Welcome to Epoc
Launched in 2021, EPOC (Empowering People of Colour) is a new solution to an age-old problem: the lack of diversity on the UK’s private, public and not-for-profit Boards. We know that talented executives of colour already exist — our mission is to see them in leadership positions everywhere. We believe if you can see it, you can be it.
But first, we need to be seen. EPOC is a peer-to-peer network that puts high-potential leaders of colour seeking Board opportunities in front of Chairs and the key decision-makers looking to create more inclusive organisations.
Companies and non-profits know that diverse Boards benefit from diverse perspectives, and that complacency has a cost. If they want to improve corporate performance today, and continue to succeed in the world of tomorrow, action needs to be taken to be more representative, so Boards reflect our society.
Epoc helps create more inclusive Boards by
EPOC bridges the information and access gap between people of colour and relevant Non-Executive opportunities through in-person and virtual events. Attendees receive information, insights and guidance on how to progress to a non-executive career shared by established Non-Executives, search firms and members with subject matter expertise.
We build connections with Chairs, SIDs and the Board practices of leading search firms, ensuring these critical players know EPOC members and our own wider networks through personal introductions and in-person events.
In addition to sharing current Non-Executive opportunities with relevant EPOC members, we sponsor members for roles based on our personal familiarity with their expertise, experience, character and values. All members commit to getting to know other members on a personal level — ensuring assurance around suitability, as well as authenticity and integrity of sponsorship.
what we achieved
To date in addition to helping numerous members secure FTSE250 Non- Executive roles, others have joined social enterprises, charity and sporting boards. This is proof that by combining our knowledge, connections and resources, we can break glass ceilings and open doors that have previously been closed.
A letter from our founder
Thank you for taking an interest in EPOC. Since I founded our network in January 2021, it has been a joy to connect with some of the UK’s most brilliant executives of colour — and, in turn, connect them with their peers.
Our aim is simple: To change the future face of leadership at the top of all UK institutions, whether commercial, public sector, voluntary, creative or sporting — to ensure Boards inclusively reflect the society that they serve and in which we all live. The talent pool of people of colour does not need to be created. It already exists.
But please, allow me to give you the background on how EPOC came to be.
While our vision has always been about enlightenment, EPOC was born of a rather dark time. It was not long after the killing of George Floyd and publication of the Parker Review on Ethnicity on Boards that I found myself inundated with opportunities from search firms. Though I was already an established NED then, even my ego didn’t allow me to believe it was a sudden appreciation of my sheer brilliance that had prompted these conversations.
Understandably, with greater awareness of issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, many Boards were having deeper conversations about race and ethnicity in their own organisations. Businesses, charities and public sector organisations were starting to look for talented and capable executives of colour to join their Boards. After personally introducing many highly capable individuals for those opportunities, I realised that something was systemically amiss.
Too often, I heard, “the talent just isn’t there” or “where do we look?”. The issue was not the calibre of the people of colour, their capability or their potential. Rather, despite demand from both sides, the two worlds in which I operated didn’t seem to know each other. More worryingly, if an executive’s career or experience didn’t obviously fit a traditional Board profile, individuals were quickly dismissed or overlooked.
A more effective way forward was urgently needed. And thus, EPOC was born.
By choosing to be part of our community, you can join us in shifting the conversation; building networks; facilitating access and creating real opportunities.
The Boards of tomorrow need greater diversity. That journey starts today.
Thank you for your support.