Black British business talent celebrated at annual awards

Melanie Eusebe, chair and co-founder of the awards, described this year's businessperson of the year, Gisela Abbam, as a key player in putting science at the heart of society and culture

CELEBRATING BLACK BUSINESSES: Melanie Eusebe, chair and co-founder of the Black British Business Awards

THE WINNERS of the Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) have been announced at a ceremony in London.

The list recognises the rising stars and senior leaders who represent the frontrunners of the UK’s vibrant business sector, celebrating those working in STEM, innovative entrepreneurs and top corporate professionals in international institutions.

For the sixth year in a row, the BBBAwards, which took place at St Paul’s Leonardo Royal Hotel in London this year, have provided a spotlight on the breadth of impact black professionals have provided to our economy. By transcending stereotypes and challenging unconscious bias, the awards highlight not only the need to have diverse voices within every business, but the financial contribution this provides to organisations.

Melanie Eusebe, chair and co-founder of the Black British Business Awards, said: “I am enormously proud of the winning talent in this year’s BBBAwards and to be able to showcase such a versatile range of business excellence. Huge congratulations to Gisela Abbam, our businessperson of the year who’s been a key player in implementing science at the heart of society and culture. Creative excellence has also shone through this year, with Sharon Watson giving a stage to underrepresented voices in the arts, and Aicha Mckenzie changing the modelling landscapes idea of beauty. I wish all the winners the greatest success in their onward journey.”

Gisela Abbam, chair, British Science Association, said: “I am humbled and honoured to be the person of the year for the 2019 BBBAwards. Being the first black chair of the British Science Association and being a role model has been very important to me. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I think that’s what has speared me on – having a purpose, a passion, inspiring people alongside and behind me to ensure there is more diversity in talent and thought in everything that we do.”

The BBBAwards ceremony distinguished outstanding black business professionals and entrepreneurs from the top of their game into six diverse industry categories, which are divided into rising stars and leadership awards.

See the full list of this year’s winners below:

Black British Businessperson of the Year
Gisela Abbam, chair, British Science Association

Image Award
Dorothy Koomson, author and journalist

Arts & Media Rising Star
Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene, authors, Slay In Your Lane

Arts & Media Leader of the Year
Sharon Watson, Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre

Consumer & Luxury Rising Star
Uzo Okwuosa, designer, Frank Horn

Consumer & Luxury Leader of the Year
Aicha Mckenzie, CEO and director, AMCK Group

Entrepreneur Rising Star
Jamelia Donaldson, founder, Treasure Tress

Entrepreneur Leader of the Year
Born Barikor, CEO and founder, Our Parks

Financial Services Rising Star
Olusiji Sanya, director, co-founder and CFO, Tranzfar

Financial Services Leader of the Year
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, managing director, EMEA head payments & receivables, treasury and trade, Citigroup

Professional Services Rising Star
Macky O’Sullivan, senior associate, King & Spalding

Professional Services Leader of the Year
Teresa Owusu-Adjei, partner, PwC

STEM Rising Star
Kayisha Payne, associate scientist, AstraZeneca PLC

STEM Leader of the Year
Sharon Lee, associate director, Arup

Alongside the award ceremony, 2019 marks a unique partnership between the BBBAwards, Cranfield University’s School of Management and The Network of Networks. This year, the 100 Women to Watch list have spotlighted – for the first time – 50 leading professionals from BAME backgrounds alongside the Female FTSE Board report.

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