Funke Abimbola M.B.E.

Who am I?

WHO AM I?

Welcome to my website!

Why do I have my own personal website? To give you an accurate picture of me: who I am, my why, what and how.

So who am I? My name is Funke Abimbola and I am a multi-award winning lawyer, public speaker, TV contributor, diversity leader, patron and board member.

Most importantly, I am a very proud mother to a teenaged son.

I would like to invite you to browse through all the pages on my site under 'Home', 'Why join this journey?' and 'More'. There are several pages under the 'More' section so please be sure to scroll down fully in order that you do not miss anything. Information in 'More' includes details of my voluntary diversity-related roles within the UK legal profession and beyond, information about the medical scholarship established in memory of my father, links to videos and various editorial interviews, how to contact me etc. 


My hope is that, having browsed my website, you will not only understand me better but, importantly, also understand how I believe we can achieve a collective goal of levelling the playing field and improving diversity in our society.  I have often heard people refer to the mythical "they", saying "they need to do this" and "they need to do that" with reference to a societal issue or other challenge. The implication is that the issue is someone else's issue to resolve. The reality is we are "they" so let's work together to both celebrate and embrace our differences!

I hope you enjoy browsing my site.


**Photo credit: The above portrait photograph was taken by photographer Leonora Saunders and forms part of the Athena Project celebrating influential women leaders **


WHAT DO I DO AND HOW?

My full time day job is working as a senior leader, lawyer and compliance professional for the world’s largest biotech company. 

Outside of this demanding role, I spend a significant amount of my spare time promoting, encouraging, supporting and campaigning for more diversity within the legal profession and wider business community as a whole. I personally lead on, sponsor, champion and support a wide range of diversity-related initiatives and projects, working with a number of organisations to drive change and have partnered with the Law Society, various law firms, Aspiring Solicitors, SPARK21, Speakers4Schools, INTO University, Business in the Community and the UK Ministry of Justice to name a few. 


I do this external work across a number of diversity strands (for example gender, ethnicity and social background), regularly speaking out and spearheading change on this important issue at various fora and conferences (including the Law Society, in Parliament, at the BBC and 30% Club). I write regularly about diversity and related issues. In addition, I provide inspirational talks to thousands of school children and University students annually as well as leadership mentoring & coaching to students and young professionals. A solid, rounded education is of paramount importance and I have twice served as a school governor. I actively sponsor development opportunities for my mentees whenever I can.


I am also a regular media contributor, providing commentary on both TV and the radio.


Juggling all this is not at all easy and I do decline most requests for my assistance due to time constraints. Please note that I am not based in London (where most initiatives take place) and must, therefore, prioritise what I devote my time to. I am extremely mindful of the importance of my own wellbeing and am careful not to over-commit, often saying 'no' to various opportunities and approaches for assistance as a result. 

It would be impossible for me to do everything and I mean no offensive by declining your request .


WHAT IS MY "WHY"?

My mission is to level the playing field.

I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to maximise their potential irrespective of background. Sadly, it is often only those on the field who are aware of the uphill struggle that they face. We need to empower others if we find ourselves in a position of privilege, embracing and celebrating our differences to work towards building a better society.

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences"

- Audre Lorde

I have been honoured to receive several award nominations  and other recognitions for my work which is truly humbling. I deeply cherish every single one and I am greatly encouraged and uplifted by them.

However, I want to be absolutely clear and say that I do this work for a cause and not for applause. Improving diversity and maximising potential is my calling and I would still make sacrifices for this cause even if no recognition was forthcoming. I am visible about what I do not to brag, show off or self-promote but because research has consistently shown that there remains a severe lack of visible, accessible role models in our society, causing fundamental issues for those looking for an example to follow. This is particularly acute within the ethnic minority community. 

I remained an invisible diversity campaigner for several years and shied away from the exposure and vulnerability that comes with raising your head above the parapet. I later realised that my influence and impact would be much enhanced if I was more visible. A friend once told me that "a world of opportunity awaits the visible". Since making the decision to become more visible a few years ago, I have been able to drive more impactful change. Staying focused, determined and tenacious, being brave enough to stand out from the crowd and be my own person, constantly learning from my mistakes and getting constructive feedback to help me improve, giving back to others and maintaining my faith have all been key to my success.

With that in mind, I do hope that you will be inspired and motivated to join me on this exciting journey.