People

People

Elizabeth Bananuka

Founder – CEO

Elizabeth is a senior comms consultant and the founder of BME PR Pros which she describes as “one person’s little attempt to promote diversity in the PR and comms sector”. She developed and initially managed every aspect of the initiative in her spare time including the popular BME PR Pros / PRWeek Mentoring Scheme, the website (which she likes to point out “had more than 220k hits all through organic growth in a 16-month period”) and the social media channels (she takes full credit for the Daniel Kaluuya gifs).

She has delivered diversity workshops for agencies including Weber Shandwick; lobbied industry publications to diversify their judging panels, speakers and commentators, and in 2019 she organised the first BME PR Pros conference with nearly 30 speakers from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority backgrounds.

In 2020 Elizabeth launched The Blueprint diversity mark and The Pros Winter Series (an online event series with more than 70 speakers). In 2021 she developed and launched The Xec. leadership scheme for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros.

Elizabeth is listed in the PRWeek PowerBook 2019, 2020 and 2021. She was also one of Provoke Media’s 15 to Watch 2020 and PRovoke Media Innovator 25 2021.

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Photo credit: John Ferguson

Lisa Yiasemides

Blueprint Coordinator

An experienced project and event manager, Lisa joined the organisation as a freelancer, brought in to support the BME PR Pros Conference in December 2019. She returned to the fold the following year to support The Pros Winter Series and then continued to work part-time in a freelance capacity until September 2021, when she proudly joined as a full-time member of staff.

A skilled writer, Lisa spent four years working as a freelance poker reporter. From Macau to Monte Carlo, she regularly travelled overseas to cover high-profile international poker competitions, including two stints at the World Series of Poker.

Her early career was spent in the charity sector, where she spent over five years as a fundraiser. Her roles spanned a number of areas including events, community, individual, and corporate fundraising. Becoming Blueprint Coordinator signals Lisa’s return to a role that helps to effect positive change in the world – something she has been increasingly keen to do in recent years.

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Photo credit: John Ferguson

Lynn Abhulimen

The Xec. Course Administrator

Lynn Abhulimen is a marketing and diversity and inclusion consultant specialising in corporate communications and events. She’s a black inclusion advocate and pioneered the launch of the Black Young Professionals Network (BYP) in Wales.

Lynn regularly speaks and hosts events talking about racial diversity & inclusion in partnership with progressive brands such as Engage For Success Wales, Natwest Cymru, The British Business Bank, the BBC, Tramshed Tech, Development Bank Of Wales, Welsh Parliament and more.

Lynn has worked for creative brands across London and Wales leading growth and change projects, organising events and managing marketing campaigns.

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Krish Jeyakumar

Social Media Manager

Krish is a freelance Marketing Manager/Researcher & Analytics Consultant with over six years of experience across the B2B, B2C, Lifestyle and Tech sectors. They are also the co-founder of Ruckus Collective, an interdisciplinary arts collective.

They have worked both agency side at PR agencies and in-house as a social amplification and community building lead. Krish is also a member of the Blueprinted advisory board, a former BME PR Pro mentee and was featured on the ‘The Uprising: Young, Gifted and In Comms’ panel as part of the Pros Winter Series in 2020.

As well as their interest in PR, Krish also has a strong passion for true intersectionality being built into the fabric of the PR sphere, inclusive of; race, sexuality, gender, socio-economic background, disability and more. They believe that diversity initiatives aren’t worthwhile if they are limited by column thinking, they need to be as encompassing as the people they’re hoping to help.

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Nyree Connell

Strategy Advisor/Blueprint Judge

Nyree is corporate policy manager with the General Dental Council (GDC) where she leads on policy development and commissioning research. In her 6 years in health regulation she has successfully led on legislative reforms to enhance the effectiveness of the GDC’s processes as well as on measures to improve patient safety.

Before the GDC, Nyree worked for the Medical Protection Society where she was responsible for raising the profile and influence of the society through strategic engagement with Westminster, Whitehall, academics and a range of stakeholders. She has also worked for the Federation of Small Businesses where she had responsibility for environmental and energy policy as well as corporate social responsibility.

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Sasha Daly

Blueprint Judge

Sasha has over 20 years’ experience working in policy and advocacy roles mainly in health and across sectors from regulation, charity and corporate. Sasha has a long history of lobbying for policy change and championing the voice of citizens and advocacy organisations, which shines her passion to challenge systems to meet the needs of all.

Sasha grew up in London and now lives in Bristol, and has always been involved with community groups local to her which represent the diverse communities she’s lived in. Her life experiences and broad network inform her views and maintain grounding.

Olivia Danso has been a Project Manager in the not-for-profit, health, education and arts sectors for more than a decade. She has been a Blueprinted judge since 2020 and she currently runs the African Poetry in the Primary Classroom programme for the Royal African Society. She also uses her Ghanaian name Maame Blue to write fiction and in 2021 her debut novel Bad Love won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.
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Olivia Danso

Blueprint Judge

Olivia Danso has been a Project Manager in the not-for-profit, health, education and arts sectors for more than a decade. She has been a Blueprinted judge since 2020 and she currently runs the African Poetry in the Primary Classroom programme for the Royal African Society. She also uses her Ghanaian name Maame Blue to write fiction and in 2021 her debut novel Bad Love won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

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Photo Credit: Abi Oshod

Henry Rowling

Blueprint Judge

Henry is co-Founder of innovation agency Flying Cars Innovation, working with charities and brands doing good in the world. Flying Cars Innovation solves big problems for organisations working in the homeless, health, humanitarian, animal welfare, and social justice space.

With an early career in strategy and fundraising at leading charities like Crisis and Scope raising millions of pounds annually, Henry believes profoundly in the power of innovation to drive social change. He is interested in exploring the human possibilities at the intersection of audience-led design, technology, non-profits, and social purpose.

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Daljit Bhurji

Non-Executive Director

Daljit is CEO & Co-Founder of Diffusion, an award-winning international communications agency with offices in Europe and the USA.

Daljit began his communications career via an agency graduate scheme, cutting his teeth helping to launch a myriad of start-ups during the dot-com era. Working his way up the ranks, he then at the relatively tender age of 28, launched Diffusion in 2008 with his business partner Ivan Ristic.

As CEO, Daljit is responsible for leading the agency and helping its clients to integrate campaigns across traditional and social media channels, and build collaboration across marketing and sales departments.  In 2012 he successfully launched Diffusion into the highly competitive US market, as well as cementing a global partner agency network to help brands implement campaigns internationally.

Daljit’s passion is helping brands to harness the power of PR to protect and enhance the bottom line, through earning influence. At Diffusion, these include the likes of Secret Escapes, Informa, TalkTalk, Hilton Hotels, Primark and USA Today, among others.

He is currently working with clients to help them prepare for the transformations to their business and communication processes that will come from the growing adoption of artificial intelligence and other exciting new technologies, as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Finding and nurturing PR talent at all levels is one of the most rewarding aspects of his role.

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Anouchka Burton

Non-Executive Director

Anouchka is an independent communications consultant, passionate about working with purpose-driven businesses, organisations and charities that have a commitment to creating positive social change.

Anouchka started her career in journalism, writing about the arts for Metro, then writing about money for the FT Group, before moving into PR in the mid-2000s. She spent over a decade working for PR agencies from Soho to Westminster, Clerkenwell to the City of London. After roles at several high-profile global agencies including Hill + Knowlton Strategies, 3 Monkeys Zeno and Four Communications, Anouchka launched as an independent consultant to focus on clients who shared the values of inclusion, equality, mobility and innovation. She now works alongside these clients helping to develop communications strategies that deliver impactful messages, improve employee engagement, promote learning and development, and drive diversity and inclusion.

Anouchka is a qualified life coach, working primarily with women from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to support their professional and personal goals. Her coaching practice is rooted in evidence-based positive psychology theory, exploring topics such as happiness, positive emotions, resilience, strengths and hope. As well as private practice, she aims to promote the science and practice of wellbeing within the workplace.

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Hashim Ali

Research Consultant

Hashim is a mixed methods researcher with experience from inception through to design, fieldwork, analysis, project management and reporting in both quantitative and qualitative methods. He has an extensive portfolio of projects covering policy areas including education, health and wellbeing, family planning and skills development.

Over the last decade Hashim has spent time at NatCen Social Research, Ecorys UK and M&C Saatchi World Services. With fieldwork experience throughout the UK as well as in Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Uganda, Hashim is very much a global researcher.

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