Vincent Egunlae, Audit Associate at leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP, has been named a Future Leader on The EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model List 2020 which showcases individuals who are breaking down barriers at work and working hard to smash the ceiling for ethnic minorities.
Since joining Grant Thornton in 2018 Vincent pioneered the firm’s first Ethnicity Network and has become a leading voice in the firm’s inclusion and diversity agenda. As part of his ongoing role in furthering the Ethnicity Network’s objectives he is co-leading a ‘reverse mentor’ programme, grouping partners with people from under-represented groups and is a driving force behind the firm’s Black History Month campaigns. Vincent has also played a crucial role in driving the strategy behind the collection and interpretation of data to inform the BAME strand of the firm’s inclusion and diversity strategy. To better understand the nuances behind the firm’s ethnicity pay gap, the firm’s Ethnicity Network recently partnered with Cranfield Business School for a study which surveyed c. 200 Grant Thornton people.
Vincent is a respected advocate for the benefits of inclusion and diversity both inside and outside the firm and has been instrumental in building relationships with external organisations such as Leaders Unlocked, ICAEW, NewGen Accountants and Black Young Professionals, which introduce BAME students from low socio-economic backgrounds to accountancy. He is a director and Diversity Champion for the Chartered Accountants Student Society, which improves the wellbeing of student accountants in London and is on the FinBiz2030 Taskforce, which aims to unite the finance and business community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Vincent is the co-founder of a Not for Profit called ‘The Open Private School’ which seeks to create intergenerational mentorship programmes, partnering mentors at the top of professional services with young adults from low-performing schools in London and he sits on the Steering Committee for TNON, a forum for sharing best practice and a support community for the leaders of employee networks.
“In joining the accountancy profession, I knew that I was going to have to work hard to complete my professional qualifications and succeed in my role. Whilst I had realised the lack of representation, I did not see it as ‘my station’ to try and fix it. I was inspired to take a bolder position after hearing Adaobi Adibe speak at an event hosted by Man Group. Adaobi is a young female professional who has achieved such an incredible amount, but what was most impressive was her conviction. She spoke about the importance of bringing your whole self to work, and how this can help pave the way for others to do the same. I realised that I had been making excuses.
“It was then that I decided that I needed to embody the change that I wish to see in my company and the world, and ensure that other young black men wouldn’t feel the same pressure to create change that I do.”
Robert Hannah, Partner and Strategic Leadership Team sponsor of Grant Thornton’s Ethnicity Strategy, said:
“We’re thrilled that Vincent’s hard work and dedication to breaking down barriers and improving inclusion and diversity within our firm has now been recognised, not only internally but externally. Vincent has played a significant part in moving our Ethnicity Strategy forward, through pioneering initiatives such as ‘reverse mentoring’ and building new relationships for the firm. He brings an energy and a passion to his role within the Ethnicity Group that has emboldened those of us around him to be more ambitious.
“Vincent is committed to making a difference, incredibly articulate when communicating complex issues and takes a thoughtful and measured approach to everything he does. He is a true leader and we are incredibly proud of his achievement.”