Tony Blair to Address The GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards 09

Tony Blair to Address The GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards 09

The Asian Media & Marketing Group (AMG) can today reveal the nominations for the GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards. Known as the ethnic Oscars, the awards identify ethnic achievement and celebrate the success of Britain’s many and varied non-white minority ethnic communities.
In its 11th year now, the 2009 ceremony will take place on Tuesday 15th September in a Central London Location. In an Oscar-style ceremony in front of an anticipated audience of around 1,000 high fliers from the world of politics, sports and celebrity, the awards will be presented to the winners on the night. Nominees have no knowledge of how they will fare until the winner’s envelope is dramatically opened.

In all there are 10 awards, including the prestigious Hammer Award which recognises the very special contribution of an individual who has smashed through the proverbial glass ceiling to attain a rare position of influence and authority. The winner is saluted as an inspiration to others and serves as a role model of achievement and distinction. Past winners have included Ruby McGregor-Smith, Chief Executive of Mitie and Baroness Shriti Vadera, Parliamentary-Under-Secretary, Department for International Development.

Other major awards include The Man and Woman of the Year Awards, The Entrepreneur of the Year, The Achievement through Adversity Award, The Young Journalist of the Year Award, Civil Servant Award and two Community Awards.

From scores of entries for each category only three people have made it too the shortlist and are spotlighted for their amazing contributions to multicultural life, whether it be in the boadroom, in the public sector or as a charity or community worker or volunteer. Each one now could be crowned a GG2 Leadership and Diversity winner.

With the keynote speech from former British Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Tony Blair the evening promises to be a stirring occasion and the only multi-ethnic awards ceremony which combines the glamour and glitz of a major awards ceremony with insights from an exceptional leader who will share his own ideas on success, diversity and leadership.

Nominees for 2009 include Vijith Randeniya, the first Asian person to become the head of the UK Fire Service; Dr. Ajay Kakkar, a professor and head of Surgical Science who has dedicated his career to understanding thrombosis and cancer sufferers; Christopher Hyman CEO of Serco Group and a Prince of Wales National Ambassador for Business; Atul Kochhar, the first chef of Indian cuisine to receive a Michelin star; Andrew Amers-Morrison founder of the Samba Street Soccer club for deprived children; Sabina Iqbal the chair of the charity Deaf Parenting UK; and Roy Watton a police inspector in Northern Ireland with 18 year’s service.

The shortlisted nominees were chosen by a panel of esteemed judges. Chaired by Barry Gardiner MP the board also included COO of The Financial Times, Yasmin Jetha; Former Editor of The Guardian Peter Preston; Founder of The Asian Media & Marketing Group, Ramniklal Solanki CBE; Chief Executive of Caparo, The Hon. Angad Paul; and Director of the Hearst Corporation, Terry Mansfield CBE.

Barry Gardiner MP, Chair of The GG2 Judging Board said: “We had to make some really tough decisions. Some of the entries were truly inspiring and the sheer quality of the nominations, we believe, represents the depth and breadth of achievement and endeavour in Britain today.”

Kalpesh Solanki, Group Managing Director of Asian Media & Marketing Group said: “The GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards have grown every year and are Britain’s premier ethnic awards – recognising achievement across many minority communities. It is a privilege and honour to host this unique event and it never fails to uplift and inspire. The nominees have done extremely well to get this far. We wish them luck and urge anyone interested in leadership, diversity and managing for success to join us at what should be a magnificent evening.”

Please credit:
The GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards 2009, 15th September in Central London

Should anyone wish to book a table at the event please contact event manager Minaxi Mistry on 07985 527851 or email


Shortlisted Nominees

The GG2 Hammer Award

Vijith Randeniy, from Birmingham, became the first Asian person to head the UK Fire Service in March 2009 following an illustrious career devoted to keeping people safe. Vijith spent 15 years in the London Fire Brigade before moving to be head of operations in Nottingham. From among 55, 537 employees, of which 5.5 per cent is BME, he excelled in management showing a leadership and vision for the direction of the service and consolidating his safety expertise. Today he sits on many boards concerned with community safety and regeneration. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE.

Dr Ajay Kakkar, from East London: A professor of Surgical Science and Dean for External Relations at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr Ajay Kakkar has dedicated his career to understanding thrombosis and helping sufferers of the condition, in particular, with cancer. He qualified as a medical doctor in 1988 and ten years later earned his PhD. A fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Dr Kakkar has a string of international accolades to his name including the James IV Association of Surgeons Fellow 2006 and International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis William Harvey prize in 1997.

The GG2 Man of the Year Award

Christopher Hyman, from London, is the CEO and director of Serco Group Plc, a service company that deals in logistics and people management across sectors from aviation to education. A qualified chartered accountant born in South Africa, he was one of a handful of non-whites to study at his university. A great sprinter when younger, he considered a career in athletics when he ran 100 metres in 10.8 seconds. He was appointed as National Ambassador by the Prince of Wales for Business in the Community and today is involved in a number of the Prince’s interests including Habitat for Humanity and the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Foundation. He found a new closeness to family life – his wife and two children – after being in the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

Aaquil Ahmed, from West London: The BBC’s Head of Religion & Ethics and Commissioning Editor for Religion TV, Aaquil Ahmed has had a long-running career in religious programming. This combination of two previously separate roles gave him responsibilities for policy direction and a direct hand in specific programmes. His appointment made headlines for him being Muslim, the second time a non-Christian acquired the post.

Pradip Patel, from Nottingham, a fellow of the School of Pharmacy, is MD of Boots Opticians and holds the position of pharmacy superintendent for Boots The Chemists. He managed Boots stores for 14 years becoming marketing manager of home and leisure and then joining the company’s property and planning department.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Surinder Arora, from West Drayton, came to the UK from Punjab aged 14 with his mother and aunt. When he entered the world of work it was in customer service for British Airways, which saw his rise up the corporate ladder. He became sales manager at Abbey Life before leaving to pursue his own interests in 1993, converting a number of houses into a B&B for airline staff opposite Heathrow Airport. This became his first hotel under his own brand Arora International that today owns 14 properties, nine of which were newly acquired worth £300m. He is patron of the charity Springboard.

Geetie Singh, from London: Britain’s only gastro pub certified by the Soil Association, the Duke of Cambridge is an organic business now running for over a decade. Its £1.4m annual turnover comes from serving organic food and beer made from seasonal produce. Geetie grew up on a commune, and, disenfranchised by the prodigal nature of the restaurant trade she later joined, she founded the pub’s ideals around sourcing local, seasonal foods and creating a bond between urban diners and the countryside producers. She teamed up with local parents in Islington, London and encouraged a school to make the kids’ meals organic and also training the kitchen staff in seasonal buying.

Atul Kochhar, from West London: The first chef of Indian cuisine to receive a Michelin star, Atul Kochhar repeated the feat in 2007 at the first restaurant of his own making, Benares. A regular on British television, he came to prominence by winning The Great British Menu and so cooking for the Queen’s 80thbirthday. His career began at The Oberoi group of hotels in India where he quickly rose to prominence. He is known to love extravagant creations with expert spicing that has made him a culinary maestro.

The Community Award

Andrew Amres-Morrison: As a teenager Andrew Amers-Morrison was an aspiring semi-professional footballer when an injury ended his career. However, he believed he was dropped as an apprentice partly because he grew up in care and didn’t have the family support that clubs look for in their young players. His love of football endured however and he founded the Samba Street Soccer club originally with kids from the deprived Brunel Estate in Westminster. With 83 per cent of children from jobless households in the ward, the club has grown to 100 children and has had its children scouted by youth development centres. In 2006 Samba’s under-11s came second in a local league.

Radha Balani, from West London, has dedicated her young career to the promotion of sport for its ability to empower people including those with disability, young women and Asians. She has appeared on the BBC to encourage young ethnic minority participants in sport and is a key member of the Football Association’s Women and Girls’ task force. She is a representative on a committee for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Ramesh Verma, from London, has set up a total of 32 community projects over the years looking after the needs of elderly citizens, battered women, single parents and the disabled. She is a trustee of Action on Elder Abuse, which has a national remit, and in 2004 was awarded a national training award after setting up an outreach scheme in nine Asian languages for those interested in community care. Ramesh is founder of one of the first UK schemes involving chair-based exercises to maintain mobility; and set up theatre and performance workshops for the elderly that grew into the national project, Hamari Kahani whose participants have performed at The Royal Festival Hall.

The GG2 Woman of the Year Award

Nina Amin, from Richmond, is a partner at KPMG, one the UK’s top professional services companies. She was promoted to Head of Tax and has been approached to join the KPMG Advisory Council, a forum for all UK senior partners. Nina is considered important in the company’s Asian Business programme and is forthright in her promotion of women in the business. She is a recognised media commentator on the Asian business community.

Gill Ball has been in the education service sector since 1982. She has worked in six different schools across London and has been Head teacher of Wembley High since 2002. Wembley High Technology College is a 11-19 mixed, multicultural comprehensive of over 1300 students serving some of the most deprived areas in Brent. Since her Headship, the College has improved from one where there were serious weaknesses to one which achieved an outstanding Ofsted in September 2008. The College was found to be outstanding in 24 out of 27 areas. The College also achieved the highest Jesson Value-added score in London. It is in the top 1% of schools nationally for contextual value-added and has the highest average GCSE point score in Brent. The results have improved dramatically over the last 6 years.

The GG2 Achievement through Adversity Award

Sabina Iqba, who works in Croydon and lives in Hemel Hempstead, is chair of the charity Deaf Parenting UK that she founded in 2004. The organisation is dedicated to ensuring parents have access to information including at the time of having a child, when they attend parenting classes, and midwifery and health visitors who frequently don’t know sign language. The charity has launched a website, quarterly newsletter, annual conference and celebrity ambassadors including The Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Markku Jokinen, President of the World Federation of the Deaf.

Sadi Mehmood, from Nottingham, is the founder of the cultural awareness site, for those who want to better understand diversity in Britain. As a young mum Sadi overcame difficult personal relationships that energised her desire to start her own business in 2005. Then, inspired by her husband from Kashmir, she had a vision of helping both those from UK society and from abroad to better understand cultural integration and complex needs of people from different societies. The business gained the interest of Derby council, employment lawyers and the support of Allan Leighton.

Roy Watton, from Londonderry, is a police inspector in Northern Ireland with an 18-year-long career who has made a lasting contribution in the elevation of police relations with local communities significantly beyond his role. His work in areas of: domestic violence and hate crime; race and sectarian violence and police relations with Chinese, Indian, Afro-Caribbean and Eastern European communities, has placed him on his peers’ radar as a man of outstanding professionalism and as a credit to the police service.

The Young Journalist of the Year Award

Cara Simpson from Coventry: A senior reporter with the Coventry Telegraph, Cara Simpson took her first professional journalism job in 2006 following a stint on student papers. A winner of a George Viner Memorial Fund scholarship that supports the study of journalism by ethnic minorities, she later joined the board as a voluntary trustee. Committed to journalism campaigns, she manages the newspaper’s Gift of Life scheme which documents those who have benefited from organ transplants, and has to her name numerous splashes that have shaped local health policy and rectified problems in the community. She won newcomer of the year in the 2008 Midlands Media Awards.

Sima Kotecha, a Brit currently in working in New York, has spent the last four years reporting from America for the BBC across Radio 1, 1Xtra and websites. Her work, often targeted at younger audiences, includes explaining the complexities of US politics and economics. She has broad interests covering events from the Oscars for several years and recently from the front line in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. She has been noted for her prolific output across the BBC and the popularity of her work on BBC websites, and has been described as a model professional by those who work with her.

Lilian Anekwe is a clinical reporter on Pulse Magazine who has broken many medical stories picked up by the national press. Her recent investigations have covered Swine Flu, and contraception that sparked a national debate about Government plans to make the pill available to girls under 16 at their local pharmacy. She is noted for her solid reporting that results from deriving stories the traditional way of developing contacts in her areas of interest. She has been recognised by the Medical Journalism Association as a reporting talent.

Civil Servant of the Year

Selvin Brown has held a number of roles across Government diversity and equality portfolios and is responsible for a cross-Whitehall strategy for race equality. As head of Diversity Mainstreaming he produced a report on disability in the department for the Secretary of State that resulted in the broadest representation of this group in civil service internal awards. Selvin has held a number of public appointments including being a trustee on the Stephen Lawrence Trust, which he helped with strategy and funding.

Parveen Hassan works within the Crown Prosecution Service looking after equality, diversity and community engagement. Her work with Somalian communities and domestic violence against women has led to a broadening of her role that encourages a better understanding of the CPS’s work. She is chair of a West Midlands group on women’s issues and has coached staff to become community ambassadors for the legal body. Her influence has shaped regional policy on forced marriages and domestic violence; ensuring victims are supported by the criminal justice system.

Claudette Sutton is chair and founder of the mentoring programme that encourages ethnic minority staff to seek seniority within the civil service. The group, META, seeks to uphold Government targets for numbers by 2013. Top civil servants mentor eligible staff who speak of the process as reawakening ambitions to demonstrate leadership and enabling them to act as visible ambassadors for other minority staff. Claudette entered the civil service mid-career with a view that BME staff themselves needed to take a role in highlighting talent within their communities. She managed to persuade senior Whitehall staff of the strength of her innovative idea and has succeeded in bringing the right talent to drive the programme forward.

Region: All
Start Date: 15/09/2009
End Date:
Start Time: 17.30 to 23.00
Press Tickets: Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
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Name: Natalie Phillips
Phone: 020 7096 5818