Celebrating diversity in finance

The championing gender equality award went to Lisa Winnard, group people & service director at Sesame Bankhall Group, for exhibiting lots of activity and for an excellent entry that was well put together, illustrating how she had worked hard to bridge the gender pay gap.

Ms Ajayi of the ABI received highly commended in this category. The judges said the organisation had clearly “come a long way” and that it was clear in the entry just how much work Ms Ajayi had put in herself to drive the change forward.

Celeste Jones, senior test analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, took home the award for championing race equality. The judges said she achieved a lot in under a year, increasing awareness of the diversity and race issues by celebrating it in her workplace.

The championing LGBT inclusion award went to Hargreaves Lansdown’s IT development expert Stephen Jenkins. One judge noted that Mr Jenkins’s entry specifically spoke about the actions he took towards promoting trans and non-binary representation in the industry.

Highly commended in this category went to the Investment Association’s senior government affairs manager Paul Scaping. The judges were impressed by the network he has helped build at the company, encouraging LGBT for new employees and for his guide to the LGBT experience in asset management, where he suggested ways of improving it. One judge noted it was not only a first for the IA, but also for the industry as a whole.

Companies driving change

The diversity and inclusion initiative of the year award went to Zurich, for its inclusive behaviours pledge, encouraging the insurance industry to sign up to better behaviours.

One judge said: “It’s about changing the culture, and that’s very hard to do, but drives long-term change.”

Highly commended went to Iress, for thinking outside the box in terms of its school leave and leave for older carers, and promoting a progressive work-life balance.

The trailblazer award went to Aviva, as the judges said it has covered a huge range – from older workers, encouraging age diversity, professional returners, leadership programmes, gender diversity and for initiating equal parental leave, setting the bar for the sector. It also included supporting statistics, which the judges agreed made for an excellent entry.

Highly commended went to MetLife, for its focus on wellbeing and, importantly, on mindfulness training about prevention.

Finally, the marketing and recruitment company of the year award went to the IA,for developing a genuine marketing and recruitment campaign.

The FSCS took home highly commended for promoting age diversity, which the judges said was important, particularly with changing demographics in the industry.