BAME professionals in film and TV get career boost with new leadership scheme

Breaking the Glass Ceiling, from Film London's Equal Access Network, will promote the careers of 10 individuals across the industry and foster inclusive leadership

BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Fiona Lamptey and Yaw Basoah

BLACK, ASIAN and minority ethnic professionals in the film and TV industry are being given a boost thanks to a new leadership programme from Film London’s Equal Access Network.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling will help accelerate the careers of 10 individuals working in the industries as part of a year-long scheme.

Designed and led by executive coach Jill Tandy, the initiative will provide participants, all of whom are at the mid-level point of their careers, with group coaching, training and networking opportunities. They will also hear from top-level professionals in TV and film, and be matched with an industry expert mentor.

In keeping with the scheme’s focus of developing individuals who are committed to inclusive leadership, the 10 participants, which include producer and writer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor and producer Yaw Basoah, will learn how to use their skills to support those starting out in the industry. Each of those taking part in the scheme will be given a mentee who is new to working in film or TV.

Casting director Aisha Bywaters, who has worked on Black Mirror, Youngers, Enterprice and The Last Tree to name a few, is among those selected for Breaking the Glass Ceiling.

HOPEFUL: Aisha Bywaters

She told The Voice: “I’m very excited to be part of this programme. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet valuable industry contacts, connect with my peers and learn how to be an inclusive leader. Hopefully a scheme like this can help increase diversity at all levels.”

Creative director Gaylene Gould will participate in the programme as one of the top-level mentors.

She said: “Britain’s greatness lies in the multiplicity of its creative voice – the way in which its global history plays out in iconic new forms, languages and stories. It’s critical that we nurture the talent that continues to make Britain brilliant and relevant on a global stage. It is this, often unsupported, talent that needs sheltering and caring for the most. I’m proud to help out.”

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “This is a truly unique moment of expansion and development for London’s screen industries and a crucial time to address the demand for highly skilled professionals who truly represent our city. The cyclical nature of Breaking the Glass Ceiling both creates and sustains a long-term, positive effect on the industry, investing in the potential of future senior leaders of a dynamic, diverse creative work force, as well as maintaining London’s world-beating position.”

The 10 individuals selected for the programme are as follows:

  • Corrina Antrobus (Arts and Culture Communications Officer For Hackney Council/founder of Bechdel Test Fest)
  • Yaw Basoah (producer)
  • Aisha Bywaters (casting director)
  • Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (producer and writer)
  • Kurban Kassam (producer)
  • Gursharn Khaira (head of legal and business affairs at Altitude Film Entertainment)
  • Fiona Lamptey (producer)
  • Bennett McGhee (producer)
  • Kam Odedra (writer and story producer)
  • Lisa White (VP commercial finance and business development at STX Entertainment)

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