ImP convo returns to the Southbank Centre’s WoW festival for International Women’s Day 2015!

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WoW (Women of the World) is a festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women which takes place this year from March 1 – 8 at the Southbank Centre.  The I’mPOSSIBLE conversation returns to the festival after it’s successful debut in 2013 with a stellar panel to talk about I’mPOSSIBLE women in the world of work and entrepreneurship.

 

 

Hosted by I’mPOSSIBLE founder, Simone Bresi-Ando, our panel line up glitters with:

 

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Angie Le Mar is a comedian, actor and writer. She has played at New York’s legendary Harlem Apollo Theatre, made history with the first ever sell-out show by a black female comedian at London’s West End and has written several critically acclaimed box office hits, including The Brothers, Funny Black Women on the Edge, and Forty. Her TV work includes roles in Channel 4’sRun and Get Up, Stand Up, BBC’s the Real McCoy and talk show Ladies Talk on Vox Africa. As a radio and TV host she has interviewed notable people, such as activist Maya Angelou, actors Idris Elba and Whoopi Goldberg, and musicians Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Mary J Blige.

 

Sade Salami
Entrepreneur Sade Salami is the founder of events management company Fresh Strawberry. She is committed to championing diversity awareness through events and initiatives. Her recent web series Status London shone a light on eight ambitious black British entrepreneurs, and she has worked in-house at Google to produce the tech giant’s Top Black Talent programme, responsible for providing opportunities to thousands of promising graduates throughout the UK.

 

Michelle Watts
Michelle Watts is currently a senior manager at PwC, where she leads a strategic bid team within the consulting practice. She previously spent six years at Ernst & Young (EY) in the business development team for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, and also chaired the EY Black Network from 2010 to 2013. Michelle has had a diverse, global career path, which includes experiences in the private, public and non-for-profit sectors. She spent three years working in New York for PR agency Hill+Knowlton, and most recently spent a year working for EY in South Africa. In 2011, Michelle took a five month sabbatical from work to travel and published an e-book guide for anyone wishing to design their own career breaks.

 

WoW runs from Sunday 1 to Sunday 8 March but, the main focus takes place over three days (Friday 6 March to Sunday 8 March).  It is made up of many events and performances held at different times throughout the day.

To attend the event, you’ll need to either buy a day pass for the festival or a WoW weekend pass which will both give you access to all the events happening that day or within the weekend.

Really hope to see you.

Come be inspired by women of colour who define success on their own terms.

The I’mPOSSIBLE screening of Selma at the House of Commons with director, Ava DuVernay

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On Thursday, January 29, 2015, I’mPOSSIBLE with Diane Abbott MP and Culture Kinetica hosted a special screening of ‘Selma‘ with a Q&A from director, Ava DuVernay at the House of Commons.

Ava spoke with us about her work, her vision, her process and her passion for making the movies she does.  The audience was made up of film enthusiasts, celebs, fans, the curious and members of the political class.  A few to name were Baroness Lawrence, Auma Obama (Barack Obama’s half-sister), legendary British actress, Dona Croll and the Floacist (Natalie Stewart), one half of Grammy award-winning group Floetry.

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The Golden Globe award winning and Oscar nominated biopic; ‘Selma‘ is the epic story of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans.  Led by Brit actor, David Oyelowo as King supported by Carmen Ejogo (Coretta King), starring Oprah Winfrey (who is also executive producer) and the esteemed, Tim Roth – this film tells the historic journey through refreshing eyes.

Ava urged us to support the film as our opportunities for people of colour to see themselves central to their own narratives on their terms, directed by a woman of colour would not come again if we didn’t financially support the film on opening weekend.  A member of the audience further added that Vue cinema in Westfield London (Shepherd’s Bush) is the most important cinema to see any film as that’s where box office takings are counted for the UK.  See the empassioned video below:

Video courtesy of Eliza Anywangwe

Buy your tickets here for Selma.

Creating Her-Story in the heart of UK government for people of colour globally, was the moment when Ava DuVernay came to the House of Commons to talk about Selma. Salute to all the POSSIBLE women around the world.

Women of colour who rocked 2014!

Women of colour who rocked 2014Top, l-r: Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, Ava DuVernay, Sara Myers, Shonda Rhimes and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE
Bottom: Azaelia Banks, Bola Agbaje and Destiny Eghara, Melanie Eusebe, Karen Blackett MBE and Margaret Casely-Hayford

 

2014 – the year that was, showed us some brilliant ways that women of colour can protect, change, disrupt and create this world to make it better for all.  Their efforts have helped us all feel more safer, exposed to another narrative alternative to the mainstream and ultimately, they did it on their terms.
Last year also showed us celebrities trying to ‘break the internet’ to maintain their relevance, thousands of people worldwide throwing ice cold water on themselves for charity and on a more moral tip, our collective social conscious, being re-awakened, to demand for imbalances to be levelled.  2014 was a ride and 2015 is looking like it will pose some hard and clear questions to us all on what we want as a society, how we want all communities treated and what we will no longer stand for. It will, at the very least, be interesting.

 

So how did women of colour fare in 2014, lets take a look:

 

In the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics):
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock the most positively infectious and empowering science brain Black female Britain has produced.  Since February 2014 she took over hosting the legendary BBC programme ‘The Sky At Night‘ after Patrick Moore who hosted the show for 56 years!  Dr Maggie really does embody the hashtag #BlackGirlsAreFromTheFuture.

 

In business:
Melanie Eusebe, former Ernst & Young management consultant founded and launched the first Black British Business Awards in October. Highlighting the economic impact and influence Black British people have had on the economy that often gets ignored.  Margaret Casely-Hayford a British legal legend walked away with the Black British Business Person of the Year at the awards a month after she retired from her role as head of legal and company secretary for the John Lewis group.  Margaret is now Chairman of Action Aid UK.  In November, Karen Blackett OBE, CEO of MediaCom topped the Powerlist which details Black British leaders in all parts of society.

 

Health:
Heroic Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who paid the ultimate price with her life by saving others from Ebola.  Dr Adadevoh was the Nigerian doctor who oversaw the treatment of Liberian, Patrick Sawyer who brought the Ebola virus to Nigeria. She was infected by him and tragically died in August. Without her dedication, expertise and selflessness, Nigeria could not have become ‘Ebola-free’ in the time it did. Her actions and life need to be celebrated and revered.

 

In societal change:
Birmingham based Sara Myers created the petition to get the controversial art work; ‘Exhibit B’ withdrawn from the Barbican. She was able to get just under 23,000 people from all walks of life,to sign the petition for the art work to be withdrawn.  Leading an impassioned campaign, she helped to highlight the missing ownership that people of colour want over their history and imagery she raised important questions around diversity in the arts and who are the decision makers and who gets access.

Synead Nichols and Umaara Elliott - Millions March NYC foundersL-R: Synead Nichols and Umaara Elliott, Millions March NYC founders

Across the pond, Umaara Elliott and Synead Nichols, two young women brought 50,000 people to the streets of New York for the ‘Millions March‘ to protest against police brutality across the US. The struggle continues but it was inspiring to see people, particularly the young, from diverse backgrounds, show their solidarity and desire for equality, for all sections of society.

It’s amazing what these three women have accomplished in 2014 with just the willpower of their gut instinct and sense of what’s right for humanity and passion.

 

In popular culture:
Azaelia Banks. You need a full stop after that name because the point has been made!  This young woman gave an emotional interview to Hot 97 in December, highlighting the very harsh realities of the music industry, how racism, sexism and ignorance alters what we rate the best as music consumers and much more.  Although her delivery is somewhat controversial and can easily offend, I’m yet to find one of her statements about the industry untrue. The truth can often be brutal but at the same time cleansing.  It is easy to vilify it, as it contradicts everything you thought of the world, the people you idolised and ultimately yourself. Seeing a woman of colour be so vulnerable, passionate and articulate about her experience in this world on a public platform was refreshing. More please!

 

Solange marries Alan Ferguson

Solange Knowles-Ferguson simply for having the coolest wedding ever (pictured above)!  Solange and Alan showed us the true meaning of an alternative wedding – tastefully done and full of love, friends and family, the right ingredients for the perfect day. We can’t believe its the same girl who was filmed beating Jay-Z in a lift a few months before!  We heart Solange and all her quirky Blackness. We love that she expands exactly what it means and looks like for a woman of colour to understand her place in the world.

 

Film and TV:
Lupita Nyong’o (pictured below), Oscar winner, style icon, bright colour wearer, short afro innovator, classical beauty reinvented.  Oh, and she’s got a brain!  She uses it for good and to boot is a brilliant actress.

Lupita Nyong'o gloden globes 2014Lupita Nyong’o at 2014Golden Globes

 

Bola Agbaje and Destiny Eghara – both responsible for turning Agbaje’s Laurence Olivier award-winning first play, into a film that was released nationwide in October – ‘Gone Too Far‘. It was refreshing to see the British African experience on screen, particularly on the streets of Peckham!

 

Amma Asante with period true story, 'Belle', Ava DuVernay with Martin Luther King biopic, 'Selma' and Gina Price-BythewoodAmma Asante and Gina Price-Bythewood

Women of colour directors showed us 2014 was warm-up time! Brit Amma Asante with period true story, ‘Belle’, Ava DuVernay with Martin Luther King biopic, ‘Selma’ and Gina Price-Bythewood with ‘Beyond the Lights’.  Getting our stories out there on our terms is the order of the day and it’s here to stay thanks to these talented bunch.

Charlene White, ITV news presenter became the first Black woman to co-host the News At Ten. It took us until 2014, but we did it and Charlene was the one to blaze that trail also a former panellist on the first ImP convo.

Shonda Rhimes – the living embodiment of a trailblazer. Crushing stereotypes, presenting the fullness and vulnerability of Black femalehood and entertaining us, all at the same damn time!  In 2014, US TV network, ABC programmed its entire Thursday primetime lineup with ShondaLand dramas ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Scandal’ and ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, then branded the night as “Thank God It’s Thursday”!  We say: “Thank God for Shonda”!

 

 

We’re a pretty wonderful bunch of women. That’s amazing, roll on 2015!

I’mPOSSIBLE survey closes December 31st!

The first and biggest demographics survey for British women of colour closes on Wednesday, December 31 at 11:45pm.

Entitled ‘The Invisible majority: defining success and debunking the myths’ the survey is set to lift the lid on the lives of a dynamic group of women who often get overlooked, stereotyped or just plain ignored!  We want to change that, we want to give you an authentic voice.

As we’re true to the season’s spirit, from today (December 19) we’re giving away the chance for one lucky winner to get £150 House of Fraser vouchers for completing the survey via the emailed link by 10am December 29.  Winners will be announced between December 29-31, 2014, terms and conditions apply.
*Request the link by emailing: [email protected]* or take the survey here.

 

ImP demographics survey 2014 poster 6

 

Survival tips for the survey:

  • The revolution doesn’t take 10 minutes! The survey takes an hour or so – breathe, it’s an important document because it’s about YOU. Do it in bits, do it at your leisure, but remember to DO IT.
  • There’s a ‘save and exit’ button at the top right hand part of the survey page, remember to click this every few pages so you don’t lose any of your answers if your computer crashes.
  • Filling out the survey via the link emailed to you from I’mPOSSIBLE means you can complete it from multiple devices.  Filling out the survey via this website means you can only fill it out from one device. You can always save your answers no matter what method you choose.
  • If you fill out and complete the survey by 10am, December 29 via the link emailed to you from I’mPOSSIBLE you’ll be automatically entered into the second prize draw to win £150 House of Fraser vouchers (full info above)
  • Lastly, you are creating her-story, be very proud of yourself. You’re changing the game for the better.

 

Eulanda Shead winner of £250 John Lewis vouchers

 

Take a look at how important people think the survey is…

For more information on the survey, please contact us.

Take the survey! ‘The invisible majority: defining success and debunking myths’

Here it is!
The biggest demographics survey on British women of colour – ever!

Entitled ‘The Invisible majority: defining success and debunking the myths’ the survey is set to lift the lid on the lives, aspirations, habits and current economic state of women of colour in Britain.

The survey will take around an hour to complete, so get a glass of wine or cup of tea with some chocolate and start clicking.

The survey will run from 0800 November 5 – 2345 December 31, 2014 with results ready in early 2015.

There is a prize draw for those who complete the survey via a link emailed to them directly from I’mPOSSIBLE.  To request this link and to be entered into the draw once you complete the survey, please email [email protected].  The prize draw runs from November 5 – December 5, 2014 inclusive with prizes ideal for Christmas that include £250 of John Lewis vouchers, a hudl tablet, Fashion Fair and Mizani deluxe gift packs and more.  Winners will be announced by December 10, 2014, terms and conditions apply.

For more information on the survey, please contact us.

I’mPOSSIBLE launches the biggest demographics survey on British women of colour

ImP demographics survey 2014 website article pic

This Wednesday (November 5, 2014) I’mPOSSIBLE will launch the biggest online demographics survey on British women of colour. Titled ‘The Invisible majority: defining success and debunking the myths’ the survey is set to lift the lid on the lives, aspirations, habits and current economic state of women of colour in Britain.

 

The online survey will be hosted by the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section and also available on this website and by joining our mailing list.

 

Never have women of colour in Britain been examined in such a way to give a more accurate, balanced and authentic picture of who they are, how they feel, what they want and spend their time and money doing.

 

Here’s ‘her-story’ in the making.

Make sure you take part on Wednesday!

 

I’mPOSSIBLE conversation autumn edition 2014 sparkles

ImP convo Sept 2014

We turned up and turned out for the 2014 autumn edition of the I’mPOSSIBLE conversation at the home of Mizani UK in the L’Oreal HQ, Hammersmith, London on September 10.

Speaking to a packed audience, Rozan Ahmed – culturalist, Anne-Marie Imafidon – child prodigy and founder of STEMettes, award-winning singer songwriter – Laura Mvula and Sharmadean Reid – founder of WAH Nails inspired the audience with their words of wisdom, testimonies and life lessons on how they became POSSIBLE.  Hosted by Sky News anchor, Lukwesa Burak the audience lapped up the intriguing conversation which brought them closer to the people who define success on their own terms.

#InspirationShared: The I’mPOSSIBLE. conversation youth edition returned to the House of Commons for the second time to inspire London schoolgirls

PANELLISTS, FOUNDER and DIANE ABBOTT MP

The second, annual youth edition of the successful, global event series, the I’mPOSSIBLE conversation took place at the House of Commons on September 4 in partnership with Diane Abbott MPs ‘Black Women Mean Business’.  160 London school girls attended the inspirational event to see a young but accomplished panel that were like them talk about their journeys to being POSSIBLE.

 

 

Supported by Ernst & Young Black Network, Margaret Casely-Hayford and Kwabena Ayirebi the panel lineup of Hannah Balogun, a 25-year business owner who runs two hair salons, Honey Hand across East and South London. Patricia Bright, a wildly famous YouTube vlogger with over 400k followers who get to see a slice of her life each week. Anne-Marie Imafidon, a British computing, mathematics and language child prodigy who is still the youngest person to have gained a Masters at the age of 19 from Oxford University and Shavani Seth, an actress better known as ‘Davina’ from E4s ‘Youngers’ show and is about to star in award-winning US drama, ‘Homeland’ all hosted by Ria Hebden.

 

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Founder of I’mPOSSIBLE. Global CIC, Simone Bresi-Ando said: “Presenting examples to young girls of colour of what success could look like is one of the most powerful pieces of work I’mPOSSIBLE carries out. Essentially, we’re enabling this group to identify themselves with success and achievement while giving them proven roadmaps and misalign themselves with a popular rhetoric around this group that’s not wholly empowering or positive.

 

 

Diane Abbott MP, founder of Black Women Mean Business commented: “It is such a privilege to bring together these amazing young women with the Impossible Youth Conversation.  They are the future, and there is nothing more important than instilling in them the confidence that they will need to make the very best of themselves.

 

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Al Adedayo, Chair of the Ernst & Young Black Network said: “Truly inspiring and captivating experience! The panel’s stories highlighted for me that hard work alone is not enough. Self believe and the ability to pick yourself up after a set back, allowed them to reach and live their ambitions…and it was clear that their ambitions continue to grow.

 

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I’mPOSSIBLE is deeply grateful to Ernst & Young, Margaret Casely-Hayford and Kwabena Ayirebi for their support in making this event a reality. Changing the lives of young girls of colour is important, legacy creating and powerful.

 

View the photo gallery:

 

The I’mPOSSIBLE conversation youth edition returns on September 4!

Showing the POSSIBLE to our young girls is an overarching aim of our organisation.

We’re incredibly excited to see the return of the I’mPOSSIBLE conversation youth edition take place at the House of Commons in partnership with Diane Abbott MPs ‘Black Women Mean Business’ and supported by Ernst & Young Black Employee network and ImP convo alumni, Margaret Casely-Hayford. This is all taking place on the afternoon of September 4 with a stellar line up:

 

ImP convo youth edition Sept 4, 2014 e-flyer FINAL

POSSIBLE girls and young ladies from secondary school upwards are invited to come along and experience being inspired by seeing others like them and hearing their journeys.  If you’re interested in sending a group or a young lady along to this event, please email [email protected] no later than 12 noon on Wednesday, August 27.  For some, this will take place during school time so they will need permission to be absent to attend the event, parents/carers/guardians are able to escort the girls during the event also.

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Hannah BalogunHannah Balogun

is a 25 year old, God fearing woman who at the age of 17 started her own hairdressing business called ‘HoneyHand’, which now consists of two hair salons in east and south London.

Raised in a single parent household in the heart of east London, Balogun is characterised as a strong willed visionary. She is currently working hard to expand her brand HoneyHand further.

Patricia BrightPatricia Bright

is a YouTube star that created her channel as an outlet to share her passion for all things fashionable and beautiful. The channel started out as a random post here and there while she was a student, but in Late 2011 she began taking it more seriously and ensuring that her quality of execution and interaction with subscribers was at its very best. In a few short years Patricia has grown her channel from 4k subscribers to over 400,000.

 

In her words:

“I’m a sister, a daughter and a wife and have been ableto get my family and friends to be part of the journey, my sister and husband are often behind the lens helping me, it’s always good fun working with them.

 

I love to travel and have been to many different countries within Asia over 4 times, I am especially a fan of the food – it always draws me back.

I wouldn’t call myself daring but I don’t mind putting myself in situations out of my comfort zone, I hate heights but recently I travelled to Malta and did my first abseil, it was super scary but I love to try things I don’t think I can do.”

Anne-Marie Imafeidon 1Anne-Marie Imafidon

has amassed a wealth of experience in industry through work at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers. Most recently Anne-Marie has set up the award-winning social enterprise “Stemettes” which is inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics roles through panel events, hackathons and exhibitions.

 

She is also a board member at Inspirational YOU and the Urban Development Music Foundation and a Fellow of the RSA as well as an advisor to the European Union on digital matters.

Shavani SethShavani Seth

has filmed two series of Youngers on E4, playing the series lead, Davina Foster. She is currently filming a recurring guest star on Homeland series 4 alongside Claire Danes and Rupert Friend.

 

Television credits include BBC film drama My Murder, directed by Bruce Goodison and a guest lead in Casualty on BBC 1. Before that she had a role in The Westrbidge at The Royal Court Theatre and filmed HBO comedy, Documental, directed by Justin Theroux. Shavani trained at Identity Drama School.

Lisa Bent photo

Lisa Bent (host)

is a qualified counsellor, TV and Radio Presenter, Blogger and founder of Self-Central.

 

Lisa entered the media industry as a TV presenter in 2003 having interviewed Lemar and went on to co-host live and pre-recorded topical and lifestyle shows, quickly becoming known for her straight to the point views, wit and smile. Whilst working for Black Filmmakers (BFM) as a presenter on movie review show Rollin’, she clinched interviews with Danny Boyle, Jennifer Hudson, Mark Wahlberg and Cuba Gooding Jr to name a few, both on and off the red carpet. She also facilitated Q&A sessions with directors within The British Museum and The British Film Institute for BFM’s yearly International film festival.

 

Becoming more and more interested in peoples stories beyond their media personas, Lisa decided to re-enter further education in 2006 and trained to become a counsellor. In 2009 she created her award nominated blog Deeper than Twitter, intertwining her psychology knowledge to provide greater depth and perspective to the raised issue. Lisa graduated from Greenwich University in 2010 with a First Class BA (Hons) degree and quickly realised that the skills and techniques she had learnt transcended beyond the counselling room, which led to Self-Centralbeing created in 2011. In the same year she became one of the winners of The Future 100 Awards, an award sponsored by Ernst and Young highlighting people who are considered to be social entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

 

Lisa now produces and presents her own radio show ‘Self-Central’ on Colourful Radio every Sunday 10:00am -13:00pm. Self-Central means to embrace and accept who you are, in order to be all that you are; her aim is to awaken and inspire through the air waves by playing music with meaning, discussing interesting topics, hearing inspiring stories from guests and nudges from leading life coach, motivational speaker and author Rasheed Ogunlaru.

 

Who we are is central to everything, though different mediums Lisa continues to nudge people into their own self-exploration; strengthening, empowering and transforming from the inside-out.

This is an invite only event with open spaces for POSSIBLE ladies of secondary school upwards with their escort. Please email [email protected] no later than 12 noon, Wednesday, August 27 to be a part of Her-story.

The I’mPOSSIBLE conversation autumn 2014 edition – September 10

ImP convo e-flyer autumn edition Sept 10, 2014 LOW RES

September 10 plays host to the autumn edition of the I’mPOSSIBLE conversation powered by Mizani!

Revealing yet another sizzling line up of trailblazing women of colour, the international event series returns to the home of Mizani UK – L’Oreal in Hammersmith, to fill the room with inspirational stories form this dynamic group of women.

The line up includes:

Rozan Ahmed

Rozan Ahmed lives her life fulfilling a passionate mission of connection: a “locally global” vision to empower, celebrate and merge diversity through creativity as an influential voice for the African continent across the UK, the Middle East, Africa and the US.

As an established writer, brand consultant, culturalist and social commentator, Rozan continues to break cultural barriers by connecting and curating people, projects and products from the city of London (where she grew up) all the way to regions and societies in which she likes to call “returning markets”. A stern believer in additionally merging the arts with social development and entrepreneurship, Rozan has become a motivational personality when it comes to advocating the concept of “cultural ownership” – taking pride in identity, shaping it and embracing it.

She’s been hailed as one of the ‘hardest working women in showbiz’ (Pride Magazine UK), ‘the woman who can’ (BBC Radio 1), ‘a powerhouse’ (POSE Dubai), “formidable” (Drum Magazine KENYA), a “mogul in the making” (DSTV’s AFRICA MAGIC), “one of the region’s most inspiring women” (VIVA Magazine DUBAI), and “The new Oprah Winfrey” (Marie Claire Italia)

Currently, Rozan sits on the MOBO music panel as a contributing thought leader when it comes to new music, she is a board member at the MAD global initiative and an ambassador for the Young & Gifted Foundation. She’s an avid supporter of the amFAR organisation, an advocate for Dubai’s Fashion Forward (the region’s leading fashion platform), Africa Yoga Project (Kenya), Sudan Change Now (Sudan) and has mentored for the Unreasonable Institute as part of the Unreasonable at Sea program, sailing from South Africa to Ghana in March 2013.

Rozan was recently appointed as Congo Fashion Week’s global ambassador, Style.com Arabia’s cultural ambassador and is one of the youngest double nominee recipients at 2014’s Women 4 Africa awards (Inspirational Woman & International African Woman).

Kerry Chandler

As Global Head of Human Resources, Kerry Chandler is responsible for all HR operations, including employee relations, compensation, performance management, learning and development, recruitment and budget for Christie’s locations worldwide.

Previously, she was Executive Vice President of Human Resources at the National Basketball Association (NBA), where she led the league’s global human resources strategy, including recruiting, employee relations, compensation, human resources information systems (HRIS), learning and development, as well as the HR generalist function.  Prior to the NBA, Chandler held senior roles at The Walt Disney Company, including roles at Hong Kong Disneyland, and ESPN, Inc.  Her impressive career also spans HR leadership roles at McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Exxon Chemical Company, Motorola, Inc., and IBM Global Services.

Chandler is currently a member of the Human Resources Policy Institute and the Executive Leadership Council, and serves on the ESPN Advisory Board as well as the board of the New York Urban League. She has previously served on the boards of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications, InMotion, the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association, the Senior Human Resources Forum of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the University of Exeter Center for Leadership Studies in the United Kingdom, and the Asia Pacific Human Resources Council of The Conference Board. In 2005, Chandler was named one of the “25 Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal magazine, and in 2012 was named a “Game Changer” among women in sports by the SportsBusiness Journal.

Chandler graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. She later earned her Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a Master’s degree in Management from McGill University in Montreal. She also participated in the International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM) Program, where she earned a certificate from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

 

 

Laura Mvula 

Laura Mvula (née Douglas) is a British soul singer-songwriter from Birmingham. The orchestral re-recording of her 2013 debut album ‘Sing to the Moon’ was released exclusively online via Bowers & Wilkins’ Society of Sound on 23 June 2014.

Mvula grew up in the Birmingham suburbs of Selly Park and Kings Heath with two younger siblings and was influenced by the girl band Eternal. In 2005, Mvula sang with Black Voices, an acappella group set up by her aunt. In 2008, she formed a jazz/neo-soul group called Judyshouse, singing lead vocals and writing material for the band. Laura was Director of the Lichfield Community Gospel Choir, founded by Black Voices and Lichfield Festival in 2009. She has also previously directed the Alvechurch Community Choir.

Laura graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire at the Birmingham City University with a degree in composition. While she was working as a supply teacher in a Birmingham secondary school, she started writing songs on her laptop. She was working as a receptionist when she sent out two demos to several people in the music industry. One of them, Steve Brown, heard the songs and sent them to his manager Kwame Kwaten who would become Laura’s manager. Laura is married to singer Themba Mvula.

After several showcases, Laura Mvula was signed by Colin Barlow to Sony subsidiary RCA. She released her debut extended play, She, on 16 November 2012. The title track, “She” is the first song Mvula ever wrote. Her debut studio album, Sing to the Moon, was released on 4 March 2013. She worked on the album with producer Steve Brown and mix engineer Tom Elmhirst. Paul Lester from The Guardian described her music as “gospeldelia”, calling it a new musical genre. The album was preceded by the single “Green Garden”. The song is an elegy to her home in Kings Heath.

On 6 December 2012, Mvula was shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice award at the 2013 BRIT Awards. On 9 December, she was nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, and finished in fourth position. On 1 February 2013, she gave her first live TV performance on The Graham Norton Show on BBC One, singing “Green Garden”.

Mvula stated her influences include Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill. Sing to the Moon reached number 9 on the UK Albums Chart and within the top 100 in seven other countries and has so far reached 173 in the US Billboard 200 In October 2013, Mvula won awards for best female act and best R&B or soul artist at the 2013 MOBO Awards. In March 2014, Mvula re-recorded an orchestral version of her debut album Sing to the Moon in collaboration with the Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley, and was released on 23 June 2014 as a high quality download via Bowers & Wilkins’ Society of Sound. The album is currently available for pre-order and will be released to the public on 11 August 2014.

Sharmadean Reid

Sharmadean Reid is a creative consultant and founder of WAH Nails.

WAH life started in 2005 as a fanzine, promoting underrepresented women in hip-hop and street wear and gave voice to a new wave of feminism. Following the opening of the salon in 2009, Sharmadean was named as one of “15 people who will define the future of arts in Britain” and featured in Vogue’s “New Generation”.

Since, she has secured the Topshop flagship store, painted nails all over the world (NYC, Hong Kong, Moscow, Shanghai, Paris, Berlin to mention a few…) and published two books. Sharmadean continues to innovate the creative market, with feminist values always at the core of her motivation.  

 

 

 Lukwesa Burak (host)

Lukwesa Burak (host) was born in Zambia and her name comes from her royal tribal family.

She gained her first degree in Geography & European Studies at the University of Sussex. Part of her studies were spent in Switzerland (University of Neuchatel) through which she became fluent in French. Awarded an EU scholarship she gained a Master of Science degree in Geographical Information Systems from Leicester University.

Lukwesa worked in IT consultancy for three years before starting her media career as a Broadcast Meteorologist at the world renowned BBC Television Centre in London. She joined BBC East Midlands as a weather presenter on TV and Radio, before being appointed News Anchor on the Lunchtime and Evening news. Whilst at the BBC she presented within the studio, on Radio and for LIVE outside broadcasts. She also developed, produced and presented a series of programs and features for TV and Radio.

In 2006, Lukwesa moved to Sky News where she anchored Sky World News covering a broad spectrum of world news stories, most notably the execution of Saddam Hussein and the Indonesia and Haiti earthquakes.  In 2012, she moved to eNCA, in South Africa, where she anchored The Africa Edition broadcasting across Europe & Africa.  In 2013, Lukwesa returned to Sky World News where she continues to break and present global news stories.

Lukwesa caught Malaria at an early age and fortunately, recovered fully. She is now committed to preventing this often deadly disease and works with the charity Malaria No More. Lukwesa is also Patron of the charity All Star Kids, working towards improving the lives of children in Southern Africa.

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