Liverpool leaders share learnings from Reciprocal Mentoring

Senior Black and ethnic minority leaders from across the city and LJMU’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT), reunited at an event this week to share their learnings from the Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring project. 

Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring project

The project, which began 14 months ago, saw leaders from across LJMU’s ELT paired with Black and ethnic minority Liverpool city leaders, to share their lived experiences and inform policy and decision making at the university and beyond. 

At the final event, pairings shared their learnings from over the past year, with guest speaker, historian and broadcaster, Professor David Olusoga OBE, also speaking at the event.  

The pairings for the Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring Project: 

  • Mark Power, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive with Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool and Riverside and Joanne Anderson, former Mayor of Liverpool 

  • Tina Purkis, Executive Director of Human Resources with Lorna Rogers, Assistant Director of Mayoral Programmes at LCR Combined Authority     

  • Clare Milsom, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer with Tracey Gore, Chief Executive of Steve Biko Housing and Chair of Liverpool’s Race Equality Task Force  

  • Phil Vickerman, Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Experience with Shazney Spence, Founder of EQuanimity Lifestyle & Success Coaching Ltd  

  • Laura Bishop, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Science with Monica Mwanje, Founder and MD of MM Creative Solutions  

  • Joe Yates, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies with Paul Amann, Principal Officer, Employment and Skills at Liverpool City Region & Founder of Kop Out and Irene Afful, Ametrine Coaching and Consultancy Ltd., the first Black, female inspector in the history of Merseyside Police. 

  • Tim Nichol, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Business and Law with Ngunan Adamu, BBC Radio Merseyside Presenter and Producer and Founder and CEO of iWoman  

  • Ndy Ekere, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Engineering and Technology with Simone Roche, Founder and CEO of Northern Power Women  

  • Keith George, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange with Emeka Onuora, Race Equality Project Manager and Journalist  

  • Raphaela Kane, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Health with Ayo Barley, Managing Director, Bakare Barley Ltd      

  • Maria Burquest, University Secretary and General Counsel with Hodan Elmi, Member of MP Kim Johnson’s Team (Liverpool)  

  • Hannah Argo, Finance Director with Garth Dallas, Chair of the Liverpool Commonwealth Association, Director of Dallas Consultancy 

The Reciprocal Mentoring Programme began in 2019 as a small pilot between LJMU students and LJMU senior leaders, with the aim to transform the way the university understands and responds to the perspective of Black students within its community. 

After the success of the internal Reciprocal Mentoring Programme, the external programme was developed with leaders in the city, to take the conversation outside of the university and into the wider community.  

LJMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark Power, said: 

“It’s been over a year since we launched the Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring project and it's something the other leaders at LJMU and I, have been wholeheartedly committed and engaged with. I’d like to thank the Black and ethnic minority leaders from across the Liverpool City Region, for not only taking part in the project but for having real, open and honest conversations.” 

Tina Purkis, LJMU Executive Director, Human Resources said:  

“We are a university that prides itself on working with its Liverpool communities and this program is a fantastic example of co-created change. I believe positive change starts with us, and it’s important for colleagues in senior roles to be at the forefront of that change. I am so pleased we have been able to collaborate with the community over the past 14 months and this is only the start of something bigger, to make a real difference to the lives of people in Liverpool and beyond.” 

Labour MP for Liverpool and Merseyside, Kim Johnson, one of the Liverpool leaders who took part in the project, said:  

“I really welcome the fact that Liverpool John Moores University has set up the scheme. It’s been really useful, not only in my role as the first Black MP in the city but my experience as a Black woman and someone working within the city, understanding racism and the impact that has. It’s been really positive.” 

Moni Akinsanya, LJMU Associate Director, Diversity and Inclusion, said:

“Tonight represents the formal end of the scheme, but the conversations and the collaboration will carry on beyond this evening. We have already started working on a few projects with colleagues such as mentoring opportunities for our students and finding ways in which we can share our expertise with the wider community. I’d like to thank everyone for taking part.” 

Keynote Speaker, Professor David Olusoga OBE

Guest speaker, historian, broadcaster and presenter, Professor David Olusoga OBE was the keynote speaker at the event. He discussed racial hierarchy, structural racism, cultural stereotypes, and racism that existed in WW2 to the healthcare system today. He also highlighted the importance of conversations about race when it comes to history and the curriculum.  

David said: “It’s hard to talk about the journey we’ve got ahead without looking at the history of how we’ve got here.” Leaders then shared their own experiences during David's Q&A, in which he answered further questions about allyship and self awareness.

Find out more about the Reciprocal Mentoring Programme at LJMU

As the Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring project comes to an end, LJMU will be sharing the experiences and lessons learnt with the wider LJMU community.  

You can find out more information about the Reciprocal Mentoring Programme here.  



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