“I believe I have a purpose that is beyond myself. While other voices get louder with hate and distrust, so too does mine – with unity and love!”
Such was the message from Farrah Qureshi, chief executive of Global Diversity Practice and winner of the Excellence in Diversity Lifetime Achiever Award.
Raised in Bradford against a backdrop of racial and sexual discrimination, Farrah has a lifelong passion for diversity and inclusion. She was celebrated last night for her multiple achievements, including having delivered C-suite coaching, keynotes, consultancy and training to over 70 companies and boards in more than 150 countries.
Also taking to the stage to receive an award was Alison Lowe, chief executive of Touchstone, which for the second year in a row topped the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List.
On accepting the award, she said: ‘The secret to success is to know yourself and love yourself. And allow your team to be themselves and to love themselves also. In return they will be the best they can be”.
The Excellence in Diversity Awards are now in their third year. The ceremony was held at the Midland Hotel in Manchester and hosted by June Sarpong MBE.
Noting how this year the awards had received an “unprecedented” 1,000 nominations, Paul Sesay, founder and chief executive of the awards, said: “With each passing year, the awards continue to highlight some of the most inspirational individuals, outstanding groups and phenomenal networks that the UK has to offer.”
The full list of winners includes:
Diversity champion award for charity – Susie Green, chief executive of Mermaids
Diversity champion award for education – Professor Gill Valentine, Interim Provist and Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield
Diversity champion award for housing – Amelia Lawson, chair of the Build Together Friends network, Homes and Communities Agency
Diversity champion award for private – Catherine Burton, flight operations diversity and inclusion champion (retired), British Airways
Diversity champion award for public – Joe O’Grady, equality and diversity manager, Countess of Chester Hospital
Employee of the year award – Louise Horton, diversity and inclusion adviser, Legal Aid Agency
Best diversity resource – Mott MacDonald, InterEngineering, Royal Academy of Engineering
Outstanding diversity network – Movement to Work
Diversity Marketing Campaign of the Year – Channel 4, We’re the Superhumans
Head of Diversity & Inclusion Award – Richard Chapman-Harris, global EDI manager, Mott MacDonald
Lifetime Achiever Award – Farrah Qureshi, chief executive, Global Diversity Practice
To learn from Farrah Qureshi’s experiences in D&I, check out the next issue of Lead Magazine – out early January.