Recent events have forced the issue of equality and fairness out into the public domain like never before. Our ‘Let’s talk about race’ discussion was chaired by Sheri Hughes, UK Diversity & Inclusion Director, PageGroup. It saw our diverse panel of experts, Fiona Daniel, Co-Founder, Black Leaders Network, Dan Robertson, Director, VERCIDA Consulting, Ahmed Farooq, Chief Financial Officer, Wesleyan, and Sheela Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, Candesic examine the complexities of race and also talk about their own experiences.
The key issues discussed were:
- Having the courage to talk about race
- The effects of psychological safety, race and leadership
- Being comfortable with the uncomfortable: conversations
- Talking about experiences and engaging in thoughtful dialogue. If we can have the conversation in a better way, can we make meaningful change?
- How to keep the conversations going?
- Discussions that lead to actions and making a positive impact – talking isn’t enough
UK Diversity and Inclusion Director, PageGroup
Sheri joined PageGroup in 2002 as a consultant for Michael Page Sales, then progressed to Manager and Associate Director. After maternity leave, she moved across into the D&I team in 2015 and was promoted to UK D&I Director. Since then, PageGroup’s D&I agenda has gone from strength to strength. From leading PageGroup to become a Disability Confident Employer (Level 2) to the first recruitment company to achieve Times Top 50 Employers for Women, Stonewall Top 100 and BITC Gold Award for the Gender benchmark. Sheri is passionate and has proved it is possible to create a culture where D&I is truly embedded at the heart of PageGroup.
CEO and Founder FD21, Co-Founder of Inclusive CEO’s and Co-Founder of Black Leaders Network
Fiona is an HR qualified diversity and inclusion leader, and D&I company award winner with over 25 years working in a variety of roles within financial services, including 22 years at HSBC. She has experience leading and growing the global diversity and inclusion agenda for one of the largest banking and financial service organisations in the world, and has recently co-founded and established the Black Leaders Network. Fiona is also a company member of the UN Women National Committee UK, chaired by Baroness Sandip Verma supporting the Trustees in their aims for better gender equality across the UK, and globally.
Director, VERCIDA Consulting
Dan Robertson is widely regarded as a global expert on leadership and inclusion at work. As well as being the Director of VERCIDA Consulting, Dan is chair of the Lord Mayor of London’s ‘Power of Inclusion network’. In 2019 Dan was named by Hive Learning as a’ top 50 D&I Global influencer’.
Chief Financial Officer, Wesleyan
Ahmed became Chief Financial Officer in November 2015 after holding a number of senior roles at Wesleyan. He has served as Chair of Business Professional Services (BPS) Birmingham and won the IoD West Midlands Young Director of the Year Award in In June 2017.In March 2018, Ahmed was appointed Chairman of Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Limited and in August 2018, he became a Director of Wesleyan Assurance Society.
Dr Sheela Sharma
Interim Chief Operating Officer at Candesic
Dr Sheela Sharma is the Interim Chief Operating Officer at global healthcare management consultancy, Candesic. She has worked in the financial services industry for the past 15 years as both a COO and a Healthcare Equity Analyst. She is the editor of ‘101 Diversity & Inclusion Success Stories’, due to be published in early 2021.