Today, Sodexo, a leading global services company, announced that Raj Verma, Global Senior Vice President, Human Resources has been listed as an EMpower Executive 2019. He achieved a ranking of 44 of 100.

EMpower is the initiative of INvolve, a membership organisation which champions diversity and inclusion in business. It consists of three initiatives; EMpower, OUTstanding and HERoes, working across ethnic minority, LGBT+ and gender diversity respectively. Each celebrates business leaders and future leaders who are pioneering change for diversity and inclusion. 

Raj, who is also Sodexo Global Executive Sponsor for Local Minorities Cultures & Origins, joins a list of 100 senior people from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background who are leading by example and removing barriers on the path to success for ethnic minority employees. A British born Sikh, Raj was Sodexo’s first ethnic minority global senior vice president in human resources and continues to be very visible across the organisation. He regularly presents at conferences and panels and is a member of Sodexo’s Culture & Origins Advisory Board, leading the workstream on local minorities. He encouraged Sodexo to sign up to the EMpower Ethnic Pay Audit and sits on the steering committee of the Warwick University Business School Mentoring programme. He seeks to provide visibility at grassroots level, so that ethnic minority leaders are not seen as unusual.

Raj Verma, Sodexo Global Senior Vice President, Human Resources, said of the listing: “It is a great privilege to be named alongside senior BAME leaders who are making a difference to businesses across the UK and beyond. Initiatives such as the EMpower list shine a spotlight upon the expertise of BAME leaders who are often under-represented. Their success and hard work is an inspiration to others and challenges perceptions of BAME talent. They show the leaders of tomorrow that, while barriers do still exist, they are being broken down and can be overcome."

“The hard work continues after the publication of lists like these, when we can use them to reach out to the BAME community and beyond to show the opportunities available." 

Founder & CEO of EMPower, Suki Sandhu OBE, stated: “In 2019, it’s horrific that we’re still seeing fewer opportunities for ethnic minority employees and people of colour, and alarming ethnicity pay gaps across businesses. Each year, we create our Role Model Lists to celebrate incredible individuals and businesses who are working to drive ethnic diversity and empowerment in workplaces across the globe. Role modelling is fundamental to create more diverse and inclusive organisations, and everyone who has featured on this year’s Lists is using their success to inspire the next generation of ethnic minority employees and future leaders."

"By working collectively with our annual Role Model Lists we hope to create a level playing field for minorities across the globe.”

Sodexo has 460,000 employees of 134 nationalities across 72 countries. Its 100 million daily consumers demand a global cultural mindset and business approach. The company has a commitment to each of its countries being engaged in partnerships to empower minority communities (as applicable for each country) by 2025. Inclusion is promoted across local minorities, religions, migrants and refugees.



Raj Verma, Sodexo Global Senior Vice President, Human Resources, and Global Executive Sponsor for Local Minorities Cultures & Origins

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