The founder of a Cardiff creative agency has been named a finalist in the 2021 Black British Business Awards.

With the aim of highlighting the outstanding professional achievements, as well as the personal work black professionals are doing to defy stereotypes and reshape the business world around them, the winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony being held on October 7.

In total, 39 black professionals from across the UK are up for awards, including Liara Barussi, artistic director and founder at Jukebox Collective from Cardiff, who is in the final three of the Arts and Media Senior Leader of the Year category.

She has worked cross-culturally and cross-disciplinary in a variety of environments.

The highlights of her career include creating Jukebox Juniors, an under-16s dance crew who enjoyed considerable TV fame in 2010.

This was the beginning of a new journey that inspired the creation of new strands that shaped the current offering of the company.

As a consultant, Liara has worked on many high-profile projects, collaborating with fashion and lifestyle brands, music labels, creative agencies, cultural institutions, and underground arts collectives to create innovative work at the forefront of youth culture.

Some of those projects include the Stormzy x Adidas Launch - ‘Homegrown Talent’, acting as a mentor and judge on BBC Young Dancer and Hip Hop International, and directing a performance piece at the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Liara said: “Growing up, I didn’t have the tools or the support to be able to thrive.

“The impacts of class and access in the creative sector remains a driving force at Jukebox Collective.

“It has been crucial to create opportunities that connect locally but speak to the global. Being a finalist in the Black British Business Awards I believe can help build towards the change we are trying to make.

“It’s important to be a part of this network of black leaders as it can contribute to the shift of power as together we are stronger and able to create bigger change.”

After a turbulent 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, its disproportionate impact on black communities, the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent racist incidents that surfaced after the Euros football final, the theme of the ceremony is ‘Amplify’.

Organisers say it is vital we stand together to celebrate the economic and cultural contributions black people make to the UK economy. The Black British Business Awards will ‘Amplify’ voices, careers and stories from a range of industries, highlighting their diverse and dynamic work.

Sophie Chandauka, executive founder and chair of the Black British Business Awards said: “After an extraordinarily challenging year, I am thrilled that for the eighth year running we are highlighting the resilience and abundance of brilliant, black talent in Britain.

“Our finalists have delivered tremendous commercial value across sectors in volatile markets where entrepreneurs, in particular, have been decimated.

“They have been strategic advisors to their companies and boards as global corporations are challenged by investors to address systemic racism.

“Despite the pandemic and social unrest, they are fiercely competitive and remarkably ambitious, creative, and commercially savvy, leveraging technology as their differentiator. They are global in their outlook and ambition and represent the very best of being British in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit Europe.”

For more information and the full shortlist, visit the BBBA website. The 2021 BBBAwards will distinguish business talent into six industry categories, which celebrate both rising stars and senior leaders.

The finalists for this year’s awards are as follows:

Arts & Media Rising Star

● Ahava-Shaffra Gray-Read, senior reputation manager UK&I at KFC

● Chanelle Harrigan, data strategy associate director at Essence

● Hannah Chukwu, assistant editor at Penguin Random House

Arts & Media Senior Leader of the Year

● Liara Barussi, artistic director and founder at Jukebox Collective

● Miya Knights, global content strategist at Poq Commerce

● Taponeswa Mavunga, director of Africa at Sony Music UK

Consumer & Luxury Rising Star

● Samantha Newell and Alesha Bailey, co-founders at YARD + PARISH

● Simone Sargeant, commercial director, EMEA at McCormick

● Vese Aghoghovbia, founder and ceator-in – Chief at Philly & Friends

Consumer & Luxury Senior Leader of the Year

● Alexandria Dauley, creative director at Dauley Designs

● Salome Ahenkora, CEO at Chigwell Tours & Visits and Concept Consulting RMT

● Silika Shellie, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s

Entrepreneur Rising Star

● Alessandra Madubunyi, director at COCONAUTICAL, WE are COCO

● Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, doctor and company director at SKNDOCTOR C/O The Skin GP LTD

● Dr Opemiposi Adegbulu and Taiwo Adegbulu, co-founder’s at Omolola Jewellery

Entrepreneur Senior Leader of the Year

● Claudine Reid MBE, director at PJs Community Services Ltd

● Edgar Chibaka & Jamal Tahlil, co-founder’s and directors at First Response Group Ltd

● Michael Kouri-Bent, managing director at Metropolitan Care Solutions

Financial Services Rising Star

● Ash-Lee James, managing director at Weystone Financial

● Janet Onyia, project and programme Manager at Accenture

● Jordon Clarke, IBD global ops project lead and blockchain lead at Morgan Stanley

Financial Services Senior Leader of the Year

● Alwin E. Swales, partner at PwC

● Kyle Williams, managing director and senior counsel - Legal Department at Goldman Sachs International

● Lara Oyesanya, general counsel and chief risk officer at Contis

Professional Services Rising Star

● Jason Raeburn, partner at Baker McKenzie

● Josh Olomolaiye, senior manager, banking audit at KPMG LLP

● Samuel Lawrence, director at CBRE

Professional Services Senior Leader of the Year

● Akima Paul-Lambert, litigation partner at Hogan Lovells

● David Frederick, managing director and founder at Marcus Bishop Associates

● Lindsey N. Stewart, deputy chair, audit evolution board and senior investor engagement manager at KPMG LLP

STEM Rising Star

● Esther Odekunle, senior scientist antibody engineer at GlaxoSmithKline

● Nina Nduwayo, data scientist at Ravelin Technology

● Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, CEO at Define

STEM Senior Leader of the Year

● Gareth Dauley, executive vice president at Pacific Green Technologies

● Gnilane Gueye-Turpin, executive director at J.P. Morgan

● Uzoamaka Nwamarah, adviser, climate change at The Commonwealth Secretariat, UK

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