HSBC Embrace team winning Macquarie sponsored Network Group of the Year at the annual Ethnicity Awards

Industry giants National Grid plus Coutts and Pearson were the big business winners at the 2021 Ethnicity Awards, which took place in front of a star-studded crowd in London.

Held in association with HSBC UK, the annual Ethnicity Awards was hosted by TV presenter Charlene White.

National Grid took home the coveted Outstanding Employer of the Year award, beating off competition from the likes of banking giants Lloyds and Natwest plus law firm Allen & Overy – who were all in the running.

James Clarry of Coutts and Pearson, meanwhile, was honoured as the Natwest Champion Ally of the Year for setting up an Ethnicity Allies group while team Embrace at HSBC took home the Macquarie sponsored Group Network of the Year award – based on their business influence in changing culture to be more inclusive plus awareness work they did through virtual events following George Floyds’ death.

Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock was the big star winner at the annual Ethnicity Awards, which took place against the backdrop of a race storm engulfing British cricket.

At the ceremony in London on Friday, November 12, celebrities and public figures, recognised as advocates who are working to progress equality, were honoured with accolades.

Leigh-Anne won a top accolade for her BBC documentary ‘Race, Pop and Power’ in which she opened up about her own experiences of racism.

The pop star said: “This is an incredible award and I want to thank my amazing fans who are so supportive and inspire me everyday to wake up and keep fighting for change.

“Thank you for the amazing contributors to the documentary who shared their stories – the film would be nothing without you. In the words of Dawn Butler ‘when the history books are written, what’s going to be said next to your name?’ The hard work doesn’t stop here.”

In what is being described as ‘night of the newsreaders’ trailblazing journalist Moira Stewart, who was Britain’s first Black female newsreader, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award, while BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, who recently made a powerful Panorama documentary about race, scooped the Journalist of the Year prize.

Former football star turned much-loved sports and TV presenter Alex Scott won the Sports Personality of the Year Award which was presented by Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara.

Meanwhile, 2021 BRIT Award winner Arlo Parks attended the ceremony to collect the Musician of the Year accolade – with Fleur East handing over the gong.

Parks said: “This award is an incredible honour and it is fantastic to be recognised among so many other deserving winners who are all great role models.”

Other winners on the night included London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who won the Politician of the Year award. The former Labour MP joined the ceremony via video link from COP26 in Glasgow.

Founder of the Ethnicity Awards, Sarah Garrett MBE, said:

“The 2021 Ethnicity Awards have taken place against a race storm that has engulfed cricket and the end of a very poignant year. The events at Yorkshire Cricket club show why Black and minority ethnic people, who are using their platform to make a difference and promote equality for all, deserve to be recognised and that is why the Ethnicity Awards remain as important as ever. All of the winners are incredibly deserving and it has been wonderful to recognise some of our true national treasures like Moria, Leigh-Anne and Naga.”

Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, said:

“HSBC UK is incredibly proud to be a long-time partner of the Ethnicity Awards – recognising individuals and organisations advancing equality and opportunity for people from Black and minority ethnic communities.

“We value difference, and understand that an inclusive and diverse workforce is vital to building a successful, sustainable business. We are championing inclusivity, removing barriers, and seeking out views different from our own to open a world of opportunity for our people, customers and the wider communities we serve.

“It was another year of outstanding nominees — congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted.”

2021 Ethnicity Awards winners in full:

INSPIRATIONAL PUBLIC FIGURE – Naomi Campbell

TESCO FUTURE LEADER – Kemi Fajoye, Pearson

ONLINE INFLUENCER – Munya Chawawa

NATIONAL GRID WORKPLACE HERO – Sami Halepota, Surrey Police

MACQUARIE GROUP NETWORK GROUP (ERG) – Embrace, HSBC UK

BURBERRY PRESENTER, JOURNALIST OR HOST – Naga Munchetty

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP CHAMPION (ALLY) – James Clarry, Coutts

LGIM CHARITY OR COMMUNITY INITIATIVE – End Violence and Racism Against ESEA Communities

SPORTS PERSONALITY  – Alex Scott MBE

VIACOMCBS INSPIRATIONAL LEADER – Segun Osuntokun, BCLP

BP OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO COMMUNITIES – Marissa Begonia, The Voice of Domestic Workers

MEDIA PROGRESS MOMENT – Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s ‘Race, Pop and Power’ Documentary

POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR – Sadiq Khan

MUSIC ARTIST – Arlo Parks

HSBC UK LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Moira Stuart OBE

OUTSTANDING EMPLOYER – National Grid