Her Majesty, The Queen, appoints Dr. Bījna Kotak Dasanī, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her outstanding services to diversity and inclusion
Congratulations to Oxford Saïd and De Montfort University alumna Dr. Bījna K. Dasanī MBE, FRSA who has been awarded an MBE for ‘services to diversity and inclusion in the financial services’ sector in the Queen’s 2020 Birthday Honours.
“It is a humbling privilege, honour and a significant responsibility. It will also act as a motivator to further my efforts in creating and refining tangible and measureable frameworks for advancing diversity and inclusion across financial services” said Dr. Dasanī
As a Hindu, British-Indian female with ties in the UK, US and South-East Asia, Dr. Dasanī believes the multiculturism she experienced in her home town (Leicester) motivated her to implore the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda when she transitioned into her global professional remit.
“I have dedicated my personal time and a proportion of my professional career to advancing diversity and inclusion in the Global financial sector, this includes greater representation of gender, race, ethnicity, neurodiversity and social mobility; I hope to encourage better awareness and equal opportunities for all” she said.
Dr. Dasanī is currently an Executive Director at investment bank Morgan Stanley. Prior to this, she spent twenty years working in strategy and innovation around the World, for some of the most prestigious global banks to include Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, State Street Global Advisors and Lloyds Banking Group.
Over the years, she has gathered profound perspectives on the D&I agenda from her International experiences; and Dr. Dasani has become a renowned advocate for equal opportunities in the workplace, shining a light on the D&I agenda globally.
Dr. Dasanī serves numerous advisory boards including the Inclusive Companies Network, Generation Success, CIO Net, Fintech Connect, The Inclusive Companies Network and Cajigo. She co-hosted the ‘Women in Business’ television series (2018) and is featured various publications including the following books: The Ultimate Professional Networker's Guidebook Volume 1 (2019) and Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting women (2018).
In addition to the MBE appointment, Dr. Dasanī has also recently been named one of the Top 100 Women Executives in the 2020 HERoes Women Role Model List (by Yahoo Finance, Involve and the FT), which showcases leaders championing women in business and driving change for gender diversity in the workplace across industries, sectors and geographies, for the third consecutive year.
Over the years she has been recognised internationally with a number of prestigious accolades for her dedication to close gaps and promote D&I in business and more recently, in the world of Technology too. These include being named Britain’s Rising Star by the UK Women of Inspiration awards (2019), one of Top 50 Women to Watch by Cranfield University (2019), being awarded 'Business Role Model of the Year' by the Women in IT Awards & Amazon (2019), making the Lloyds Banking Group Top 100 BAME Role Models List (2019, 2018), receiving an Honorary Doctorate from De Montfort University (2018) as well as by felicitation at the House of Lords (UK), at the NRI Pride of India World Summit (2017) for 'Making India Proud'.
Dr. Dasanī has been credited as one of the Top 50 Visionary Young Leaders in Business, by Henley Business School (2017), one of 35 leading British Business Women under 35, by Management Today, Accenture and The Telegraph (2015) and has received recognition with various further honours including the National Diversity Awards (2012) and the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (2010). Dr. Dasanī is also the International Women’s Day Young Achiever of the Year (2006).
While reading Strategy and Innovation at Oxford (2015), her thesis focused on gender parity in the c-suite of UK financial services. Commenting on developments she has witnessed, both before and after Oxford, Dr. Dasanī said: “Over the last decade, I have personally observed significant visible effort and investment in attracting more diversity and particularly in developing women into leadership roles.”
“The UK Government is supporting and encouraging business to achieve gender diversity in the workplace, which should positively influence the next iteration in business practices and policies.” For Business, “the most important factor is awareness,” she continued. "Over time, I have witnessed areas where this has lacked – be it about race, ethnicity or social mobility.’
“My mother as single parent raised three children whilst working full-time (in financial services) and the working world was very different then. We have (relatively new) layers of awareness, protocols and policies in the corporate world today to accommodate and support flexible working arrangements and equal opportunities.’’
“I am keen to better understand assumptions about gender, social mobility and ethnicity stereotypes. There is significant evidence to suggest inclusion of diverse backgrounds leads to better outcomes in organisations. Businesses therefore do better when they truly reflect the communities, and the segments they aim to serve.”
“The opportunities for flexible working and remote working evidenced during this year’s Covid-19 driven-environment have accelerated further practices for workplace and location flexibility as well as technology enabled connectivity – firms can take advantage of this to design and implement long-term solutions” said Dr. Dasanī
In the future, she aspires to continue supporting greater representation; enabling women (in particular) to gain the tools to lead and thrive within their careers, as well as more broadly promoting gender and ethnic-minority social mobility, and is keen to engage with partners to collaborate on paths forward.
“The most important thing for me is to have an impact and support evolution,” she concludes. As part of her role at Morgan Stanley, Dr. Dasani supports the firm’s D&I focus in EMEA and Asia by driving divisional diversity and inclusion activity and implementing different initiatives to build awareness.
She is also actively working with her alma maters to develop partnerships that will offer students from social mobility backgrounds the opportunity to gain professional mentoring and work experience in the investment banking world.
For further details, Dr. Dasanī can be contacted via LinkedIn
Press release from : https://www.oxfordbusinessalumni.org/class-notes-oba?newsid=c580ffcb-2f21-45d2-8117-73073c44b77c