Leyla Okhai is the founder of Diverse Minds, helping organisations to enhance cultural capability and workplace well-being. Ensuring a positively productive workplace for all. Diverse Minds, enables individuals, organisations and businesses to work more effectively by understanding differences and leveraging unique cultural strengths. Leyla’s current clients include Innocent Drinks, Engineering firm WYG, Ernst and Young, University of London, University of the Arts London, UCL and Goldsmiths College London.
Leyla was the Head of Centre for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre at Imperial College London, from July 2012-April 2017. She was is in charge of overall strategy and managing a team of staff working on various projects and initiatives. In this role she is also responsible for developing the College’s working relationships with Stonewall, Race for Opportunity, Business Disability Forum, Purple Space and WISE. She was shortlisted for the Race for Opportunity 2014 award in Race Equality: Transparency, Monitoring and Action category.
Leyla has over fourteen years’ experience in developing and implementing diversity, inclusion and equality practices, primarily by working closely with senior leadership teams. She has been responsible for embedding culture change – and not just at Imperial. Before joining the College, Leyla worked at the University of Oxford for over six years, firstly in student recruitment, specialising in increasing applications from underrepresented BAME young people. She went on to pioneer innovative race and religious belief equality initiatives at Oxford’s Equality and Diversity Unit from 2008-2012. She was the University’s first specific advisor for race and religion.
Her work to develop the College’s bespoke disabled and BAME leadership programmes have resulted in increased talent retention and income generation. As a trained coach and mediator a major focus of her role is to help staff navigate institutional boundaries and ensure they reach their full potential. Leyla has also spoken regularly on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and delivered training programmes and workshops these issues in the HE and private sectors.