UK’s First Diversity Lecture Launch

The UK’s very first diversity lecture has been launched by The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation, aiming to close the diversity gap and help BAME school children reach their potential.  Miranda Brawn speaking at the UK's first diversity lecture on a podium

Barrister and Vice-Chair of the Black Cultural Archives, Miranda Brawn, launched ‘The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture’ on Saturday, 15th October 2016 to one hundred young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) future leaders. The lecture took place at The University of Law and some of the best BAME talent from across the UK attended and were joined by several legal and diversity luminaries.

This marks the first time that a diversity lecture has taken place in the UK which includes the 14-18 age bracket. The lecture raised awareness about the significance of incorporating a broad spectrum of representation in the workplace, and how it may benefit the economy and industry from both a moral and business perspective. Brawn offered further insight into how to close the diversity gap, whilst educating the future generation about the various forms of diversity issues currently facing the UK workforce, including race, gender, disability and sexuality.  The lecture encourages this generation of young leaders to start to think about how they can make a difference taking action against the diversity gap.

Miranda Brawn set up a foundation; ‘The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation’ to provide the next generation with opportunities for success, including work experience, mentoring and funding. Miranda also worked with Black Cultural Archives to help preserve the heritage of black people in Britain, as well as The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity that helps young people get into jobs and education.

Joining Miranda was Dame Jocelyn Barrow DBE, Patron of the Black Cultural Archives, who gave a keynote speech on the history of the UK race relations. She stated:

It is our responsibility to make sure that we leave our space in a better place than when we found it. Each and every one of us should see ourselves as agents of social change.”

The debate was led by other diversity experts, including Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, JP, DL, Daniel Winterfeldt, partner at Reed Smith and Dawn Hill, Chair of the Black Cultural Archives. They recognised that while some advances in diversity had been made, they were still many obstacles ahead ahead, specifically the lack of minorities’ representation within organisations and a lack of publicity for diversity in the workplace. They concluded that Hiring practices should also be improved, and that the next generation of workers needed to be educated on diversity issues whilst they are still at school.

Seven of the UK’s best and brightest BAME future leaders were awarded at the diversity lecture with scholarships from The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation. They received £1,000, mentoring and work experience.

Miranda Brawn, Founder of The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation said:

“I am delighted that history has been made during UK Black History Month 2016 as the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture is the first diversity lecture to be held in the UK for 14-21 year old young leaders from a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) background. The young people who attended the event are just so inspiring and committed to their own careers and diversity. My main focus has been to educate and inspire others on the benefits of diversity and help to drive all forms of diversity, especially race and gender to the forefront.

Diversity is important, not just because it is the right and moral thing to do, but because it makes a good business sense. Companies that champion and promote diversity, in every sense of the word within their organisation, reap very real rewards from their efforts, such as enhanced business performance, reputational strength, a more innovative and collaborative culture and the ability to attract the best talent in the market.

The applications for the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarships were of a very high quality which highlighted the wonderful BAME talent which exists in the UK. It is crucial that we nurture and grow the next generation of talent from an early age while they are still at school, with the objective of diversifying the talent pipeline to close the diversity gap. The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation via the Lectures and Scholarships will help to provide a focus on diversity and leadership by highlighting how this can be transformative and help increase all forms of diversity in the UK workforce. Engaging in positive dialogue and action are essential steps in creating understanding and progress for diversity within the UK workforce. We need to focus much more on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ diversity matters in the 21st Century.”

The Judging Panel

The esteemed judging panel at the diversity lecture consisted of 15 leaders at the top of their profession:

Andrew Palmer (CEO of Aston Martin),

Catherine McGregor (Editor-in-Chief of General Counsel Publishing at The Legal 500),

Darren Allaway (Managing Director of UBS Wealth Management),

Dawn Hill (Chair of the Black Cultural Archives),

Gavin Prentice (Board Director at Levmet Holdings Ltd),

Jessica Huie MBE (Founder of Color Blind Cards and JH Public Relations),

Julie Chakraverty (Non-Executive Director for Aberdeen Asset Management),

Kim Hollis QC (Director of Public Prosecutions of the British Virgin Islands and 25 Bedford Row),

Lauren Riley (Founder & CEO of The Link App and Ex-BBC Apprentice 2015),

Liz Rivers (Women’s Leadership Coach, Mediator and former City lawyer),

Michael Parkinson (Group CFO & Head of Compliance for DC Advisory),

Michael Togobo (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Airedale General Hospital),

Nicholas Cheffings (Global Chair of Hogan Lovells),

Tolu Osinibi (Head of FCMB Capital Markets Limited)

Vanessa Valley (Managing Director of We Are The City).

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