Bradford diversity guru up for entrepreneur award
Global Diversity Practice (GDP) CEO Farrah Qureshi has been shortlisted for a prestigious Asian Women of Achievement Award being announced on 10 May 2017. Farrah is in contention in the entrepreneur of the year category. Other finalists include the founder of Fitzrovia based eatery, Maple & Co, and financial services specialist Cebile Capital.
The Asian Women of Achievement Awards were established by Pinky Lilani, who was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2015 for services to women in business.
This is the second business accolade for the Bradford born and bred businesswoman who was also recently listed as one of 50 Northern Power Women, Power 50 list together with Helena Morrissey and Cherie Blair.
Farrah Qureshi launched GDP from her home in Nab Wood in 2009 following a deal brokered with her previous employer Norman Broadbent, one of the world’s top executive search and leadership firms. Farrah began to build up the business from zero clients, no income and no employees while the UK and the rest of the world were still reeling from the shockwaves of the global credit crunch and banking crisis.
Eight years later, having taken the diversity message to almost 70 businesses in over 140 countries, the business is going from strength to strength. Farrah has recently established a base in offices at the University of Bradford, expanding the core team by recruiting talent from across Yorkshire with a commitment to creating opportunities for underrepresented local talent to the world of diversity consultancy and learning. This is supported by a global network of trainers and consultants operating across major business markets.
The company’s customer base embraces almost every sector, and features many of the world’s top businesses and brands, including Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The London Stock Exchange, Aviva, World Bank, Dell, Microsoft, Santander, Unilever and Walmart.
GDP’s size and location has never affected its ability to win world class and “once in a lifetime” projects. For example, being commissioned to deliver all the diversity and inclusion training and consultancy for the London 2012 Olympic Games.Commenting on the shortlist, CEO Farrah Qureshi said, “I always felt that it was the right move to take GDP out of central London location and to bring it to my home city of Bradford. I wanted to make it successful at the same time as manage my personal roles, relationships and obligations as a daughter, a wife and a mum. There would be days when I would be competing with the world’s largest consulting firms while working from my home in Nab Wood. To me this proves the message which I was preaching which is that talent really can come from anywhere.
“I’ve always believed that I could get people to see that being inclusive and respecting diversity is a better and more successful way for all of us to live. I think this has been the core of my success, much more important than size or location.
“A lot of what I do starts with training but ends up becoming a top down and bottom up change process. This is where businesses realize that respecting what makes us different delivers a much better result, in fact an outstanding result, compared to the norm, which is where employees are effectively asked to leave their diversity at their door and conform.
“This award is so important to everyone involved in GDP because it shows that a great business doesn’t have to sit in a corporate office or be restricted in the way it can impact and spread its message successfully. I am seeking to redefine the essence of doing business in this globalized economy where your talent, endeavor and authenticity can and does get you ahead. Success isn’t just about profile and turnover, it’s about how you can change people’s lives and influence companies to utilize their voice to do the same.”
The winners of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2017 will be named at a special ceremony on 10th May.