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The following individuals were identified as future leaders by the EMpower judging panel. They are high-performing and high-potential individuals at various levels in their careers. A stronger emphasis was placed on their work towards promoting inclusion rather than their seniority in the business.
Future Leader: Claudine Adeyemi
Starting out in law as a state-school educated black woman commuting from a council flat, Claudine Adeyemi felt she did not fit in. The associate lawyer at Mishcon de Reya recalls meeting two bright students at a law career event, who were considering high street firms only because they could not see themselves in the City. “It broke my heart a bit . . . if you can’t see people who look like you in your dream job, it seems that much more unattainable,” says Ms Adeyemi who wears her hair in braids to dispel some people’s fear this might look unprofessional. She mentors young people in her firm’s client lounge to help them visualise a future there and to ensure clients and staff see more non-white faces. In 2014 she set up a Student Development Company to support underprivileged 16-24 year-olds: “Where you start out in life shouldn’t affect where you end up.”
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