The Black Talent Awards, supported by Merlin Entertainments, Serco, and Lloyds Banking Group, unveiled its 2023 award winners during an elegant black-tie event held at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium on September 28, 2023. The event was graced by the presence of the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.
Now in its second year following a successful launch in 2022, these awards celebrate exceptional and relatable Black professionals from diverse industries. These individuals not only excel in their careers but also make a significant impact within their organisations or through broader social initiatives, contributing to a more equitable working world, especially for Black and minority employees and candidates.
Denise Myers, the founder of the Black Talent Awards and CEO of recruitment agency Evenfields and Evenfields Community, emphasised the need to diversify narratives of career and entrepreneurial success. She noted that young Black talent requires relatable role models who succeed on terms they can identify with. This year’s winners exemplify individuals who have overcome challenges related to race, gender, or social background to showcase what is possible.
Changing the Narrative of Success
The 2023 Black Talent Awards recognised exceptional individuals and businesses across various categories:
1. Senior Leader Category: Trevor Sterling, the first Black Senior partner appointed in a Top 100 UK law firm. Sterling’s achievements include significant community work, such as involvement in statue campaigns for Nelson Mandela and Mary Seacole.
2. FMCG and Retail Category: Leon Donald, honored for his efforts in making supermarket Tesco a more inclusive employer. Despite personal setbacks, Donald acquired an MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School and spearheaded the Tesco Black Action Plan (BAP) to combat systemic racism and promote equitable representation.
3. Rising Star Category: Christina Brooks, an executive resourcing executive recognised for promoting inclusivity within large corporations. Brooks, formerly the Global Executive Talent Acquisition Lead at Rolls-Royce, is actively involved in a task force with the Metropolitan Police focused on working with young offenders and underrepresented groups.
4. Charitable, Voluntary, and Social Change Category: Nik Muchatuta, a Black female engineer who has worked to improve diversity and inclusion within the nuclear energy sector through her initiative REIN (Racial Equality In Nuclear).
5. Trailblazer Category: Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, founder of the platform 1000 Black Voices, which supports businesses, investors, and communities in combating racism and racial bias globally. Dr. Shaw’s work includes forging connections between individuals and industry giants, creating opportunities for sustainable funds and venture capital for Black founders.
The Black Talent Awards also acknowledge businesses that actively support diversity, equity, and inclusion:
– Large Business Category: KPMG received recognition for its commitment to upskilling young Black women in coding, boosting employee retention through its Black Heritage Programme, and significantly increasing the number of appointed Black directors.
Rob Smith, Managing Director of Midway Attractions at Merlin Entertainments, emphasised the importance of diversity and inclusion. Stephanie Hamilton, Chief HR Officer at Serco UK & Europe, expressed Serco’s dedication to removing barriers and fostering an inclusive workplace environment.
The Black Talent Awards continue to be a platform for celebrating outstanding Black professionals and organisations that drive positive change and diversity within the workforce.