Diversity and inclusion figures high in New Year Honours List 2023

The New Year Honours List 2023 was notable for its recognition of those in the technology community who promote diversity and inclusion in the economy and society.

Rebecca George, already an OBE, was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to diversity in the technology profession. She has figured in Computer Weekly’s list of the most influential women in IT, and in 2021 was enrolled in our Most Influential Women in UK Tech Hall of Fame.

Anisah Osman Britton, the founder of 23 Code Street, a coding school for women and all non-binary people, was awarded an MBE for “services to diversity in the technology sector”.

Francesca (Check) Warner, the co-founder of Ada Ventures, a venture capital firm that specialises in supporting inclusive companies, was also awarded an MBE for “services to equality and diversity in the venture capital sector”. The firm has invested in companies and organisations that include Bubble, which aims to provide affordable, flexible childcare, Spill, which provides mental health support for employees, and Organise, a digital platform which militates for workers’ rights.

And Samantha Davys, equality and future talent manager at TalkTalk, was awarded an MBE for “services to young people and to inclusion in digital industries”.

Aberdeen-based Oluwole “Ollie” Folayan, co-founder of the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK, also received an MBE, in his case for “services to equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering”. Folayan co-founded the association in 2007 with his sister Nike Folayan, and told The Press and Journal: “When my sister and I set out in 2007 to set up the AFBE-UK, we never imagined that so many people would join us on the journey and that so many would benefit.

“This recognition is for everyone in the AFBE-UK family who works day in, day out to make a difference in our community.”

The most high-profile figure from the UK IT community to be recognised in the list is Martin Read, the former chief executive of IT services firm Logica, and chair of logistics company Wincanton, who was knighted. Among other achievements, as a government efficiency adviser, he carried out a major review of management information across the public sector in 2012.

Peter Mathieson, principal of the University of Edinburgh, was also knighted. His most recent achievements include the university’s Data Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, a 15-year programme supported by funding from UK and Scottish governments. 

Among the cyber security professionals to be recognised were Mark Harbord, director of cyber security, the Parliamentary Digital Service, who was awarded an OBE. And Godfrey Gaston, lately director, Centre for Secure Information Technologies, who was awarded an OBE for services to Cyber Security Innovation.

The list, as ever, recognised the technology sector more generally. Among those accoladed were Carolyn Dawson, chief executive officer of Founders Forum, who was awarded an OBE for services to London Tech Week, technology and digital media. North of the border, Stephen Ingledew, executive chair of Fintech Scotland, was awarded an OBE for services to the Financial Technology Sector.

Among the businesspeople to be recognised in the list was Ben Francis, the 30-year-old founder and chief executive officer of clothing brand Gymshark, who credits an IT class taken at the age of 17 as the trigger for his entrepreneurialism, and was awarded an MBE for “services to the business sector”.

Others from the UK technology industry community recognised include:

Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB)

Nina Cope, lately director general, National Crime Agency, for services to law enforcement and to diversity

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Hadley Gill, senior officer, National Crime Agency, for services to law enforcement and to diversity

Gillian Wilmot, chairman, Zoo Digital, for services to business, to entrepreneurship and to the prevention of problem gambling

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Ewen Harrison, professor of surgery and data science, University of Edinburgh, for services to the Covid-19 response

Christopher McGarry, head of information services, Defence Electronics Components Agency, for public service

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Stuart James Clarke, festival director, Leeds Digital Festival, for services to the technology sector

Martin Coombs, lately the finance director, chief operating officer and senior responsible officer, Technology Sourcing Programme, and chief digital information officer group, HM Revenue and Customs

Iresh Fernando, global head, digital experience and accessibility, HSBC, for services to digital accessibility in banking

Pouria Hadjibagheri, lately technical and development lead for the coronavirus dashboard, UK Health Security Agency, for services to data transparency during Covid-19

Dominic Jacquesson, vice-president, insight and talent, Index Ventures, for services to technology and to entrepreneurship

Margaret McLennan, lately deputy leader, Brent Council, London Borough of Brent, for services to digital inclusion and to the community in Brent

Yiannis Kyriacos Maos, founder and chief executive officer, Birmingham Tech CIC, for services to the technology sector

Jennie Martin, director general, ITS-UK, for services to transport technology

Elisa Rubio, head of provisioning, Parliamentary Digital Service, for services to Parliament

Elizabeth Scott, client engagement director, Tech Nation, for services to the technology sector

Sian Thomas, chief data officer, Department for International Trade, for public service

Pauline Weatherall, digital atlas manager, National Oceanography Centre, for services to bathymetry

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