Harpreet Cheema, Sodexo’s Head of Digital and Promotions, has been listed on the EMpower 2021 Ethnic Minority Future Leader Role Model list.
Cheema is Co-Chair of Sodexo’s Origins employee network group and has been an active member of the group since 2016. Origins aims to encourage inclusivity and cohesion amongst Sodexo’s colleagues by celebrating everyone’s culture, heritage and beliefs and by promoting equal opportunities for all.
Over the last year Cheema has been at the forefront of the company’s approach to addressing the underrepresentation of colleagues from minority ethnic backgrounds in our senior leadership and management positions.
Cheema said: “I didn’t ever actively choose to be involved in inclusion activity; however, as a British Indian person I cannot avoid it, I was born into it. I feel that as an ethnic minority I have a sense of duty to make sure the playing field is as level as it can be for everyone, as it isn’t today.”
In the summer 2020 Cheema shared a personal letter to all of Sodexo’s employees in the UK and Ireland in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. A virtual meeting was then organised with some 300 colleagues joining the meeting.
Cheema also supported in the design and delivery of Sodexo’s first ever listening groups, seeking to understand Black colleagues’ lived experiences within the organisation and how the workplace culture could be improved which has led to a number on initiatives being put in-place.
Cheema is currently working with colleagues to launch a ‘Breaking Bias’ series of webinars which explore the subtle biases that occur and how to address them.
Sean Haley, Regional Chair Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are incredibly proud of Harpreet. EMpower’s role model lists celebrate those in business who are driving the charge for inclusion and it is great to see Harpreet recognised for his fantastic achievements in paving the way for much needed change.”
EMpower is one of three initiatives from INvolve, a membership organisation championing diversity and inclusion in businesses. Through the delivery of events, programmes, thought leadership and advisory services, INvolve helps member firms drive cultural change and create inclusive workplaces.
Founder & CEO of INvolve, Suki Sandhu OBE, said: “I’m thrilled to be celebrating another incredible group of Ethnic Minority and Advocate Role Models who are championing inclusion and inspiring the next generation of talent. Discrimination and barriers to success are still prevalent for ethnic minority groups and role models are essential to change perceptions and show everyone that you can be successful in business while also being your authentic self at work.”