ICA Judges

Jennifer Thomas | Communications Director

@jnthomas4

Jennifer Thomas has risen quickly to the top as a corporate communicator, having been talent-spotted for rapid promotion at every company she has worked for. Most recently, Jennifer is transforming the profile and reputation of Direct Line Group (DLG), as Director of Internal Communications, Experience & Sustainability and previously as its Director of Financial Communications. Jennifer is part of the Group’s Strategic Leadership Team, responsible for developing the Group’s internal communications strategy, including employee engagement, the incorporation of the employee value proposition and corporate brand as well developing and executing a new corporate social responsibility strategy. Jennifer was involved in the IPO of RBS orchestrated by DLG and the biggest stock market listing of 2012. Jennifer had a former career as a UK Championships 400m runner and hurdler for England.


Paul Sesay | Inclusive Awards | Founder & CEO

@SesayPaul

Paul Sesay is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers, National Diversity Awards, Inclusive Awards and Inclusive Jobs since 2006. Paul’s business acumen has mainly been with a social focus.

With over fifteen years worth of experience within the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion sector, Paul has worked with some of the largest organisations in the world on their diversity and inclusion profiles.

He has also worked within local communities to help people from various backgrounds to achieve and empower disadvantaged groups throughout the UK. Paul’s initiatives have helped thousands of organisations and individuals get recognised for their hard work and dedication to diversity.


Lisa Adkin  | TalkTalk  | Inclusion Manager

Lisa has been working in the diversity and inclusion space for over seven years. With a background in financial services and telecommunications, Lisa drives impactful inclusion activity to make positive change. Lisa is an advocate for equality for all and a strong believer in taking an inter-sectional approach to inclusion.

Lisa is currently leading the inclusion strategy at TalkTalk; living the values of ‘We’re For Everyone’ and weaving inclusion through all areas of the business. 

Being a qualified counsellor, Lisa has a naturally empathic approach. She has volunteered for various charities and champions all elements of wellbeing. Lisa is an advocate for flexible working practices and ensuring there are diverse voices at the table. Always happy to share her own authentic story and truly role model inclusive behaviours.


Nathan Coe | Auto Trader UK | Chief Executive Officer

Nathan was first appointed to the Board as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in April 2017 and as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in July 2017. As announced in April 2019, Nathan is currently CEO-Designate and CFO, and will be appointed as CEO when Trevor Mather retires from the board on 31 March 2020. Nathan joined Auto Trader in 2007 to oversee the transition from a magazine business to being a pure digital company.

He was responsible for launching a number of new business areas, and led the company’s early entry and subsequent growth in mobile and online. For the past two years, Nathan has been the joint Operations Director, sharing responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the business.

Prior to joining Auto Trader, Nathan was at Telstra, Australia's leading telecommunications company, where he led Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Development for its media and internet businesses. He was previously a consultant at PwC, having graduated from the University of Sydney with a B.Com. (Hons).


Dr Bijna K. Dasani, FRSA

@DrBijna

Bijna serves the Boards of The Inclusive Companies Network, FinTech Connect, CIONet, Generation Success and Cajigo.

Bijna advises / advocates for a diversified portfolio of causes. She has spoken to global audiences at Deloitte, Edinburgh DataFest, Amazon, Sky, Lloyds Banking Group, Universities (Auburn, BPP, Edinburgh, De Montfort, Imperial College, Oxford, Sheffield), Appway, CIO NEXT, Bloomberg, Retail Banking Forum Europe, FinTech Connect, Bold Strategy Summit, EveryWoman India, The Next Gen Project and others. She serves as a Host / Judge / Speaker for a portfolio of events and awards including the Inclusive Companies Awards, Dublin Tech Summit, The Diversity in Tech Awards powered by Microsoft for Startups and HiyaMee. 

Bijna is featured various publications including the following books: The Ultimate Professional Networker's Guidebook Volume 1 (2019) and Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting women (2018).

Bijna has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2020) by Her Majesty, The Queen. 

She has been recognised, for the third consecutive year (2020) by Yahoo Finance and Involve People as one of the Top 100 Women Executives across all industries and sectors globally. 

Bijna has also been appreciated as follows: Bijna was named Britain’s Rising Star, UK Women of Inspiration awards (2019), #29 in the Worlds Top 100 Women Execs by Yahoo and HERoes (2019), one of Top 50 Women to Watch (2019) by Cranfield University, #EMRoleModels19 Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executives (2019), Innovate Finance Women in Fintech Powerlist (2019-18), one of the #TechWomen100 (2019), as 'Business Role Model of the Year' by the Women in IT Awards & Amazon (2019), by the Lloyds Banking Group Top 100 BAME Role Models List (2019, 2018) as a 'Global Champion' (#60) of the Top 100 Executive #FTHERoes18 by the Financial Times (2018), with an Honorary Doctorate from De Montfort University (2018), by felicitation at the House of Lords (UK), at the NRI Pride of India World Summit (2017) for 'Making India Proud'. 

Bijna is credited as one of the Top 50 Visionary Young Leaders in Business, by Henley Business School (2017), one of 35 leading British Business Women under 35, by Management Today, Accenture and The Telegraph (2015) and has received recognition with 15 further honours including the National Diversity Awards (2012) and the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (2010). Bijna is also the International Women’s Day Young Achiever of the Year (2006).


Samantha Budd | University of Bristol Students’ Union Chief Executive

@ubusam63

Sam is the Chief Executive of the University of Bristol Students’ Union and has over 30 years of senior experience within the recruitment, training and education sectors. She has held several non- executive and trustee roles including most recently: membership of strategic advisory committees for the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE); trustee of NUS Charitable Services: board member of NUS Poverty Commission and a trustee of the Bristol Museums Development Trust.

Sam has a particular interest in equality, diversity and inclusion  and as well a number of awards achieved by the Union in this field  she was personally short listed as Chief Executive of the year 2016 by the National Centre for Diversity, awarded the 2018  Simpson King Staff achievement Award by the national union of students  and recently received the 2018 Diversity Champion- Education Sector at the Inclusive Companies awards. She was a member of the University of Bristol EDI Steering Group and the Bristol Racism Taskforce set up to address racism on campus and beyond. She has worked in an advisory capacity with NUS to shape the Race Matters agenda and has been involved in the development and implementation of Careers in Students’ Unions the new employer brand that has been created to improve the diversity of the sector’s workforce.

She is also a passionate advocate for mental health issues and was  a member of the 2018  Bristol Leadership Challenge an ambitious programme, convened by the Mayor’s City Office, aimed at addressing the systemic difficulties faced in the Bristol by those citizens experiencing complex mental health problems.


"As we start to understand the role that employers have in contributing to the creation of a fairer society, we understand the importance of recognizing and celebrating excellence in the field of Inclusion and diversity. I am very proud to be involved in the judging panel for the 2019 Inclusive Companies Awards as I believe that the traction that these awards are making across all sectors, sizes and types of organisations is extraordinary. The ICAs shine a light on this important agenda and encourages us as business leaders to step up and ensure that we are playing our role and making a difference”


Fez Khan | Cheshire Constabulary | T/Chief Inspector

I joined Cheshire Constabulary in 2005, having joined straight from university where I completed an LLb Bachelor of Law degree at Sheffield Hallam University. I have worked in a variety of frontline uniform and detective roles across Cheshire, having worked in Ellesmere Port, Chester, Northwich, Winsford and now Runcorn where I am currently the LPU Commander. I am a trained Hostage and Crisis Negotiator and a Bronze Public Order Commander. I have been involved with our staff network since early 2017 which was around the time where Cheshire hosted the fantastic National BPA Conference.

I am extremely proud to recently have been elected as the Chair of what is now Cheshire Constabulary Multicultural Network (formerly CCMEG) and to be able to take our network forward in continuing to support our members to flourish and also to promote the excellent work and engagement the network continues to do in our communities, in order to attract a diverse and representative workforce.


Sally Bucknell | EY Director, Diversity & Inclusiveness, UK & Ireland

Sally Bucknell is a thought leader and agent for change on the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda in UK business. She advises the leadership team at global professional services firm EY on how to accelerate parity in the workplace.

Sally has driven EY’s approach on D&I, which is firmly regarded as core to the firm’s strategy. EY believes different perspectives, shared in an inclusive environment, creates commercial advantage and will help the firm to respond to the fast pace of change in the workplace of the future.

“We’ve seen first-hand how working in more diverse teams improves performance and client satisfaction. Our people tell us they’re happier and more productive when they are free to be their true selves at work,” says Sally.

During Sally’s 16-year tenure at EY, she has introduced some ground-breaking initiatives focussed on supporting women and BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) professionals achieve their ambitions. She has also led the charge on what she believes is the ‘game changer’ on this agenda – inclusive leadership training for business leaders - that challenges the culture of the workplace.

A flexible working advocate, Sally works at EY four days a week. She is also a member of Keele University Council and a supporter of Northern Power Women – a forum set up to connect and showcase role models in the North of England. She also mentors entrepreneurs through EY’s independent charity, EY Foundation.


Rob Mukherjee | EveryCloud Security Ltd Director of Transformation

A firm believer in building a people-led future fuelled by technology (and not vice versa), Rob is Director of Transformation at EveryCloud, a leading cloud communications and cloud security provider, with clients ranging from global financial services firms to major hospitality and entertainment brands to premier league football clubs.

A regular public speaker on Diversity & Inclusion and The Future Of Work, Rob has won numerous awards for his work on inclusion and is currently listed in the EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executives and the HERoes Top 40 Advocates Of Women In Business. A Trustee on the board of GreaterSport, a Manchester-based charity passionate about changing lives through sport and physical activity – Rob is a lifelong Everton fan and is old enough to have been at Wembley the last time they lifted a trophy!

  


Sue Liburd | Non Executive Director | Abstract UK 

Sue is an award-winning businesswoman, senior executive strategist and human capital innovation consultant. In addition, Sue has a portfolio of Non-Executive directorships, NHS public appointments and is a Deputy Lieutenant for Lincolnshire. Awarded an MBE for her services to Business, Charity and Voluntary organisations, Sue works across a range of sectors for some of the world’s leading companies, influencing thinking at the highest levels.

As a recipient of the National Diversity Champion Award at the Inclusive Companies Awards 2019 and recognised as one of the top one hundred women leaders driving change for gender diversity in the workplace in 2020, Sue is becoming a recognised voice and emergent thought leader in the field of Diversity and Inclusion. Deeply committed to alleviating health, education and workplace inequality, Sue’s purpose is to have a profound impact on the way the world does business. She has a special interest and successful track record in assisting women and other under-represented groups achieve C-suite success.

  


Sam Cooper-Gray  | Head of Commercialisation | HSBC Global Business Banking

Sam Cooper-Gray is the Head of Commercialisation for HSBC Global Business Banking, based in London. Sam was appointed to this role in 2019.

In this role, she is responsible for leading the proposition for Global Business Banking, supporting over 1.3 million customers in 18 markets and territories to access the best products and services for their needs.

In addition to her responsibilities at HSBC Global Business Banking, Sam is the Global Sponsor for HSBC BALANCE Advocates programme and Global Co-Chair for HSBC BALANCE. HSBC BALANCE has over 50,000 members, 220 Executive Leader Ambassadors and 1,000 Advocates across 44 markets and is an employee resource group focussed on ending gender imbalance within the bank and across the industry, by creating an environment where gender balance is the norm. She is also a Board member for Women on the Wharf, leading the creation of the new Beyond Mentoring programme connecting over 550 mentors and mentees across eleven major firms in Canary Wharf, London. In addition to this Sam is a Non Exec Director for a number of firms, advising on diversity and inclusion and is a mentor both internally and externally.

Prior to taking on her current role, Sam was the Global Head of Learning for HSBC Commercial Banking, supporting the development of over 24,000 employees across 53 markets and has held senior positions within HSBC for over 21 years, including roles in Risk, Trade, Leadership and the Chief Operating Office.

Sam holds a Bachelor’s degrees in History and Politics from the University of Kent at Canterbury and in Banking and Finance from the University of Manchester.


Jiten Patel Jiten Patel  | Director | Diversync

Jiten is an award-winning EDI strategist, and practitioner, a published author and blogger on matters pertaining to Inclusion through diversity. He has a background in Financial Services and, upon leaving his Diversity and Inclusion role at HSBC, Jiten set up his own company in 2001 and has worked with a vast range of clients from Blue Chip companies all the way through to small local charities.

As well as all the four nations of the United Kingdom, his work has taken him to continental and Eastern Europe and India. He was the winner of the Diversity Champion (Education Sector) award in 2015 and received the ‘Highly Commended Head of Diversity and Inclusion’ award at the 2016 and 2017 Inclusive Company Awards. He was also a top 3 finalist at the 2011 Race for Opportunity awards for the design and development of his highly successful ‘Aspire~’ Positive Action Programme. He was also the original creator of the Civil Service Learning’s Positive Action Programme, Positive Action Pathway, which witnessed some 30% of staff achieving career related moves as a result of attendance on the programme.

In his spare time Jiten has been involved a variety of charitable work; he is a past Chair of ‘Working Families’ a charity specialising in assisting people and employers to implement effective agile working to facilitate work-life-family commitments. Since 2002, Jiten has a trustee of a number of charities. He is currently a Trustee at ‘MK SNAP’ (a charity specialising in the needs of post 16 learners with learning disabilities) and the LPSOL (focusing on supporting people from South Gujarat who have settled in the UK).

Jiten’s first book, Demystifying Diversity (co-authored by Gamiel Yafai), was published in 2016 and is currently going into its second edition which will include new content about Cognitive Diversity.


Pepi Sappal  | Founder & Director | Fair Play Talks

Fair Play Talks' Founder and Director Pepi Sappal has a long history of writing on diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing issues, as well as HR, business, marketing and international management, spanning more than two decades for publications, such as the Wall St Journal (WSJ)Dow Jones and Edge Magazine. She was also the diversity columnist for the WSJ for a number of years, and the former editor of several business magazines such as the British Chambers of Commerce's National Review and HR publications  Global HR, HR World and Human Resources Magazine.  

Jiten’s first book, Demystifying Diversity (co-authored by Gamiel Yafai), was published in 2016 and is currently going into its second edition which will include new content about Cognitive Diversity.


Pepi Sappal  | Founder  | Radius Networks

Entrepreneur Matthew has worked in the D&I industry for more than a decade and is the Founder and Managing Director of Radius Networks, the global leader in the training, development and resourcing of employee networks.

Radius Networks works with more than 300 organisations globally, including many of the largest and most recognisable brands in the world, and has trained thousands of network leads in more than 40 countries.

Matthew has in-depth knowledge of the issues and challenges organisations face within D&I and vast experience of helping tackle them.

He is the 2013 winner of the National Diversity Awards’ LGBT Entrepreneur of the Year. He previously sat on the volunteer board of Diversity Role Models and also supports many other D&I focused businesses via strategic partnerships.

I have always been passionate about people and the benefits of networking and celebrating diversity. Growing up as a gay man, and addressing the challenges of dyslexia and ADHD, I understand how it feels to be perceived as different. I launched Radius Networks as I was keen to demonstrate to the business community that difference can be harnessed to create more effective and innovative organisations.

I am honoured to join this years judging panel, helping continue to raise the visibility of organisations and people who are changing the workplace for the better'