Talking tech and opportunity at UK Black Business Week

BBW night

November 17, 2021

Black business week podium

The future of black business in the UK is bright—as evidenced by the 4,000+ participants in the recent UK Black Business Week. The annual event provides black professionals and entrepreneurs, and their allies, with “business insights, new skills and knowledge to navigate the world of work.”

Infor was pleased to sponsor the Tech Stream of sessions held Oct 25-30 at the QEII Centre in London. And the highlight for us was the session “Black Tech Experience – Navigating the Tech Diversity Gap,” which drew more than 250 people.

Simon Baker
Simon Baker

Infor solution consultant Simon Baker moderated the enlightening panel discussion featuring Bukola Bayo-Yusuf, human resources leader at Experian, Ade Onigbanjo, executive director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Miselle Mombeshora, technology senior manager at EY, and Hawa Newell-Sydique, culture, diversity and inclusion director at WorldFirst.

Black business week podium

Simon “rocked the stage and owned the room!” reported a fellow employee in attendance.

He directed an honest conversation around creating opportunities, highlighting attitudes and skills as well as changing systemic corporate processes to address the tech diversity gap, adding his own stories and anecdotes of a life in which he has adopted the mantra: Keep going no matter what, say yes to opportunities, and believe you deserve to be in the room.

Each panel member shared examples of visible success and are paving a pathway for next generations to rise up and be like them.

“It was a superb event with an energetic atmosphere that I was really proud to be part of,” Simon said. “I feel I am making a little bit of a difference in this important area and I’m really excited that Infor is now focusing on this in the UK.”

Raphael Sofoluke, founder of UK Black Business Week, with keynote speaker Sir Trevor McDonald
Raphael Sofoluke, founder of UK Black Business Week, with keynote speaker Sir Trevor McDonald

UK Black Business Week was the idea of Raphael Sofoluke, author of the book “Twice as Hard,” which examines the challenges that Black people face trying to break into the largely white-dominated corporate world, and provides advice for people of color who wish to take on that mission. Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, founder of #ukblackhistorymonth 34 years ago opened the week with an inspirational talk. Why October, he asked? Because it represents the harvest period in Africa, a time when “people come together, reflect, settle differences, and go back as a united force.”

Speakers throughout the week included celebrities, broadcasters, and members of Parliament. In the Day 2 evening session, Sir Trevor McDonald, perhaps the most recognizable news presenter in British broadcasting history, shared stories of how his father believed in him and showed him role models in positions he could aspire to in life. He also talked of how it was always hard work that got him results, and he thinks that is all important, no matter your race. Other sessions focused on how to build long-term solutions to advancing the Black Community.

People on the sidewalk

“Diversity is critical, and it was good to hear from speakers and experts in the world of leadership, technology, finance, business and many more,” said Brad Revell, Infor senior director digital strategy.

Black Business Week is coming to Birmingham in the UK next year and the US in 2024.

Infor employees Brad Revell, Lauren Rollafson, and Simon Baker
Infor employees Brad Revell, Lauren Rollafson, and Simon Baker

Want to learn more and get involved in inclusion and community efforts in the UK? Talk to these Infor employees who participated, or connect with them on LinkedIn: Anwen Robinson, Lauren Rollafson, Simon Baker, Chris Tennant, Aristotle Domingo, Richard Moore, Evan Walker, Brad Revell, Huldah Mututa, Andrea Thorpewood.

Infor is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees to learn more about the culture and challenges facing marginalized communities, Black issues, and advancing opportunities for Black communities through its community engagement work and with the employee business resource group Black at Infor. BAI’s mission is to provide a support network that empowers employees to champion inclusion & diversity while creating opportunities for leadership engagement, mentorship, professional development, advancement and retention. BAI is open to all employees globally. Our goal is to create a sense of community and a forum for networking and knowledge-sharing.


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