Celebrating BME success: Powerful Media and Green Park



In the same week Powerful Media and Green Park recruitment released their much-anticipated annual reports ranking the one-hundred most influential black and minority individuals of the year in the United Kingdom: the Powerlist and the BAME 100 Board Talent Index 2017, respectively. Distinguished with a position on each of these two well-known and prestigious classifications is Operation Black Vote’s Executive Director and Co-Founder Simon Woolley, joining other notable activists and influencers.

The mission of the Powerlist for the past ten years, according to Powerful Media, has been to provide professional role models for young people of African and African Caribbean heritage. “For me it’s a great honor”, shares Mr. Woolley of his thoughts on both nominations. “As an activist fighting for social and racial justice, you never do this to seek awards or acclaim—it’s always about making the difference and changing people’s lives.” Nominees for their annual Powerlist must be beacons of hope and effective catalysts of change for racial justice. Woolley’s sense of purpose, as well as his dedication are characteristics that he shares with the other nominees on the Powerlist. These characteristics create a certain charisma and je ne sais quoi that Powerful Media defines as ‘the ability to positively alter events and change lives as demonstrated over a protracted period of time’.

Simon Woolley joins notable social, political, and economic figures such as Gina Miller (#1), the well-known campaigner against the illegitimate right of the government to use article 55 in relation to Brexit; Edward Enninful (#10), the first black and the first male editor-in-chief of British Vogue; and Sharon White (#4), Chief Executive of Ofcom, who is famously mediating the Murdoch brothers’ bid for 21st Century Fox to take over Sky in an £11.7 billion deal, among others.

Moreover, how influential these nominees are is ultimately measured by how influential they are in their immediate sphere of expertise and how far that influence reaches. With over twenty years of experience campaigning for the inclusion of black and minority communities in the English democratic process, Simon Woolley and his team’s expertise at Operation Black Vote has extended far and wide, having their voices recognized at both national and local level. “When such a prestigious award is bestowed, there is a feeling that not only are you doing a good job but it’s being recognized”, reflects Mr. Woolley.

A recognition picked up by Green Park which seeks to showcase the top one-hundred most influential black and minority individuals.

Green Park’s annual BAME 100 Board Talent Index’s objective is to recognize the BAME leaders, celebrate their achievements and go out to the rest of the UK and show that the talent and role models are out there. As a recruiting company, they have first-hand awareness of the underrepresentation of black and minority individuals in private and public sectors so this list celebrates the BAME leaders in business, and supports the role models in the battle for inclusion and equality. According to a mission statement released by Green Park on their report, the leaders that they have chosen to recognize on the BAME 100 Board Talent Index have to adhere to a very specific criteria to be defined as “influential”. An influential individual must be: recognized (“accredited for the good that they do”), extraordinary (“not just achieved but excelled in their efforts”), authentic (“known for being true to their undisputed origins”), and leading (“climbed the ladder of their organizations and achieved success”).

Among the nominees for this year’s Index, Saatchi & Saatchi’s new Global President Magnus Djaba, SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos, and Reckitt Benckiser Group’s CEO Rakesh Kapoor stand out not only for their exceptional job as role models for BAME communities, but also because they were included in this year’s Color of Power project. According to Simon Woolley, the project “challenged institutions” as its results graphically illustrated the lack of BAME representation in public and private sectors. Among the Green Park talent index Simon Woolley joins Managing Partner at McKinsey & Co. Vivian Hunt, Goldman Sachs Managing Director Kene Ejikeme, and HMRC’s new Chief Digital and Information Officer Jacky Wright (#6 on the Powerlist).

So as we celebrate these and other awards bestowed to many talented BME individual we must never forget that the greatest award is getting things done and hopefully make a huge difference.


Maria Julia Pieraccioni