The Brokerage is at a crucial point in our existence. For 25 years we have run social mobility programmes and supported more than 80,000 young people (predominantly in London) to access opportunities in professional careers.
Despite this, we know that the UK is still not very socially mobile – you are 60% more likely to get a professional job if you are from a privileged background than if you are working class. Furthermore, we are concerned that the pandemic and its consequences will further exaggerate existing divides within our society. The cancellation of exams and reliance on teacher-assessed grades disproportionately advantaged students attending private schools and a survey of graduate recruiters found that more than half of them had become more reliant on personal networks and word-of-mouth recommendations during the pandemic.
When we surveyed our candidates in Spring 2021, nine out of ten of them told us that they are worried about the impact of Covid-19 on their future career and many of them reported having to alter (or expecting to alter) their career or education plans.
Rather than sit back and wait for these deeper divides to become entrenched we want to ensure that we are listening to our young people and are doing all we can to ensure that there are opportunities available that will allow them to fulfil their potential. While we are able to do this working closely with our excellent network of existing partners, the switch to hybrid-working and the hybrid-delivery of our services following the pandemic, allows us to reach more young people, including those outside of London.
As a result, we are now seeking to extend the number of opportunities we can offer and reach a wider network of organisations that are committed to inclusion and supporting social mobility. Our candidates have also told us that they are interested in other sectors, particularly technology and law, and we are keen to respond to this demand. At the same time, we’re also keen to continue to deliver on the second part of our mission – to change the corporate norm and create an environment where every person can bring their whole self to work – and believe that working with us, and having access to our insights as well as our talented young people, is of great advantage to employers. However, we can’t do this alone – which is where our new Changemaker Board comes in!
We are delighted to introduce our Changemaker Board, made up of four influential leaders from fintech, technology, law and executive recruitment who will be working with us over the coming months and years to help extend our networks and guide our partnership strategy:
• Amrita Srivastava, Head of Fintechs (W. Europe) at Mastercard
Amrita Srivastava began her career in 2007 with a stint in banking giant Citi in New York before she moved to Management Consulting with Kearney in London working on a variety of projects focused on digital and innovation strategy for challenger banks, retailers and payment institutions. Recruited in 2018 by Mastercard to work on strategy and business development, Amrita led the fintech strategy for Western Europe. Since 2020, Amrita is Mastercard’s lead for strategic deals and investments with Fintechs across Western Europe. With a passion for supporting female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, Amrita was selected as one of 35 under 35 Women in business in the UK by Management Today and won the Rising Star of the Year by London Asian Business Awards in 2019. Amrita Srivastava has an MBA from London Business School (UK) and studied Financial Economics & Math from Caldwell College (USA).
• Natalie Cramp, CEO, Profusion
Natalie is a digital marketing and start-up operations expert. She has more than a decade of experience leading private, public and third sector organisations through significant periods of innovation and change. This includes creating and scaling tech solutions for government organisations and developing the digital capability of third sector organisations. At Profusion, Natalie leads a team of 60 consultants, data scientists, data architects, developers and digital marketing experts. She is responsible for Profusion’s strategic direction, expansion of its product offering and the growth of its blue-chip client base. She is a strong advocate for improving diversity in the technology industry and has set up and run multiple employability programmes for both young people and late returners to the workplace. She has also established the foundation, ‘Profusion Cares’, which works with schools to bring student courses to life through practical experience and tailored advice.
• Natasha Harrison, Managing Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner
Natasha is an experienced English barrister and solicitor specializing in high-value and complex disputes and was the founding partner of the London BSF office. Acting on behalf of funds, investment banks, corporations, and governments, Natasha’s practice focuses on high-stakes international litigation and arbitration. Natasha is recognized as a leading banking litigator by Legal 500 and Chambers UK and was listed by Financial News as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in European Finance in 2020. Natasha was also recently named a HERoes Woman Role Model for the third year running. The HERoes Women Role Model Executives list celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace. In 2021, she won Solicitor of the Year at the WIFL Awards, and Legal Advisor of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards.
• Simon Lowndes, Director and Corporate Officers Practice Leader, Per Ardua Associates Ltd
Simon leads Per Ardua’s Corporate Officer Practice, appointing executive leaders within the Finance & Actuarial, Risk & Compliance, Operations and Internal Audit functions across financial services. This ranges from FTSE 100 companies through to PE backed SMEs across Banking & Consumer Financial Services, Insurance, Asset & Wealth Management, Real Estate, and FinTech with Simon leading a number of client accounts both in the provision of executive search and leadership advisory. A Director of the company, he helped to set up Per Ardua’s D,E&I Committee which is focused on the firm’s response to improving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion both internally and across financial services. He is passionate about social mobility and Per Ardua are one of the founding supporters of The Brokerage’s Young Leaders Programme.
Welcoming the Changemaker Board, Katerina Rüdiger, Chief Executive if The Brokerage, said:
“We are a growing organisation with ambitious plans for the future as we seek to overcome one of the key injustices in our society – the lack of access and progression within high level professions for people from working class backgrounds. I am thrilled that these four exceptional individuals have committed their time and energy to help us extend our reach and look forward to working with them on a number of exciting events and projects.”