Former Stevenage resident named diversity ambassador for top international firm

PUBLISHED: 08:27 28 August 2020

Saira Farooq once grew up in Stevenage. Picture: Supplied

Saira Farooq once grew up in Stevenage. Picture: Supplied

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A woman who grew up in Stevenage has been named a diversity ambassador for a successful global investment bank – a move she hopes will inspire more young women of colour to follow in her footsteps.

Saira Farooq has been named a diversity ambassador for a top international investment bank. Picture: SuppliedSaira Farooq has been named a diversity ambassador for a top international investment bank. Picture: Supplied

Saira Farooq, who once attended Nobel school in the town, was appointed as an ambassador for The Diversity Project – a cross-company initiative that aims to provide a more inclusive culture within the banking industry.

These ambassadors will aim to help businesses better reflect wider society, as well as promote the benefits of having a “pipeline of diverse talent”.

Saira says she is delighted to have been appointed ambassador for The Diversity Project.

She said: “The Project’s aims and values align with my own, and the opportunity to proactively campaign for progress within my industry was too good to miss.

“Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic now and many companies are looking at their recruitment strategies to hire a more diverse workforce. I feel there is much more we can do when it comes to retaining and promoting qualified, senior individuals from within an organisation.

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“Data and research has highlighted that far too few women, and particularly women of an ethnic minority, are to be found at the highest levels of most organisations. My aim is to translate this data into a practical and pragmatic approach, which companies can in turn implement to progress their diversity aspirations further.”

Professor Abdul Farooq, who describes himself as ‘a proud dad’, says Saira’s resilient and determined personality was forged in the face of adversity.

According to her father, growing up was a challenge for his family, as Saira’s mother sadly passed away when she was young after a prolonged battle with poor health.

So what advice would Saira give to aspiring young women, and particularly to women of ethnic minority backgrounds?

“Don’t define your success based on what others think it should be.

“I’m a firm believer that unconscious bias exists on both sides of the fence – not only in the professional arena but also within ethnic minority communities themselves.

“Women can be, and should be, encouraged to feel just as empowered as men.”


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