Dr. Funke Abimbola MBE

Diversity & Inclusion Leader, C suite executive, Board advisor, BBC commentator, Lawyer & mother

Dr. Funke Abimbola is a performance driven, C-suite leader and healthcare executive with 20 years’ professional experience.

She is a Multi-award-winning global keynote speaker & panellist, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, C-suite healthcare executive, Board advisor, BBC commentator, Lawyer, Proud mother

She has a first career in law and a second career within the global pharmaceutical industry, having held senior leadership roles within Roche UK.

More than a decade of her career has been devoted to leading THE equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) agenda across a range of industries in UK and globally for which she has become a recognised global EDI leader. Through her own consultancy, The Austen Bronte Consultancy, Funke provides a wide range of EDI services aimed at empowering leadership and their teams to maximise the benefits of EDI in a sustainable manner.

Funke has worked with the BBC, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Roche and the Law Society amongst other notable clients. She was appointed as a Champion for Action as part of Grant Thornton International’s global diversity campaign, challenging gender-based barriers to career progression including recruitment bias. As part of the Law Society’s Women in Law Group, she contributed to the success of the largest ever international survey of its kind, resulting in the Law Society’s ‘Influencing for impact’ report with practical recommendations for increasing gender diversity across the global legal profession.

She was recently appointed to the business committee of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Governance and Inclusive Leadership, tasked with driving race diversity across multiple industries.

She provides mentoring and sponsorship to support a pipeline of diverse talent and holds several non-executive roles within the diversity space. Her grassroots approach to driving change within the community includes her providing talks to approximately 2,000 school children annually. Social mobility has also been a key focus for Funke and has seen her partnering with leading organisations in this space including the UK’s Social Mobility Commission.

A regular media contributor for the BBC, Funke is a media-trained spokesperson and ambassador for sustainable cultural and corporate change. Funke has a strong established network of D&I experts coupled with a deep, understanding of the complexities of operating effectively in a large, decentralised global organisation undergoing a significant transformation.  

She has a track record of agile leadership during her time at Roche and other global organisations alongside experience of creating differentiated D&I interventions that have transformed the relationship of various organisations and industries to D&I. Her experience includes facilitating D&I meetings and workshops, public speaking engagements, coaching expertise across D&I topics, demonstrating a strong return on investment of workplace D&I by linking data to business outcomes and the ability to interact, influence and collaborate with employees and management across levels.

Funke has demonstrated an ability to utilise data and analytics to determine recommendations and reinforce key messages, global thought leadership on diversity, inclusion and belonging and effective partnering with business leaders for sustainable impact.

Her global leadership and influential positive impact have been recognised in different ways:

• She is a notable alumna of her alma mater, Newcastle University
• Financial Times listed her as being one of the top 15 ethnic minority leaders globally
• UK’s Prime Minister awarded her ‘Point of Light’ status in 2016 due to the positive impact of her EDI work
• Queen Elizabeth II awarded her an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2017 Queen’s birthday honours list for services to diversity and young people
• University of Hertfordshire awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws in 2019 for contributions to social and corporate diversity

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