Jump to a person’s bio:
- Akiko Hart
- Ali Torabi
- Annette Morris
- Asif Afridi
- Baljeet Sandhu
- Becca Bunce
- Derek Bardowell
- Eli Manderson Evan
- Harvey Kennedy-Pitt
- Hormoz Ahmadzadeh
- Jaden Osei-Bonsu
- Leigh Carey
- Marai Larasi
- May Baxter-Thornton
- Michaela Booth
- Michelle Daley
- Nish Doshi
- Paula Harriot
- Rowan Kinchin
- Sade Banks
- Stephen Lee Hodgkins
- Sufina Ahmad
- Tom Addiscott
- Zara Todd
Akiko Hart (she/her) is the CEO of the National Survivor User Network. She has previously worked as the Hearing Voices Project Manager at Mind in Camden and the Director of Mental Health Europe. She is also the Chair of ISPS UK and a Committee Member of the English Hearing Voices Network. As part of her work for the English Hearing Voices Network, she co-wrote the Alternative Mental Health Act Review. She has previously worked as the Director of Mental Health Europe
Ali joined the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in 2021 and leads the Rights and Justice Programme.
Ali has previously worked as the Brexit Lead for the Trades Union Congress (TUC). He has a decade of experience as a campaign and policy strategist in Whitehall with the Cabinet Office, with tech startup Look After My Bills, and with campaigning organisation 38 Degrees.
Outside of the day job, he was the founding chair of human rights charity EachOther (formerly RightsInfo), a trustee of Safe Passage International, and is a grants committee member for Justice Together Initiative. Ali came to the UK as an asylum seeker in 2005.
I am a mother of 5, 3 boys and twin girls and grandmother to 10, and I am a 57 year’s old black woman of African and Caribbean heritage, born and raised in Leeds West Yorkshire where I still live today.
I am passionate about addressing inequality is society and for 20 years I worked with people with learning disabilities and mental health as a project manager, designing services that suit the cultural needs of black and minoritized communities and strategically championing their voices with decision makers.
I worked as an officer for the Leeds BME Network for Leeds Voice, providing a platform for black led organisations to be better supported through workshops and training in governance, funding, capacity building and raising issues to improve the lives of black and minoritized communities in Leeds regarding services and city development with Leeds City Council.
I then joined the team at Voluntary Action Leeds a Third Sector Infrastructure organisation after Leeds Voice merged with Voluntary Action Leeds where I continued as BME Network Officer, then worked on a project to redevelop the Third Sector in Leeds providing capacity support and funding to Third Sector Infrastructure organisations across Leeds. I then worked on a project to develop the BME Hub a voice and influence network for people from black and minoritized communities, this was part of the Leeds City Councils Equality hubs, part of their Equality Assembly, I also worked with the Young Lives Leeds Network, another voice and influence network for organisations who worked with children and young people.
In my role at VAL I wrote and delivered training in Safeguarding and Governance and more recently Leadership for Underrepresented communities where individuals completed a 4 week programme in Leadership and Cultural Competence training for organisation who want to be more diverse and address the systemic racism within their structures, the individuals from the programme would be placed with an organisation who completed the 5 week programme of learning and understanding racial justice, I also developed a peer support group for the black and minoritized community leaders. I was with VAL for 10 years and worked one to one with black and minoritized communities to build capacity, governance, safeguarding and funding advice and support. I recently left VAL one month ago to start a new job.
I now work as the Involvement Lead for the Community Mental Health Transformation project hosted by a Third Sector organisation called Leeds involving People, the post is funded and supported by the NHS, my role is to involve people with lived experience and their carers in the redesigning of Community Mental Health provision for Leeds, this is a new role and part of my role is to address the inequality within the Mental Health system in Leeds.
I also volunteer as co-chair for the Forum for Race Equality, Social Care and Health (FRESH), I have been the co-chair now for over 5 years and was a member of the forum before that. The forum addresses issues of racial injustice in service provision relating to Social Care and Health and I share the role with a senior manager in Adults and Health in Leeds City Council. I also sit on the Synergi group a mental health strategic group with the Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust, addressing racial injustice in the mental health system, also the Listening Project which looks at addressing racial inequality in Adult Social Care. I have also been involved in spaces looking at Criminal Justice, Poverty, Young People, Black Lives Matter and more all relating to racial injustice issues.
I recently worked for Leeds Women’s Aid as the Women’s Hub Development worker, another voice and influence platform for women only, I also set up a Women’s Hub for Black and minoritized women who needed a safe space of their own to talk freely about the issues that directly affected them outside of the generic Women’s Hub, this was a great success and we had women from their 20’s to their 70’s involved in the group.
I am a singer songwriter and over the past 40 years I have worked as a duet with my sister as Royal Blood and made records in the reggae industry, we had a hit single in the early 90’s called “Slipping Away” on Jet Star Records Lovers Volume 1, we also had other singles out and an album produced by Mad Professor of ARIWA records who produced artists like Sandra Cross, Kofi and Macka B.
I was on the committee for the Leeds Reggae Concert and responsible for putting on the event, my main role was with the local/unsigned artists giving them an opportunity to perform at one of the biggest outdoor events in Europe, I would recruit them, organise the band they would be working with, plan rehearsals and support the artist through the process, I did this work for 10 years with my sister then another 3 years on my own with. I have done backing vocals for most of the headline artists on the show international and national artists too. And done many studio backing vocal sessions over the years, my sister and I are known for our harmony in our vocals hence why we are always asked to back the artists coming on the show. More recently I have worked with my daughters and backed Sandra Cross, Donna Marie, Lloyd Brown, and with my sister Barry Boom, Carol Thomson, Janet Kaye, Denis Bovell and his dub band, Omar, Paulette Tajah and Neirous Joseph to name a few.
We also performed as backing vocalists for main-stream artists over the years, including Boy Zone, Peter Andre, Finley Quaye, and did backing vocals for famous producer William Orbit for Dido and Madonna, and we have a song on one of his albums called ”They Live in The Sky”. Currently still singing when the opportunity arises and sometimes work with my twin daughters and one of my sons performing at venues for a variety of events.
I have always been an activist and champion for racial injustice in society and made it my life’s work to carry on the fight for the next generation to have a better experience of life in West Yorkshire and beyond.
I recently set up my own Community Interest Company (CIC) Free Spirited Enterprise CIC to continue my work with black and minoritized communities and work with organisation on Racial Justice work providing training and consultancy. Also develop my work with communities who are underrepresented. I am part of the Phoenix Way Founding Partners Network and the National Alliance with UBELE Initiative working to improve access to funding and develop community wealth and asset development for West Yorkshire and the Humber.
Asif Afridi is Deputy CEO at brap, a UK-based equality and human rights charity (www.brap.org.uk). Asif is trustee for Lankelly Chase Foundation and Baring Foundation. He was previously Chair of Equally Ours (a national network of equality and human rights charities) and Panel Member on the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in England (www.civilsocietyfutures.org). Asif has worked within civil society in England for twenty years. He has a PhD in public policy and has published widely on this topic, with a particular focus on responses to poverty and inequality.
Baljeet Sandhu (she/her) is the CEO at the Centre for Knowledge Equity (CfKE) and co-founder of the UK-wide Lived Experience Leaders (LEx) Movement. She is an educator, systems change researcher, equity designer and driver of the global ‘knowledge equity’ movement, writing extensively on the value of lived experience (LEx) in social, economic, and environmental impact work, including the development of the Lived Experience Leadership framework during her time as researcher and Global Innovator in Residence at Yale University. During 2017-2019, she supported the design and development of the Tsai Centre for Innovative Thinking at Yale and launched the inaugural Knowledge Equity Initiative, an incubation and precursor to the development of CfKE. Before this work, Baljeet was an award-winning UK Human rights lawyer, founder of the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) and founding partner of Kids in Need of Defense UK and the 2027 Programme – bringing community power and lived expertise into the UK investment sector. She has also served as a Special Adviser to numerous government and international bodies, including England’s Children’s Commissioner, the United Nations, and the EU Commission. In April 2017, she was honoured with the DVF International Award during the Women in the World Conference at the UN. She is a Visiting Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford, and in 2020 she was recognised for her services to Equalities and Civil Society in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Baljeet began her social justice career as a community organiser and youth worker in her home town of Nottingham when she was a teenager and has long integrated her lived, learnt and practice expertise to drive her systems change practice and visions.
Becca is a human rights advocate, working to ensure marginalised people are centred in decision-making and political processes that impact them. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Public Policy and Design Thinking at King’s College London and UAL. Her research focuses on the role of people with lived experience in creating social change.
Becca sits on the Board at John Ellerman Foundation and the think tank IPPR.
Until September 2019, Becca co-directed the award-winning, law-creating IC Change campaign. A grassroots campaign, IC Change calls on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women.
Her work has received many accolades. Notably, she was cited as an inspiration by President Obama for her work on violence against women and disabled people’s rights. Becca was also named as one of the 150 leading women in the University of London’s history.”
Derek A Bardowell is the CEO of Ten Years’ Time, author of No Win Race (Mudlark/Harper NonFiction, 2019) and a Knowledge Equity Fellow at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
He is also the host of the podcast Just Cause and a Thirty Percy Foundation trustee.
Eli Manderson Evan
Eli is the Senior Social Justice Consultant at Ten Years’ Time, where he works with the wider team researching social change issues in relation to addressing systemic challenges in society. Eli also supports on Ten Years’ Time works to connect a new generation of philanthropists to the communities they wish to serve. Eli is currently leading in the research and writing of a report titled ‘Racial Justice and Social Transformation; How funders can act’ which will be launched in early `January of 2022.
Eli has spent time working in international LGBTQ+ rights, previously running the business engagement department at the Bisi Alimi Foundation and as a Policy and Research Intern at the LGBT Foundation. He also has experience as a researcher in an MP’s constituency office and has worked in policy and public affairs. Eli previously led the Engagement and Communications team of the London based charity Memorial 2007, which campaigned to remember victims of the transatlantic slave trade and their descendants, erecting the first national memorial as a point for reflection and education.
Away from all things social justice and black empowerment Eli is a self-described Pattie Connoisseur and proud Mancunian.
Harvey Kennedy-Pitt is an internationally educated scientist, educator, lecturer, integrated public health education and promotion practitioner, and academic. As a public health leader, Harvey’s public health interests include addressing health disparities across communities of colour, particularly among those with racially and sexually minoritised identities. As a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and CEO & Founding Director of Black Beetle Health CIO, he implements innovative public health approaches to community engagement, community research, social wealth development, empowerment, and capacity building in order to tackle long-standing health disparities for LGBTQ+ Black and People of Colour. Now completing his public health doctoral studies at the University of Chester in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, he hopes to continue to shed light on the ever-emerging evidence informing existing sexual health and wellbeing services for racially and sexually minoritised individuals in the UK.
Hormoz is the co-director of Result CIC – an organisation that works with marginalised people to fulfil their potential and with senior staff and CEOs who need support to bring about positive change in terms of diversity and inclusion in their organisations. In 2009, Hormoz completed diplomas in Personal Development and Executive coaching from the Coaching Academy, accredited by the International Coaching Federation. Hormoz uses his lived experiences of several aspects of his identity to inform his work, including his experiences of being an immigrant and a refugee.
His career has included education, marketing, sales, electronics engineering in oil exploration, and training and coaching. His experience includes several years in business development as an executive and then a manager. During this time, he worked for global companies like 3M and in IT Training, for New Horizons who are the largest franchised IT training company in the world. He then went on to work at Manchester Business School Worldwide as their Corporate Development Manager, helping establish a new centre in Dubai amongst other responsibilities.
Aside from developing Result CIC’s work with coaching and training, his activities include delivering Personal Effectiveness workshops to managers and leaders at private sector organisations as a freelance training facilitator for Simitri Group International, a global training, coaching and consultancy company.
He was most recently an associate coach for the Clore Social Leadership/Lived Experience (LEx) Movement online leadership programme for Migrants and Refugees, as well as two other programmes working with Youth Leaders and ex-offenders who have become leaders.
In March 2019 he became a trustee of 42nd Street, a charity working with children and young people living with mental health challenges aged 11-25. He has been a Coaching volunteer for entrepreneurial Young People for UpRising, a youth development organisation and was a Coaching volunteer and later associate for Coaching Inside and Out (CIAO) at Styal Women’s Prison and then at Kirkham Prison.
Jaden Osei-Bonsu (he/him) is the Head of Youth Programmes at the Centre for Knowledge Equity. Community Activist, Rapper and Youth Worker, Jaden has used his lived, learned and practice expertise to create innovative community-based projects to drive cohesion and equitable collaborations between communities, funders, and the music industry. An Alumni from the 2027 programme, Jaden is passionate about elevating under-represented communities and change-makers and now works for the Centre to elevate the work of LEx leaders and bridging the gap between funders, mainstream organisations and grassroots activists, groups, and organisations.
Leigh graduated in Communications from Edinburgh University before returning to Northern Ireland to work in the employment sector. Having worked for a major mental health charity, she has gained thousands of hours of therapeutic 1-2-1 support experience. Leigh established the Hummingbird Project in 2016 in response to traumatic lifechanging personal circumstances bringing innovation to mental health services through the development of new interventions. As CEO of the Hummingbird Project, Leigh has been recognised for her leadership and innovation with several accolades including a CO3 Leadership Award, multiple years on the WISE 100 list, WISE 2020 – UK’s Top 20 Inspirational Women Award, SENI Leader of the year 2019 and receiving an RSA Fellowship. She is the only LEx Elder in Northern Ireland at the moment.
Marai Larasi is a Black, African-Caribbean-British feminist advocate, community organiser and consultant who has worked in social justice for over twenty-five years, with a specific focus on ending violence against Black / Global Majority women and girls.Till May 2019 she was the Executive Director of Imkaan(UK), and she also been Co-Chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition(UK). In her current practiceshe works across a number of spheres / sectors (women’s sector, international ‘development’, donors and foundations, regional government, and intergovernmental bodies), providing strategic, policy, practice and training support around decoloniality, intersectionality, racial justice and ending violence against women andgirls among other areas.She holds an MA with Distinction in ‘Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity’. In March 2021, Marai was appointed Professor in Practice, in the Department of Sociology at Durham University, England. Recognition for her work has included being named as one of 100 Great Black Britons(2020), being voted one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy(2019) and one of the 100 Most Influential LGBT people of the year on the World Pride Power List (2013).Marai was one of six activists that attended the 2018 Golden Globes Awards as Red Carpet Guests, during the launching of #Time’sUp, and inNovember 2020, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Birkbeck College, University of London.
May Baxter-Thornton is Project Manager of the ‘Creative Voices’ lived experience leader project at Cymoedd Creadigol. May also works as a Welsh representative on the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual abuse (IICSA) and is also a trainer for the Centre of Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse. May was born and raised in Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf and studied BA (Hons) Photography, Video and Digital Imaging at the University of Sunderland, where she graduated in the year 2000. Since then May has worked for various charities and was a project worker supporting women and children fleeing domestic abuse for over a decade. May’s hope is that she can support Cymoedd Creadigol to work with more vulnerable and excluded young people, to help them find their voice and be heard.
Michaela is the National Lead for Patient and Family Engagement within Practice Plus Group’s Health in Justice services. She is responsible for the implementation, monitoring, quality and review of engagement across prison healthcare services. Additionally, Michaela is a Longford Trust scholar with a first class honours degree in Applied Criminology and has a post graduate certificate with distinction in Social and Psychological Inquiry. Michaela is also a former prison, with lived experiences of imprisonment, maternal imprisonment, drug addiction, recovery and mental ill health. These experiences combined with her learnt and professional experiences support Michaela’s work in efforts of reducing health inequalities for marginalised groups and working towards more just and inclusive social structures, policies and services.
Michelle Daley has been involved in Disabled Peoples Movement for over 15 years. Michelle has an interest in education, independent living and women and girls rights.
She is the Director for Alliance for Inclusive Education ((ALLFIE) www.allfie.org.uk). Michelle’s work is done to ensure that the UK government enshrines the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in our domestic law to protect and uphold the rights of all Disabled people to receive an equal protection in law.
Nish Doshi is a community builder, dreamer and all round geek. When they were 12, they had the privilege of meeting a whistling thorn tree, who, as the wind blew, shared a story of symbiosis. From seeing how ants and trees could work together to protect each other and create great music at the same time, Nish realised another world was not only possible, but that it existed already. After over a decade of organising in activist spaces, Nish found themselves traumatised by racism and ableism, and instead is finding nourishment in mutual aid and community care spaces.
Paula Harriot is Head of Prisoner Engagment at the Prison Reform Trust. She was previously Head of Involvement at Revolving Doors Agency 2015-2107, where she provided consultancy to two Big Lottery programmes on service user involvement, as well as supporting the active involvement of the Lived Experience Team in the national Liaison and Diversion service. As Head of Programmes at User Voice 2010-2015 she led on development of service user involvement in prison and probation, as well as forensic mental health services. She is a steering group member of Agenda, the coalition that seeks to support women and girls at risk and is a passionate advocate for highlighting the inequalities that affect vulnerable people in the criminal justice system and a trustee of the Community Chaplaincy Association.
Her passion for working with excluded members of the community stems from personal experiences as a prisoner 2004-2012. Her personal experiences and associated research – The experience of being a female prisoner Listener, a qualitative study submitted as part of a post graduate diploma in integrative psychotherapy, and The Health Needs of Women Offenders in Resettlement, commissioned by HOB PCT – sharpened her commitment to raising awareness of the issues faced by prisoners and to campaign and proactively deliver services which support both prisoners and ex-offenders to progress personally and strategically past the stigma of imprisonment and multiple exclusion.
Rowan Kinchin is a trainer and facilitator with 14 years of experience working with grassroots social change organisations and NGOs. They have campaigned on a wide range of issues from anti-militarism to disability rights, climate justice to access to domestic violence services. They bring curiosity and an intersectional lens to all of their work.
Sade Banks is…
A mother to a tiny human who has taught her how to play and rest.
A founder of a creative social justice charity, Sour Lemons.
A leader who thinks with abundance and believes in radical generosity.
A dreamer who believes in collective liberation and dismantling power through kindness.
A coach and mentor to many young leaders, agitators and disruptors.
A compelling communicator who likes to talk and write about race, class, leadership and motherhood.
A rebel who has more questions than answers and sees failure as the opportunity to start again.
Current capacity: CEO & Founder @ Sour Lemons, Diversity and inclusion Advisor to the Freelands Foundation, completing a Clore Cultural Fellowship piece of research about systemic racism and accountability in the cultural sector.
Awards: Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s BHM campaign as a ‘Next Gen Trailblazer for Racial Justice’ (2020), Natwest WISE100 ‘Leading Woman in Social Business’ (2018) and AMV BBDO’s ‘Top 50 Diversity Trailblazers’ (2018). In 2015 Sade received an award from Prince William for ‘Turning Her Life Around’ (2015).
Stephen Lee Hodgkins
I am a proudly neurodiverse, chronic doodler and community printmaker with an interest in peoples voices, texts and their experiences of local places and spaces; I have particular experience of working with Disabled Peoples Organisations.
Sufina is Director of John Ellerman Foundation, a grantmaker supporting nationally significant work in the performing arts, museums and galleries, environment and social action. She is currently completing an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School.
Before joining the Foundation, Sufina worked in corporate strategy and performance at the City of London Corporation. She has previously worked for the National Lottery Community Fund and City Bridge Trust, in strategy, policy and stakeholder relations roles. Sufina has also held service delivery and development roles working in charities supporting adults with learning disabilities and older people mainly.
Sufina holds trusteeships with Just for Kids Law, We Belong, The Charterhouse and the Association of Charitable Foundations. She previously volunteered with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, as Chair of their Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – and is an honorary Fellow of the Institute. She received an MBE in 2020.
Tom is a business advisor with vast experience of working with communities across Wales. A Qualified teacher studying a masters In Global Governance, Tom has a talent for utilising strength based approaches to engage, develop, and enable buisnesses and communities to flourish, this includes, succesfully bringing in over a million pounds in funding for local charities and social enterprises.
Tom, now chair of Cymoedd Creadigol CiC led on its establishment after suffering from an episode of Stress Induced Psychosis and recognising how important arts, culture and language was in supporting his recovery. Cymoedd Creadigol CIC was established by LEX leaders to give therapeutic and artistic opportunities to children, young people and communities in South Wales
Zara Todd is an internationally recognised disability activist who specialises in creating organisational change to support inclusion and accountability. In 2017 Zara carried out a Winston Churchill memorial trust fellowship looking at disability leadership and what could be learned from Australia and New Zealand. Earlier this year she the co-author of ACEVO’s hidden leaders report into disability leadership in the third sector.
Zara is currently setting up her own organisation to support disabled people working in the third sector. She is currently the Head of Equity at the Centre for knowledge Equity. In 2017 Zara was profiled in the guardian newspaper for her work in disability rights.