Moni Akinsanya joined LJMU in 2007 as an Equality and Diversity Officer. Having lived in Liverpool for over 30 years she saw the role at the university as a new opportunity and challenge.
Prior to this, she worked for the highly successful diversity and inclusion programme within Liverpool City Council. During her tenure, she received the Chief Executive's award for outstanding contributions to employment initiatives.
Upon joining LJMU, Moni was tasked with aligning diversity and inclusion within the university’s strategy, addressing intersectionality issues and working with the wider community to foster a more inclusive environment across the city.
Moni has also led on inclusive events across the university with guest speakers including Chris Lube, who was Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard and Jason Arday, the youngest Black professor in the UK.
Moni has credited LJMU's inclusive environment as a place ‘where individuals are valued regardless of their background’, and as a breath of fresh air. She said: “It’s a place where I can be myself and I feel respected for who I am and for what I do.”
“I regard myself as an activist. Diversity and Inclusion for me presents an opportunity to advocate for social justice, equity and inclusivity, addressing the needs of marginalised communities and driving positive change. It’s an opportunity to do something that will lead to a more inclusive organisation and society. I always like to explore various opportunities and ideas to keep EDI on key agendas and ensure the needs of marginalised communities are met.”
– Moni Akinsanya
When she was younger, she always admired two of her aunties who were nurses and as she grew up other prominent figures also became heroes.
Moni said: “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has become a real hero of mine. Ngozi stands out as a trailblazer in her field. She took office on 1 March 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General. Ngozi is undoubtedly one of my most admired heroes whose remarkable achievements have left an indelible mark on the world stage. Dr Okonjo-Iweala has not only shattered the double-glazed glass ceilings but has also been an inspiration for countless individuals, including myself.”
Inspired by leading figures on the world stage when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, Moni has worked on many projects over the years at LJMU to prioritise race and gender equality and ensure that LGBTQ+ people and students and staff with a disability, have their voices heard.
One of the projects Moni is proudest of, is the Reciprocal Mentoring Project, where the university realised it needed to do something different that would transform the way LJMU understands and responds to the perspective of Black students who are part of our community.
After the success of the internal Reciprocal Mentoring Programme with students, an external programme was developed with leaders in the city and members of LJMU’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to take the conversation outside of the university and into the wider community.
After the success of many of these inclusive initiatives, Moni is looking to the future and what she’d like to see happen at LJMU when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion including an increase in representation (a Positive Action Programme is currently on going at LJMU to get more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds, into professional services and academic roles), addressing the degree awarding gap, ensuring diversity in leadership roles and promoting the People Plan within the university. She also hopes to expand the Reciprocal Mentoring Programme by working with partners outside LJMU and in partnership with various departments, senior leaders and different members of the LJMU community with protected characteristics.