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The Celebrating Achievement and Diversity Speaker Series runs monthly, taking place on the last Wednesday of every month at 1.30pm. It is currently running virtually on MS Teams and you can join the team here

Join the speaker series on MS Teams

The series provides a chance to celebrate achievements, hear visions for the future and get an insight into the diversity of roles and experiences within and outside of St George’s.  It features a range of speakers from the St. George’s community including staff, students and alumni sharing their journeys and experiences and also beyond, inviting guests from across the sector sharing best practice, knowledge and expertise on supporting a diverse and inclusive staff and student experience.

Each session includes a 45 minute conversation style interview, followed by 15 minutes for questions from the audience.

You can access previous sessions below.  Future sessions are advertised via George’s Weekly and can also be accessed via the MS Teams site here.

Celebrating Diversity and Achievement speakers

Click each section below to find out about the speakers we've had during this series, and to watch a video recording of each session.  View all Close all
Chantal Salira & George Hadjiyiannakis

Watch the video of this session.

About Chantal and George

George and Chantal are this year’s Student Union Equality and Diversity Officers for St George’s.

George is a second year medical student and is also part of the St George’s Boat Club and sits on the 2020/21 committee as one of the Social Secretaries. He has past experience from his work with the Youth Parliament as an elected member in 2017, he has since engaged in activism through other groups and events. He is a passionate advocate for race, gender and LGBT+ equality and would like to continue this in his work with the SU this year.

Chantal is a second year medical student. She also enjoys pole fitness and is Vice President of St George’s PoleFit society. Chantal is particularly passionate about black activism and has demonstrated against racism at several marches and protests. She is an intersectional feminist and is determined to create positive changes for everyone at St George’s. 

Vanessa Ho

Watch the video of this session.

About Vanessa

Dr Vanessa Ho is the Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Reader in Pharmacology and Inclusive Practice at St George’s, University of London. She is also the co-lead for Athena SWAN and led on data collection and analysis in the successful Athena SWAN Silver award submission.

Vanessa’s academic career began as a natural science student, specialising in pharmacology. Driven by her desire to understand how things work, she pursued laboratory research during her undergraduate degree and proceeded to complete a PhD in Vascular Pharmacology. After completing two post-doctoral research fellowships, Vanessa joined St George’s, University of London as a Lecturer.

Besides conducting laboratory research that focuses on novel signalling molecules in the circulation, Vanessa has a diverse teaching portfolio that includes curriculum development of undergraduate and postgraduate biomedical degrees and until recently organisation of student support. Vanessa’s different roles at St George’s make for an interesting mix of education, research, and equality and diversity activities, but a core theme in her work is about evidence use for better understanding and a more inclusive working and learning environment.

Baba Sheba

Watch the video of this session.

About Baba

Baba is a scholar-practitioner with strategic and operational expertise in higher education, technology, research, consulting and project management. In December 2019, Baba joined St George’s, University of London as the Head of Centre for Technology in Education, with responsibility for developing and implementing the strategy for technology in education across the broad areas of enhancing educational quality through technology, online programme expansion and innovation, professional education, and student experience and engagement. Prior to joining St George’s, Baba held various roles in private higher education and consulting, including roles such as Associate Dean, Head of Department, Programme Leader, and Head of Admissions. He is a director at Octagon Nest, a boutique consultancy specialising in IT implementation (SAP and Workday), project management training and consultancy, and digital productivity for professionals and businesses.

Baba is an alumnus of the University of Twente in the Netherlands where he completed a PhD in Management and Governance. He is also an alumnus of three UK Universities: Kings College London (PGCAP), University of Wales (MSc Finance and Accounting - distinction), and University of Hull (BSc Management and Information Technology - first class). He is a Project Management PRINCE2 Practitioner, a member of the Energy Institute (MEI), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Finally, Baba is a reviewer for the American Journal of Economics and Business Administration and the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, while he is also member of the Board of Trustees of Ashanti-Akim Community Organisation (AACO), a non-governmental organisation which focuses on alleviating poverty in Ghana’s Ashanti Akim region through secondary education and micro-financing.

Antoinette Johnson

Watch the video of this session.

About Antionette

Antoinette Johnson started her career with a focus on aviation. Her journey didn’t lead to a job in the air but she has worked in a variety of sectors and experienced a range of roles. Her experience includes: interning at the University of the West Indies in Montserrat to help set up their library system, providing support for a mentoring programme for young men at the Bronx probation service in New York City and working at City University London as a course officer, coordinating the delivery of three MSc Aviation Management courses in London, Bahrain, Dubai and Germany.

Anny went to New York City in 2012 and turned a weekend trip in to a three-and-a-half-year adventure. She rediscovered her creative skills, wrote five books and collaborated on other creative projects. Her first title ‘The Worst Book I’ll Ever Write’ received great reviews and inspired many to get over the need for perfection and make their ideas happen.

Anny joined St George’s in 2016 as the Learning & Development Assistant in HR and quickly expanded her role to include support for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work at the university. She was instrumental to introducing mental health awareness and mental health first aid training into the staff development offering and in 2019, launched The Gathering, the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing group. She is an active member of our staff networks, the Attainment Working Group and involved in the institutional review of race equality. She has delivered talks for the Students’ Union and as an ally for the staff LGBT network, all of which have been well received by staff and students.  

Michelle Moroney

Watch the video of this session.

About Michelle

Michelle Moroney graduated from the University of Dundee with a degree in Neuroscience five years ago. Since then, Michelle has worked in programme administration for the University of Warwick, and St George’s. During her time at St George’s, Michelle has organised numerous events, from festive celebrations to the IMBE away day, and currently is the Deputy Chair of the Race and Ethnicity network.

Outside of work, Michelle is an avid cook. Growing up in the UK with a mother who hails from Hong Kong, food provides a fundamental connection to her Chinese heritage. Her favoured form of self-care is exercise, specifically powerlifting, the sensation of surpassing expectations, whether it be her own or other people’s is second-to-none. What drives Michelle in her professional and personal life is the desire to be better, through supporting and championing people, in activism and allyship.

Judith Francois

Watch the video of this session.

About Judith

Judith currently holds a number of roles and is Associate Dean for Access and Participation, Senior Lecturer in Clinical leadership and Admissions Tutor for the Nursing Associate Foundation programme.

She has developed a number of leadership related bespoke courses for NHS providers, and lectured on the joint NHS Leadership Academy and Open University programme focusing on enhancing the leadership skills of a range of health care staff. She has been integral in the development of a resilience reflection tool that has been successfully used by both students and trained staff.

She has also co -created an award-winning bespoke programme, that has increased the numbers of nursing staff from minority ethnic back grounds in leadership positions.

Her work has been recognised for two awards this year and has received a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Award and also nominated for most innovative teacher of the year by THE Awards Times Higher Education.

Lucrece Wasolua-Kibeti & Khadija Owusu

Watch the video of this session.

About Lucrece and Khadija

Khadija Owusu is an award-winning Final Year Medical Student and Speaker. She is a Founding Member and the Director of Programmes at Melanin Medics, and an Ambassador at Medics2You and the GUBA-Enterprise.

Khadija is a change agent, and a voice for Black and Ethnic minority aspiring medics, medical students and doctors as she works to tackle issues on equality, diversity, racism and differential attainment.

She has been a guest of Michelle Obama at the White House; won the Women in STEM Award by HRH Princess Ann. In addition to this, she has spoken at various national and international conferences, is selected as a 2020 Rising Star in Healthcare, a ‘Top 150 UK Future Leader’ and has been featured on BBC, ITV and Channel 5 News.

Lucrece Wasolua-Kibeti is a Final year medical student, Published Model and Hairdresser.

A former beauty queen, Miss Congo UK 2016, Lucrece is passionate about the education and the success of marginalised young black girls. She is the co-founder of Krowned UK, a non-profit organisation delivering workshops empowering young black women through hair to equip them with the confidence to succeed. 

Lucrece is a volunteer for The Armitage Foundation and an ambassador for Pads4Africa, which provides humanitarian aid and support to orphans in the DRC.

Voted Top 150 Future Leaders in 2019, Lucrece has featured on Sky News’ ‘Off limit’, is a former Vice President for the Afro-Caribbean Society and was a co-director of Tooting Show 2018 & 2019.

Lenesha Riley

Watch the video of this session.

About Lenesha

Lenesha Riley is an event organiser, currently specialising in educational/recruitment events at St George’s, University of London. She joined the institution in 2011, working in student recruitment as the first point of contact for potential students. Handling both undergraduate and postgraduate enquiries, Lenesha built up a wealth of knowledge spanning across various departments within the university. Additionally, Lenesha has organised, managed and delivered a plethora of events on behalf of St George’s, including a memorial service, awards ceremonies and public engagement lectures. She has contributed to hundreds of external recruitment events across England and has delivered a number of workshops and presentations to school and college students, both on site and externally. Lenesha’s professional practice and upholding of sector standards is instrumental in the successful delivery of all works carried out while representing St George’s, and she is unwavering in her commitment to deliver excellence.

Lenesha holds a Masters of Arts in Event Design and Management. 

Sheetal Kavia

Watch the video of this session.

About Sheetal

Sheetal Kavia graduated from Brunel University with a degree in Medical Biology in 2007. During this degree she worked as a placement student at St George’s within the eLearning Unit. After graduating Sheetal returned to the eLearning Unit to start her career as a Learning Technologist, and then later become the e-Innovations Manager, and now the eProjects Manager. Sheetal has been able to develop and given a lot of opportunities in these roles and is currently the co-chair of the Race and Ethnicity.

Sheetal has always had an interest in creative work from a young age, whether that was drawing, painting, decorating, bejewelling or cooking and baking. Being brought up in an Indian household Sheetal has always enjoyed her culture and believes this has had a large influence on the person she is today.

Roopa Fraooki

Watch a video of this session.

About Roopa

Roopa Farooki is an alumna of St George's, University of London and a recently qualified Junior Doctor working for the NHS in London and Kent. Roopa won a 2020 Junior Doctor Leadership Prize from her NHS Trust.

Roopa is the author of six critically acclaimed novels (The Good Children, The Flying Man, Half Life, The Way Things Look to Me, Corner Shop, and Bitter Sweets) published with Headline and Pan Macmillan.

She has been listed three times for the Women's Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Muslim Writers’ Awards, the DSC South Asian Literature Prize and the Impac Dublin Literary Award. Her books have been published internationally in over twenty countries, in thirteen translations, and she has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Times.

In 2013 she was awarded the John C. Laurence Award from the Authors’ Foundation for writing which improves understanding between races, and an Arts Council Literature award. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and on their BAME editorial commissioning board.

Following her 2016 shortlisting for the Commonword Prize for Children’s Fiction, Roopa's new diverse children’s series, The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries, was launched by Oxford University Press in 2020, combining her passions for books, medicine and improving BAME representation.

Bhavik Patel

About Bhavik

Bhavik is a Professor of Clinical and Bioanalytical Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease. Bhavik is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017). Bhavik is a member of the race equality steering group that recently helped the University of Brighton secure a REC bronze award in 2019. Bhavik is deputy lead for equality and diversity within his School.

Bhavik scientific research is focused on developed of novel technologies for measuring key signalling molecules within health and disease. Additionally, Bhavik’s educational research is focused on novel blending learning approaches to improve student engagement and enhance employability and exploring inclusive practices of education. Additionally, he has focused on creating simple resources to raise awareness on race equality in higher education.

The resources that Professor Patel refers to can be found here:

Jannett Morgan

Watch the video of this session here.

About Jannett

Jannett Morgan is a teacher, trainer, consultant and coach with over twenty years’ experience working in further and higher education, and more recently in the commercial sector. Jannett is Associate Programme Director for Diversifying Leadership, the Advance HE programme for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) early career academic and professional services employees, which to date has served participants and their career sponsors from over fifty institutions. She has also delivered inclusive leadership development programmes and keynotes for staff and students at several universities and sector agencies.

Since 1998, Jannett has also supported students and employees with ‘hidden’ disabilities, mainly the cognitive learning differences of dyslexia and dyspraxia. Jannett has tutored at several London universities, is an accredited neurodiversity specialist workplace coach and works strategically with employers and sector bodies including the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education and the British Dyslexia Association.

David Thomas

Watch the video of this session here.

About David

Dave S. P Thomas is an Occupational Therapist (specialism in Occupational Science), a Public Health Practitioner, and Doctoral Researcher who specialises in racial and social justice. His current research adopts a ‘race-focused’ approach in exploring the relationship between university students’ perceptions of the cultural sensitivity of the curriculum of their program of study and their engagement – as measured by their interaction with teachers and their interest in their program of study.

He previously managed the university of Kent’s Student Success project, which conducts research on inequalities in academic attainment and develops evidence-based interventions to improve students’ educational experiences and academic outcomes.

He is the lead editor of Doing Equity and Diversity for Success in Higher Education (Thomas and Arday, 2021), a book that illuminates the dynamic interplay between historical events and discourse and more sophisticated and racialized acts of violence. He is also the lead editor of Towards Decolonising the University: A Kaleidoscope for Empowered Action (Thomas and Jivraj, 2020), a book that aims to amplify the otherwise silenced voices of students of colour in the academy.

Dave is also the co-editor of Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonisation: Practical Tools for Improving Teaching, Research and Scholarship (Day, Lee, Thomas and Sipckard, 2021), Bristol University Press). He a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and member of the Health and Care Professions Council EDI Forum. He brings an intersectional critical-race-theory perspective to both his teaching, research scholarship.

Gamiel Yafai

Watch the video of this session here.

About Gamiel

Gamiel is more than an engaging, passionate, seasoned Diversity & Inclusion expert. He was the proud recipient of the Global Diversity Leadership Award presented by the Global HRD Congress 2017 and the author of ‘Demystifying Diversity’ and ‘Yemen Proud’.

Gamiel’s first foray into the world of Diversity was in 2000 when was in publishing and collaborated with the then Commission for Racial Equality to promote the Amendments to the Race Relations

Act which require public bodies to take action on Race Equality. Now almost two decades later, Gamiel has built a successful Diversity and Inclusion practice (Diversity Marketplace in 2005) working with employers to create D& I strategies, designed and implemented leadership development/Positive Action initiatives to attract both new talent from diverse backgrounds and to support existing talent to reach their potential, working on some of the largest inclusion projects in the UK.

Gamiel is also an Ambassador for the Global poverty charity The Hunger Project, and is on the Boards of Trustees for The Parks Trust and Women Leaders UK. Passionate about the Voluntary sector Gamiel has also supported the Centre for Voluntary Service Leaderships with their programmes and conferences.

Dr Karen Lipsage

Unfortunately the video recording for this session was unsuccessful. 

About Karen

Dr Karen Lipsedge is an Associate Professor in English Literature at Kingston University, and her research focuses on eighteenth-century domestic space, interiors, the relationship between objects and people, and the novel.

Karen is also part of the Directorate for Access, Participation & Inclusion, Students, at Kingston University, where she works as a Senior Adviser for Teaching and Learning. Her portfolio includes, leading the Writing and Oral Skills (WOS) Project and the Kingston University Reading Group for staff and students. She is also an academic contact for Kingston University’s Harassment Scheme, the Chair of the NEON BAME Learner’s group, and recently helped to set up the Kingston University BAME Staff Network, in July 2020. If you would like to find out more about Karen’s work and how she can work with you and your colleagues, please do not hesitate to contact her via

‘It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.’
Audre Lorde, (1934-1992), Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, and civil rights activist 


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