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Women to Watch 2019: spotlight on BAME talent

PICTURED: Sonita Alleyne OBE, the first black leader of an Oxbridge college, is among the list of Women to Watch 2019

FIFTY LEADING female professionals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are highlighted in the 2019 Women to Watch supplement, published annually by Cranfield University’s School of Management alongside the Female FTSE Board Report.

The Women to Watch supplement showcases a wide range of women available for, and ideally suited to, board positions on FTSE 350 companies now or in the near future. The 2019 edition, produced in collaboration with the Black British Business Awards and The Network of Networks BAME – Multicultural Chapter (TNON), features women from a range of sectors and from across the BAME spectrum.

Dr Doyin Atewologun, Director of the Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre at Cranfield University, said: “This year we challenge assumptions about the type of woman suited to board positions showcasing senior women who come from backgrounds historically under-represented in the senior leadership pipeline.

“We show that board members need not be drawn solely from the finance, legal, banking or professional services sectors, but can also come from the worlds of media, technology, academia and the third sector.”

While the 2019 Female FTSE Board Report shows that many companies are on track to reach the target of 33% of board positions going to women by 2020, Dr Atewologun says businesses cannot be complacent: “We need to be sure that we are not only advancing progress for a certain small group of women, but are truly pushing board diversity in every sense. We hope executive search firms, FTSE Board Chairs and other Directors are inspired by the rich talent we highlight, to look at gender diversity - including men - in a different way.”


The 2019 Women to Watch supplement includes eminent women such as Sonita Alleyne OBE, the first black leader of an Oxbridge college, who is Master of Jesus College, Cambridge; Nishma Robb, Marketing Director at Google UK; Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of charity Media Trust Hina Nagarajan, MD of African Emerging Markets for Diageo; Sonia Cargan, Chief Diversity Officer for American Express and Sandra Federighi, Global Chief Financial Officer for Stella McCartney.

Hina Nagarajan of Diageo, a company that is highlighted in the Female FTSE Board Report as having a significant number of women at all levels, said: “My own experience, through my career and of different organisations, has shown me the commercial power of a diverse leadership and workforce.

“Having women from different backgrounds in leadership roles not only creates the inspiration for the next generation, but also brings true representation of the consumer group any business must address. For me, having a diversity of backgrounds and of course, gender balance, will ensure a culture where everyone can do their best and enhance the winning potential of any organisation through powerful ideas and solutions.”


The Women to Watch supplement is supported this year by the Black British Business Awards and TNON, two organisations that champion diversity and inclusion.

Melanie Eusebe and Sophie Chandauka, Co-Founders of the Black British Business Awards, commented: “In 2019, it is simply unacceptable for any FTSE 350 nomination committee to refer to the common refrain that there are no Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women on boards because the talent does not exist.

“Women of colour are often missing from the boardroom inclusion discourse, from the search firm shortlists and, ultimately, from the PLC board. The BBBAwards joins Cranfield University in this bold step to disrupt the status quo by declaring, through the profiles of these 50 impressive women, that BAME women of commercial excellence and tenure exist in substantial numbers.”

See the full list of Women to Watch 2019 below:

Runa Alam
Sonita Alleyne OBE
June Angelides
Nancy Armand
Magdalene Bayim-Adomako
Nadja Bellan-White
Randa Bassiso
Nin Bhatia
Farmida Bi
Mary Boakye
Julia Brown
Sonia Cargan
Monica Chadha
Radhika Chadwick
Therese Chambers
Albertha Charles
Dr Binja Dasani
Kru Desai
Purvi Domadia
Maha El Dimachki
Dr Navina Evans
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani
Sandra Federighi
Irvinder Goodhew
Tracey Harrison

Nnenna Ilomachina
Rob Knight
Fayola-Maria Jack
Rosalind Kainyah MBE
Suzan Kereere
Sarah Lee
Adeeba Malik CBE
Aruna Mehta
Hina Nagarajan
Tulsi Naidu
Priya Nair
Professor Irene Ng
Chinwe Odimba-Champan
Ugo Ojike
Kathy-Ann Quashie
Jagdeep Rai
Nishma Robb
Roni Savage
Dame Nemat Minouche Shafik
Kalpana Shah
Jacqueline Simmons
Su-Mei Thompson
Nilufer von Bismark OBE
Joy Warmington MBE
Jacky Wright

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