Funke honoured by Prime Minister for championing diversity

Funke honoured by Prime Minister for championing diversity

Senior Lawyer, Diversity Leader and our #ThisIsMe Awesome100 awards judge, Funke Abimbola, has been named a ‘Point of Light’ by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Funke has been recognised for the positive impact of her voluntary work in promoting and campaigning for more workplace diversity in the legal profession and the wider business community, in particular in relation to gender, ethnicity and social mobility issues. As the most senior black lawyer in her field, Funke has spoken in Parliament, at the Law Society and at countless conferences, campaigning for greater diversity in the legal profession. However, her real passion is inspiring the next generation – she delivers free motivational talks to over 2000 school children and hundreds of university students annually, as well as providing leadership mentoring & coaching to students and young professionals. She has been applauded for going above and beyond in supporting the next generation of future leaders.

She is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

“You have become a role model for thousands of young people, inspiring them to believe that race or gender should not be a barrier to achieving their potential.”

In a personal letter to Funke, Prime Minister Theresa May said :

“You have become a role model for thousands of young people, inspiring them to believe that race or gender should not be a barrier to achieving their potential. By speaking so passionately to groups in Parliament, the Law Society and, most importantly, over two thousand school children and university students, you are supporting the professions to become more diverse.”

Funke is the 587th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

On receiving the surprise award, Funke said :

“The news that I was being honoured as a ‘Point of Light’ came out of the blue on a particularly hectic Monday at work. I feel so humbled by this wonderful recognition highlighting the impact of my voluntary work in improving diversity. Thank you for this encouragement to continue this important work.”

Funke will meet Teresa May at a special reception at Downing Street, London, early in 2017.

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About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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