Taylor Bennett Foundation  (TBF) is delighted to announce the appointment of three new trustees, who joined the board in January 2021.

In the UK, Taylor Bennett Foundation has been supporting young BAME people into careers in public relations and communications for more than 12 years.  Last year, following the horrific murder of George Floyd and increased global awareness of racial inequality, injustice and support for the Black Lives Matter movement, many agencies and organisations approached TBF for the first time offering support, generous donations, and asking for a partner in helping them to address the lack of diversity in their organisations. 

Today, in response to increasing demand  and to support our ambitious plans for 2021 we are announcing the expansion of the board with the appointment of three new trustees. 

Marc Cohen, MD of The PR Office;  Syma Cullasy- Aldridge, Director of External Affairs at PUBLIC and Jo Ogunleye, Tech PR Lead at KPMG. 

Commenting on their appointment, Sarah Pinch, Chair of TBF said: “We had a large number of high calibre applications, and I am delighted we have been able to appoint three trustees, bringing a great diversity of experience, knowledge and skills to further strengthen our board at this key moment. We have exciting plans for TBF in 2021 and beyond, growing our reach and ensuring the PR and communications industry continues to stand up to inequality, invest in diversity and make real change.  We are change makers, and we are ready to work with more partners.”

Marc Cohen said: “It is a great privilege to be invited on to the board of such an important charity. The challenge of ensuring that our industry hires and retains an appropriately diverse range of candidates is no longer a nice-to-have or a philanthropic endeavour, but a critical business need. I am very much looking forward to helping with this essential mission.”

Syma Cullasy-Aldridge said: “I am thrilled to be joining the board of trustees and supporting the work of the foundation at this important time for our industry. I personally recognise the value that diversity of thought and experience brings to an organisation and whilst some progress is being made, there is much more to do to make the real change we need and I'm looking forward to getting involved and playing my part.”

Jo Ogunleye said: “TBF has the potential to change the face of one of the most impactful industries in the country and is often life changing for its trainees. I am so honoured to have been appointed to the board of trustees for such a dedicated organisation at this exciting time. To truly move the dial on ethnic diversity and enact lasting change in PR & communications, there has to be a sustainable pipeline of BAME talent and the right support from partner organisations. I know that talent exists and can’t wait to work with TBF and its partners to continue to support the next generation of BAME communicators into a more inclusive industry.” 

Melissa Lawrence, CEO of TBF said:

“We are starting a period of growth, supported by new partners and those who have been with us for many years. This is a key moment in the history of diversity in the PR and communications industry and we are ready to increase our momentum and support more young BAME people onto this profession.  I am delighted that Marc, Syma and Jo are joining the board and I look forward to working with them.”

About the new trustees:

Syma Cullasy-Aldridge is Director of External Affairs at PUBLIC, working across the business to build campaigns, drive engagement and deliver events, including the GovTech Summit. Leading the team responsible for corporate affairs, advocacy and media, she works to maximise the impact of our research, programmes and expertise.

Before joining PUBLIC, Syma held policy and communications roles across central government, including in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She also set up and ran the external engagement team in the Department for Exiting the European Union. In the private sector, she worked in aerospace, defence, security and space as director of policy and communications in the industry’s trade association. Syma is passionate about increasing diversity in this field, personally recognising the value that diversity of thought and experience brings to an organisation. 

Marc Cohen is MD at The PR Office (PRO), with 15 years’ experience working financial communications and corporate communications. Marc has advised a wide range of companies (from start-ups to some of the world’s biggest businesses), as well as political leaders, governments and NGOs on all aspects of their PR and communications.

After graduating from Law School, Marc started his career working in the City at Deloitte, before moving into communications and working at Bankside Consultants, FTI Consulting and Kreab Gavin Anderson (part of Omnicom Group Inc.) Marc has held several voluntary not-for-profit roles, including acting as a Non-Executive Director of UK Israel Business, Member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and is currently Chair of the Norwood Investec Private Equity Dinner.

Jo Ogunleye is a PRWeek 30 under 30 alumni, currently leading Tech, Fraud, Transport, and Sports PR at professional services firm, KPMG, where she is also a committee member of its African-Caribbean Network. In her seven years in the communications industry, she has also worked at some of the world’s largest agencies, including Ketchum, Grayling and Edelman; securing sector experience across healthcare and transport, and in-house experience at the City of London Corporation in property and digital infrastructure. 

Jo has long advocated for more diversity workplace representation. She chaired the City of London’s BAME and Women’s staff networks in her previous role, and in 2020 she was part of the teams that established the PRCA’s Race and Ethnicity Equity Board, the UK Black Comms Network, and the first ever Black History Month collaboration across the Big Four auditing firms, while guest editing a special edition of PRWeek which focused on the issues, initiatives and voices of BME comms professionals.

The full press release can be found here.