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Arts & Culture Podcasts

The Social Mobility Podcast is a series of conversations with individuals who advocate for, work within or represent social mobility from a range of sectors, including education, business, charity and the media. Together with host Tunde Banjoko OBE, guests discuss the importance of advancing diversity and equality, and explore what can be done to address socio-economic inequality.


United Kingdom


The Social Mobility Podcast is a series of conversations with individuals who advocate for, work within or represent social mobility from a range of sectors, including education, business, charity and the media. Together with host Tunde Banjoko OBE, guests discuss the importance of advancing diversity and equality, and explore what can be done to address socio-economic inequality.




Melanie Richards: “It’s not where you come from, it’s what you’re capable of doing”

Melanie Richards is deputy chair of KPMG UK and has been a board member since 2012, working to set its strategic direction. She was recognised in the 2018 UK Social Mobility Awards for an outstanding contribution to social mobility, an experience that was unexpected, humbling and emotional. Though she’s proud of the award, in this inspiring conversation she explains how she’s not in it for the recognition - that it’s enough just to make a difference in the lives of others. Melanie explores...


David Martin: “It’s about getting the best people through the door”

David Martin is a corporate mergers and acquisitions partner at the Magic Circle law firm, Llinklaters, and also the company’s global head of diversity. David grew up in Pembrokeshire in south west Wales, one of the country’s poorest regions, and so his story of becoming a lawyer highlights perfectly the benefits of positive social mobility. He’s tasked with figuring out how to make one of the most socially exclusive careers historically into one that is inclusive. He says his firm is...


Laura Hinton: “Different perspectives help you to get to a better answer”

Laura Hinton is head of people at professional services firm PwC. She’s responsible for setting and delivering the company’s ‘people strategy’ in the UK and is an executive member of the board. Laura implements her passion for diversity by working with global clients to support them with culture change, performance management and talent related challenges. In this inspiring conversation, she recalls her “unremarkable upbringing” on a council estate with no big expectation or ambition to live...


Fiona Hathorn: “Merit is in the eye of the beholder”

Fiona Hathorn is the CEO of Women on Boards UK, an organisation which helps people achieve success at leadership level. With a network of 30,000 members, the organisation has helped more than 1,800 people onto boards. Her own board positions include a role as non-executive director at Spktral, a technology company which helps organisations to simplify the gender pay gap reporting process. Fiona says she charts a great deal of her success down to her parents. Because her father’s mother was...


Anna Smee: “It’s about enabling all young people to reach their potential”

Anna Smee is the new CEO of Youth Futures Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2019 to help disadvantaged young people find employment. Previously she was chief executive of national charity UK Youth. Anna’s approach to social mobility is simple; she believes all young people should be helped to reach their potential, with access to support, networks and opportunities to find meaningful employment. In this episode, Anna describes the pressures felt by disadvantaged young...


Binna Kandola: "We need more transparency, accountability and responsibility"

Professor Binna Kandola OBE is co-founder of Pearn-Kandola, a business psychology firm with a focus on diversity & inclusion in the workplace. Binna has been named one of the UK’s Top 10 Business Psychologists and has authored many books, notably a series which focuses on the unconscious, gender and race biases within organisations. In this in-depth and informative interview, Binna takes us through his career journey and what has motivated him to spend over 30 years in business psychology....


Lucy Martin: “The solution is more support, more training”

Lucy Martin is a weather presenter for the BBC. She is the first visibly disabled weather presenter at the BBC, and took on the role after completing a programme to help disabled people to kickstart their careers. Lucy is a role model for disabled people wanting to pursue their passions, and an advocate for improved diversity in the workplace. In this in-depth interview, Lucy reflects on her experience of growing up with one arm and the impact it has had on her career. She recognises that...


Dame Martina Milburn: “Social Mobility is About Having a Choice”

Dame Martina Milburn is the chair of the Social Mobility Commission. Her vision for the UK is that we can “live in a society where people have choices about the way they want to live their lives”. In this episode, Martina discusses her career, starting in journalism, becoming head of The Prince’s Trust and then moving on to lead the twelve members of the Social Mobility Commission. Her career has given her first-hand insight into the difference charities make to individuals around the globe,...


Jon Cruddas MP: “We’re shutting the door, kicking the ladder away”

Jon Cruddas is MP for Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park. During his time as deputy political secretary to Tony Blair, he helped introduce the minimum wage, and played a key role in improving a number of socio-economic issues in the UK. He’s also been hugely involved in trade union reforms and improving workers’ rights. Jon comes from a large family who benefited from being socially mobile, and believes the lack of social mobility has actually become worse over time, and says...


Sir Ian Powell: “Social mobility is not just an aspiration, it’s a necessity”

Sir Ian Powell is the chairman of Capita and former senior partner at PwC. In this episode, he talks about why, when it comes to social mobility, it’s important for leaders to set the right example to create a motivated workforce. His mantra in all of his roles, he says, is simply to ‘do the right thing’. As the first member of his family to graduate, Sir Ian says he was lucky to be offered the chances he did, considering his background, and while he believes there’s more awareness of social...


Carys Roberts: "If we want a fairer society, we have to look at the economics"

Carys Roberts is chief economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research. She heads up the IPPR’s Centre for Economic Justice, which was set up because they believe the UK’s economy needs fundamental reform. The centre offers radical and practical advice on how to achieve that reform. During this incredibly informative chat, Carys talks about the need for greater taxes on wealth, and why inheritance shouldn’t purely be a luxury of the wealthy. She explains the vastly different impacts...


Sir Ken Olisa: "Everybody should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential"

Sir Kenneth Olisa is the first black Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, chair of the Shaw Trust charity and chairman of Restoration Partners. He has more than three decades’ senior business experience, and was knighted in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to business and philanthropy. In this fascinating discussion, Ken talks about being brought up in a single-parent home in the backstreets of Nottingham, and how the kindness of strangers propelled him to his current position. A...


Kwame Kwei-Armah: “Creativity is at the heart of our economy”

Kwame Kwei-Armah is the artistic director of the Young Vic in London. An actor, writer and singer, he previously led the World Festival of Black Arts and the Center Stage in Baltimore. He received an OBE for his services to drama in 2012, and the Urban Visionary Award in 2016. In this in-depth conversation, he shares his early memories of racial injustice, from playground division to watching Roots and tracing his ancestry to find a name that “represents the tribe we originate from”;...


Justine Greening: "Help communities hang on to their best and brightest"

Justine Greening is MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. She has held a number of posts in government, including Minister for Women & Equalities and Secretary of State for Education. Upon returning to the backbenches in 2018, she established the Social Mobility Pledge, a scheme aimed at broadening social mobility and opportunity in Britain. In this in-depth conversation, she reflects on her own experience of “climbing up the career ladder” from a working-class background, describes...