Meet our 2020 Finalists

2020 WINNERS

Download the 2020 Winner's Announcement Press Release

Business Person of the Year 

2020 Business Person of the Year 

Segun Osuntokun

London Office Managing Partner - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP)

Segun Osuntokun is the Managing Partner for BCLP's London Office, the firm’s largest office with approximately 900+ employees and a turnover of +£250M. Appointed to the role of Managing Partner in 2018, Segun has overseen the integration of the London office into the global firm that was created in 2018 by the merger of Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave. He has also overseen the relocation of the London office from Adelaide House to Governor’s House, which culminated in an office move during the current lockdown. Segun has continued to lead Race for Change, an initiative designed to increase black representation in the legal profession and which is BCLP’s most successful recruitment event – Race for Change participants accounted for 12.5% of BCLP’s vacation students and 13% of training contract hires. Segun received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession’ Award at the British Nigeria Law Forum Awards in November 2018 and featured in The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100 Lawyers’ in London.

Arts and Media 

Arts and Media Rising Star Winner

Nnena Nwakodo

Producer - Bartle Bogle Hegarty

An experienced producer, Nnena’s diverse range of work includes television commercials, branded content, music videos and short films. At Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Nnena has produced television and online content for several global brands including Burger King, Tesco, Audi, Mentos, Absolut, Volkswagen and Samsung. In 2019, Nnena joined Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s in-house production company, Black Sheep Studios where she produced some of her proudest work including Absolut Vodka Pride Film and The Photographers Gallery Portrait Films which previewed on Nowness. She also produced the 2019 London Fashion Week x Justice 4 Grenfell stunt casting many celebrities to participate including Adwoa Aboah and Emilie Sandé. Earlier this year, Nnena produced a large-scale production for Mentos with production taking place in South Africa. Nnena is also a co-founder of unsigned, an exhibition to promote unsigned and diverse photographers, illustrators and filmmakers on the creative industries radar.

Arts and Media Senior Leader Winner

Anthony Andrews

Co-founder and Creative Director - We Are Parable

Anthony Andrews is the co-founder and Creative Director of We Are Parable. With a marketing experience spanning almost two decades, Anthony Andrews has always been an avid fan of films. In 2013, , Anthony and his wife Teanne decided to start their own film company after screening one of their favourite films, Coming To America where they created an a full, immersive experience complete with African arts and craft makers, rosebearers, poets, performers and artists, in order to bring Zamunda to East London. Over the past three years, Anthony has curated nationwide programmes in association with the British Film Institute. Seen as an expert practitioner to attract new and diverse audiences to film events, Anthony has spoken at a number of industry conferences including the UK Cinema Association’s annual event and This Way Up. Anthony has also worked with some of the most prominent Black film-makers in the US and UK such as Ryan Coogler, Idris Elba, Amma Asante, Rapman and Oscar-winner Spike Lee.

Consumer and Luxury 

Consumer and Luxury Rising Star Winner

Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate

Co-founders - Afrocenchix

Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate are Co-founders of the award-winning Afrocenchix. In 2017, Afrocenchix became the first Afro hair brand to launch in WholeFoods and is available in all nine stores in the UK. Since launching in Holland & Barrett in late 2019, Afrocenchix were selected as 'Brand of the Month' in March 2020 and were featured in Holland & Barrett’s online communications to all customers. With the objective to be a market leader in the Afro-hair industry, Rachael and Joycelyn focus on closely working with scientists to formulate natural products from locally sourced and naturally derived ingredients to offer a range of ethical products that are great for Afro Hair. Since March 2020, sales directly through their website have increased by 600% proving that they are an essential brand to diversifying the beauty industry. The company will soon be launching in one of the UK’s biggest beauty retail stores.

Consumer and Luxury Senior Leader Winner

Sandra Murphy

Founder and Managing Director - Equidiet UK Ltd

Sandra Murphy is the Founder and Managing Director of Equidiet UK Ltd. Based in Lincolnshire, Sandra has worked tirelessly to expand her revolutionary brand using local suppliers and manufacturing in Lincolnshire, producing multiple hydration systems for horses which have gained high recognition within the equine industry. Passionate about horses from a young age, Sandra became one of the top riders and competitors for the Royal Air Force and was a founding member of the Joint Services Equitation centre during her 12 years of service. The ninth Black female in the UK to have gained a European Patent, Sandra’s products provide 100% natural, unparalleled daily rations and clinical management systems delivering nutrition and hydration simultaneously. In 2019 Sandra was awarded the Entrepreneur of the year by the English Veterans and the Legend Award 2019 for contribution to the community and humanity, given by Trinidad and Tobago Friends UK.

Entrepreneur 

Entrepreneur Rising Star Winner

Ayesha Ofori

CEO and Founder - Black Property Network

Ayesha Ofori is the CEO and Founder of the Black Property Network (BPN). Ayesha Ofori is a multi-award winning real estate investment specialist holding previous roles at global financial services insitutions Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Starting the company as a one-woman band, Ayesha launched BPN with the aim to increase financial literacy and enable people within the Back community to financially empower themselves through property investment. Fast-forward to today and BPN are a team of six with a community of over 700 registered members and reaches an audience of more than 5,000. BPN have helped people to save, purchase their first property and have helped others to improve their financial literary and make their first passive investments. Ayesha has won several awards for her work, including Management Today’s 35 Women under 35 and the Women of the Future Award for Real Estate, Infrastructure & Construction. She speaks frequently at leading organisations including Google, The London Institute of Banking and Finance, KPMG, London Business School and Kings College London.

Entrepreneur Senior Leader Winner

Trevor Robinson OBE

Founder and Executive Creative Director - Quiet Storm

Trevor Robinson OBE is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of award-winning agency Quiet Storm. Despite being told by his school careers advisor at the age of 11 that his best option was to become a bus driver, Trevor took his chances in the creative industries. During his time as a court illustrato, Trevor was inspired by Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino to direct so began freelancing. In 1995, Quiet Storm was created, the first agency to write, direct and produce its own work. To this day it is still one of the few agencies where creatives direct their own commercials. During his 30 year career in the industry, Tevor has created some of the most iconic,talked about advertising of our era, including the multi-award winning “You’ve Been Tango-ed” Orange Slap campaign and more recently Haribo “Kids Voices”, which is live in 12 markets globally. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Trevor wass awarded an OBE in 2009, after setting up ‘Create Not Hate’ a project to tackle gun crime.

Financial Services 

Financial Services Rising Star Winner

Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy

Digital Product Manager - Barclays

Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy is a Digital Product Manager within the Global Digital & Platforms team at Barclays.  Delivering innovative digital products, Zainab’s latest project was launched earlier this year where she managed the end-to-end development and delivery of the payments journey for non-Barclays accounts that customers link into the Barclays app. This made Barclays the first high street bank to offer this service, and increased customer app engagement. The project was shortlisted for the FSTech ‘Best Open Banking Service’ Award. Zainab became Deputy Chair of the Barclays Black Professionals Forum (BPF) last December, and oversees career progression and colleague development initiatives such as the internal mentoring programmes and personal development workshops. On top of this, she is currently writing a book on Afro hair for independent publisher, Jacaranda Books, as part of the ‘A Quick Ting On’ series on black history and culture, to be released next year.

Financial Services Senior Leader Winner

Gavin Lewis

Managing Director, Head of UK LGPS - BlackRock

Gavin Lewis is a Managing Director and Head of the UK Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) at BlackRock where he is responsible for the UK Local Government Pension Scheme as well as being a member of the UK Institutional Executive Committee. Gavin has held previous senior roles at Russell Investments, UBS and Vanguard Europe. Driving the cultural change in his business, Gavin has created and implemented a career progression strategy which has been rolled out to all individuals across the business. The recent racial events in the US against the background of Covid-19 led him to launch a social media campaign #IAM through #Talkaboutblack which has galvanised the industry to confront systemic racism. The campaign is now fundraising for social causes impacting Black communities, successfully campaigned to for a petition to debate the ethnicity pay gap in the House of Commons, as well as working with companies to improve the experience of their Black employees.

Professional Services 

Professional Services Rising Star Winner

Natalie Carter

Senior Associate - Greenberg Traurig LLP

Natalie Carter is an award-winning senior associate in the Real Estate team at Greenberg Traurig LLP. Joining the firm in 2018, Natalie has acted in multiple high-value and high-profile transactions including the financing, acquisition, disposal and development of high value commercial properties across London. Committed to providing a clear pathway for other Black people pursuing a corporate law career, Natalie works with various charities and organisations including the Black Solicitors Network and Urban Lawyers, where she originally designed their annual conference. Since 2015, over 2000 students have attended. On top of this, she is the co-Founder of Black Girls Book Club, the UK’s premier Book club for black women creating a safe space for black women to enjoy literature. Over 200 events have been hosted with celebrity guests such as June Sarpong, Malorie Blackman, Afua Hirsch and Dorothy Koomson. Natalie is a trustee of the Creative Land Trust and was appointed as a judge for the annual renowned BookSeller Awards.

Professional Services Senior Leader Winner

Bennard Owusu

Senior Partner - BWF Solicitors

Bennard Owusu is the founder and Senior Partner of his own firm, BWF Solicitors. Founded in 2006, Bennard starting with three staff members and today has grown the business to a turnover of approximately £1 million. Recognised as an expert in his area, Bennard is as a member of the prestigious Family and Immigration Law Accreditation panel and is focused on helping his community through the provision of free legal advice. In 1999, he started a Radio Legal Programme on Voice of Africa for the diverse communities. Today their weekly radio programmes on Rainbow Radio and GN Radio (DAB, FM, TuneIn Radio, Sky TV platform, Facebook Live and YouTube) channels are viewed, clicked, and listened to by over twenty thousand members of the community every week with approximately one million views, clicks, listeners every year.

Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology (STEM) 

STEM Rising Star Winner

Ninarita Williams

Project Manager - Transport for London

Ninarita Williams is a Project Manager at Transport for London (TfL) working on the signalling and construction for the +£5bn Four Lines Modernisation Programme (4LM). With a reputation for successfully managing large-scale and influential projects, Ninarita has also managed award-winning projects including the operation to bring cooling and ventilation to underground hotspots on the Jubilee, Bakerloo and Victoria lines. A particularly proud achievement of Ninarita’s was project managing the ground-breaking DCA Sim project set to drastically alter the industry by changing the way trains are tested and maintained. In the last 3 years, Ninarita has have led project teams to save TfL circa. £2.5 million through the implementation of innovative procurement strategies, pro-active value engineering and progressive core-team and supply-chain integration working. She is also an active mentor coaching young people in STEM and has mentored one young person into a higher-level professional role each year for the past three years.

STEM Senior Leader Winner

Dr Abdullahi Sheriff

Executive, Strategic Partnerships & Solutions, Europe, GE Healthcare 

Dr Abdullahi Sheriff is an Executive with the Strategic Partnerships & Solutions team for Europe, GE Healthcare. Dr Abdullahi Sheriff’s focus is on Healthcare and Life Sciences with the primary purpose to drive revenue growth through creating novel scalable services and solutions that solve challenges for organisations and patients. Prior to joining GE Healthcare, Sheriff worked at PA Consulting from 2011 - 2017. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, he led a rapid response team to support a UK health system to rapidly design and set up the infrastructure for its COVID crisis response to co-ordinate the Primary, Social and Community care needs of up to 800,000 people. Sheriff leads a ‘start up’ oncology service and insights business within GE Healthcare Europe, where he and his team designed and implement a range of solutions that seek to create enhanced diagnostic and treatment capacity for cancer patients. He has published numerous papers, a book and has been invited to speak at leading global institutions including Loughborough University, UCL & Harvard Business School.

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