On this week’s ‘You’re On Mute’, Lords Michael Hastings is in conversation with Tom Ilube CBE, Chair of England’s Rugby Football Union, CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity PLC, Non-Executive Director for advertising giant WPP and more.
By age ten, Tom's irrepressible nature had seen him overcome the early challenges of being a care leaver due to his bi-racial heritage, surviving a near death experience after being confronted by the barrel of a gun, in Idi Amin’s Uganda, as well as setting up a new home on another continent. Embracing the dogged determination that represents the best of Nigerian culture and attitude, despite initially having a degree from a relatively unknown university in Benin, Tom has gone on to work for some of the most enviable corporations, companies and institutions, including British Airways, PWC, the British Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs as a way of learning, gaining invaluable experience and validating his skill set. Matching his drive, tenacity and business acumen, Tom has successfully pursued his passion by becoming a serial tech entrepreneur, with his specialism being start-ups. Remarkably, Tom has a significant appetite for the associated risk of new ventures and speaks openly, about the relationship between failure and success and how often, the difference is about calibrating approach, necessary to create winning pathways. Renowned for his philanthropic pursuits, Tom’s African Gifted Foundation has efficaciously created generational change for numerous Black girls and women in science across Africa, in turn, boosting their prospects globally. As a role model, Tom shares his wisdom regarding overcoming stereotypes, navigating racism, the importance of laughter and the role of drama as a component of engaging storytelling.
On this week’s You’re On Mute, we hear from Baroness Tina Stowell, former Chair of the Charity Commission, now Chair of the Communications and Digital Select Committee in the House of Lords.
On this week’s You’re On Mute, we hear from Julian Douglas, Chairman of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and CEO & Vice Chairman of VCCP, one of the UK’s top three advertising agencies.
Julian shares details of his Jamaican father's transformational and inspiring journey, growing up in Manchester and how a ground-breaking advert, caused Julian to pursue a career in advertising instead of becoming a City of London derivatives trader. We learn first-hand about his response when directly confronted by racism and how his love of singing took him on an entrepreneurial excursion involving co-founder of Last Minute.com, Baroness Martha Lane-Fox CBE. Julian also discusses, overcoming failure and the transformative impact of a phone call from Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, now Vice President of Global Business Group at Meta, which ultimately led Julian to become one of the leading voices for the advertising sector and BRiM (Black Representation in Marketing). Julian’s rise to the top is simply phenomenal but perhaps even more impressive, is his unwavering commitment to using his status, influence and network to promote social justice.
On this week’s episode of ‘You’re On Mute’, Bianca Miller-Cole is joined by Amanda Rajkumar, adidas Executive Board Member, Global Human Resources, People and Culture, discussing adidas’s ‘New Agenda’.
Amanda’s journey demonstrates the transformational power of education and how with the support of her direct and extended West Indian family, she overcame obstacles to build an extraordinary career and bring about generational change. We learn about the impact, hustle, bustle and energy of London’s melting pot versus her provincial hometown and how Amanda defied the odds, by going on to play HR leadership roles for some of the globes biggest and most prestigious investment banks, before joining Europe’s largest sportswear brand. Boasting 65,000 employees, hear directly about Amanda’s quest to promote equity and social justice, adopting important lessons from historical events, using data to make informed decisions and her mission to re-shape adidas’s DEI agenda by 2025.
In this episode of ‘You’re on Mute’, Eunice Olumide MBE, is joined by activist and professional agitator Livia Firth, Founder & Creative Director of Eco-Age, The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, The Renaissance Awards and Co-Founder of NGO The Circle, also an acclaimed documentary film maker.
From her early years growing up in Rome, to her mother embracing the practical benefits of sustainability, falling in love with Bruce Springsteen’s music to dancing to Beyoncé, we learn first-hand about Livia’s life journey, purpose and passion to promote social justice and a sustainable future for generations to come, as well as how the power of documentary film making, wronged a miscarriage of justice and freed a ‘Black Panther’ from life term incarceration in a notorious American prison.
On this episode of ‘You’re On Mute’, Eunice Olumide is in conversation with Abigail Rappoport, Former Global Director of Enterprise Operations for META, who has very recently, become Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Expedia. Abigail shares her memories of growing up in North London, time working on a kibbutz and reaching beyond any barriers and limitations to realise her full ground breaking potential.
Abigail also discusses the infamous South African Sharpeville Massacre and the true price her grandparents were willing to pay to stay true to their principles and beliefs. We also learn about her role in an IPO whilst in her twenties, encountering failure, challenges of building a career in the tech world and working for one of the most powerful technology and social media brands the world has ever seen, META, balanced with her deep held beliefs about fairness, equity and social justice.
On this episode of ‘You’re On Mute’ Lord Michael Hastings is joined by Tom Athron, CEO at Fortnum and Mason. Tom shares his memories of growing up in a military family, and life at a military boarding school which provided a lot of structure in his life when he most needed it.
Tom attends Newcastle University, where he develops a strong sense of social justice, after which his business management studies lead him into the world of work as he travels to South Africa during Nelson Mandela's early reign. He witnesses the birth of a new rainbow nation, but one looking to balance poverty and inequality with the development of a growing middle class.
Listeners are privy to his seminal career experiences – including his time at the John Lewis Partnership – these formed Tom’s approach to ‘industrial democracy’, but also shaped his views on diversity and inclusion and sustainability. Fortnum & Mason continues to be one of the world’s most coveted luxury retailers, a byword for excellence, worthy of its multiple Royal Warrants.
In the first episode of season 2 of ‘You’re On Mute’, Lord Michael Hastings is joined by Gus Casely-Hayford OBE, British curator, cultural historian, broadcaster and Director of V&A East, where they discuss Gus’s passion and dedication to showcasing African history on the global stage through art, music and culture.
Gus gives us insights into his early life, from his family moving over to the UK from Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1960’s, to discovering his artistic interests at a young age through his brothers. All of which have contributed to a successful and outstanding career in the arts, and his commitment to changing the publics perception of art in Africa, leading up to his exciting plans for V&A East and the future.
For episode one of ‘A Moment of Introspection’, Sotheby’s ‘Brilliant & Black’ channels the power of diversity, to create a new chapter in the world of fine and high jewellery making.
Lord Hastings speaks to some of those leading the vanguard, Melanie Grant, Luxury Editor of the Economist 1843 magazine and exquisite jewellers Sheryl Jones, Maggi Simpkins and Lola Fenhirst.
Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the V&A Museum, Co-Chair of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant in Conversation with Lord Michael Hastings.
In our Thirteenth episode, Michael Hastings speaks to Paul Lindley, Founder of Ella's Kitchen, the baby food company that has over 30% of the baby food market and is sold in countries across the globe.
Paul talks about how growing up in Zambia allowed him to listen and learn from an array of different people, and how these learnings and sense of belonging shape much of the work he does today. He discusses what made Ella's Kitchen a success, offers advice for any young entrepreneurs seeking investment and the need for change in order to help young black entrepreneurs in particular.
In our twelfth episode, Michael Hastings speaks to Arlo Brady, CEO of freuds & Chairman of the Blue Marine Foundation. He speaks about his time growing up in a small, rural village in Norfolk and the impact watching Live Aid as a young boy had on him and his motivations.
Arlo goes on to talk about his upbringing, degree, time at Cambridge and how this influenced much of the environmental work he does today. We also learn about his career and the path he took to becoming the CEO of freuds, including his time working on the launch of the film Blood Diamond, where he also goes on to discuss the systemic issues that need to be addressed in order to increase diversity within the world of PR and marketing.
In our eleventh episode, Bianca speaks to the President of Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet, Alison Loehnis, about her incredible life in the fashion world and how she got there.
She discusses her father’s job and how that led to her initial fascination for fashion, her time spent at huge advertising agencies in New York & London, and why she made the leap to focus on just one brand. She also discusses the impact of the pandemic on her and the wider business, as well as the initiatives that are in place there that aim to promote a more inclusive and understanding place of work and society.
In our tenth episode, Lord Michael Hastings speaks to Jason Tarry, CEO of Tesco UK and Ireland about his career journey to the pinnacle of Tesco, the UK’s largest private employer, with a focus on his plans to drive boardroom racial diversity.
Jason provides unique insights into his early life, inspirations as to what it takes to run one of the globes largest and most sophisticated supermarket operations, as well as his vision for the company’s future. Tesco is a big player by any standard, with an annual turnover in excess of £53bn and more than 290,000 employees, Tesco sells more fuel through its forecourts than any other UK company.
In our ninth episode, Bianca speaks to Riki Bleau, Co President of Since '93 Records, Sony. He talks through his fascinating journey from his early years living on a council estate in Hackney, to meeting his hero, fellow record executive and businessman Jay-Z.
He talks about his inspiration and initial infatuation with the music world, the artists that helped catapult his business to success and help win Best Publisher at the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards. Riki finishes the podcast with his thoughts on the societal issues we still face today and the role music can play, as well as what he thinks needs to be done to address those issues and increase opportunities for the next generation.
In our eighth episode, Bianca speaks to Stephanie Phair, Chief Customer Officer at Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform that sells products from over 700 boutiques and brands from around the world.
She discusses her early life and time spent in different countries across the globe, as well as her education at Oxford University, before embarking on her career. She talks about the importance of being a values-driven business and having a diverse board, as well as her other ventures such as Share The Mic and her position as Chair of the British Fashion Council.
In our seventh episode of You’re on Mute, our host Bianca Miller-Cole meets with Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Corp, who are leading a new wave of business culture.
He discusses his early life, career experience, and how working for Barack Obama led to him needing to do more. He also explains the importance of B Corp’s pledge to creating a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good.
In our 6th episode of You're On Mute we speak to Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business, about his life, inspiration and the future of communication.
He discusses his early life and family who inspired him to build the career he has today, despite challenges and prejudice against him. We delve into his passion and dedication to supporting communities in the business world, and overcoming obstacles to achieve success.
The fourth episode of You're On Mute features William Waldegrave, currently Chairman of Coutts Bank, Provost of Eton College who also served in the Cabinet from 1990 to 1997.
He talks to Lord Hastings about his early life & influences, his path into politics and how different things are now. He also discusses what institutions such as Eton College and Coutts Bank are doing in order to create more diversity within them, and describes how important it is to set targets if we want to strive for a more inclusive society.
In the third episode of You're On Mute, our host Bianca Miller-Cole speaks to Rose Hulse, Founder & CEO of ScreenHits TV.
She discusses her early life and inspiration, her time in the film industry and some of the obstacles she faced during her career in the studio world. She also speaks about the journey she went on in launching ScreenHits TV, the need for equity investment in underrepresented groups and how this contributes to a better society for everyone.
Joining Lord Michael Hastings for our second episode is Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England's director for London. Among his many other roles, Professor Fenton was previously the director of the United States National Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
He joins us to discuss his early life and inspiration, distinguished medical career and how he became an advocate for equity and equality in public health. He also touches on subjects such as the societal disparities in the UK, highlighted by Covid-19, and his time working in the US when he met Obama at The White House.
The inaugural podcast is timed to mark Black History Month and so, BBI will be sharing an extraordinary podcast involving Christo Brand on 22nd September.
Christo, was the personal jailer of Nelson Mandela for twelve of his twenty seven imprisoned years and importantly, responsible for Madiba, at the time when he eventually made his long walk to freedom.
In conversation with June Sarpong OBE (Director of Creative Diversity for the BBC), Christo, provides insight into a very special relationship between these two men, racially from opposite sides of society. This multi-layered tale contains many lessons and demonstrates how the kind, measured and respectful use of powerful authority can bring an unexpected or unanticipated bonus! Ultimately, the positive way Nelson Mandela responded to his 27 year incarceration is exemplary, setting the standard as a role model for leaders in all disciplines.