Conference a resounding success in unleashing black talent

02/05/2024
IAmBlack Founder Enoch Adeyemi

THE inaugural IAmBlack Conference, held yesterday at the University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre, has been hailed as a monumental success. Themed symbiosis, this groundbreaking event, focused on “Unleashing the Power of Black Talent and Employer Brands,” connected over 500 Black professionals, students, and business owners with top employers from various industries, creating a vibrant hub for networking, dialogue, and opportunity.

Organized by Black Professionals United Kingdom, the conference served as a beacon for diversity and inclusion in the Scottish workforce. Attendees had the unique opportunity to engage with representatives from 30 leading employer brands, including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Diageo, Scottish Enterprise, TSB, Ashurst, Thermo Fisher Scientific, among others.

The day was filled with inspiring talks, panel discussions, and masterclasses led by distinguished speakers such as Tobi Bakre, the multi-award-winning actor, LeeAnn Panglea of CIPD, Ikem Odikanekwu of BlackRock, Edafe Onerhime of J.P. Morgan, Musab Hemsi of Anderson Strathern LLP, Lọ́lá Béjidé of Soluman Consultancy and Kyle Murtagh of Confidence By Design. These sessions provided attendees with invaluable insights and skills to further their careers.

“The IAmBlack Conference has set a new standard for professional gatherings in Scotland. It was a day where the Black community’s presence and aspirations were recognized and celebrated, and where businesses demonstrated their commitment to embracing diverse talent,” reflected Enoch Adeyemi, founder of the #IAmBlack Conference. On the theme of symbiosis, he continued, “We have seen seeds of symbiotic relationships being sown here today, and we will watch as these germinate over the coming weeks, months, and years to reap rewarding economic fruit for Scotland.”

Laura Vaughan, Head of Protection at Lloyds Banking Group, the headline sponsor for this inaugural event, expressed her enthusiasm: “We are proud to have been a part of this historic event. The energy and potential showcased here today align perfectly with our goals for increased diversity and representation within our organization, and we look forward to a continued collaboration with the Black Professionals United Kingdom team.”

Gillian Martin MSP, Fair Work Minister, shares the need to connect talent with employers: “Today’s conference celebrates the huge talent and potential among Black students and professionals and the need to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity to create diverse and inclusive workforces, which in turns boosts economic performance, resilience, innovation, and creativity.” She continued, “I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at the event, which I hope is the first of many more to come. It is heartening to see so many people come together to develop connections and networks that can help overcome barriers and support talented individuals to reach their potential.”

“The Scottish Government remains committed to developing fair and inclusive workplaces for everyone through our Anti-Racist Employment Strategy, which supports and encourages employers to address racial inequality and the underrepresentation of all ethnic groups in the labour market.”

The conference’s design to facilitate cross-networking proved to be a highlight, with many attendees forming connections that promise to extend beyond the event itself.

As the IAmBlack Conference concludes, the conversations and collaborations it sparked are just beginning. Black Professionals United Kingdom continues to invite businesses to join this movement and support the journey towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

For those who missed the event or wish to relive the experience, highlights and key takeaways are available on the conference website and across their social media pages.

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