On Thursday, 3 December, we will be hosting the virtual event 'The Future of Black Governance Professionals' to bring awareness of the Black Governance Professionals Network (BGPN). Samira Chambas ACG, Founder of BGPN, and our panel will discuss what the network plans to offer and to provide our 100+ members with the opportunity to give feedback on what they expect to see from the BGPN and the corporate governance profession concerning diversity and inclusion.
I have always had the idea of a network for black professionals in the Corporate Governance industry. After attaining Chartership and navigating my way through the profession, I believe I owe it to myself to create a professional network for black governance professionals to create a sense of awareness and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the industry at large. I shared my idea with Co-Founders, Zhanique Benjamin and Dami Onotayo GradCG who believed in it and have helped shape it into what it is today; the Black Governance Professionals Network ('BGPN').
The BGPN is a network created to empower, amplify the voices and support the needs of aspiring and existing black governance professionals in the industry. In recent times, diversity and inclusion has become a 'hot’ topic for many organisations, and in the UK, government publications have been launched to help organisations become more diverse and inclusive. An example is the Parker Review, which was initially launched in 2016,then updated in 2020 to tackle ethnic diversity on boards in FTSE 350. In the 2020 Parker Review, it was revealed that although progress had been made to increase the representation of ethnic minorities on UK FTSE boards, there is still much more work to be done to reap the undeniable benefits that diverse leadership provides. According to research, there is a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance; the BGPN believes it is time for more organisations to take practical steps to improve their workforce diversity.
We, along with The Chartered Governance Institute, appreciate and support companies’ efforts in making their boards more ethnically diverse. We also believe that governance professionals being ethnically diverse plays an instrumental part in helping to achieve this. Governance professionals are commonly deemed as trusted advisors to the board, and we need to foster a culture that recognises and celebrates ethnic diversity amongst the corporate governance industry in order to be better advisors in this area.
It is clear that there is a lot of power in representation. As an early member of the BGPN said, ‘it is great to see people like me in the industry and in senior positions, it gives me hope and confidence as I navigate my career journey.’ Receiving such feedback is heart-warming and energises us to do our best to be of service to the community of black professionals in the industry.
Samira Chambas ACG
Samira qualified as a company secretary in 2018. While still a student, Samira was a board member of the ICSA UK Student Forum. Samira is currently an Assistant Company Secretary at Diageo plc. Her previous roles were at Equiniti David Venus (now Prism Cosec), Intertrust Group and Aviva plc. She was born in and also spent some of her upbringing in Ghana and is very in touch with her Ghanaian heritage. Samira now lives in London.
In 2018, Samira was nominated as “One to Watch“ in the ICSA Awards and in 2020, was recognised in the Social Impact Category of the annual Governance Hot 100. She has a YouTube channel ‘MiraaSpeaks’ where she talks all things governance, motivation and lifestyle.
The process of boards and the corporate governance profession becoming ethnically diverse will not happen overnight. This webinar will look at starting points to help achieve this goal. Join us for the webinar focusing 'The Future of Black Governance Professionals' by registering here.