LJMU reaches out to black leaders in Merseyside

In a new programme, Liverpool John Moores University’s executive leadership team will meet regularly with leading black and Asian figures in Merseyside. Tony McDonough reports

Irene Afful
Irene Afful, founder and director of Ametrine Coaching & Consultancy


Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) today launches a new programme that will see leading black and Asian figures share their lived experiences with the university’s executive leadership team.

In all, 26 leaders will take part in the scheme. Representatives from the business world include Garth Dallas and Irene Afful. A successful lawyer, Garth was one of the organisers of the Good Business Festival. Irene was the first female black inspector in Merseyside Police. She now runs Ametrine Coaching & Consultancy.

Others taking part in the Reciprocal Mentoring programme include Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson, Riverside Labour MP Kim Johnson, broadcaster and journalist Ngunan Adamu and academic and author Emeka Onuora.

The purpose of the two-way mentoring relationship is to create “open and honest conversations” about race and equality. It will seek to build relationships across the city that result in positive change.

READ MORE: LJMU offers free leadership training

Those taking part are encouraged to meet at least once a month over the next six months. There will also be a midpoint and closing session at the end of the scheme. This is so leaders can reflect on their key learning from the experience. They will discuss how they can continue to support each other beyond the programme.

This week’s launch follows the success of LJMU’s own Reciprocal Mentoring programme. This launched in 2020. The scheme saw the university pair black students with white LJMU leaders.

Professor Laura Serrant is one of the few black professors in the UK. She is also an author and was named the eighth most influential black person in Britain by the Powerlist 2018. She is delivering the keynote speech at the launch.


Garth Dallas
Garth Dallas, owner of Dallas Law in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


LJMU vice-chancellor and chief executive Mark Power, who is also taking part in the scheme, said: “The launch of the programme is in recognition of the diverse cultures and communities that make up our student and staff population.

“We are keen to build upon our work with community leaders, to continue to create a more inclusive environment. I gained so much valuable insight into the lived experiences of our black students through the initiative in 2020. 

“The scheme has helped shape our decision-making since. I’m confident that the leader’s programme will have a similarly positive impact on a wider scale, across the Liverpool city region.”

The Reciprocal Mentoring programme has been developed by the LJMU equality diversity and inclusion team in partnership with Liverpool Commonwealth Association.

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