Hannah Awonuga, Barclays’ Global Head of Colleague Engagement, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is leading work on the bank’s new socio-economic inclusion agenda. She discusses why she’s passionate about helping talent from diverse backgrounds to thrive, how the organisation is encouraging change in the industry – and the powerful stories she’s heard from senior leaders.
As Global Head of Colleague Engagement, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Barclays, Hannah Awonuga plays a crucial role in building a diverse and inclusive work culture that supports all colleagues. But, when she joined the bank as a cashier aged 17, she says she felt as if nobody in the industry “looked like me, nobody sounded like me – and it seemed like nobody came from the same background”.
Reflecting on the early stages of her career, Awonuga explains: “I was hiding a part of myself, not wanting to truly be myself because of my economic background – and that’s still a reality for a lot of people.”
It’s one of the reasons why leading work on the new socio-economic inclusion agenda is so important to her. “If we want to be truly inclusive,” she says, “we need to make sure that we are supporting our colleagues from all backgrounds, all races, all cultures and orientations.”