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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Winners Announced At The Black Talent Awards 2023

The Black Talent Awards – the professional talent awards backed by Merlin Entertainments, Serco, Lloyds Banking Group, Haleon, Jacobs, Centrica and JC Decaux, announced its 2023 award winners at a black tie event held at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium recently in an event attended by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.

The awards, now in its second year running following a successful 2022 launch, recognises outstanding yet relatable professional Black role models, across many industries, who are not only excelling in their careers but are having a significant impact, either in their own organisations or through wider social initiatives, in making the working world a more equitable place, especially for Black and minority employees and candidates.

Denise Myers, founder of the Black Talent Awards and CEO of recruitment agency Evenfields and Evenfields Community, commented: “Homogenous narratives of career and entrepreneurial success need diversification. Young Black talent needs to see role models who are relatable and who are succeeding on terms that they can identify with. This year’s winners include individuals who have gone on to forge lives very different from the one in which they came."

"These awards celebrate the remarkable feats of those who have triumphed, despite the disadvantages posed by race, gender or social background, to demonstrate what is possible. You cannot be what you cannot see.”

The Black Talent Awards 2023 winners include, in the Senior Leader category, Trevor Sterling, the first Black Senior partner to be appointed in a Top 100 UK law firm. From leaving school with few qualifications to now leading in some of the country’s most high-profile court cases, Sterling’s community work also includes playing an instrumental part in the statue campaigns for Nelson Mandela and Mary Seacole, the eminent nurse who cared for enslaved African people and British soldiers working in Kingston, Jamaica as well as in Central America and Crimea.

Within the FMCG and Retail category, Leon Donald scooped the gong for his work in helping supermarket Tesco become a more inclusive employer. Brought up within the care system, Donald prevailed over his personal setbacks to acquire an MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School. Donald spearheaded the Tesco Black Action Plan (BAP) – an 8-year strategy to help dismantle systemic racism and enable Tesco to become the UK’s largest private sector employer to drive fair and equitable representation for the Black community across key areas: talent, commercial, brand and community.

Executive resourcing executive, Christina Brooks, won the Rising Star category for her work in promoting inclusivity via her business, Ruebik by changing the profile of key decision-makers within some of the world’s biggest corporates.

Previously, Brooks was the Global Executive Talent Acquisition Lead at Rolls-Royce.

Brooks is also currently working on a task force with the Metropolitan Police working with young offenders and underrepresented groups to [what are the goals of this task force?]. She maintains these achievements alongside being a carer to her mother and son, who has additional needs.

Nik Muchatuta won the Charitable, Voluntary and Social Change category. A Black female engineer, Muchatuta has worked hard to improve diversity and inclusion within the nuclear energy sector through her initiative REIN (Racial Equality In Nuclear).

Dr. Elizabeth Shaw scooped the Trailblazer gong. Dr. Shaw is founder of the platform 1000 Black Voices, a network conceived in the immediate aftermath of the murder of George Floyd - supporting businesses, investors and wider communities to combat racism and racial bias globally. Dr. Shaw’s work includes successfully leading a trade mission to New York, in collaboration with the British Consulate General, to accelerate enterprise and growth. Critically, she has forged new pathways between individuals and industry giants, creating opportunities for sustainable funds and venture capital to be directed to Black founders.

Such change cannot move fast enough without the backing of businesses. Therefore, the Black Talent Awards also gives vital recognition to the employers and organisations that have made tangible and accountable efforts in their DE&I initiatives through sustainable talent acquisition, development and senior appointments of Black executives.

KPMG scooped the Large Business gong for the second consecutive year for its work in upskilling young Black women in coding, boosting its employee retention rate via its Black Heritage Programme and increasing the number of Black directors it has appointed from 9 to 32.

Rob Smith, Managing Director of Midway Attractions at Merlin Entertainments, said: "Merlin Entertainments is thrilled to stand as a proud sponsor of the Black Talent Awards again this year. As we celebrate excellence and innovation, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the remarkable winners of the evening, your achievements are a testament to limitless possibilities. We believe that diversity and inclusion are not just principles to uphold, but the vibrant threads that weave the fabric to success. Through this partnership, we celebrate the boundless potential and extraordinary achievements of Black talent, while reaffirming our commitment to fostering a world where every unique voice is heard and celebrated.”

Stephanie Hamilton, Chief HR Officer, Serco UK & Europe, commented: “At Serco, we are committed to making a difference to the communities we serve every day."

"We seek to remove barriers and create a workplace environment where people can be their authentic selves and achieve their ultimate career ambitions. By sponsoring the Black Talent Awards, we are honoured to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Black professionals across the UK.”


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