Welcome to the 21st GG2 Leadership Awards to celebrate Britain’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity and the achievements of some of its most exceptional individuals. This year, we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of Garavi Gujarat, the publication that inspired these awards, so thank you for sharing in our celebrations.
When we started the GG2 Leadership Awards in 1998, the cultural climate of this country was vastly different to today. The word ‘inclusivity’ had still not crept into common parlance. People of colour, individuals from other minorities and women were woefully underrepresented in the highest ranking positions of leadership.
Many felt their progress to be hampered by a wide range of constraints, their achievements limited by factors other than talent and their personal horizons determined by qualities other than merit.
The term glass ceiling – rarely used back then but one which we widely adopted in promoting our awards – was one metaphorical way of expressing just what those barriers to achievement felt like for so many people.
I am glad to say that 20 years down the line, things have changed for the better. In politics, business, and many other walks of life there is more inclusivity now than was previously the case. Much more needs to be done, especially at the senior levels of British society, but we can be justly proud of the progress we as a community have made.
Our awards have been a small part of that journey of progress. It is a journey we must all strive to ensure continues into the future.