The Judges

Harish Bhayani


Harish Bhayani is Senior Partner of PRM Diversity Consultants (www.prmdiversityconsultants.co.uk). He has specialised as a diversity consultant, trainer and researcher since 2001. His expertise is grounded in some 20 years of prior experience working in large corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Deloitte. Harish has developed leading edge initiatives in areas such as Unconscious Bias, Diversity Strategy, Inclusive Recruitment, Diversity Benchmarking and Supplier Diversity.

Maria Coulter


Managing Director, Construction Coach

With a career spanning over 20 years in the industry as a Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager and Risk Manager, Maria’s interest in personal development led her to become a qualified personal and business coach in 2012.

Maria is passionate about bringing positive and lasting change to the industry and launched Construction Coach in 2014 working with SME’s and micro-businesses to grow themselves, their businesses and their people through coaching and training.

Maria won the first Women in Construction category at the 2016 Nottingham Post Women in Business awards and her on-line course for the Chartered Institute of Building on Ethics and Compliance in Construction came Highly Commended at the 2017 MemCom Awards.

As well as being a regional board member for the RICS, Maria is Chair of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) for the East Midlands, a Non-Executive Director on the Construction Industry Council national board and Chair of the CIC Diversity and Inclusion Panel.

Barry Cullen


RICS Diversity & Inclusion Director

Barry Cullen has over 20 years’ experience in inspiring, educating and supporting a range of people from a variety of backgrounds into work and careers. Responsible for developing unique programmes and projects that have local and international appeal, Barry’s expertise covers skills, employability, apprenticeships, and helping firms to reap the tangible benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Barry is leading the delivery of RICS’s ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ strategy, which aims to build a 21st century professional body through equality, diversity and inclusion. For more information on RICS’s future talent work and initiatives visit: www.rics.org/diversity.

Claire Curtis-Thomas


BBA Chief Executive

Claire Curtis-Thomas graduated in Mechanical Engineering from University College, Cardiff, MBA from Aston University and an honorary PhD in Technology.

She gained experience with Shell UK, followed with roles at Birmingham City Council, as Head of Corporate Affairs and Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council Laboratories, then returned to university life as Dean of the Engineering and Business Department of the University of Wales, Newport, before moving into politics when she was elected as MP for Crosby.

During her time in parliament, Claire championed issues on behalf of the construction industry and sat on three select committees, and founded the Construction & Development Partnership, a charity dedicated to bringing schools and education to the children of Sierra Leone.

Claire joined the BBA in 2013 and remains committed to the eradication of discrimination and breaking down the boundaries which preclude people from reaching their potential.

Nike Folayan


Nike Folayan is Chartered Electronics Engineer with a doctorate in Electronics engineering.  Nike is currently Associate Director and the Technical Discipline Leader for Communications and Control within the Railways Division of WSP, an engineering consultancy where she leads a team of telecommunications engineers working on a variety of projects within the transport industry including railways and the highways projects in the UK, Australia, Middle East and Africa.

Nike chairs AFBE-UK a not for profit organisation which aims at challenging and inspiring people of BME origin to enter the field of Engineering and make enhanced contributions to their respective fields, and to local communities using Engineering as a platform. Nike Folayan is a chartered engineering consultant with a doctorate in electronics engineering (Antenna Design). As Chair, Nike represents the organisation on local, regional and national levels. Nike has been the project manager on various AFBE-UK’s projects and has participated and presented in seminars on diversity and inclusiveness including as part of the All Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity in STEM.

Nike was featured in Britain’s 100 most influential people of African and Caribbean heritage 2012 Powerlist. She is also a Trustee at the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), on the Advisory panel of CareersReady at Lambeth College, on the diversity panel of the Science Council, on the Strategic Planning Committee of University of the West of England and very recently joined engineering industrial panel at the University of Kent. She is also on Diversity Steering committees for the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council amongst others.

Jayne Hall, BSc (Hons), C.Build E, VPCABE, FCABE


Vice-President CABE

Experienced Building Surveyor with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. Skilled in Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Urban Planning, Feasibility Studies, and Social Housing. Strong professional with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) focused in Building Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University.

Jayne worked as an architectural technician in private practice and local government, before establishing her own architectural design and wayfinding consultancy. She transferred her skills to Building Control in 2003, joined ABE, gained her BSc Hons degree in Building Engineering and was promoted to the position of Building Control and Land Charges Manager at West Somerset Council. She is currently employed as Building Control and Planning Enforcement Manager at South Gloucestershire Council.

She was a board member of LABC, but stood down at the end of her presidency to allow her to pursue other interests. She now sits on the board of CABE and she is a trustee of the CABE Benevolent Fund. She is involved with her local South West Region branch. The highlight of her career to date was to be elected as the first woman President of LABC, a post she held until December 2016, and she feels honoured to have been elected by her peers on to the Presidential Team at CABE.

She is particularly interested in the changing demographic in our industry as more experienced professionals are retiring and leaving the sector with a severe skills and knowledge shortage. Attracting new blood is vital and we must find ways to incentivise experienced hands to remain in the industry. Training, targeted in the right places, is essential to stimulate interest from young people embarking on their career journey. As a woman in construction she is keen to promote and encourage girls to consider construction and engineering as a worthwhile and rewarding career.

Vanessa Howell


Vanessa Howell is head of professional standards at the Chartered Institute of Housing – the sector’s professional body – where she leads on the organisation’s work to equip professionals with the skills, knowledge and expertise they need to excel. She has worked in education for 25 years and has wide-ranging experience of developing and driving standards of practice across a range of professions. Vanessa also played a crucial role in helping the government to shape the new housing apprenticeships as part of the trailblazer group and is now driving CIH’s work with employers to maximise the changes to bring through new talent.

Chris Keast


Chris is a Chartered Building Engineer, Fellow of The Chartered Association of Building Engineers, Fellow of Chartered Association of Building and Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.  Following a successful career in the public sector as a Building Surveyor Chris moved into education heading up the Postgraduate Building Surveying course at Nottingham Trent University.

Following an accident in 2006, where he suffered life-changing injuries, Chris became acutely aware that much of the Built environment remains inaccessible for people with disabilities, which has driven much of his current research.

Kathryn Lennon-Johnson


Kathryn Lennon-Johnson is an Entrepreneur, Author, TEDx Speaker, Teacher and Consultant with over 18 years of experience in behaviour change.

The built environment matters; it has consequences. It is so intrinsically linked to health and socio-economic issues that Kathryn recognised the opportunity to address the construction skills shortage while attracting the next generation into construction to promote change and create places and spaces that benefit us all. She is the Founder of Built Environment Skills in Schools and author of Selling for Entrepreneurs (Pearson Prentice Hall 2009); her next book, 'Building the Future' is due for publication in 2018.

Diane Lightfoot


Diane Lightfoot is CEO of Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses of all shapes, sizes and sectors to recruit and retain disabled employees and to serve disabled customers. Business Disability Forum’s 300 members now employ around 15% of the UK workforce and range from FTSE 100 companies and central Government departments to transport providers, construction companies, retailers, higher education providers and public services.

As part of her role, Diane sits on a number of boards including the Government’s Diverse Leadership Taskforce and Disability Expert Advisory Panel and the Institute of Coding. She is also the incoming Chair of the Disabled Students’ Stakeholder Group and in her spare time is Chair of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation.

Diane joined Business Disability Forum as in February 2017 after moving from her former role as Director of Policy and Communications for United Response, a leading national disability charity. Whilst at United Response, Diane also took on the strategic leadership of the organisation’s employment services as a whole and she is passionate about the role that good work has to play in transforming people’s lives.

Carol Lynch


Carol is CEO of Construction Youth Trust, the industry’s charity to inspire young people about construction careers and support them to overcome barriers they face to working successfully in the industry. A civil engineer by training, Carol worked on major construction projects, including the Channel Tunnel, before leading several charity and educational organisations.

Dr Mark McBride-Wright CEng MIChemE


Founder & Managing Director, EqualEngineers

Mark McBride-Wright, PhD, CEng, IChemE is a recognised diversity and inclusion leader. He is Founder and Managing Director of EqualEngineers, a company focused on connecting inclusive employers with diverse talent in the engineering and technology sectors and offering a wide array of D&I consultancy services alongside annual careers fairs and networking events. He is also Chair and Co-Founder of InterEngineering, a non-profit industry body that connects, informs and empowers LGBT+ engineers and supporters with a membership of over 1,000 engineers across 4 regional groups across the UK. Mark is Founding Member of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group for the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), External Advisor to the Metropolitan Police, sitting on their Strategic Inclusion Diversity & Equality (STRIDE) Board, Diversity Board Member for the University of Kent, and Advisory Member to the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In recognition of his diversity work, Mark won the coveted 'Corporate Rising Star' award at the 2016 British LGBT Awards and was ranked #2 in the 2015 Financial Times Future LGBT Leaders list (#6 in 2016). In addition, he was 'Highly Commended' at the Inclusive Networks Awards (2015), shortlisted for the 'Corporate Equality Award' by PinkNews (2016), and is a regular speaker at the London Business School. He has worked with many Fortune 50 companies on D&I programs and talent engagement strategies and has also authored a white paper for the UK Government on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in engineering. Mark is a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) by training with a focus on health and safety, having worked at KBR Inc (2013-2017) and ERM (2012-2013) before pursuing his work in diversity. He also holds a doctorate (PhD) in chemical engineering at Imperial College London (2009-2013).

Theresa Mohammed


Theresa is a Partner in Trowers & Hamlins' Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Team, specialising in contentious construction.  Theresa has extensive experience of acting for Employers and Main Contractors, making High Court applications and the Enforcement of Adjudicators' decisions in the Technology and Construction Court.

Theresa is a regular speaker at RICS Matrics Lectures.  Topics she has covered include termination, time & delay and letters of intent.  She is the Chair of the National Association of Women in Construction and was awarded Best Woman in Construction Law at the European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards 2017."

Raj Patel


Chief Executive, Housing Diversity Network

Raj has led organisations and consultancies in UK, Asia, Africa and Latin America. He has served on several housing association, school governing, and NGO boards. He was the founding Chair of Ashram Housing Association in Birmingham and has worked in equality and diversity for more than a quarter of a century.  He brings a wealth of experience and expertise in EDI and in leadership. He reckons ‘Constructing and advocating active equality, diversity and inclusion are the right and best ways for organisations and communities.’

Christina Riley


Christina transitioned from male to female in the workplace in 2014 while working at Balfour Beatty in the construction sector. She graduated from the University of the West of England with a Building Engineering & Management Degree in 1993. Her career began working as an assistant site engineer at St Johns College Oxford, and went on to work on projects like the British Airways World Cargo Centre, where she was an Assistant Site Manager.

Christina moved into the Planning Department and onto more challenging projects including the Olympic Village, Lakeside Shopping Centre and All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. After 23 years with Gallford Try she moved to Balfour Beatty to work on 13 schools including a new secondary school in Reading.

Since her transition, Christina has become an ambassador for the company and has given over 35 industry talks on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Fairness and Respect. As well as talks on mental health support in the workplace.

Christina became chair of the Balfour Beatty LGBT and Allies Network in 2015, and has been recognised with a number of awards including the British LGBT Awards Corporate Rising Star. Christina lead the network to win at the CECA Civil Engineers Contractors Association Awards in 2016.

Christina is also a CITB Construction Ambassador, giving talks in schools on careers advice.
Her volunatary work overlaps with her day job, and she has been invited by a number of high profile clients to speak on Diversity and Inclusion, and transitioning in the workplace. Christina works closely with Executive Sponsors on the Balfour Beatty board, raising awareness of greater diversity and inclusion in the Construction industry.

Asif Sadiq


Asif is Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging for The Telegraph. Delivering the strategic plan to drive a co-ordinated approach across the business to focus both investment and intent on the broader inclusion agenda. He is a Multi-Award Winning Diversity and Inclusion expert with a proven track record in achieving operational and strategic targets, managing quality, performance, risk and change through promoting equal opportunities and diverse cultures.

He is a passionate and inspirational leader with the ability to empower individuals and create a truly inclusive environment for all. Asif is key in implementing D&I activities and programmes as well as connecting with stakeholders at all levels to build strong and influential relationships with business leaders and influencers. Asif acts as a role model, providing governance across the business on D&I and cultural change and is committed to creating a strong sense of belonging for all.

Asif has received a number of accolades for his professional and volunteering work that include the Mosaic (Prince’s Trust) Award for mentoring and NAMP Multi Faith Award, Police Officer of the Year Award, European, the Civil Servant of the Year Award, the prestigious Asian Professional Award and the highly commended Head of Diversity Award at the European Diversity Awards. Asif was honoured last year in the Queen’s birthday honours list with an MBE for his services to Policing and the Communities and is a member of the HR Guild and is a Freeman of the City.

He is currently the Chair of the London Hate Crime Board, an Ambassador for Remembering Srebrenica, Member of the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on Hate Crime, Special Advisory to the charity Penny Appeal, a trainer for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and a Special Sergeant with the City of London Police.

Sharon Slinger


Sharon Slinger is the Director of Constructing Rainbows (www.constructingrainbows.co.uk), and works with organisations to improve their business through implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies. With a background in quantity surveying, Sharon has nearly 20 years’ experience of working in the construction industry for main contractors. She is a member of the Construction Industry Council Diversity and Inclusion panel, and the RICS Women of the Future Network.

Sharon also co-founded STEER Support & Mentoring CIC, a social enterprise which provide industry mentors for built environment students.

Sharon has won a number of awards for her work in diversity and inclusion.

@ ConstrucRainbow @SlingerSharon @STEERgroup

Bev Williams


Bev Williams has over 20 years of experience in the interior fit out and refurbishment industry. As Sales and Marketing Director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, Bev is responsible for leading the Sales and Marketing team to promote the business and identify a pipeline of opportunities and convert them into tender. Bev services the demands and targets of a £200m turnover business whilst coaching and mentoring her team. The role requires a personable approach with both internal and external customers, to develop relationships, seeking opportunities for the business, whilst providing support and direction for her diverse team by sculpting them into business development specialists. Bev is the driving force of the department’s strategic development and also sits on the main board.

Bev is a business influencer and within the Board environment took the lead in their approach to embracing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which has provided a focused drive to ensure that protected characteristics, as well as social mobility and diversity in thought and behaviour are celebrated and awareness is raised. Bev was instrumental in mobilising this cultural change within the business and setting the new direction, helping to challenge the unconscious bias, implementing agile working practices and promoting dignity and respect at work.

Bev has developed her own diverse team, 80% of them being female and 40% from BAME backgrounds. She works closely with them, educating, coaching and nurturing them whilst, encouraging their participation in wider company forums including our Equality Diversity & Inclusion team, with 3 of her team involved and one of them the LGBTQ+ sponsor.

Last year Bev was the recipient of Most inspiring Mentor & Most inspiring Diversity Champion awards.

Livia Williams MBA FIoR


Head of Major & Minor Works, Nottingham City Homes and Women in Roofing, Co-Founder

Livia Williams MBA FIoR has over 19 years’ experience working in the construction industry. She has held several high-level, strategic business and charitable roles which have allowed her to have significant impact in shaping the diversity, fairness and skills agenda in the roofing sector as well as promoting collaboration in its supply chain and cross construction sector.

Livia has a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in developing skills, career and training programmes which support employers with inclusive recruitment practices.

In 2012, Livia co-founded the Women in Roofing Group, an ambitious platform which brings likeminded people together promoting skills and diversity in the roofing sector and driving a positive culture for change. She has not only managed to “break the ceiling”, but she has also helped other women to succeed, inspire them and promote role models in the industry.

Anil Iyer    BSc MSc MPM CEng FICE MIoD


Director, Kranial Solutions

Anil is a chartered civil engineer with over three decades of experience that include transport planning, traffic engineering, project management and direction, business development, direction of operations and management consultancy roles.  He has lived and worked in UK, USA, India and UAE. 

 Anil’s consulting practice provides project management, business advice and coaching services to the built environment industry. He has previously worked for Arup, Mott Macdonald, WSP and Capita, and served over six years as Chief Operating Officer of ACE, UK’s leading business association for professional consultancy services in the built environment.

 Anil has engaged extensively with emerging professionals in the built environment industry, empowering them, raising their profiles and mentoring them through various aspects of their career journey. In 2017/18 he was responsible for steering a reverse mentoring initiative that was well received and the principles of which have been adopted by numerous organisations in the industry. Anil volunteers as a professional reviewer and auditor for the Institution of Civil Engineers, and he is involved in a number of industry conferences and awards events.