A Year in Conversation With Augusta

Over the course of her year as President, Augusta Chidinma Nnajiofor will be having conversations with at least 12 high-profile leaders.

The aim of this is to instigate conversations around equality, equity and inclusivity. Augusta will discuss issues including discrimination, systemic change, being an ally, new initiatives and more.

Now is the time for leaders from different sectors to speak up and help create a positive future. It is important for the student community to hear more from leaders who need to proactively enact change. Conversations will get to the personal before the professional, we want answers to be honest, real and genuine. Leaders will include senior executives at UWE Bristol and individuals within Bristol and the UK.

In true 2020 style, these conversations will be virtual and released on our social media and YouTube Channel. We want to bring these conversations into your homes, we want you to discuss them with your flatmates, friends and family, and we want you to get involved. We will release the information of each speaker prior to the conversation and you can submit your questions to Augusta.

Standing against discrimination isn’t just about hashtags and social media statements, this isn’t one person’s problem, this is a problem for the entire human race.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and make sure you tune in each month.

Confirmed speakers


Professor Steve West CBE, DL.

Professor Steve West CBE, DL is Vice-Chancellor, President and CEO of the University of the West of England, Bristol. He is Non-Executive Director for the Office for Students and Chair of the UUK Mental Health in Higher Education Working Group.

He is Chair of the West of England LEP, Chair of the West of England Academic Health Science Network and Non-Executive Director for the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor West is a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Gloucestershire and was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017, for services to Higher Education.





Watch the conversation here


Radha Balani 

Radha’s career is within sport, business and international development, and creating strategies that yield both social and business impact. She’s worked with brands and talent including ESPN, The NFL, SAP, Legal & General, Michael Johnson, Billie Jean King, Kate & Helen Richardson-Walsh, Sport England, Welsh Rugby Union, World Rugby, UK Sport amongst many others.

As a design thinking practitioner, facilitator, MC, public speaker, voice artist and panel moderator, Radha uses her experience of strategy design, communications, coaching, and relationship development to enable groups and individuals to find business-savvy solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time –  all through the intentional use of sport. 

Watch the conversation here


Marvin Rees

Marvin Rees was elected mayor in May 2016. On that day Bristol became the first major European city to have elected a mayor of black African heritage. He describes becoming mayor as another expression of a deeper commitment to building a fairer, more inclusive world.

During his first term in office, he has overseen the building of over 8,000 homes, announced the development of a mass transit system and provided quality work experiences for over 3,500 children who wouldn’t readily have access. Bringing fairness to the city council, he has achieved accredited Living Wage Employer status and introduced Ban the Box.

He led the successful bid to bring Channel 4 to Bristol and is leading the city’s response to both the climate and ecological emergencies. Building a compassionate city, he has kept all children’s centres and libraries open and led city-wide campaigns on period poverty and child hunger.  

Watch the conversation here


Jamie Hooper

Jamie Hooper is the Senior Equality and Diversity Manager at Sport England where he leads on LGBT+ and BAME inclusion work across the organisation. He joined Sport England in June 2018, and previously to that worked for four years at Swim England where he led on equality and diversity in participation across all characteristics.

Sport England is currently undertaking a major strategic review of its Tackling Inequalities work. This is linked with the current development of its new strategy, as well as through the reviews of both the Sports Governance Code and the Equality Standards for Sport.





Watch the conversation here


Professor Jane Harrington

Professor Jane Harrington joined the University of Greenwich as Vice-Chancellor in December 2019.

She has worked in Higher Education for over 27 years and her specific interests include teaching excellence, the student experience, widening access into higher education and social mobility and improving partnership working across the business, community and university sectors. 

Before joining Greenwich, Jane was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE, Bristol) for five years and previously worked in senior roles within the university’s Faculty of Business and Law, including holding the role of PVC and Executive Dean. Jane is passionate about education and about the power of partnerships to transform young people’s lives and to provide skills into the regional economy.



Watch the conversation here


Karan Bilimoria

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. In the Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious quality awards in the world for beer, the Cobra range have collectively been awarded a total of 121 Gold and Grand Gold medals since 2001, making it one of the most awarded beers in the world.

Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now TESCO PLC (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first-ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and was Chair of the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School, Cambridge University from 2015-2020 and subsequently appointed as an Honorary Ambassador. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus through executive education of the Cranfield School of Management, the London Business School and the Harvard Business School.

In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain, and he is the President of the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA). Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. Lord Bilimoria is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 Squadron Royal Air Force. In June 2020, he was appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). In September 2020, he was appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford-based at the Centre for Corporate Reputation.


Sam Budd

Sam’s work focuses on inclusion and cultural transformation with a particular emphasis on racial equity in the workplace. She supports senior leaders and boards to develop competence in racial literacy in order to confidently lead a strategic response to tackling institutional racism.

Sam has worked at board level for a wide range of organisations and is a board advisor for the Black Professional Network, the Inclusive Companies Network and Simply Communicate. She is an Associate Non-Executive Director of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, NHS Trust and a member of the Seacole Group, the national network for Black and Minority Ethnic NHS Non- Executive Directors, Chair of the Faculty of Business and Law Advisory Board , University of West of England. She is currently supporting the National Union of Students as the interim Director of NUS UK.

Her background and career has been people focused with an emphasis on creating fair access to genuinely inclusive organisations. With a track record of successfully delivering results in complex environments within commercial, public and membership organisations, Sam is skilled at helping people develop genuine insight, and to become equipped for real change.

Watch the conversation here


Edleen John (FCIPD)

Edleen John (FCIPD) is the International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director at The Football Association. Edleen is also a multi-award-winning diversity, inclusion, belonging and culture expert and consultant.

Edleen is a British-born Sierra Leonean, who grew up in South-East London after moving back from Sierra Leone to the UK as a toddler. She attended non-selective comprehensive schools in Lewisham, before completing her MA (Cantab) in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and it was through experience of her own personal life journey that her passion for diversity and inclusion was born.

She started her career as an Investment Banker at Lehman Brothers working in Debt Capital Markets and has held a variety of revenue-generating and support-function permanent roles across the Financial Services sector including Insurance Broking at Lloyd's of London, Graduate Recruitment at Nomura, Vice President at Morgan Stanley and as a Director and the Co-Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality at KPMG.

Aside from successful career milestones such as being the youngest person to be promoted to Vice President within HR EMEA at Morgan Stanley or being the youngest and only Black Director in the People function in the time she was at KPMG, Edleen has a number of accolades to her name including being a ‘We Are The City’ Rising Star in HR and Recruitment ; a Yahoo! Finance EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader; a Top Ten BAME Inspirational Leader and a shortlisted National Diversity Award winner for a Positive Age Role model.

Watch the conversation here

Larissa Kennedy

Larissa Kennedy is the NUS National President. Larissa was formerly Education Officer and Deputy President at Warwick Students’ Union, and has worked as Advocacy and Campaigns Officer at Plan International, a global gender equality charity. In a volunteer capacity, Larissa is the UK’s representative to the Global Secretariat at Youth For Change, was formerly a member of the British Youth Council’s trustee board, and U.K. Youth Delegate to the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.