Race Equality Awards 2016 - Champion and Executive Sponsor - BNY Mellon

Ileana Sodani, Head of EMEA Relationship Development for Asset Servicing and EMEA IMPACT Executive Co-Sponsor

When Ileana became EMEA Executive Co-Sponsor of IMPACT, BNY Mellon's multicultural network, she drew on her three years' experience as regional Co-Chair of the women's network to raise the profile of IMPACT within BNY Mellon and the wider business community. She is also a driving force in IMPACT’s intentional transformation into a Business Resource Group (BRG) that powers investment success through a culture of inclusion and innovation. 

Ileana has passionately supported IMPACT's Co-Chairs in enhancing awareness of the BRG and engaging employees in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) agenda. She is the main sponsor of a Growth Campaign that uses IMPACT-branded corporate screensavers to increase membership whilst also inspiring employees to help cultivate a workplace culture that values cultural diversity and inclusion. The campaign highlights how IMPACT offers a career launching pad and opportunities to push past perceived boundaries in a supportive environment. Ileana also regularly represents the group when engaging with clients, raising IMPACT's profile externally and ensuring that it is a leader in establishing a diverse workforce.

As a founding member of The Network of Networks (TNON), Ileana provides BAME leaders within BNY Mellon with a platform for collaboration across businesses and organisations. This relationship enables IMPACT members to network, participate in development workshops and share best practices and resources. It also helps BNY Mellon develop BAME talent and facilitates the BRG’s external reach.

Ileana routinely engages senior leaders to champion the BAME agenda by leading by example in her support of internal and external diversity initiatives. She encourages senior leaders to invest in multicultural talent through the BRG’s mentoring programme. As a firm believer in mentoring and sponsoring, she formally mentors three employees and is an informal mentor for numerous diverse individuals within the company. 

Ileana is also guiding a succession planning initiative to strengthen IMPACT's leadership pipeline and support organisational stability and sustainability.

IMPACT has grown to be the second-largest BRG within EMEA and Ileana is intent on increasing membership further. The Growth Campaign proposed by Ileana, initially an EMEA initiative, is now being implemented globally which will ensure that the BRG reaches over 50,000 employees. IMPACT is also enhancing its partnership with Human Resources through a comprehensive regional review of recruitment processes according to its mission of attracting, engaging, developing and retaining a diverse talent pool. 

Ileana has been instrumental in advancing IMPACT's external profile, successfully positioning the network as a BRG that proactively reaches out across the business and acts as a driver for change. Her networking skills have transformed IMPACT’s relationship coverage models to be more strategic. As a senior leader who energetically displays her passion for diversity, Ileana is ensuring that IMPACT is a sustainable and impactful network that empowers BNY Mellon's multicultural employees.