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 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).
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 (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 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) 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.
Tickets are on sale now from Eventbrite and costs £25 for standard tickets and £18 each for a group of three or more.
Get ‘em quick, it’s going to be a roadblock!