The chair of the British Science Association, Gisela Abbam, has emerged with the top prize of “Businessperson of the Year” at this year’s Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards), an annual awards ceremony designed to lift up and celebrate the rising stars and senior leaders within the Black British community.
For the sixth year running, the high-profile awards ceremony, which took place on Thursday 3 October 2019 at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London in central London, honoured members of the Black British business community, whose drive and success in their respective industries make them standout and shine above the rest.
In a landscape that often hovers over the achievements and contributions of members of the Black community, the BBBAwards’s serves to shine 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.
The rollcall of nominees and eventual winners in the awards is inspiring to say the least. A clear example of why the BBBAwards were created, Gisela Abbam, Chair, British Science Association voiced the importance of representation.
She 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.”
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.”
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.
The winners for this year’s awards are as follows:
Black British Businessperson of the Year
Gisela Abbam, Chair, British Science Association
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
Visit the Black British Awards website