The Black British Business Awards turn 10 this year. This momentous occasion comes with some deep reflection. Bear with me please as I look back…
When the BBBAwards began in 2014, the operating environment for Blacks at work in the UK demanded assimilation and conformity. We were always “walking a tightrope”. We were told that the reason there were few Blacks in power was because there was no “talent pipeline”. We were advised to nod and agree. To “lay low”.
When we began to pitch the BBBAwards, we were told it would destroy our careers. Many HR specialists loved the concept but feared endorsing an idea with the word ‘Black’ in it. Some companies had guidelines to avoid the word ‘Black’ in corporate comms. The name of our business, the ‘Black British Business Awards’, and the very idea of nominating a Black person, were acts of courage.
We went to work. We grew a network of brave supporters and Allies. We did and pushed research. Year on year we have presented a showcase of breath-taking Black talent. But we were still up against it.
On 25 May 2020, Mr George Floyd was murdered. Uncomfortable truths were told. Leaders were ashamed. CEOs introduced targets for Black representation. Corporations pledged to “do better”. Some were more sincere than others, as we now know. The data tells us some progress has been made with “awareness raising”. But this is not enough.
The BBBAwards contributed to the 2022 Coqual report. Black professionals are 81% more likely than White professionals to say their companies are ‘not at all’ or ‘slightly’ fair. Looking at the FTSE100 index of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, it seems the are no Black Chairs, CEOs or CFOs. Clearly, that is not defensible. We can do better! As you see here, the BBBAwards confirms the power and depth of the Black talent pipeline. What’s going on? I will leave it there….
I would like to thank Melanie Eusebe MBE, Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE for the privilege of having established the BBBAwards together. I thank our sponsors, judges and strategic advisors. I owe a debt of gratitude to every member of the BBBAwards team, past and present. You will see their stories on this site and on our social media channels. They each deserve a standing ovation! Together we have evolved the BBBAwards into a world class showcase of Black talent. We are challenging the status quo and unapologetically catalysing systemic change. We are more than a ceremony. We are proud to be change-makers. Through our sister company The Network of Networks (TNON), we offer race equity programmes that advance Black and other racial and ethnic minority groups at work. Our strategic partners Delta Alpha Psi, the 30% Club, the 100% Club and Change the Race Ratio help to amplify our impact.
Join us as we celebrate our 10th anniversary! We would love to welcome you as a sponsor, nominator, nominee or decision-maker in business by clicking here.
With much love,