2023 Winners

Meet our exceptional 2023 Rising Star and Senior Leader winners across all six categories.

Black British Business Person of the Year

Aaron Lynch

Senior Manager, Global Creative Marketing – Netflix

Aaron is a marketing leader with 12+ years of experience working in scripted and non-scripted content across BBC One, BBC Three, Channel 4 and now Netflix. Since joining Netflix over five years ago as the Global Creative Marketing manager, Aaron relaunched the rebooted Top Boy and Black Mirror franchises – including the groundbreaking interactive special ‘Bandersnatch’. Aaron is a key driver of content for Netflix, leading initiatives such as the ‘Black British Stories collection’ and working alongside the content teams to bring new and classic Black British voices to Netflix’s audience of 230m+ people in 190 countries.

Arts and Media

Rising Star

Abiola Bello

Author, Publisher, Director – Hastag Press Ltd

Abiola is a award-winning and bestselling children’s and young adult (YA) author including award-winning fantasy series Emily Knight. Abiola was nominated for the CILIP’s Carnegie Award, won London’s BIG Read 2019, and was a finalist for the People’s Book Prize Best Children’s Book. Her debut YA, Love in Winter Wonderland, sold in a six-figure pre-empt and published in November 2022. Abiola is the co-founder of Hashtag Press, Hashtag BLAK and The Diverse Book Awards, which is in its fourth year. Abiola has also appeared on BBC’s The Apprentice, Got To Dance and Street Dance AllStars The Movie.

Senior Leader

Angela Ferreira

Managing Director, Douglas Road Productions

Angela’s primary role has been building the scope, range and output of Douglas Road TV Productions. Through successful programmes such as ‘Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle’, ‘Judi Love: Black, Female and Invisible’, to the upcoming six-part drama, ‘Three Little Birds’, the company has steadily grown, employing and upskilling Black producers, telling unknown and important stories, and being a trusted supplier, delivering on time and budget. Angela is a DEI Ambassador for Banijay UK, which includes mentoring, providing work experience, CV and general support. She is the Chair of their in-house employee resource group, Embrace. Angela is also a co-founder and Trustee of the Black Funding Network and a Governor at (state-funded) the Brit School.

Consumer and Luxury

Rising Star

Kelsa Albert

Senior Learning Experience Manager, Deckers Brands

Kelsa utilises her expertise in adult learning, organisational psychology, career development, DE&I and programme management to enhance the skills and capabilities of people in the fashion-retail industry. Leveraging the principles of neuroscience, technology and user experience, Kelsa has spearheaded transformative learning and development initiatives. For example, she led the design of an innovative career development toolkit which replaces traditional Personal Development Plans. It challenges the conventional ‘career ladder’ concept, empowering people to gain clarity on their strengths, personal success measures, vision and career priorities. The toolkit supports internal talent mobility and enables individuals to own their careers and thrive. Kelsa’s Conscious Inclusion development program fostered a culture of inclusion throughout a global workforce and achieved exceptional engagement rates, exceeding 80%. Kelsa’s ambition is to continue pushing boundaries in the field of Learning & Development, and to make meaningful and impactful contributions to the fashion-retail industry.

Senior Leader

Vanessa Spence

Senior Creative Director, ASOS

Vanessa is a seasoned fashion industry professional with a career spanning over two decades. Joining ASOS in 2007, Vanessa leveraged her prior design experience at Arcadia and Pepe Jeans. She plays a pivotal role in shaping ASOS’ brand identity, supervising over 300 employees as Senior Creative Director and leading the creative direction of ASOS’ portfolio of 17 brands, driving 70,000+ fashion options annually. In FY22, ASOS generated £4 billion in revenue which Vanessa played a significant part in. Vanessa also serves as a Board of Governors member for the Fashion Retail Academy and is recognised as a fashion retail expert within the Fashion Minority Alliance since 2020.


Rising Star

George Imafidon MBE

CEO, Motivez

George is a 26-year-old humanitarian engineer and social entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Motivez and Race Engineer with Sir Lewis Hamilton’s electric race team, X44 Vida Carbon Racing, and a Board Member at The Co-op Foundation and The Hamilton Commission, improving diversity in STEM and motorsport. George has worked with firms such as Google, McKinsey and Rolls-Royce, where he introduced a novel component resulting in savings of £50 million. In 2015, George co-founded Motivez, supported by influential figures such as Idris Elba, Beyonce and The Royal Family. George received the Young Engineer of the Year Award 2022/23 from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Senior Leader

Ken and Mary Okoroafor

Founders, The Humble Penny and Financial Joy Academy

Ken and Mary have grown The Humble Penny from a 99p blog and side hustle to a respected and award-winning personal finance brand in the UK that reaches over 5 million people, helping them improve their relationship with money and achieve significant life goals like becoming debt-free, investing wisely, owning property, starting profitable businesses, building wealth, and achieving financial independence. It has become an income-generating business making multiple six figures and growing. Their active and engaged audience has grown to almost 200k organically. They’ve established deep trust with their audience and are honoured to have the opportunity to solve real problems affecting their community and improve the financial destinies of millions of families.

Financial Services

Rising Star

Kwaku Kyei-Manu

Director of Wealth Application Support, SS&C

Kwaku has worked across the regulatory, public and private sectors. Beginning at the Bank of England, he developed and led some of its first ventures into cloud-based applications, consulting with the public sector to standardise an organisational approach to Public Sector Cloud projects as part of the government’s G-Cloud policy. Moving to Computershare, he led the development and creation of a global IT Operations department. He progressed to Head up Global IT Operations, and after a stint in Blackrock and running Computershare’s Global Risk and compliance technology and projects is now Director of Wealth application support at SS&C, responsible for scaling the business function to grow assets under management and increasing client demand. Kwaku is an advisor to the London Cyber Resilience Centre, focusing on Social Mobility and a school governor focusing on educational content and pathways into the world of technology.

Senior Leader

Tosin Akinluyi

Head of Macro Research EMEA, Morgan Stanley

Tosin oversees over 40 people and is part of the senior leadership team of a global department that is overall top-3 ranked within the organisation. She also leads Equity Research responsibility for Banks, Insurance and Diversified Finance teams. She also led the effort to remodel the Fixed Income Research business in compliance with industry regulations (MiFID II), which obligate clients to pay for fixed-income research explicitly. She serves on the European Operating Committee, the firm’s most senior group of managers. As Executive Champion for Race, she was a key influencer in the firm, for the first, establishing ethnicity representation targets at UK officer level (VP and above).

Professional Services

Rising Star

Harold Memela

Senior Manager – Transformation & Change, KPMG

Harold is Transformation & Change Senior Manager at KPMG and a former auditor, who delivers strategic change projects for the Audit business. Harold has been involved in key project including the End-to-End business subsidiary model, the Team Optimisation project and he is currently leading the Delivery Project, specifically focusing on governance and project management in the Banking Audit Quality Improvement Programme. He also works on the Audit Quality Indicators (AQI’s) projector whose objective is to develop a suite of firm and engagement level indicators to support the proactive monitoring, reporting and delivery of audit quality throughout the audit lifecycle.

Senior Leader

Dinah Cobbinah

Partner FS Intelligent Process Transformation, KPMG

Dinah joined KPMG in 2017 and in 2020, became the consultancy firm’s first Black female Partner. She immediately focused on driving strategic change to create opportunities to improve recruitment, progression and retention at senior levels. Within a year at the firm, she built a team which focused on the design, development and delivery of financial process automation solutions to enable clients to improve efficiency and decrease costs by 15-40%. Now leading a global team, their services are used across the KPMG Global network and are key contributors to major assignments and pipeline growth of the firm.


Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology

Rising Star

Dr Azzedine Dabo

Investigator, GSK

Dr Dabo is the scientific lead of in-silico modelling, quality by design (QbD) method development and the transfer of analytical methods and results between chromatography instruments for GSK’s Method Innovation Team. He developed the Future Scientists: Diversifying Pharma programme, which enabled 19 students from an ethnic minority background to get laboratory experience at GSK and complete a workshop at the University of Oxford. He has been awarded 12 Bronze, 2 Silver and 2 Gold awards at GSK and gained a Community for Analytical Measurement Science (CAMS) Award to supervise a PhD student.

Senior Leader

Evelyn (Eve) Kamau

Senior Director DCT strategy and Innovation

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Eve has been a nurse for over 20 years with UK and international nursing experience. She moved through various nursing and lecturing roles before starting her career in clinical research 13 years ago at Cambridge University’s Neurosurgery department. During her tenure at the Medical Research Network (2016-2021), she established a multi-dimensional nursing group which grew from a team of 4 to 22 members: increasing diversity within the company and providing a platform where people from ethnic minority backgrounds could achieve a sense of belonging. This led her to her current role, Senior Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific- where she has set up a new revenue generating business unit which is developing decentralized clinical trials poised to enhance patient diversity in clinical research globally.

Ally of The Year

Andrew Bagley

General Counsel of EMEA and Head of the EMEA Legal Division at Goldman Sachs

Andrew is general counsel of AEMEA and head of the EMEA Legal Division. He serves as counsel to the European Management Committee and the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs International, co-chair of the Structured Products Committee, a member of the Firmwide Enterprise Risk Committee and counsel to, and a member of, the Firmwide and EMEA Conduct Committees. Andrew is also a member of the EMEA Inclusion and Diversity Committee and EMEA sponsor of the Firmwide Black Network and the Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit and Executive Office Women’s Network. Andrew joined Goldman Sachs as a vice president in the Legal Division in 2000 and was named managing director in 2006 and partner in 2016. Prior to joining the firm, Andrew qualified as a solicitor at Herbert Smith in London. Andrew earned a BA (Hons) in Literae Humaniores from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1992.

Black British Business Awards announce 2023 winners