by Rachel Ogbu//
Funke Abimbola is a Nigerian-British Lawyer, TEDx Speaker, TV contributor, Diversity Leader, Patron, Board member and proud mother who was recently appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in her 91st birthday honours list for 2017 for her services to diversity in the legal profession and to young people.
The 44-year-old with a CV running about 22 pages is the most senior black solicitor at the world’s largest biotech company, Roche Pharmaceutical covering operations in the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta. “I was absolutely stunned when I received an official letter from the Cabinet Office informing me of this in early May. It is incredible to think that campaigning for equality in my personal time (having experienced both direct racial and gender-based discrimination myself) and supporting young people to reach their potential has led to me receiving a Queen’s honour,” Funke said.
Funke Abimbola is the winner of Women4Africa Career Woman of the Year Award, she won Outstanding Woman in Professional Services at the Precious Award, Inspiring Member of the Year Inclusive Network Awards, Certificate of Merit at the British Citizen Awards 2015 and many others. Last year, she was a member of the judging panel for the British Legal Awards and founded both the International Woman lawyer/leader life sciences network and the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in April 2016 in memory of her father, Dr. Frank Olufemi Akindolie while advocating corporate and social adversity.
This year, she was listed as being the most influential black lawyer in Britain (Debretts 500 List for 2017), she was also recognised by the Financial Times as being one of the top 15 BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) leaders across the UK, Ireland, US and Canada, and was ranked as being one of the top 100 leaders of African/Afro-Caribbean heritage Powerful Media’s 2017 Powerlist.
“Mine has not been an easy path at all and I still face many challenges but I am very thankful for the support and encouragement I have received along the way. My aim is to use this recognition as an elevated platform to open more doors for under-represented communities and to further advance the equality agenda by demonstrating that we are all bigger than the box that either society or the workplace chooses to put us in. I will be carrying as many people along with me as possible and continue to drive lasting societal change,” she added.