BME Reverse Mentoring Scheme launches first cohort following successful pilot

CIPR and Taylor Bennett Foundation launch industry-led Reverse Mentoring Scheme for PRs

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Taylor Bennett Foundation (TBF) launch the Reverse Mentoring Scheme 2023 following a successful pilot in 2022. Over a 10-month period, the scheme is designed to challenge and improve diversity and inclusion in PR and communications.

The scheme supports progressive learning as senior leaders from agencies and in-house are paired with a PR and communications professional from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. The participants will exchange insight, challenges and experiences and discuss forward thinking ideas to encourage diversity, equality and inclusion in their organisations. 

The CIPR’s Race in PR report, published in 2021, found that many PR professionals from ethnic communities face significant barriers to inclusion and career progression with research from PR Week showing that one in five UK PR agencies having no non-white employees at all.

The launch event for the Reverse Mentoring Scheme 2023 will be on Thursday 9th February at 3 Monkeys Zero London offices. Mentors and mentees will meet for the first time and be given the opportunity to network and cross-collaborate on future diversity and inclusion planning.

Participants on the scheme are listed below:


  • Eduvie Martin, Global Internal Comms Manager, British American Tobacco
  • Ernestina Berry, Account Director, Wimbart
  • Gafar Kuku, Account Director, Outcast
  • Janelle Feliciano, Creative Director, The Romans
  • Kandace Williamson, Account Director, The Romans
  • Kiran Collier, Head of Communications - Aviation, maritime and international, Department for Transport
  • Kristianah Fasunloye, Founder and Managing Director, Astraea Public Relations
  • Lequan Johnson, Senior Associate, Atai Life Sciences
  • Nasar Haq, Head of Marketing & Communications, Spectrum Community Health CIC
  • Naomi Smith, Senior Consultant (Digital Corporate Reputation), 
  • Risha Parmar, Press Officer, Citizens Advice
  • Sabrina Lynch, SVP, Brand Strategy, M&C Saatchi Sport Entertainment
  • Samiah Anderson, Public Affairs Account Manager, Hill Knowlton Strategies
  • Shaline Manhertz, Founder and Managing Director, Exceeding Your Potential Limited
  • Svetlana Leu, Head of Communications and Partnerships, CIRCA


  • Alex Belardinelli, Communications Director - Northern Europe, Meta
  • Claire Bloomer, Director of Operations, Chartered Institute of Public Relations
  • Clare Wareing, EMEA Comms Director, Meta
  • David Hamilton, Director of Communications and Marketing, NSPCC
  • David Lucas, Head of Technology, 3MZ
  • Elizabeth Jones, Managing Director, With Public Relations Ltd
  • Jo Carr, Co-founder and Chief Client Officer, Hope & Glory PR
  • Joshua Breckman, Head of Communications, EMEA, WhatsApp
  • Julie Jupe, Head of Communications, British Antarctic Survey
  • Kate Reynolds, UK Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, National Express
  • Kezia Anim-Addo, Communications Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Meta
  • Madeleine Hallward, Non-Executive Director, Office of Rail and Road
  • Mary Whenman, Director of Communications, British Business Bank
  • Rebecca Muncaster, Communications Director, EMEA, Meta
  • Rebecca Williams, Director, WPR

Avril Lee, Head of Health and Wellness Europe, Zeno, said: 

“The CIPR D&I Network called on Comms senior leaders to take responsibility for making our profession more inclusive by creating cultures where diverse talent can flourish and progress – and the Reverse Mentoring Scheme with TBF is part of our support for that change. I‘m delighted to see the commitment of both Mentors and Mentees to build understanding, share lived experience insights, and make a difference for many in our industry.”

Melissa Lawrence, CEO of Taylor Bennett Foundation, said:

“We piloted the Reverse Mentoring Scheme across 2021-2022 and we are very excited to see it launch into its first year. This is a great opportunity to encourage more conversation on individual experiences as an ethnically diverse person in PR and comms. Another positive step toward diversifying the industry.”

Reverse mentoring is the opposite of a traditional mentoring format. Senior leaders in the PR and communications industry will receive mentoring from a PR professional with at least 5 years’ experience.

All participants were interviewed and screened by the CIPR and the Taylor Bennett Foundation from a broad range of agencies, in-house and independent consultants working in a variety of sectors.

The scheme is expected to end November 2023 and CIPR and the Taylor Bennett Foundation will continue to assess the findings and apply more initiatives to ongoing programmes.

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).

Further information

Jon Gerlis MCIPR
CIPR PR and Policy Manager
Tel: 07741 146920
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @JRGerlis

About the Taylor Bennett Foundation

The Taylor Bennett Foundation is a charity that exists to encourage Black, Asian and minority ethnic graduates to pursue a career in communications which is achieved by an award-winning PR & Communications training programme, internship and mentoring programmes. With the support of leading communication agencies and in-house teams, Taylor Bennett Foundation runs professional development programmes that provide participants with the knowledge, skillset and networks required to pursue a successful career in communications.

Further information

Monica Atagana

Communications and Engagement Officer

Tel: 020 7100 9120

Email: [email protected]