Member Spotlight

1st degree members of Runnymede 360° help support the network through their individual participation and organizational support.

1st Degree Members:

David Benjamin is a telecoms and media specialist. He has recently been appointed to the role of Chief Executive, BT Mobile and prior to this was Chief Executive of BT Directories where his responsibilities included the leadership of the 999 service. Prior to BT David held several senior management roles at the Guardian Media Group. David holds an MBA and a degree in European Business and has recently completed an executive education programme at INSEAD, Singapore. David sits on BT's Equality & Diversity Board and is also a sponsor of the BT Talent Pool, a role that involves the mentoring and nurturing BT's emerging talent. By participating in Runnymede 360, David hopes to develop his knowledge on how achieving greater plurality can help an organisation improve its creativity and competitiveness.

Katalin Halasz is a senior policy officer at Black Training and Enterprise Group. As a researcher and
activist, she has had a specific interest in minority rights protection, Roma rights, racism as a crime and in how racism is played out in far-right political ideologies. She studied and worked in Hungary, Germany, India, the UK, at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and in Belgium, and holds a law degree, a masters in European social policy and an art diploma. She sees the Runnymede 360 as a progressive platform to test new ideas to challenge racism and discrimination in our increasingly fluid society.

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Currently, Katalin is working on 'Strengthening the Voices of the BME Third Sector', a joint initiative of the Black Training and Enterprise Group, Voice4Change England and the Minority Ethnic Network Eastern Region. She is undertaking a major survey on the policy skills needs of BME Third Sector organisations across all English regions with the aim of setting up a BME Policy Forum. Over the last decade Katalin has worked for national and international human rights organisations producing reports, articles and advocacy toolkits, including the Hungarian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the European Network Against Racism, Runnymede Trust and the Minority Rights Group International.

Erin Hoekstra is the director of PeaceMaker, an anti-racist youth organisation located in Oldham and Manchester. Erin's work at PeaceMaker employs youth-led principles and methodologies to explore the effects of current issues and agendas on young people's lives and to use the knowledge gained at a grassroots level to inform policy and practice. Erin welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Runnymede 360 as a means for building strong links with people engaged in many aspects of the work to achieve racial equality.

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PeaceMaker works across all communities, with a particular focus on children and young people from segregated communities, to promote integration, build solidarity, forge positive relationships across communities, and collectively respond to the challenges faced by deprived communities. Erin's research interests include racial formation, inequality, identity, and social movements. She is also particularly interested in community organising and engagement as a means of instigating social and political change. Erin has a Master's degree in Post-colonial Theory and Cultures with an emphasis on racial representation in social culture and a Master's degree in Community Cohesion with a focus on the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda.

Sukvinder Hundal is a Sales Leader ITS&A and Middleware for IBM UK.  Over the past ten years he has worked in a number of different roles for IBM, where he completed his IBM sponsored MBA. Sukvinder was involved in the first talent programme aimed at ethnic minority staff development at IBM, which has led to his examination of the barriers and opportunities in personal and professional development, and impact of diversity within the workplace and public life.  Sukvinder feels that Runnymede 360 is an excellent opportunity to get a broader perspective from peers, share thoughts and contribute to greater positive action.

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Currently his role is customer facing, by supporting clients on thought leadership and most recently a sales role for Strategy and Architecture for IBM Clients. Sukvinder first joined the IT Industry as part of a graduate programme for a large US Computer Manufacturer in the 1990's, and after a few years, he moved to work in various cities across the UK in the IT Industry covering all parts of the IT job family including software development, customer support, project management, and consultancy. 

Ajmal Hussain is a PhD researcher engaged in empirical investigation of local groups and networks in inner-city Birmingham. His research interests are in the areas of cultural identity amongst BrAsian youth; the intersections with globalised religion, 'tradition', consumerism, politics, resistance and histories of 'race' and racism. For him, the Runnymede 360 represents an exciting opportunity to engage people from across sectors and backgrounds, in new ways and toward the disparate challenges of achieving racial equality.

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Ajmal currently works as a Research Associate within the Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Language and Diversity (InterLanD), where he is concerned with combining his experiences and research interests on current and emerging areas of social and public policy. He has helped shape InterLanD's research agenda to focus on issues of 'race' and equality as they play out today in locally specific ways. With over ten years of public sector experience in developing and evaluating social, economic and regeneration policy, Ajmal has led and contributed to a number of research studies across a number of functions within central and local government including Overview and Scrutiny, Executive, Local Strategic Partnerships and the Third Sector.

Malcolm James is a PhD student at Department of Sociology, London School of Economics, a Fellow of Goldsmiths College, University of London and a voluntary youth worker. His current research, based around three East London youth clubs, explores how young people and new 'strangers' make their everyday lives in the inner city and is based on long-term ethnographic work using both highly participatory research methods and youth and community work. Malcolm hopes that Runnymede 360 will offer a means for furthering collective work and engaging with contemporary concerns of 'race' and racism, migration and xenophobia, young people and structural inequality.

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Over the last decade Malcolm has published research with the Baring Foundation, the Runnymede Trust and the Community Development Foundation, and recently he has co-curated an ESRC and COMPAS (Oxford University) art exhibition on experiences of migration. Currently Malcolm is developing a number of collaborative academic projects, papers and public events on migration, xenophobia, 'race', ethnicity, interculturalism and post-colonial studies; such as through his editorial responsibilities for the online journal Critical Contemporary Culture.

Arjumand Kazmi is a head of policy at Voice4Change England. She has a specific interest in influencing government policies with a focus on participation and engagement of black and minority ethnic (BME) third sector groups. She believes that institutional racism prevents the BME third sector to effectively engage and influence public polices denying them a fair and equal opportunity. She sees the Runnymede 360 as a unique and empowering opportunity to build a shared understanding of new forms of racism, against individuals and organisations - a platform for a collective deliberation on challenges and possible solutions.

Read more about Arjumand

At Voice4Change England, Arjumand has successfully facilitated a third sector campaign against government's cohesion guidance for funders which recommended that funding for single identity groups should only be funded by exception. Arjumand has previously worked for Voice East Midland, regional BME third sector organisation in a policy and research role providing capacity building support to locally based community organisations in Nottingham and worked to support asylum seekers in Warwickshire. In Pakistan she has worked for non profit organisations championing rights for women and children and also worked on parliamentary capacity building programme to support parliamentarians to gain better understanding of democratic theory and practice. Arjumand holds a masters degree in politics and an LLM in law in development.


Debbie Pippard joins Barrow Cadbury Trust on 17 May as its Head of Programmes.  The Barrow Cadbury Trust is a leading grant-maker in the field of social justice. Prior to joining the Trust, Debbie had seven years experience of grant-making with the Big Lottery Fund and one of its legacy organisations, the Community Fund. She also has experience of running a medium sized voluntary organisation and was a general manager in the NHS.  She has been a campaigner, community activist and researcher.  With a broad interest in equalities, particularly around race, gender and disability, she sees Runnymede 360 as a unique opportunity to learn from and contribute to new thinking about challenging injustice.


Naaz Rashid is a PhD researcher based in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. where she is working on the intersections of 'race', gender and religion. Her research focuses specifically on how "Muslim women" are represented or constructed through UK social policy discourses and seeks to explore the relationship between policy and practice. Passionate about challenging racism and working for racial justice, Naaz feels that Runnymede 360 represents a great opportunity to bring together diverse voices from different sectors, with different experiences and areas of expertise in order to bring about positive change.

Read more about Naaz

Prior to embarking on a PhD, Naaz worked for over 10 years in the public sector gaining valuable experience of central government in roles ranging from policy development and implementation, publicity and marketing, and designing and managing policy reviews and research projects, and in policy areas from education to telecoms regulation. Her background working with Ministers, universities, local government and the business sector underlies her academic interest in looking at the wider implications of policy - beyond narrowly defined targets - on the people it is designed to assist. More recently while at LSE, Naaz has organised departmental and public seminars and discussions.


Jessica Mai Sims is a research and policy analyst at the Runnymede Trust working on a range of research projects including less visible minority ethnic groups in the UK, needs and experiences of mixed-race/heritage people, oral histories, and good practice in integrating new migrants and supporting BME parents in supporting their children's education. Her dual role at Runnymede includes coordinating the UK work for Cities of Migration and Runnymede 360. She hopes Runnymede 360 will be a dynamic network where members can develop and share their strengths, experience and passion for race equality.

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At Runnymede, Jessica has gained experience developing, implementing and managing research projects, local and central government on policy consultation, and organizing seminars and events bringing together civil servants, community organizations, practitioners and academics. Before Runnymede 360, her passion for networking and organizing was directed at Runnymede's Academic Forum, UK Vietnamese Network Standing Committee and the London Vietnamese Language and Culture Meet-up Group. Jessica holds a Master's degree in Nationalism and Ethnicity from the London School of Economics.