Chair and Co-Founder
Starting her career working at the branch of a local bank while completing her Masters of Philosophy, Melanie is now a Management Consultant/Strategist with over 18 years experience working for global brands including IBM and Ernst & Young, specialising in business transformation, and working with companies to identify strategic priorities for revenue generation and profitable growth.
Based on her extensive career experience, she is a professor at Hult International Business School where she has taught Global Operational Strategy and Organisational Design, Business Models and Architecture, and Leadership and Management
Passionate about uncovering role models and inspiring a new generation of leaders, Melanie has been an advocate of diversity and equality and has given several talks and media appearances on progression in the workplace.
Based on her advocacy work on the gender agenda, Melanie started the Black British Business Awards in 2012 to reflect the outstanding achievements and contributions of black business people to the UK economy. For her, these awards are a collaborative, wholly inclusive initiative that highlights inspiring role models, challenges outdated stereotypes, and most importantly, is a vehicle for economic empowerment and equality.
In addition to her advocacy work, Melanie is a writer and broadcaster, and regularly appears on news channels promoting economic empowerment, diversity and leadership skills while also writing for the Huffington Post and Management Today.
She is a regular speaker and lecturer and has delivered sessions at organisations such as Arup, BAFTA, BONY, BT, GE, IBM, EDF, EY, Network Rail, Sky, Inseec, UCL on topics ranging from Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership and Management, and Business Performance Improvement.
Alongside being the Chair of the BBBAs, Melanie serves on several boards including the Creative Industries Federation and London Works as an Ambassador for their initiatives and policy work, and still loves being a business consultant for both large and small organisations.
Co-Founder and Chair of the Judging Panel
Sophie is an award winning international corporate finance lawyer. She is passionate about inspiring future leaders and defying stereotypes by recognising, celebrating and shining a light on the often unsung outstanding professional and commercial achievements of individuals of African and Caribbean heritage worldwide.
She is the Chief Administrative Officer of Morgan Stanley’s Legal and Compliance Division in Europe Middle-East and Africa. She was previously Head of Group Treasury (Legal) at Virgin Money leading the execution of strategic M&A and corporate finance activity, including the acquisition of Northern Rock and the flotation of Virgin Money in 2014 and other deals in excess of £13bn. Prior to this, Sophie was a Senior Associate at global firm Baker & McKenzie in London, advising clients such as NIKE, The Body Shop, Macquarie Bank and others.
She has featured as one of the top 100 most influential Black Britons in the Power List and in The Lawyer Hot 100. Sophie was recognised as the UK Diversity Legal Awards Outstanding Lawyer of the Year in 2015. Sophie is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and was appointed Honorary Fellow of UCL for professional achievements by the UCL Council in 2016. Also in 2016, Sophie was also recognised in the UPstanding and EMpower 100 BAME Executive Power Lists presented in the Financial Times in 2016 and 2017, and BAME 100 Board Talent Index 2016 in association with The Sunday Times and Green Park.
Sophie is Co-Chair of Morgan Stanley’s African and Caribbean Business Alliance and a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) – the preeminent membership organisation committed to increasing the number of global black executives in c-suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. She serves on the Global Expansion Committee of the ELC. She is featured in the 100 Women to Watch Supplement of the Female FTSE Board Report 2017 and is a member of the Steering Committee of the 30% Club, a campaign in the UK with a goal of achieving a minimum of 30% women on FTSE 100 Boards.
Sophie has served on the Board of Trustees of Sentebale and Protimos. Sentebale was founded by Prince Harry and provides psycho-social supports for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS in southern Africa. Protimos is an organisation of development lawyers who provide access to law and legal education for indigenous and marginalised communities in resource rich emerging economies. Protimos is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.