Loughborough launches Voices of Diversity: BAME Speaker Series

As part of our commitment to advancing race equality and being an anti-racist community, we are pleased to launch Voices of Diversity: BAME Speaker Series.

Voices of Diversity will consist of a variety of events and initiatives which highlight the experiences, impact and achievements of BAME individuals, whilst providing an opportunity to hear their thoughts on how to transform the University's culture for the better.

Following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the international Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, we know there is much work to be done to recognise and address the realities of systemic racism.

The University is working on a number of anti-racism initiatives, including: its membership of the Race Equality Charter; undertaking surveys and focus groups with staff and students to understand better how racism shapes work and study; improving the reporting of racism and hate incidents (and taking disciplinary action where racist behaviour has occurred), and more recently, the BAME Staff Network has developed ten Guiding Principles for Race Equality Work.

The first event of the series will focus on two of these guiding principles:

  1. Respect the stories and identities of BAME staff and students.
  2. Centre the collective expertise of BAME staff and students.

It will take place on Tuesday 25 May, 6pm-7pm on MS Teams, to coincide with the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. This will be a panel event featuring four special alumni guests:

  • Ozak Esu (PhD Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 2016) – Technical Project Manager R&D at Hilti Group; recipient of the ‘Young Woman Engineer of the Year’ title in 2017.
  • Tobi Ogundipe (BSc Economics, 2017) – Founder of Diverse, an organisation supporting BAME young professionals in securing jobs and progressing in their careers.
  • Ashlea Smith (BSc Sports Management, 2015) – Head of Delivery at Living Sport; Co-founder and co-host of Melanin and Me, a podcast that explores the complexities and experiences of Black and POC British women.
  • Sumeet Vermani (Politics with Communication and Media, 2007) – Global Vice President of Marketing at Global Processing Services; member of the University’s Alumni Advisory Board.

The panel will talk about their inspirational career stories and achievements, reflect on their time at Loughborough, and share experiences from their current organisations as to how we can realise an anti-racist and equitable University community.

In preparation for our panel event, we would like to invite students, staff and the local community to submit any questions that they would like to ask the panel (whether it’s for a particular guest, or a broader question for all of the speakers).

You can do so by filling out this short form here, from which you can also register your place for the event – all are welcome to attend. We would also be keen to hear if there any particular themes or topics that you would like to see us cover in more depth for future events in the series. Examples of these themes could be intersectionality, culture change, race equality, and anti-racism.

Prior to the event, we’d also encourage attendees to view our resources covering various aspects of race, racism and becoming anti-racist if you haven’t done so already.