FUNKE ABIMBOLA FRSA
General Counsel & Head of Financial Compliance
Thursday 2nd March 2017
Women at the top – Letter to my 15 year old self
(Teenage Girls Masterclass)
House of Commons
Funke is a solicitor and senior leader for Roche, the world’s largest biotech company. Her team provides legal support to Roche’s pharmaceutical operations in the UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar. In addition, she also leads the financial compliance function for the UK pharmaceutical business.
Outside of her day job, she is a notable diversity campaigner, mainly focusing on campaigning for more gender equality, race diversity and social mobility within the legal profession.
Currently the most senior black lawyer in her field, she is ranked as being a top 20 BAME leader globally (Financial Times), one of the 100 most influential leaders of African/Afro-Caribbean heritage in the UK (The Powerlist) and the most influential black lawyer in the UK (Debretts 500 list for 2017).
A multi award-winning lawyer and leader, Funke has received both national and international recognition for her legal and diversity work and is an experienced public speaker, speaking about her personal journey to large audiences ranging from school children to senior professionals including regularly speaking in Parliament. She holds a number of board-level voluntary leadership roles across a range of different diversity organisations and is a Committee member of a House of Lords-based diversity recruitment drive. She appears regularly on BBC 1 as a news reviewer.
Funke is a proud working mother, an expert mentor and sponsor, passionate about the law, diversity, education and healthcare.
She is a regular media commentator, a keen fundraiser for various charities (including Cancer Research UK) and has twice served as school governor and as a board director. She recently founded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in memory of her father, Dr. Frank Olufemi Akindolie. This is a privately funded bursary and leadership mentoring initiative aimed at supporting future UK doctors from a minority ethnic background.
In October 2016, Funke was honoured with a ‘Point of Light’ award by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK Cabinet Office, recognising the outstanding positive impact of her voluntary diversity work in improving workplace diversity and in supporting the next generation of future leaders.