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Making a name for themselves

Posted: November 20, 2018

A huge well done to two of our colleagues: Richard and Manuel. Their good work, promoting inclusion and diversity, has caught the media’s attention. Both appeared on lists of influential individuals in October.

Partner Richard Iferenta came tenth in the Black Powerlist - an annual publication of the top 100 influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage in the UK. Richard is honoured to be in a ranking which includes many famous faces. While Richard “feels proud” to feature so highly – he admits he’s “not rubbing shoulders with celebrities just yet.

So why did Richard make the top ten? “I think being a Partner at a firm like KPMG for 14 years gives you a badge of honour”, he explains. He works in financial services and used to head up financial services indirect tax globally for KPMG, but his expertise is just one side of the story. Richard set up our Black Leaders Network in 2017, he chairs the Race Leadership team at The Prince’s Responsible Business Network and he helped create the Race at Work charter – which KPMG signed a few weeks ago.

In relation to KPMG, Richard says “we’re driving a lot of changes”. Of course, Richard acknowledges there’s room for improvement but he does feel proud of the “significant increase in the number of black employees in our firm”. That definitely wasn’t the case for Richard when he was growing up. Richard says he “didn’t have many role models, other than far-removed ones, like Nelson Mandela”. Even after qualifying as a barrister in Nigeria and then as a solicitor in the UK – Richard recalls how “he struggled to get a job”. To younger people starting their careers, he has this to say: “work hard, be resilient and be excellent at what you do”.

Colombian-born Manuel, who joined KPMG as a graduate five years ago and works in corporate consulting, also made the headlines. The Financial Times included Manuel in its Top 50 LGBT+ Future Leaders. It names people individuals with successful careers who’ve made a significant contribution to LGBT+ inclusion in their organisation.

Manuel’s been involved in Breathe, our LGBT network, since he joined our firm. He’s currently Deputy Co-chair and speaking about Breathe’s work, Manuel says “what we’ve accomplished here is quite significant”. Highlights include organising an event with C-Suite executives to discuss how they can promote change in their companies. “It was a great session”, Manuel recalls, “and we discussed some powerful ways to promote change that could have an impact at a global scale”.

Manuel’s full of energy and says there’s plenty in store for the network in the next few months. “I love seeing people from different backgrounds thrive”, Manuel confesses, “I feel incredibly proud to be part of a truly diverse, talented and inspiring team.”

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