BME Mentoring Scheme 2019: mentor/mentee matches unveiled

The full list of mentors and mentees for the 2019 BME Mentoring Scheme - which has been devised by BME PR Pros in association with PRWeek - has been revealed.

Mentoring: 2019 mentees and Elizabeth Bananuka of BME PR Pros (centre, in yellow top)
Mentoring: 2019 mentees and Elizabeth Bananuka of BME PR Pros (centre, in yellow top)

PRWeek UK is backing the BME Mentoring Scheme, which aims to increase the number of PR professionals from ethnic minorities in top UK roles.

Eighteen senior industry figures from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds have agreed to be mentors. Applications to be a mentee were open to any UK-based comms professional from an ethnic minority background who has worked in the industry for a minimum of six months. The application form asked about their experience and what they need to progress their career.

Successful applicants have now been matched with mentors who are deemed to be the best fit for their particular circumstances. They will receive advice and guidance through face-to-face and remote meetings.

BME PR Pros founder Elizabeth Bananuka said: "As last year, the BME PR Pros Mentoring Scheme mentees are a great reminder of the incredibly diverse talent there is within our sector.

"From a Japanese Slovakian-American performance artist to a Labour councillor, a poet to a former journalist, an inspiring actress to an inspiring comedian, a young woman who successfully campaigned against unpaid internships to one that set up an organisation to empower young black women – this group are not just brilliant communication professionals, they have seriously impressive side hustles, passions, interests, backgrounds and unique, fascinating perspectives.

"I, for one, can’t wait to watch their careers progress. They are all undoubtedly destined for great things."

Full list of mentors and mentees:

  • Esther Akinola, freelance curator, Twitter, will be mentored by David Levin, creative director, That Lot
  • Tolu Akisanya, PR manager, PIMFA, will be mentored by Effie Kanyua, director of PR & communications, Hearst UK
  • Ella Darlington, account director, Octopus Group, will be mentored by Reesha Rajani, commercial director, Golin and Virgo Health
  • Marian Diyaolu, global communications consultant, PwC, will be mentored by Dev Mistry, internal communications executive, Virgin Media Business
  • Folusho Falegan, corporate communications manager, Pernod Ricard UK, will be mentored by Sophie Parker, global associate director, Talk.Global
  • Sabrina Francis, PR and social media officer, the Pensions and Lifetimes Savings Association, will be mentored by Claire Quansah, operations director, Havas PR
  • Nigel Gordon, PR and communications officer, DKMS, will be mentored by Chinedu Udezue, director, BCW
  • Ursalaan Khan, account executive at BCW Global, will be mentored by Myriam Khan, associate manager, corporate communications, Ketchum
  • Andrea Mattis, Internal Communications Manager, Collinson will be mentored by Maria Shum, Communications Consultant and Entrepreneur
  • Anthony Mba, market intelligence & communications assistant, Vivo Energy plc, will be mentored by Julian Obubo, brand strategy director, Manifest
  • Martha Nahar, internal communications officer, Imperial College London, will be mentored by Roopa Ramaiya, head of global PR and communications, Luno
  • Caroline Odogwu, senior account executive, Westco Communications, will be mentored by Billie Dee Gianfrancesco, head of public relations, Vardags
  • Renee O' Drobinak, graphic design and communications manager, will be mentored by Lang Xiao, founding director, ARTouch Consulting
  • Ata Rahman, digital communications officer, University of East London, will be mentored by Kristian Hoareau Foged, senior insights analyst, Archetype 
  • Cherise Silavant, PR assistant at Thomas Sabo, will be mentored by Anouchka Burton, strategic communications consultant
  • Sarah Whyte, communications account manager, Brent Council, will be mentored by Addy Frederick, group communications, Prudential plc
  • Emily Wong, senior account manager, Nelson Bostock, will be mentored by Shamima Begum, group manager, communications, Adobe
  • Simba Zvobgo, senior designer, STA, will be mentored by Indy Selvarajah, creative director, Edelman Deportivo

Click here to read more about the 2018 BME Mentoring Scheme.

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