed Community Sport Adviser to the Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport , Kate Hoey MP.

In 2010, he was appointed by Nike, Care International and the UN Development Programme to be the convenor of the London wide Sport for Social Change Network a global initiative which uses sport to bring about a social change.

In 2014, he was nominated as a Baton Bearer for the Commonwealth Games

Paul Reid

Suffragan Bishop

Suffragan Bishop Paul Reid is the Senior Pastor and founder of Grace Tabernacle Christian Ministries, a fast growing Christian fellowship in the heart or the community in Thornton Heath, Croydon.

Pastor Reid's call to the ministry was prophetically announced at 17, and he was appointed to the ministry at age 18, making him the youngest minister in the organisation. He was greatly influenced by his father Reverend Joseph Reid and his mother, the late Evangelist Corletta Reid. It was his mother, Evangelist Reid, who "rebuked death", when he almost died at age eight from an attack of bronchitis. With his brothers and sisters crying, recognising that death had come for their brother, his mother wrestled all night in prayer and repelled "Death's attack, until the breakthrough came in the morning.

Musa Okwonga


Musa Okwonga is a poet, author, sportswriter, broadcaster, musician, public relations consultant and commentator on current affairs, including culture, politics, sport, race, gender and sexuality.  A scholarship student at Eton College, Musa studied law at Oxford University and then trained as a solicitor in the City before leaving the legal profession to pursue a career as a poet.    The winner of the 1996 WHSmith Young Writers Competition, Musa has been commissioned to write poems for the BBC World Service and the Football Association, and has performed his work, among others, at Latitude, Bestival and Glastonbury Festivals, at the Southbank Centre and BBC Broadcasting House, the Tällberg Forum and the Palace of Versailles, the latter for an audience of EU environment ministers.  He has taught in several schools and has set his poetry to music, having collaborated with bass music producers LV, singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews and jazz musicians Arun Ghosh, Corey Mwamba and Soweto Kinch.

Amrit Kaur Lohia

Performer and Workshop Facilitator

Born in Tottenham, raised in Edmonton (London, UK) Amrit Kaur Lohia is a Sarangi player and vocalist in genres of Punjabi Folk, Jazz and Soul. She learns Sarangi from Shri Surjeet Singh, senior student of Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan. She also plays Mbira (Zimbabwe) and Dilruba. Based in London, she tours internationally as a performer, composer and workshop facilitator. She is a youth worker, mentoring youth offenders and children in foster care. She is also the founder of ‘’, a social enterprise dedicated to humanising history and social issues through the Arts, which was awarded the UnLtd ‘Do it Award’ in 2016. As well as this, she is an ambassador for several charities and is currently a Global Youth Ambassador for ‘A World at School’. Amrit has also trained as a theatre director at the Young Vic Theatre and recently graduated with a Distinction in MA History, specialising in South Asia, from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Tab Ahmad

Managing Director

Ahmad is the founder and managing director of EmployAbility. Set up in 2006, EmployAbility works with disabled students and graduates to ease the transition from education to employment; and with top global employers, to help them become more disability inclusive. Ahmad’s work has changed the lives of thousands of disabled students. With 20-plus years’ of experience, her pioneering work has been vital in increasing disability awareness among employers.

Shahida Choudhry

Social Worker

Shahida Choudhry is a campaigner and social worker from Birmingham. She has set up Women’s Networking Hub in 2009, with the aspiration of working collectively with women activists and change makers, with the intention of eradicating gender inequality in all its forms. Having escaped a forced marriage that took place in Pakistan, she personally understands the problems surrounding violence against women. She has a varied work, which has included networking events using the arts as means of engaging with women, and raising awareness of sensitive and highly critical issues, such as forced marriage, FGM, and domestic violence.

Samsunear Ali

Deputy Chief Executive

Samsunear Ali is deputy chief executive at Bawso, an all-Wales, Welsh government accredited support provider, delivering specialist services to people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds who are affected by domestic abuse and other forms of abuse. She is passionate about her work, which makes a difference to some of the most vulnerable women in society. She has overcome cultural barriers and personal challenges and continuously strives to achieve and motivate others to enhance their lives.

Ahmereen Reza

Country Director

Ahmereen Reza is the Country Director of Aman Foundation UK and is the founder of Developments in Literacy Trust UK, a registered charity in England and Wales dedicated to educating children in underdeveloped and rural areas of Pakistan and assisting women from within multi-ethnic communities in England and Wales.

Thirty years ago, as an architect, Reza decided to channel her passion for advocacy and community participation to improve the lives of the world’s underprivileged. Her belief, that sustainable solutions come through direct interaction has led her to live with squatter settlements, photograph the state of “black housing” in communist Yugoslavia and visit schools in Taliban areas. She established DIL Trust UK, where her commitment to literacy has rallied support for young girls in Pakistan. She has a passion and drive to help under -privileged communities to help themselves. Ahmereen strongly believes in being and making ‘Agents of Change’.

Kirit Mistry

Local BME Facilitator

Kirit Mistry works with Derby Hospitals Organ Donation Committee to raise awareness of organ donation in Derby Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, He is a Risk Assessor and BME Community Champion for Diabetes UK and Community Champion for Kidney Research UK. Kirit has been awarded by Diabetes UK in their 2013 Inspire Awards the Raising Awareness Award for work in South Asian Communities as part of the Celebrating Excellence in Volunteering. He has worked as Executive Director of Derby Racial Equality Council providing services towards the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity. He was founder of Derby Community Health Equality Panel to assess NHS Trusts in Derbyshire on their Equality Delivery System, Derby BME Network. and in his role chaired and was founder of Derby Community Health Equality Panel to assess NHS Trusts in Derbyshire on their Equality Delivery System, Derby BME Network and now has developed Derby Diverse Patients and Communities Health Network to empower diverse patients to get equitable services. He is very committed to addressing inequality issues on a local, regional, national European and international level. Kirit is a board member for Voice4Change England a national voice for BME voluntary and community organisations.

Merium Bhuiyan


Merium Bhuiyan founded CakeFace Make up, a personalised lifestyle and beauty service operating across the UK and Middle East, for this service she is the director, makeup artist and consultant. She believes in empowerment and defining own standards of success. Merium strives to enhance both inner and outer beauty in a fast-moving and ever-changing world. She does this by using her brand as an uplifting tool to reach out to women around the world and to educate and inspire communities. Merium has also a big interest in promoting diversity and empowering others through her private teaching of English and Maths. She is a trustee of the Holloway Educational and Cultural Centre and a Board Member of the Axis Supplementary Schools Committee. On her free time she gives back to the community consulting for several charities.

Rabina Khan

Councillor, Writer and Community Worker.

Rabina Khan is a Bangladeshi-born British writer, politician, councillor for Shadwell, community worker and author of “Ayesha’s Rainbow”, a children’s book that explores racism, prejudice and stereotyping young Muslims experience in Britain. She has Edited anthologies and produced and advised on a range of media projects, also has worked with organisations such as BBC, ITV, Heritage, Rich Mix, the Wellcome Trust, Channel 4, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Arts Council. Her focus is on challenging perceptions of women and advancing the cause of Muslim women in politics and public affairs. She is a strong advocate for migrants rights, welfare rights, disability rights and working to end structures of prejudice that affect the whole society. She became a councillor for Shadwell Ward in 2010 and she was Cabinet Member for Housing. She has been awarded with the Tower Hamlets Civic Award, the Hero of the Year European Diversity Award and was nominated for the European Muslim Woman of Influence Award in 2009.

Samir Jeraj


Samir Jeraj is a Journalist with a focus on housing and social issues. He has been a Green Party Councillor in Norwich from 2008 to 2012. Currently he is a Policy and Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation, assisting the policy and practice team on a number of projects, including the Department of Health Strategic Partners program, and de National Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Transplant Alliance (NBTA).

Patrick Reid

Managing Director

Patrick Reid is an Award Winning Social  entrepreneur and Christian, Patrick Reid, runs PJ Community Services alongside his wife Claudine Reid.PJ’s Community Service is a social enterprise that provides care services for vulnerable adults, education services for young people and business training for entrepreneurs.

He also led in the creation of the Paxton Academy, a primary Free school which opened in September 2014 in Thornton Heath. 

Shamim Azad

Poet and Writer

Shamim Azad is a Bangladeshi-born British poet, storyteller and writer. She does performances that combine education and entertainment and workshops rooted in Asian folk, oral tradition and heritage. She has published several books, including novels, collections of short stories, essays and poems in English and Bengali. She has also written two plays for Half Moon Theatre and worked with composers Richard Blackford and Kerry Andrew. She has performed in many venues including de Museum of London, Cambridge Water Stone, Liberty Radio, Battersea Arts Centre, British Council of Bangladesh, Takshila in Pakistan and New York. She is a trustee of charity One World Action and Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. Shamim is school governor and chairperson of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in London. She is also part of a Story telling group in Eastend, which invites local residents to share stories brought up by its diverse history of immigration.

Stafford Scott

Race Equality Consultant

Stafford Scott was a co-founder of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign in 1985 and is now a Consultant on racial equality and community engagement. He is also project director of the Bernie Grant trust which has a broad remit to address disadvantage arising from race and ethnicity. It has delivered Community Leadership Programmes in several UK locations.

Stella Opoku-Owusu

Engagement and Capacity Manager

Taher Ali Qassim MBE

Public Health Manager

Taher Ali Qassim is a public health manager with a Yemeni origin. In yemen he used to be a goat shepherd, but after arriving in Liverpool in 1995 he has become a public health manager of the citiy, dedicate to improving health in Liverpool by improving housing and education. His been awarded with and MBE for his work on funding the Black and Racial Minorities Network, created to mediate between parents and schools as well as to set up housing and health improvement projects.

Anntoinette Bramble

Deputy Mayor

Anntoinette Bramble is a  Deputy Mayor and also the Cabinet Member for Children Services, Young People and Education at Hackney Council. She has been a councillor in Hackney since 2010.  She is leading on a programme for  Improving outcomes for young black men part of the Windrush roundtable 70th celebrations and legacy discussions. As well as being a volunteer at the homeless shelter scheme at St John’s, Anntoinette chairs the Achievement and Attainment committee.

She is also Labour London Regional Representative for the Local Government Association, trainer for and member of the Labour Women Network and Governor at two local secondary schools. 


Khareem Jamal


Khareem Jamal is the Founder and a senior lecturer of The School of Africology in Bromley, London, for the study of African history and phenomena, which seeks to provide African History and education that the school curriculum does not. He is a Co-Creator and musical director of the music play “Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame”. Also writer and director of “The Abolitionist” and co-director of “Whirlwind and The Storm”. And author of the recently launched play “The Voices of Black Folk”.

Kékéli Kpognon

Diaspora Coordinator

Kékéli Kpognon is The Girls Generation’s Diaspora Coordinator. She works acting as a conector for members of the Diaspora working on FGM and human rights or international development. Her work involves linking diaspora organisations, media and networks with each other, and with partners in Africa and globally.

Keeley Stamp

Primary School Teacher

Keeley Stamp studied Applied Social Science at the University of Humberside and then completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of The West of England. Keeley has good expertise in curriculum development, lesson planning, classroom management and educational leadership. She passes on this knowledge being part of the advisory team at Axis Educational Trust, a registered charity which aims to provide high quality, coordinated affordable supplementary education to school pupils in the uk. At this organisation she works as a teacher mentor and a supervisor at its Tuition Centres .

Jehangir Malik

Chief Executive

Jehangir Malik is the CEO of Muslim Aid, a faith-based British humanitarian charity, its work is governed by the social justice teachings of Islam, such as compassion, empathy, generosity and helping others in need. Prior to Muslim Aid in September 2016, Jehangir was Chief Executive of Olympic Legacy Charity International Inspiration. Before this, he was at Islamic Relief for 23 years, starting as a volunteer and working up to national fundraising director and after that he was its UK Director for six years. Jehangir engages with government departments and think tanks, by providing policy briefings and strategic engagement on international development and foreign policy issues. He has been on humanitarian missions around the globe in some of the most hostile environments. In 2010, Jehangir was awarded an OBE in recognition of his 20 years of contribution to the humanitarian cause. Jehangir is currently on the board of trustees at ACEVO, an Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, and The Runnymede Trust, a leading Race & Equality think tank in UK.

Ila Chandavarkar

Consultant and Trainer

Ila Chandavarkar has worked for a number of different voluntary organisations including the Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre, where she was Head of Policy, and the Tenants’ Support Service. She is the former Chief Officer of MENTER, the regional Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) network for the voluntary community sector in East of England. For eight years Ila worked as a manager for Cambridge City Council’s Community Development Team managing voluntary sector support and equalities work, including several European funded employment projects. She was a board member for the Cambridge Cooperative Development Agency for over 10 years, providing advice and support services for cooperatives and social enterprise. She is one of the founding members of Voice4Change England, which is a national BME infrastructure partenership that brings together narional, regional and local groups.

Elaine Joseph

Youth Worker

Elaine Joseph started working with children and young people in 1977 in Sierra Leon. She returned to England in 1979 and since then she has worked with young people on the Stockwell estate in South London. She is part of a team of youth workers who ran activities and counsel young people on the estate.

Dr. Karim Murji


Dr. Karim is based in the Sociology department at The Open University Milton Keynes, UK. He has written materials for courses in Sociology, Social Policy, Politics, Geography and social research methods. His Research interests are culture, ethnicity and racism, applied to fields such as race equality, policing, public sociology, and diaspora and identity. These interests are the reason why he is a trustee at the organisation Race on The Agenda. Contributed with its Transformative Justice Forum and offering his skills and qualities by building on and combining his academic expertise and previous experience. Contributing with his knowledge of the situation of BAME communities in London and Nationally, including the changing dynamics of ethnicity and racism.

Chris Sibia


Chris became a writer after having gone through events that caused him to turn his life arround, making him decide that he would encourage the next generation to do something positive and different instead. He has written “A product of mi environment”, which is an autobiographical book, as he thinks is important to tell your own story. He has put up a Publishing House, London’s Finest Distribution, to allow other potential authors express themselves. He is also an Inspirational Speaker and Mentor to many underprivileged in his community working closely with several charity organisations. 

Asif Sadiq

Special Sergant

Asif is Head of Diversity and Inclusiveness for EY financial services UK. He joined this company as an Assistant Director and was previously the Head of the Equality Diversity and Human Rights Unity for the City of London Police. Working for the City of London police he worked at a number of different departments and currently he is a Special Sergeant. He has worked on a number of voluntary schemes to try to help people from the community, through this work he has received many awards including the Leadership, Enterprise and Citizenship Award, Lion Heart Business Challenge Award, Year of the volunteer Award and the prestigious Mosaic Award for mentoring. He has also won the NAMP Multi Faith Award, Police Officer of the Year Award, the Civil Servant of the Year Award and the prestigious Asian Professional Award. Asif was honored in the Queen's birthday honors list with an MBE for his services to Policing and the Communities. He is also a Freeman of the City of London. Asif is also the former President of the National Association of Muslim Police, an association that plays an important role in bridging the gap between the police and the Muslim Community.

Afrah Qassim Afrah Qassim

Community Development Worker

Afrah Qassim is a Community Development worker, with a Yemeni origin, for Liverpool Primacy Care Trust as well as a charity worker dedicated to tackling domestic abuse within BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) communities to change attitudes towards DA and harmful practices such as forced marriage, ‘honour’ based violence and female genital mutilation, in charities such as Savera.

She has been awarded with the Merseyside Woman of the Year Humanitarian award for her outstanding contribution to protecting some of the most vulnerable and marginalised women in our local communities.

Patricia Gallen

Assistant Commissioner

Patricia is one of  Britain’s most senior police chiefs and is the highest-serving ethnic-minority female officer and  first joined the Met at constable level in 1987 and spent time at the National Crime Squad in London.

She has 30 years experience and joined Merseyside Police in 2006, serving under Bernard Hogan-Howe, who was the then chief constable before becoming the commissioner at the Met.

Gallan leads Scotland Yard’s specialist crime and operations, spearheading the fight against gun crime, homicides and high-harm and high-profile crimes. She sits on the Met’s management board of senior leaders and is a key adviser to the commissioner, Cressida Dick.