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Business News


Disability rights activist takes home top prize


disabled people has been crowned the Future Face of Greater Birmingham at the sixth Future Faces Chamber of Commerce annual awards. Shani Dhanda was named as the


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overall Future Face of Greater Birmingham award winner, and has been awarded a fully funded MBA from sponsor Aston University, as well as winning the Future Face of Charity and Social Enterprise. Nearly 600 people tuned in to


the online ceremony, which was beamed from Chamber House in Edgbaston and hosted by Heart Drivetime presenter Gemma Hill. Headline sponsors for the event


were Aston University and Finpoint Business Finance Hub, while entertainment was provided by musical group Elegant Entertainment. Shani was inspired to become a


social entrepreneur, disability specialist and culture change agent, having suffered discrimination and felt underrepresented in her early life. She was born with a rare genetic


condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), more commonly known as Brittle Bones, which affects one in every 15,000 people in the UK. Shani has gone on to become a


respected keynote speaker across business, Government and not-for- profit organisations, as well as founding and leading three organisations Diversability, the Asian Disability Network and Asian Woman Festival. She has also worked with major


companies such as Google, Virgin Media and Viacom, and starred in a national TV advert for LinkedIn’s ‘In It Together’ campaign. The judging panel said: “Shani is


a real inspiration – on so many levels - as a practitioner for inclusion across business, government, non-profit and wider society, she breaks down barriers and helps organisations integrate inclusion into their frameworks.” This year’s awards were judged


by award-winning business coach Justice Williams, Aston University’s Mark Smith, Louise Teboul of Common Purpose, Nathan Dennis from Legacy Consultants, SF Recruitment chief executive Saira


16 CHAMBERLINK October 2020


disability rights activist who is widely recognised as one of the UK’s most influential


Demmer and the 2019 Future Face of Greater Birmingham, Daniel Alcorn.


Other winners of this year’s awards were:


Future Faces Ambassador Award (Sponsored by Common Purpose) Edwin Ladd – Mr Ladd Media


Future Faces Apprentice of the Year


(Sponsored by Birmingham & Solihull Training Provider Network) Taylor Rooke - Updates Media


Future Face of Arts and Culture (Sponsored by Andalucía Tourism Board) Casey Bailey - Baileys Rap and Poetry


A real inspiration: Shani Dhanda


Congratulations to the winners (left to right): Sabah Hussain, Future Faces vice-president, Dan Harrison, press and PR manager at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), Anna Assinder, Future Faces manager, Paul Faulkner, chief executive of GBCC, Jaccy Datta, Future Faces vice-president, Mark Hipwell, Future Faces president, Gemma Hill, awards compere, Vanessa Lewis, marketing and events assistant at GBCC and Jessica Uppal, senior marketing and events executive at GBCC


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