An East Dulwich woman has said that wining a prize that places her among the UK’s top black businesspeople “motivates her to do more”.
Akima Paul Lambert is a lawyer at Hogan Lovells, a prominent City law firm. She also does pro-bono work, like helping set up a south London football league for disabled children.
Akima was named ‘senior leader’ at the Black British Business Awards in the professional services category after being nominated in August.
She told the News: “Winning this award means a lot to me personally as my path to success has not been straightforward or without speed bumps. It motivates me to do more by way of service. To lead is to serve.”
Akima said in August that she thinks the awards “play an important part in redressing the balance” and helping black people establish themselves more in corporate and commercial settings.
“I feel it’s very important for the generation growing up, we don’t see the representation enough, so this award is important. My son has no black teachers, not enough black role models.”
But Akima added that it wasn’t enough to focus on racial justice alone. “I feel strongly about social mobility too. White working class kids don’t have the same role models either. I believe it’s needed. Until we have a society where young people can see people that are like them in important positions, we will continue to struggle.”
Akima was born in the Caribbean island of Grenada and came to the UK to study at Cambridge on a scholarship before becoming a lawyer.
She said that despite some of the struggles faced by black people in the UK that “we are British and it’s important that we feel British.
“British can mean different things, and different colours, different views. I like my cup of tea, I like my theatre. I like literature, there’s a lot about England that I celebrate purposefully and with intention. I think it’s very important to create a sense of national pride that doesn’t have a negative connotation. There’s a lot of work to be done but there are many things in this country that need to be celebrated.”
Sophie Chandauka, Executive Founder and Chair of the Black British Business Awards said: “”This year’s senior leaders epitomise the meaning of ‘role models’. They are leading significant commercial functions whilst acting as wise counsel for their investors, boards of directors and rising talent during the pandemic and period of social unrest. Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and finalists.”