Funke Abimbola, MBE
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OxWIB is delighted to welcome Funke Abimbola for our Inspiring Speakers series.
Funke is a solicitor and senior leader for Roche, the world’s largest biotech company. Her team provides legal support to Roche’s pharmaceutical operations in the UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar. In addition, she also leads the financial compliance function for the UK pharmaceutical business. Outside of her day job, she is a notable diversity campaigner, mainly focusing on campaigning for more gender equality, race diversity and social mobility within the legal profession and wider business community.
Currently the most senior black lawyer in her field, she is ranked as being a top 15 BAME leader globally (Financial Times), one of the 100 most influential leaders of African/Afro-Caribbean heritage in the UK (The Powerlist) and the most influential black lawyer in the UK (Debretts 500 list).
Funke has received both national and international recognition for her legal and diversity work and is an experienced public speaker, sharing her personal journey with large audiences ranging from school children to senior professionals including regularly speaking and campaigning in Parliament. She holds a number of board-level voluntary leadership roles across a range of different diversity organisations and appears regularly on BBC 1 as a news reviewer to an estimated global audience of 320 million.
A proud working mother, an expert mentor and sponsor, Funke is passionate about the law, diversity, education and healthcare. She is a regular media commentator, a keen fundraiser for various charities (including Cancer Research UK) and has twice served as school governor and as a board director. She founded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in memory of her father, Dr. Frank Olufemi Akindolie. This is a privately funded bursary and leadership mentoring initiative aimed at supporting future UK doctors from a minority ethnic background.
Funke was honoured with a ‘Point of Light’ award by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK Cabinet Office in October 2016, recognising the positive impact of her voluntary diversity work in improving workplace diversity and in supporting the next generation of future leaders.
In June 2017, she was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s 91st birthday honours list for services to diversity in the legal profession and young people.