The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation launched its third annual lecture during Black History Month on 27 October in central London. Over two hundred young people and current diversity leaders attended the lecture the theme of which was “together we can make a positive change in the world and the workplace”.
Founder Miranda Brawn, who is a Lambeth equality commissioner, spoke about how to close the diversity gap at a quicker pace. The Annual Lecture, now in its third year, is the only event where all forms of diversity are discussed with the aim of empowering and educating young people on how they can help to close the diversity gap.
Guest speakers included the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Dame Fiona Woolf ex Lord Mayor of London, opera singer Nadine Benjamin and Foundation Patron Dame Jocelyn Barrow.
Each year, the Foundation awards some of the next generation’s diversity leaders with a scholarship to assist with their funding, mentoring and work experience in their chosen sector. So far 30 scholarships have been awarded.
During this year’s Annual Lecture another 10 scholarships were awarded – including new ones for social mobility for all races, women empowerment and age inclusion as well as one for a Lambeth young person.
Dr Miranda Brawn said: “The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation was initially launched to help close the race diversity gap however we have now extended our focus to include all ethnicities and diversity strands. We strive to inspire and empower the lives of those from diverse backgrounds who need assistance with their education and career.”
The Rt Hon John Bercow MP who gave his opening address on Parliament and Diversity said: “I would like to congratulate the Foundation for energising, enabling and empowering young BAME citizens to break down the barriers to progress and allow them to fulfil their potential.
“Dr Miranda Brawn is one of life’s impressive changemakers. Herself a successful barrister, banker and entrepreneur, she’s driven by a desire to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress and succeed. I salute her brilliant work.”
Opera Soprano singer Nadine Benjamin took time out from her starring role in English National Opera production of Porgy and Bess and sang summertime at the beginning of the event. Benjamin is from Brixton and spoke about her journey from Banking to becoming one of the UK’s most successful black British Opera singers.
During the speed mentoring networking session, Black History Month’s Dr Patrick Vernon OBE shared his experience as scholarship mentor for Lambeth’s winner last year.
Dr Miranda Brawn said: “Helping one next generation is not going to change the world, but it will change the world for one next generation. If each one of us helps the next generation, together we will change the world, one future leader at a time. “
She also announced in her speech a strategy with the ambition to transform the lives of at least 25,000 lives by 2025.
“To close the diversity gap at a faster pace it will involve everyone coming together to make the change – not just women, ethnic minorities and those from other diverse backgrounds like LGBT.
“This year’s diversity leadership annual lecture will be making a powerful case for diversity and how together we can change the world and close the diversity gap to enable a more successful and happier economy.”
Leader of Lambeth council Lib Peck said: “I am delighted to send my support and best wishes to the inspirational recipients of this year’s Scholarships. Through Miranda’s dedication and example, she has shown true leadership. She is providing a much-needed hand up; the opportunity to succeed and excel; providing the mentoring to help overcome some of the obstacles and prejudice that sadly too many our young people experience.”
The Foundation collaborations and partners include The Prince’s Trust, Lambeth council, The Patchwork Foundation and Cancer Research UK.
Further details to help us close the diversity gap together can be located via www.mbdiversityleadershipfoundation.com.