EY leaders and future leaders listed as inspirational BAME role models

25 May 2017

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  • EMpower Ethnic Minority Top 100 Leaders and Top 30 Future Leaders List, presented by the FT, out today

EY’s Anjeli Patel has been listed in the top five of the EMpower Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List, presented by the FT today.

A consultant with EY’s people advisory practice, Anjeli is an Indian transgender female who was born in the Midlands and now lives in London. As a passionate LGBT and equality ambassador, Anjeli has spoken at high profile events on trans* inclusion, such as Stonewall’s annual conferences in London, Cardiff and Leeds.

Anjeli is motivated about creating awareness of the issues that LGBT people face in the workplace and is a supporter of trans*formation - a networking and advocacy group for professionals who identify as trans* and their friends and supporters.

One of Anjeli’s proudest moments to date is contributing to EY’s guide on gender identity, expression and transition launched last year, to support the firm’s transgender community. The progressive guide contains information and advice on how best to support people, wherever they may be on the spectrum of gender identity, and those going through gender transition.

Anjeli Patel, Consultant at EY, commented: “I feel incredibly honoured to have been recognised by EMpower as a future leader. I hope that my experiences as a BAME, transgender female will help to encourage others to be themselves in the workplace and achieve their true potential.

“My advice to young people embarking on the first steps of their career would be to understand where you can contribute and add value, and most importantly how you can create and maintain an environment where you are able to bring your authentic self to work every day.”

Riaz Shah – 35th

Riaz Shah, a Global Talent Partner at EY, was also acknowledged as a BAME role model; listed 35th in EMpower’s Top 100 Leaders list.

Riaz joined the partnership in 1997, as one of the first BAME partners in the UK firm. He has held several leadership positions, including Managing Partner for London Assurance, Global Learning & Development Leader, and Global Talent Leader for Assurance.

Last year Riaz took a sabbatical to focus on launching a free school for disadvantaged children in North London, the One Degree Academy, which opened in September 2016. He is now working part-time, balancing EY strategic global talent projects, with the school and his other charitable education interests.

Riaz was one of EY’s first diversity an inclusion sponsor partners, and led the creation of the firm’s employee networks. Global Talent Partner, Riaz Shah, commented: “By highlighting the achievements of BAME professionals, the EMPower list provides much-needed inspiration for those earlier in their careers, and I am humbled to be included amongst so many people that are inspirational to me.”

Sanjay Bhandari – 37th

EY Partner Sanjay Bhandari, who was listed 37th in EMpower’s Top 100 Leaders list, worked with the Parker Review committee, which was set up to examine the ethnic diversity of UK boards. In a report launched at EY last year, the Review found that out of 1,087 director positions in the FTSE 100, only 8% of positions are held by BAME business leaders.

Sanjay has strong links with organisations such as the Powerlist – Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage - and has acted as a judge at the Asian Achievers Awards and the Black British Business Awards.

As well as a partner, Sanjay is EY’s Joint Innovation Officer for the firm’s tax and legal practice and acts as a personal coach and mentor to between 10 to 15 people at a time. He is also the lead partner responsible for driving ethnic equality through the organisation, supporting programmes that strengthen EY’s leadership pipeline of diverse professionals.

Sanjay understands the power of role models and places great importance of sharing his own personal experiences, being one of the first Asian partners at EY more than 15 years ago. He has also shared his own personal story of addiction and mental health, most recently at an event with ex-professional footballer Paul Canonville, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Partner, Sanjay Bhandari, commented: “I am very honoured to be recognised on the EMPower list. More importantly, this is recognition of the great team we have at EY and our leaders who take diversity and inclusion seriously as a business imperative. It matters to me and it matters to them. I am privileged to play a small part in our journey. I hope this recognition encourages our many great role models to continue to give back to our next generation of leaders like Anjeli Patel."

To help drive the representation of ethnic minority talent throughout the organisation, EY has employed a number of initiatives, including: setting public targets for new partner admissions, using recruitment targets and proportional promotions, running sponsorship programmes to support the talent pipeline – EY’s ethnic minority leadership programme and their award winning Career Watch scheme, and rolling out inclusive leadership training to over 2000 of the firm’s business leaders. Since 2012 EY’s ethnic minority partner representation has gone up from 3% to 8% in 2016.

The EMpower Role Model lists celebrate the achievements of the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) business community in UK, Ireland, United States and Canada. They are published annually, in partnership with the Financial Times, showcasing BAME talent and profiling role models.

CEO and founder of EMpower, Suki Sandhu: “The EMpower lists exist to encourage more business leaders and companies to drive forward the diversity agenda and inspire the next generation to succeed. Despite the fact that 14% of the population are BAME, only 4% of the CEOs in the FTSE100 are from BAME backgrounds. This lack of representation and diversity at the highest levels is why the EMpower Ethnic Minority Leaders and Future Leaders lists exist. They’re here to showcase visible, inspiring BAME role models at all levels, who are demonstrating that background or ethnicity should not and will not be a barrier to professional success.”