Stevenage scientist announced as finalist in Black British Business Awards

Esther Odekunle, who works for GSK in Stevenage, has been shortlisted in the Black British Business Awards

Esther Odekunle, who works for GSK in Stevenage, has been shortlisted in the Black British Business Awards - Credit: BLJ

A senior scientist at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage has been shortlisted in the 2021 Black British Business Awards.

Esther Odekunle, who works in antibody selections and engineering, was shortlisted for her commitment to communicating science and engaging the public through social media, which has enabled her to gain a vast online audience and be recognised as a role model within the scientific community.

Additionally, Esther is a prominent advocate for diversity and inclusion in the scientific community and has written articles published in scientific journals on dismantling systemic racism.

Esther said: “To me, being a BBB Awards finalist means there's a place for scientists to have a global impact that extends beyond the lab or our immediate institutions.

"We can use 'non-traditional' platforms such as social media to engage with the wider community and therefore build a legacy of accessible science, inclusivity, and trust.

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"Winning an award would be a great way to get recognition for my efforts, but more importantly it will encourage and inspire other scientists who are looking to have an impact and influence change through unconventional means."

Esther is among a shortlist of 39 Black professionals from across the UK, who were selected both for their personal achievements and for the work they are doing to defy stereotypes and shape the business world.

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When asked about the highlights of her career so far, Esther said: “My first career highlight would be successfully transitioning from academia into industry, and using my skills in a way that may one day directly impact patients.

"Another highlight would be how I have established an international scientific profile online and used it to provide community, communicate science, and inspire the next generation of scientists.

"My final highlight would be how through advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, much needed conversations and commitments to action from individuals and organisations have been facilitated."

Winners for each category will be revealed in a virtual ceremony on October 7.

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