Our Candidates 2021
As COO for the Workplace and Personal Financial Health (WPFH) business at Fidelity International, Tony is responsible for the overall operation and governance of the global distribution business, including operations, client service teams and the delivery of WPFH strategy. He is also Global Executive Sponsor for the Enable Strand within the diversity and inclusion network at Fidelity, committed to improving accessibility for employees with disabilities and health conditions. During the pandemic, Tony was Global Lead for Fidelity’s response.
“Tony has put caring, compassion and empathy into the working model at Fidelity by promoting and leading by example with flexible working in the workplace and supporting employees in achieving a better work–life balance. He has championed acts of kindness and, during the pressurised environment presented to the workforce by the pandemic, he encouraged leaders to pay attention to employees and to recognise those who may have been struggling and offer help to make a real difference.”
25 years ago, while she was pregnant with their first child, Susie’s husband, John Schofield, was shot dead while covering the civil war in Yugoslavia for the BBC. He was 29. Since then, Susie has kept her husband’s memory alive by founding and then running a charity that provides mentorship and support for young journalists. The moving spirit of the John Schofield Trust is to enable young journalists who come to the profession without connections or privilege to achieve their potential.
“Susie Schofield has been a model of calm, principled, kind leadership since she formed the John Schofield Trust in 1996. From the beginning, her principle has been that the trust should not just espouse the principles of kindness and personal support, but should embody it. The trust is an institution which provides support for young journalists and a place where career and personal concerns can be brought. Susie has succeeded in attracting an extraordinary board of trustees, champions and supporters.”
Stacey joined The Football Association (The FA) two years ago, where she has demonstrated exceptional collaborative leadership skills in galvanising a multitude of stakeholders to increase the opportunities for girls and women to experience football. Stacey leads the recently launched UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 legacy programme, working directly with nine host cities pledging their commitment to inspiring positive change through football.
“Stacey is an authentic leader who displays a deep sense of empathy for her team and colleagues. Her care and kindness have created a team culture that encourages sharing, creativity and innovation. Stacey is a leader who builds strong and open relationships that create a safe and welcoming environment where everyone feels like they’re seen, heard and valued.”
Spriha is Executive Editor of Business Insider, overseeing the UK bureau. Prior to joining Insider, Spriha was the Deputy Digital News Editor for CNBC International, leading on market-moving, fast-paced business news stories. When Spirha joined Insider, her team totalled five reporters. In a year, it has grown to nearly 40, and she now leads one of the biggest teams in the UK. Her hiring strategy has been extremely mindful of diversity and inclusion, searching wider to ensure the hiring of the best talent in the industry.
“Spriha oozes leadership. She heads up the UK operation of Insider but remains as approachable as possible for everyone in the company as well as the industry. She regularly mentors both inside and outside the company and has pushed other divisions for big policy changes such as maternity, internship hiring and back-to-work from maternity policies. She has an interpersonal relationship with each member of her team and regularly conducts anonymous pulse check surveys in order to stay on top of what her team is thinking.”
Sir John Peace
Sir John Peace is Chairman of the Midlands Engine Partnership and Midlands Connect. He is Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University. Sir John has had a long and distinguished business career covering the technology, financial services and retail sectors. He has been Chairman, Chief Executive and Founder of Experian; Chief Executive of GUS; Chairman of Standard Chartered; Chairman of Burberry, and is currently Chairman of Octo Telematics.
“Sir John Peace has a visionary and inclusive leadership style. He has the rare combination of being clear in his views and knowing how to make the most of the organisation or corporation yet, at the same time, being humble and willing to listen to ideas. He respects people at all levels of the organisation and has been a strong proponent of female leadership.”
Shernaz founded Verity Appointments over 20 years ago. It was set up as a legal secretarial agency but now also focuses on general business support staff. Shernaz later started Veracity Education, supplying teachers to schools. She is Vice-Chair of Learning for Life, promoting primary education for girls in Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. She is also a Trustee of Tamasha Theatre Company and a board member of the Asian Women’s Resource Centre, helping women suffering from domestic violence and forced marriage.
“Shernaz believes in compassion in the workplace. She is approachable and pragmatic, and staff are not afraid to admit to mistakes. She is generous with her time and advice and has an open-door policy in the workplace. Shernaz is a very supportive employer, and staff feel that they are valued and treated as individuals. This attitude of kindness fosters loyalty from staff, and the spirit of kindness and cooperation percolates throughout the company. Staff relations in the company are very close, and there is a great sense of esprit de corps which comes from the top.”
Serena joined AI firm Dataminr as a Senior Manager at the end of January 2020, after an illustrious career in journalism reporting across the EMEA region for Reuters and the BBC. Her move into the tech industry coincided with a global pandemic, and it was while navigating this unprecedented challenge that her true skills as an empathetic and kind leader really shone through. Within a year, she was promoted to Associate Director, in recognition of her wide-ranging impact as both a leader and culture carrier. A leader in diversity, equity and inclusion, Serena has had a profound impact on Dataminr’s global culture in this space, serving on the Global Leadership Council for DEI at the company and as Head of the Salam@Dataminr Employee Resource Group.
“Serena approaches each day, challenge and interaction with kindness. Her leadership style is inclusive of all team members, and she excels at building relationships cross-functionally and connecting more junior colleagues to the greater company purpose. Since joining the team in London, she has successfully managed to build an empathetic culture through encouraging inclusive team dialogue, approaching change management with empathy and developing a rapport with both junior and senior colleagues. Serena’s communication style is professional and business-minded but always empathetic and driven by a people-first approach.”
Sayeh has risen rapidly through the ranks at EY, becoming an equity Partner at the age of 35 and leading the Business Consulting sub-service line at the age of 39, a role she currently holds. Sayeh also works as a consultant, advising executive teams on business model redesign. She believes strongly in creating mutual value with clients, and her leadership style is authentic: always present, approachable and engaged, and equipped with a clear vision. She is also Co-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion for EY UK.
“Always looking for opportunities for others, Sayeh has a natural way of engaging that inspires young talent. You’ll see Sayeh be the first to celebrate successes and achievements in her team and across EY. A champion and force to drive change for good in diversity and inclusion, Sayeh is a strong advocate for gender equality and is on the Board of Women in Science and Engineering. She is also Co-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion for EY UK. Sayeh is already a shining advocate and ambassador for kindness in leadership.”
Sarah is the Health & Social Care Lead at the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Care Research & Technology Centre. She has been an occupational therapist in the NHS for over 20 years, specialising in rehabilitation for complex neurological conditions. She was the Clinical Lead Therapist for the Albany Unit at UCLH and Charing Cross Neurological Rehabilitation Unit. She is currently an allied health consultant working to co-design and drive the translation of digital health and social care research.
“Sarah’s top priority is people – both patients and staff. This drives her vision for the service: a supportive, nurturing staff group, which sets the culture for how the team works with patients. She is creative within her work, supporting her team so as to collaboratively solve problems and challenges by thinking outside the box. This has meant collaborations and strides in research into more integrated systems for patients with dementia. She believes in her team wholeheartedly, which has made the workplace an incredibly rich environment where people feel free to be themselves.”
Listen, listen - really listen: This is about giving people your full attention and the time to explain, explore and reflect
Respect the grey: This directly follows on from listening. Life is rarely black or white. Only by being open to the grey will you hear what you need to hear. Seek to understand nuance, complexity and context and be ready to re-evaluate based on new insights.
Welcome fresh perspectives: Ask the newest members of the team what could be done better and then empower them to make those changes.
Promote growth mindset: Celebrate risk taking and make failure part progress. This is an important part of being innovative and creative. It doesn’t mean being reckless – it’s more about an attitude that is open to trying, and not scared of trying again - and then trying again. A culture that doesn’t ‘blame and shame’ when things don’t work, allows for continuous iteration and improvement.
Be open with your own weaknesses and vulnerability – I have many. Sharing these reinforces the importance of teamwork to maintain a balance of required skills and aptitudes. Perhaps of greater value is providing a genuine opportunity for others to step forward with their support and add their value. Being confident in your own shortcomings, means that people are more likely to ask for help when they need it and offer help when they can; in turn, reducing the risk of concealed mistakes and hiden anxiety.
And finally, be kind to yourself. This may sound a bit trite, but in this context, I am referring to the emotional cost of being engaged and responsive, as a leader. There are high risks of burnout when overextending yourself. Keeping check on your own limits and boundaries can be really hard and something I still find difficult. There you go – a definite weakness!
Ruth is a consulting CMO accountable for marketing strategies that ensure global brand and product strategies support her clients’ growth ambitions. One of Ruth’s most recent significant achievements was leading a team to drive a complex integration that formed NTT Ltd. in 2019. 31 companies and brands came together to form the 50,000-employee-strong $11 billion business it is today.
“Ruth’s unrelenting focus on kindness has shaped the culture of a globally dispersed team. It has unified the team particularly during the global pandemic. For Ruth, kindness is about taking the time and making a proactive effort to, firstly, understand the purpose, motivation and passions of others and, secondly, help them achieve these. Central to Ruth’s beliefs are that kind leaders put people at the centre of their business, as people are key to organisational performance and impact.”
As a Senior Partner in McDermott Will & Emery’s Finance Team, Ranajoy focuses his practice on structured finance, with his extensive experience in debt capital markets transactions. He is recognised as one of the world’s leading lawyers in cross-border social impact finance structures and has advised on some of the most innovative financial inclusion structures, including the Educate Girls Social Impact Bond (improving the education of children in India), and the recent groundbreaking Utkrisht Bond (reducing maternal and infant mortality).
“Ranajoy’s compassion, willingness to understand and eagerness to resolve any issues and struggles his team face is incredibly commendable in view of the stressful and fast-paced environment we work in. Ranajoy’s leadership and desire to take others with him on the journey is what makes him an all-inclusive and outstanding leader. He ultimately wins hearts, which is an incredibly unique and refreshing talent for a senior finance partner of a global law firm!”
Ramat is a multi-award-winning woman in tech who leads Amazon Web Services’ GetIT education programme. This programme aims to empower female talent within the business, building confidence and leadership skills, while also encouraging more young people, especially girls, to consider a career in technology. Ramat is also the Chief Encouragement Officer of The Inspiration Box, focused on intentional personal growth through the creation of spaces and products that encourage people to discover, embrace and nurture the truest versions of themselves.
“Ramat is a selfless leader. Her commitment to helping others is demonstrated in all areas of her life. At Amazon, she motivates young people to engage in STEM careers and she has been instrumental in growing what is now one of Amazon’s flagship education programmes. Ramat is also on the board of Yaraah schools, a charity facilitating the education of children in rural parts of Ghana. In the face of a challenging or potentially stressful situation, Ramat is able to focus on what she can control and influence to achieve an outcome, and is never critical of others.”
- Learn to actively listen to what others are saying
- Ask others how you may be able to help them rather than assuming what help they may need
- At the start or end of a regular monthly meeting asking everyone to share one thing they are thankful for
Rachel joined PowerON two years ago, swiftly rising to Head of Finance. Her work has seen her develop an effective finance function that has underpinned PowerON’s growth and stability. She is an atypical finance person – relationship-driven and intent on building supportive working relationships inside PowerON and with external parties. During the pandemic, her “kindness first” mindset made a massive contribution, ranging from conceiving great ideas for boosting morale, to volunteering for training as the company’s first mental health first-aider, to creating a new wellbeing hub.
“Rachel sets high standards but goes out of her way to support others. This has included personal support for struggling colleagues, surprising her team with gifts to recognise extra effort, and always being available to help someone else solve a problem or get something done. The impact of this is seen in her ability to use her relationships to support sales in closing deals and in the improvement in credit control performance, as well as in the putting forward of ideas such as sending treat packages to employees’ children during lockdown and personally hand-writing all of the notes.”
Professor Murray Grant
Murray’s research interests centre on plant–microbe interactions with a predominant focus on host responses to pathogenic bacteria. He also studies the mechanisms underpinning biocontrol and plant growth promotion conferred by beneficial fungi, with an interest in applying expertise to emerging tree diseases. Murray has served as President of the British Society of Plant Pathology and has published several publications in his research field.
“Murray is incredibly supportive and generous, with his only intention being to help whoever is in need. He tries to find a connection with everyone in order to share knowledge and ideas. Whenever there is a laboratory meeting, he makes sure everyone is well on a personal and professional level, seeking always to find a balance. Some lab members find him strict because he pushes to get the best from you.”
Professor Aisha K. Gill
Aisha is dedicated to highlighting crimes against women and children and to effecting widespread change in the visibility of, and accountability for, these crimes throughout Britain and the world. She is an outstanding activist academic who teaches widely on the subject of violence against Black, minority ethnic and refugee women and children. Over the last decade, her dedication to addressing violence against women and children has resulted in a number of concrete changes in the UK.
“In the last 16 months, Gill has been actively working with a number of women’s charities supporting at-risk Black, minority ethnic and refugee women and children. In June 2020, she set up an emergency Covid fund for victims of abuse. This emergency ‘no recourse to public funds’ campaign has so far raised over £66,000, helping to feed and clothe women and children who are temporarily being supported by other NGOs. Aisha has changed the visibility of this cause in terms of her leadership and community activism.”
1. Do the emotional work of caring. Have regular conversations with your staff to check in with them and see how they’re doing.
2. Pay attention when your staff express concern about job stability. Create opportunities that will allow your staff to develop and flourish in their careers.
3. Acknowledge trauma and put employer commitment to diversity and equality into practice.
4. Centre the views of others in an inclusive, transformative fashion. This feeds into dignity and respect in the workplace.
Priyanka is a community-focused creative specialising in Indian dance. Her work uses dance as a tool for community and individual wellbeing, strengthening the inherent qualities dance has to lift mood, build confidence, develop social skills and allow people to express themselves. She has worked with autistic adults, isolated over-60s, women’s groups and people living with Parkinson’s or Dementia. Priyanka has also delivered many creative community programmes.
“Priyanka understands how to lead different groups and uses leadership qualities stemming from her dance training. Dance has provided her with the skills to understand group dynamics, to be flexible and to change strategy when surprises arise. Her passion, combined with her business sense, led to her being awarded funding by Arts Council England. Her kind yet assertive approach of leadership will no doubt develop her vision to use dance and the arts as a tool for wellbeing to strengthen and benefit multiple communities.”
Polly is a women’s rights activist who helps victims of forced marriage and honour-based abuse. She founded the Sharan Project 12 years ago to empower, educate and inspire vulnerable women. She is a member of the Forced Marriage Unit Partnership Board and a partner of Comic Relief’s Our Girl campaign. Polly has received many awards for her work, including the Points of Light award from former UK Prime Minister David Cameron on International Women’s Day.
“Polly believes that everyone has the right to basic human rights and that adversity does not define you; rather, it teaches you how to better the lives of others. She thinks less about herself and more about others, which truly makes her a genuine and kind leader.”
With extensive experience in rapidly changing markets, Penny was appointed to the Bloomsbury Board in 2018, when she joined the company as Group Finance Director. Prior to this, she was Finance Director of Condé Nast Britain, and held senior finance roles at Sky and lastminute.com. Penny qualified – and began her career – as a chartered accountant with Deloitte.
“Penny engages with everyone around her with great empathy and kindness, regardless of their position. She is a great listener and is always looking for ways in which she can bring positive change in her colleagues’ lives even when they aren’t directly reporting to her. She runs a busy finance department of a successful publishing company and keeps her team’s needs at the forefront of her work ethic. Regardless of her busy schedule and demanding job, she makes time to get to know everyone she works with.”
Onjali Qatara Rauf
Onjali is a bestselling author and the Founder of Making Herstory – an NGO tackling the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. Onjali’s acclaimed debut novel, The Boy in the Back of the Class, draws on her experience delivering emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk. Her second book, The Star Outside My Window, covers hope and resilience in the face of domestic violence, through the innocent eyes of a 10-year-old girl. Onjali is also a TEDx speaker, speaking on “Why Children Are Our Most Powerful Hope for Change”.
“Onjali is always ready to help and listen. She embodies compassionate leadership and has a friendly demeanour. She is kind, and her soft words empower and motivate others. She listens and shows friendship and kindness in the way she speaks to people and responds to crises.”
1. Encourage Deep Dive Listening - encourage everyone to listen to the needs and experiences of others without ego or any sense of competition coming into play. Have safe, fun, comforting spaces and times this can take place in.
2. Reward the Load Bearers - encourage everyone to take note of their colleagues' workloads, and reward those that step in and step up to help others out. Too often, those that do, go unnoticed! Praise and acknowledgement needs to be shared in abundance.
3. Celebrate...Everything! Gauge the special events of those who work beside and for you, and celebrate them to the maximus. So whether it's Eid or beating cancer; a return from paternity/maternity leave or Hannukah, make an effort to ensure everyone marks them too. This will do wonders for enhancing understanding and diminishing racial/sexist inequalities and misunderstandings too!
Nizam Uddin OBE
Nizam is Chief Strategy Officer of Algbra, a technology-based financial ecosystem dedicated to global financial inclusion by focusing on the under-served and underbanked. Nizam was previously the Senior Head of Mosaic and Community Integration at The Prince’s Trust and Head of the Mosaic Initiative, an initiative that connects mentors with young people, helping boost their confidence, self-efficacy and long-term employability. Nizam was awarded an OBE in 2020 for services to social mobility and community integration.
“Nizam is driven by his understanding of the way in which poverty significantly impacts young people’s capacity to participate fully in education, and he is compelled to eradicate disadvantage in whatever ways he can. He works tirelessly for the social mobility of young people and to address the challenges and obstacles that prevent minority communities from having an equal stake in society and the economy. He has complete humility about his own achievements, never seeking limelight for himself and always praising and encouraging others.”
Mary started her nursing career at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone in the early sixties. With vast experience, she currently serves as Principal Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her outlook, passion, commitment, and dedication ooze the professional values that underpin not only nursing but the very essence of higher education in the UK. Humble in her approach, Mary demonstrates what an honour it is to care for another person at any stage of their life and this resonates throughout her teachings to healthcare professionals.
“I have been fortunate to know Mary since 2015 when I first came into nursing education. I was mesmerised by Mary’s experience, determination and drive to improve nurse education, both locally and nationally. I remember thinking ‘wow, I want to be like her’ – a true role model with such strong values and love for our vocation. It didn’t take long for me to realise that Mary is admired, trusted and respected by all of her peers, practice partners and the student body.”
Major General Andrew Roe
Chief Executive & Commandant, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Andrew is an infantry officer by background whose many early leadership roles included operational positions in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was selected to attend the prestigious US Staff College in 2004 and has twice been a personal staff officer to senior leaders. More recent roles have focussed on training, as well as command of all soldiers in Northern Ireland – a role involving careful engagement and communications. Andrew currently leads the Defence Academy, honing the intellectual edge of UK forces.
“Andrew is the ultimate kind leader. Inspiring and bright, yet incredibly humble. His empathy is renowned; he makes time to listen and make one feel valued and included. He is always keen to hear about you, your team and family. He is not afraid to ask for feedback on his approach. Despite being the Chief Executive, he is seen as a friend, colleague, confidant and boss in
Mai is Digital Content Editor for BBC Arabic. She manages a team of digital journalists in the UK and the Middle East and is responsible for creating digital video content aimed at reaching young and female audiences. Before joining BBC Arabic, Mai worked as a senior journalist at the BBC, tasked with overseeing the digital transformation of 40 language services. She assisted journalists based in bureaus all over the world with setting their digital strategies and creating impactful content. Mai excels at finding innovative ways of telling complex stories.
“Calm, kind and supportive – these are a few characteristics that come to mind when speaking about Mai Noman. Her kindness, creativity and love for finding unique solutions to problems are the main reasons behind the notable success of the digital video team at BBC Arabic. Within a year of Mai’s leadership of this team, many people wanted to join simply because it was ‘Mai’s team’. The pandemic was a difficult time for most, and her leadership was exemplary.”
Flight Sergeant Li Smith is a Senior RAF Medic currently serving as the Executive Officer on Operations Squadron, HQ Tactical Medical Wing (the RAF’s vanguard medical response unit). Here, her irresistible warmth and tireless commitment to her personnel and their families has seen her team through the unprecedented operational tempo of the pandemic (a physically and mentally draining pace characterised by relentless deployments). She is set to rise to the highest levels of the RAF, championing her cadre and leading with great heart.
“In the military we talk about the conceptual, physical and moral components of the fighting force. All must be nourished if we are to prevail. Li absolutely underpins the moral component: understanding, simply, that if our people, their families and their careers are taken care of, then our people will have the strength to venture into adversity when we ask them to. It is her unstinting faith and investment in people – across rank and organisation – and their loved ones that sustains them, and the strength of kindness in her execution that means they will follow her anywhere.”
Lewis has worked as a director at both the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). As Economic Diplomacy Director, he has overseen a vast range of policy work on issues including climate, trade, migration, prosperity, anti-corruption, science, illegal wildlife trade, regulatory diplomacy and global health. Additionally, he has led on relationships with the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the G20 and G7 forums.
“Lewis has been a great supporter of his team, notably the many women he has hired and sponsored. He ensures everyone who works for him knows he has huge confidence in them, which allows them to grow in their roles and careers. He offers direct, practical help when people are struggling. He role models getting the right balance between work and home life and, particularly in the last year, has shown that it’s ok to sometimes be distracted with family responsibilities, but still do a good job.”
Katy is the Managing Director of Social Chain and former Head of New Business & Marketing at MediaCom. Social Chain is a global social media marketing agency working with some of the largest brands in the world. Katy cares deeply about her 150-strong team, and strives to create a culture where mental health is a priority. Key initiatives that she has put into place include employing a personal development coach and wellness manager, plus implementing a work management system to ensure that individuals’ hours are logged to prevent overwork. Katy was an IPA Women of Tomorrow finalist and named in the LinkedIn Top Voices list in 2019 and 2020.
“Kindness is embodied by a leadership style rooted in empathy. Katy has not only impacted the lives of those at Social Chain, but she reaches millions each month through talks with schools, social media and her podcast, I Shouldn’t Say This, But…. Katy has delivered commercial success by securing key retainers and implementing policies allowing for expansion across five global locations. A large proportion of her time is invested into culture – personal development and mental health are a priority.”
Katie runs the South East Public Audit Group at Deloitte. She has over 24 years of experience at Deloitte, including working on complex, large-listed businesses and as the lead audit engagement partner on a portfolio of listed clients. Her industry experience includes the sectors of telecoms, media and technology, retail, services, marketing services and manufacturing. Katie is a member of the Senior Boardroom Relationship Team at Deloitte and leads the Women on Boards programme.
“Katie embodies kindness in leadership through a consistently thoughtful, fair and respectful approach to others. Her enthusiasm, integrity and good humour make each and every person she meets feel at ease. Katie’s strong can-do attitude is a source of inspiration to many women. She demonstrates that a successful leadership career can be combined with a full and productive family life. Katie is passionate about improving UK corporate governance through increased diversity and inclusion in the boardroom.”
Kathleen is Managing Director, Critical Infrastructure and Projects at Mitie. She is also President of RICS. Katheen has held a wide range of senior roles in property, construction and outsourcing across sectors. A highly influential leader, she drives engagement and inspires change in the built environment, using her personal journey to make a wider leadership contribution by building pathways to professionalism that will open up opportunities for many.
“Kathleen embodies kindness in leadership by using her position, journey and experience to pave the way for others. Her kindness extends to creating a culture of inclusion and giving her time freely to others, acting with genuine equality. She is passionate about her industry sector and professionalism within it and invests widely in others so that they can develop and grow.”
Kate is a former army officer and consultant and senior executive at Taylor Bennett, the leading communications and corporate affairs executive search firm. As Partner, Kate is responsible for not only delivering successful business outcomes for her clients, but also for building and leading her own team in the London office. With extensive leadership experience, developed in some of the most testing conditions, Kate’s kind and empathetic leadership approach has been key in developing a resilient company culture, underpinned by inclusivity, respect and fairness.
“Kate epitomises everything one expects from a leader: always willing to listen and learn and blessed with the values of integrity, honesty and professionalism. She puts the needs of others before herself, and, with a refined sense of self-awareness, all her relationships are built on trust. Although a relatively small firm, Kate’s leadership style ensures she and her team deliver outsized results in a positive working environment.”
Jo is General Counsel of Commercial Banking at Lloyds Banking Group. She strives for improvements for colleagues, the group as a whole and the wider legal industry. Not only does she passionately lead the inclusion and diversity agenda for the Legal & Secretariat teams, she is also Co-Chair of Breakthrough, the women’s network. Jo is also a trustee for the Mindful Business Charter and keenly shares its aspirations across the organisation and beyond. Her priorities are always health and wellbeing, management of stress and workloads, and what she can do to help others.
“Jo’s kindness is genuine and consistent. Colleagues who work with her feel unconditionally supported, empowered and truly part of one team working toward the same goal. Jo aspires to improve working life and work/life balance for all. She has become a trustee of the Mindful Business Charter (MBC), which aims to improve mental health across the legal profession. Jo combines a razor-sharp legal brain and business acumen with humour, generosity, vulnerability and the ability to build strong, trusting relationships.”
Jo is Managing Director of Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland, responsible for over 1,000 branches and 10,000 colleagues, and serving over 12 million customers. Jo joined Lloyds Banking Group in 2014 as Planning and Development Director for Lloyds Community Bank, after which she became Managing Director of Business Banking and then Group Customer Services Director. Jo is also Group Ambassador for the Midlands region, a trustee of the Lloyds Bank Foundation and a charity mentor for Women Acting in Today’s Society (WAITS).
“Jo is a leader who inspires those who work with her and for her, due to her ability to consistently demonstrate generosity, compassion and empathy in her interactions. Jo shows a genuine interest in the wellbeing of those she works with, which positively influences the culture of the businesses she leads. She shows these attributes at scale as she engages colleagues and customers with empathy in her leadership capacity, while also being a personal, supportive and approachable leader. Jo role models that showing kindness in leadership creates the most effective form of a leader.”
regular chats, arranging local support for food, and financial guidance. I will never forget how much impact these calls had on everyone involved.
Jennifer is a Managing Director in Accenture’s consulting practice and a senior leader in the communications and media teams, and broader strategy and consulting teams. She leads the inclusion and diversity initiatives for a community of over 4,000 people, where she is responsible for driving and embedding increasingly inclusive ways of working across teams. Jennifer has built a career founded on experience across business-to-business transformation and growth, Salesforce implementation and more, and she has a far-reaching impact, leading by example in building truly empowered and happy teams.
“Jennifer embodies the principles of individualisation and integrity, striving to meet the unique needs of her teams: leading by example and consistently matching her actions to her words. She leads with empathy, going out of her way to truly understand the strengths, goals and needs of all the people she works with to help them bring out their best. She strives to learn from and support those with vastly different circumstances to her own – always treating people fairly, being a visible advocate for others at work, and taking great pride in developing and nurturing the talent pipeline.”
A film and television producer, James is CEO and Founder of BAFTA, RTS and Emmy award-winning Argonon, one of the largest truly independent global entertainment production groups, with headquarters in London, New York, Los Angeles, Liverpool and Glasgow. Under James’s leadership, Argonon has won 120 awards, and the group now consists of eight world-class independent production companies creating content spanning all genres. James’s first business, Leopard Films, was set up in the 1990s as a rejection of the bullying culture in the entertainment sector.
“James has built a successful business by establishing an inclusive environment where talented individuals from all backgrounds feel welcomed, creating a culture where differences are celebrated and providing a platform where all voices will be heard. Diversity is rooted in the group’s DNA, from the sector-leading launch of Argonon for Everyone in 2016 to the impact of on-screen content such as The Day the Immigrants Left and An Englishman in New York. James’s career mission has been to make a positive difference to the people making – and watching – TV.”
Helen has a longstanding association with the UK aviation sector, having worked at Heathrow since 2000, first with British Airways, then leading teams in a variety of leadership roles, and now as Director of Procurement at Heathrow. She has overseen capital delivery programmes and developed a highly effective support services team that enables Heathrow’s long-term vision. She is a driven, communicative and people-focused leader who brings vision, direction and structure to her teams,enabling them to thrive and demonstrate their value.
“Helen has demonstrated a resilience that breeds confidence in her leadership team and, more importantly, a passion for ensuring that every possible avenue is explored before a colleague is put at risk. Many meetings start with her stating ‘I’ve been thinking’ – evidence that she will fight to the last to find solutions that will protect the wellbeing and security of her colleagues. In doing so, she has shown a humane approach. She embodies someone who can make tough decisions but will do so in a sensitive manner.”
Gavin joined Barclays in 2017 after years at Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. He initially served as a client relationship director in the insurance sector, before heading up the Multiline Insurance team. He is an active participant in the Insurance Supper Club – an organisation set up to provide personal, professional, and business development for women in insurance. He also set up the Male Allies initiative, aimed at developing female colleagues across the firm – an initiative that has grown into an international network.
“Gavin’s leadership style and commitment to the development of female colleagues, internally and externally, have helped to build a strong team and gain widespread support for the idea that we all have a responsibility for the progression of the people around us. In an industry that has a reputation for being male-dominated and self-centric, this ‘others first’ attitude has created a strong culture internally and helps us to win the support and respect of our clients.”
Farrah is a globally recognised expert on diversity and inclusion. Her mission is to transform organisational culture, and she frequently works at board, CEO and leadership levels. With over 25 years of experience, Farrah aligns her outputs to organisational transformation, leadership behaviours and behavioural economics. A pioneer in global diversity consulting, she has created effective programmes for clients in over 100 companies and 150 countries.
“Farrah embodies the 10 principles of kindness as CEO of her business, with her clients and with all those she comes into contact with. Her work involves helping organisations and their leadership teams confront their own biases and their organisational diversity and inclusion challenges. This requires a huge amount of empathy and generosity of spirit as well as courage and resilience to challenge and support people through a change curve of resistance and emotional denial to move through to acceptance and positive action.”
Eva Omaghomi LVO
At Clarence House, Eva has served as Press Officer, Deputy Communications Secretary to The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and Senior Strategic Adviser at The Prince’s Trust Group, and she will soon take on the new role of Director of Community Engagement. Among Eva’s great achievements has been the establishment of the Commonwealth, international and interfaith media strategies, which have shaped ongoing engagement with minority communities, for which The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are well known.
“Eva’s collaborative, gentle and empathetic leadership style has enabled her to build strong and enduring relationships across the Royal Households for more than a decade. Eva’s calm and kind manner see her managing multiple high-profile events whilst juggling the concerns of numerous stakeholders in different countries with different cultural sensitivities. Eva has been a key adviser to the team on the Commonwealth, bringing her Nigerian-British culture to the working environment. Her contribution over the years has helped to inform and influence those around her regarding the challenges and opportunities facing the diaspora and minority communities in the UK.”
Elizabeth was appointed to a specialist team within the Metropolitan Police Service. Her leadership is based on selflessness, compassion, humility and making a positive impact on all those around her. She inspires her team to achieve their goals both professionally and personally, even during an exceptional period of high demand as policing tackled the impact of Covid. Elizabeth always combines the welfare of staff with the successful completion of any given task.
“Elizabeth has a way of demonstrating kindness whilst still leading her team to be the best it can be and achieving a positive outcome. Her calm, selfless and thoughtful style of leadership builds trust. She takes an interest in all staff, individually congratulating them on their work, and enables them to take additional accreditations. To date, over 700 officers have completed qualifications in topical subjects such as autism, mental health and coaching. Elizabeth’s team achieved the highest staff survey results across her department.”
As Head of HR & Business Support, Duncan’s role is vital to the organisation on every level. He has worked his way up from Office Administrator to his current role wherein he is responsible for human resources, safeguarding, administration, compliance, quality assurance, EDI and IT. Duncan has spearheaded a company culture that encourages self-improvement, innovation and effective talent management. He has also established safer recruitment processes and championed mental health and wellbeing.
“Duncan’s many roles – confidant, colleague and senior leader – are underpinned by his remarkable humanity. He embodies kindness through exceptional communication skills, saintly levels of patience and unbiased empathy. Duncan’s been the most compassionate figure, never letting his seniority affect the level of care he provides staff at every level. He’s a creative problem-solver, always encouraging innovation and not afraid to try new systems in an industry where people have ‘always done things a certain way’.”
Dr Nayyar Naqvi OBE
For 50 years Nayyar has dedicated his career to the NHS and numerous charities. He has had a transformational effect on the survival rates of people with heart disease, saving thousands of lives. He has built a cardiac department from almost nothing to a team of 100 people, with some of the very best facilities in the UK. Nayyar set up the charity, Dr Naqvi Heart Fund, to dramatically improve heart services in Wigan. He has raised a staggering £3 million to improve patient care. Now in his 70s, Nayyar continues to work tirelessly for the NHS.
“Dr Naqvi has built up a team from being single handed to 100 cardiac specialists (doctors, nurses and allied health care professionals) bonded with the common values of excellence, kindness and hard graft. He has transformed Wigan’s healthcare from being an impoverished entity with an Orwellian reputation to a centre where everyone is proud to work and patients are treated with dignity, benefiting from the best equipment and facilities, funded in part by the millions of pounds raised by the local community donating to the Dr Naqvi’s charity.”
Dee qualified as an advanced psychotherapist and human behaviourist and developed her private practice for 12 years. She has built a reputation for changing the way people think and feel about mental wellbeing and physical health. Dee founded Menopause Experts in 2020, a social enterprise offering free comprehensive education not only to women but clinicians too. In 2021 she launched brand license opportunities enabling women around the world to join the network, providing them with educational workshops and cookery schools.
“Menopause Experts was born from Dee’s idea that all women, regardless of their situation or where they are in the world, should be able to access free education and training to help them cope with and alleviate symptoms of menopause. She has worked hard to make this happen and surrounded herself with a team that shares her passion to make a difference. She’s a wonderful person to work for; despite being very busy she emits an air of peace and is always calm and kind, yet has a clear direction and a great sense of humour.”
Darshna was critical in leading the world’s first Covid vaccination centre at a Hindu temple – an innovative and visionary feat. She was able to connect temple leaders with healthcare specialists at Harness Primary and get the centre up and running within six days. By creating an inclusive, diverse and inspiring environment, the centre engaged a workforce of over 750 staff, volunteers and healthcare professionals to administer over 40,000 vaccines to one of the most vulnerable London boroughs.
“Upon opening in January, the centre vaccinated at a daily rate of approximately 1,600. By June, this increased to 3,200 – at times a leading rate in London. At the heart of this was a leadership team that continually challenged the art of what’s possible. Darshna’s positivity and kindness brought out the same in so many others. Some volunteers were even inspired to change careers into healthcare. We were all able to come together to achieve something unforgettable.”
2. Nurture psychological safety: Talk about it, temperature test it, agree values to maintain it. Create micro-havens in your teams and grow kindness from the ground up.
3. Be authentically kind: Sometimes there’s nothing more powerful than being the change you want to see.
Carol is TSB’s Branch Banking Director and sits on the Aspiring Women Committee, bringing her passion and experience to encourage and support colleagues to achieve their goals. She is focused on the wellbeing and development of her team of over 2,000 people and on delivering money confidence for TSB customers. Her leadership shines bright across the business. She is particularly noted for confronting difficult issues tactfully and achieving great commercial outcomes collaboratively.
“The little things Carol does embody kindness in leadership. From asking ‘how are you?’ with genuine interest and listening to colleagues, to investigating problems and reaching outcomes. She speaks to colleagues with honesty and transparency, engendering trust. She creates an open and engaging culture within Branch Banking so that colleagues enjoy coming to work. Outside of work, Carol has volunteered as a Samaritan, served on the Board of Tayside Council on Alcohol and was Chair of Council of Mortgage Lenders in Scotland (now UK Finance).”
Head of Command & Control, Avon & Somerset Constabulary
Becky has worked her way up within the communications department from Control Room Operator to Head of Command and Control. Under Becky’s leadership, the department has seen incredible performance figures, both for the organisation and on a national scale. The department has been awarded honours including the APD National Control Room Award 2019 and Winner of Large In-house Contact Centre of the Year 2018.
“Becky has a positive and proactive approach to managing her team. Being the head of a department that is the first point of contact for an emergency, Becky is extremely professional and calm, and instills these qualities within her staff. Becky proposed the organisation’s Keep Safe scheme, changing the way we hold invaluable information on vulnerable, disabled and mentally-ill people, and enabling staff to more efficiently aid members of the public in crisis.”
Ashton plays for Newport Dragons Rugby Club in Wales. He heads up a campaign to bring kindness into club rugby, schools and society, tackling racism and microaggressions and educating others on the importance of treating people with respect. As described by Robert Kitson in the Guardian, “The 26-year-old Dragons winger has done more for the wider game over the past nine months than many higher-profile players achieve in their entire careers.” He also completed a degree in criminology and is studying for a masters in business management.
“Ashton and his coach, Patrick Marr, have spearheaded a culture at Dragons Rugby Club, helping to create an inclusive, kind and safe space for people to be themselves. They have also taken on the challenge of spreading the message beyond their own club to change the culture within the game of rugby at large. Ashton has taken the lead on something that is already having a big impact and will change views and behaviours within rugby clubs and schools. He is a real rising star.”
Anisa is an award-winning presenter, producer and reporter with substantial experience in broadcast journalism. She has spent over a decade working across international, national and local radio, on both live and pre-recorded programmes. With strong editorial judgement and impartiality, she generates stories that represent the under-served parts of the community and country, as well as engages youth audiences at BBC Radio 1 and Newsbeat. Her empathy, understanding and unfailing enthusiasm are remarkable.
“Having started her career later in life due to raising her five boys, one of whom sadly died in infancy, Anisa has dedicated her life to being a shining example of the kindness that she wants to see in the world. She nurtures and supports younger journalists, often spending hours with them to mentor and guide them through their own difficult life choices. Her resilience is inspiring. I have never known someone work so hard and be such a key team player on a consistent basis. The impact of her attitude and approach to her work encourages others to achieve their goals.”
“Angela’s kindness and professionalism see her truly pleased to meet new colleagues and take care of new joiners with an inclusive approach. Angela is consistently looking to implement creative ways to show inclusion and respect for colleagues. These might be virtual coffees or group conversations on non-professional themes, and they show that she is truly passionate about making people comfortable in their job and convincing them, even the most reluctant, that the office should be a social, positive, caring environment where everyone can thrive.”
Andrew has led Reed Smith’s largest office since 2016, overseeing consecutive years of growth. He has demonstrated his kindness in leadership over the last year through his handling of the London Office response to the pandemic and the significant change it brought to the firm and to personal lives. Over the years, Andrew has (often single-handedly) challenged the status quo and, in doing so, has changed the environment in the legal profession, making it a more accepting place for people from all corners of the world. He has achieved this with kindness.
“Andrew embodies kind leadership through leading by example. He shows genuine compassion and empathy for individuals throughout the firm. He has long been a pioneer of a kind approach to leadership and the results can be seen in the culture of the London Office and his Real Estate team. There is a culture of caring, and Andrew has ensured this has firmly embedded itself. Throughout the pandemic, Andrew has done all he can to listen to the needs of individuals across the firm and, through compassion and kindness, provide practical solutions.”
Anastasia is Head of Retail and Co-Head of Diversity and Inclusion at commercial real estate law firm Maples Teesdale. Anastasia is responsible for designing the firm’s diversity and inclusion ambitions, focused on raising the profile of women in the real estate and legal professions. She is also a committee member at REWomen, a career highlight recognising her work in promoting diversity across the built environment. Anastasia is a natural leader who encourages the need to balance career and family life, thus showing kindness in each leadership action.
“Ana makes us feel human through her constructive, kind and compassionate leadership approach. During the pandemic, she has been fundamental to the cohesion of not only her team but the firm as a whole, and she has helped progress the REWomen agenda to support women dealing with the side-effects of lockdown and the work-from-home environment. Ana recognises the priorities and needs of others and proactively seeks to ensure that people feel supported and valued. The impact? High team morale, low staff turnover and high productivity.”
Alan’s distinguished career has seen him lead business operations all over the world. Since becoming CEO of Unilever, he has revitalised the company’s vision to be the global leader in
sustainable business,steered the business through a pandemic and opened up strategic options by taking on the task of unifying the company’s 90 – year – old legal structure. He has put purpose at the heart of the company’s mission, helping to explain why Unilever is not only one of the world’s most admired companies but also one of the most sought-after employers.
“Alan is an authentic and inclusive leader with an intrinsic ability to see the best in people. His
purpose to ‘lead the adventure’ speaks to his positive, can-do mentality; he is a giver of energy, whose optimistic approach rubs off on all those around him. He combines these attributes with a natural modesty and humility, qualities which belie his resilience and other huge strengths and capabilities. He is liked and respected in equal measure. No one leaves a meeting with Alan without feeling better about themselves and the work they are doing. It’s a rare gift.”