CIPR-supported Xec. Leadership Scheme class of 2022 revealed

Ten communication professionals have been selected as the first candidates to go through The Xec. Leadership Scheme, developed by BME PR Pros, delivered in partnership with the CIPR, PRovoke Media and supported by Google UK.

The leadership scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority (BME) PR and comms pros is the first of its kind. The CIPR partnership, announced earlier in the year, includes membership for the candidates and the opportunity to judge a CIPR award.

The ten candidates, who secured a place following a rigorous application and interview process, are:

  • Maria Adediran, Account Director, Wimbart
  • Kemi Bamgbose, Communications Manager (Thy Kingdom Come prayer movement), Lambeth Palace
  • Sebrina Kepple, International PR Manager, McAfee
  • Kenon Man, Deputy Director of Marketing, University of Nottingham
  • Anaïs Merlin, Account Director & Deputy Head of Mobile & Telecoms, CCgroup
  • Maxine Myers, Communications Manager, Imperial College London
  • Ben Roberts, Director, Harvard
  • Sanjani Shah, Global Head of PR, The Body Shop
  • Whitney Simon, Senior Account Manager, Gallium Ventures
  • Scarlett Zhao, PR Manager, International Corporate Communications, Alibaba Group

The Xec. Leadership scheme, developed by BME PR Pros in consultation with The Blueprint advisory board, aims to create the next generation of BME leaders and to increase boardroom diversity client and agency-side.

Elizabeth Bananuka, Founder BME PR Pros, The Blueprint
You never quite know what to expect when you launch a new initiative and open for applications. When we launched The Xec. leadership scheme for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros, all we wanted was to find eight candidates worthy of a place on what is surely a money-can’t-buy opportunity. What we got was a lot more than that. We found ten genuinely talented, inspiring and brilliant PR and communications professionals that we believe are tomorrow’s leaders.

I am honoured they chose to apply for a place on The Xec. and I cannot wait to see what this exceptional cohort will achieve in future years. I cannot thank Google UK, PRovoke Media and the CIPR enough for supporting talented BME PR and comms pros to get the careers they deserve. The Xec. would not have been possible without their generous support and partnership and the wise counsel of The Blueprint Advisory Board.
Elizabeth Bananuka, Founder BME PR Pros, The Blueprint
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
This strong first cohort of Xec. Leadership candidates tells us that this scheme is the right fit for many aspiring leaders in our sector. I wish them all the very best as they embark on their programme and I’m sure they will be making their presence felt in years to come. I’m very pleased the CIPR is supporting this programme and we wish it every success.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

Launched in March 2021, the Xec. leadership scheme is a 10-month long course encompassing 14 training days, 14 masterclasses and 10 ‘My Career’ talks all delivered by a diverse range of industry leaders including award-winning creatives, comms directors and agency owners from organisations including Google UK, The Guardian, Ketchum, Blurred, Twitter, Diffusion PR, Fanclub PR and Manifest. The Xec., running from September 2021 to June 2022, is worth 55 CIPR CPD points.

Aside from the masterclasses, talks and training days, The Xec. course participants will have the unique opportunity to curate and present a special PRovoke Media event to be broadcast in June 2022.

The Class of 2022 will:

  • Be allocated a BME PR Pros mentor for six months
  • Create and host a podcast series
  • Be invited to judge a CIPR award
  • Receive complimentary CIPR membership
  • Be given £5,000 to create and launch a group campaign

The cohort will be mentored by industry powerhouses: Daljit Bhurji (CEO & Co-Founder, Diffusion); Preena Gadher (Co-Founder & Managing Director, Riot Communications); Jessica Hope (Founder & CEO, Wimbart); Claire Johnson-Tusinska (Regional Leader, Strategic Solutions Communication & Public Affairs EMEA, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices); Adrian Ma (Founder & Managing Director, Fanclub PR); Doyel Maitra (Group Communications Director & Board Member, Hachette UK); Claire Quansah (Head of Client & Business Development, Social); Alicia Solanki (Managing Director Client Experience, Ketchum UK) Chinedu Udezue (Senior Strategy Consultant) and Anisha Vikram Shah (Consulting Director, Blurred).


About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).