2022 marks the fifth year of the annual Baton Awards, a celebration of female achievers, pioneers and innovators nominated from diverse backgrounds, and industries globally and founded by Dr Diahanne Rhiney BCAe, an award-winning global empowerment ambassador and Diversity Marketing pioneer who also set up Naked Truth Social Change PR Agency, the first in the UK addressing taboo subjects and showcasing global compelling, authentic and inclusive stories to stimulate critical awareness, ethical values, and encourage positive messages to the wider community.
This year also welcomes the first in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic to be held at the impressive British Medical Association, a Grade II listed building in the heart of London, renowned for its stunning botanical gardens and courtyards and awarded for its sustainability initiatives, on Thursday November 24 with a sit-down dinner, lively entertainment, and awards ceremony to mark the occasion. Nominations for this year’s awards are open until August 15.
In honour of her late mother Caroline Rhiney, herself an inspirational woman, The Baton Awards is Diahanne’s personal social footprint to empowering women from diverse racial groups from the past, present and into the future and to raise awareness to decision makers who are commonly influenced by people who look like them as opposed to the unique and diverse ‘talent in the room.’
Diahanne says: “As humans, regardless of our status and culture, we all naturally appreciate praise for our efforts and especially when overcoming challenges. The sense of gratification motivates us to do more, and everyone draws inspiration from individuals who excel in their career path. The Baton Awards was formulated and has succeeded in acknowledging and inspiring women of colour who typically face a litany of discrimination, barriers and racism that stop or hinder their career progress. It’s a collective commitment. A shared legacy where we can come together, inaugurated by an annual award ceremony, to recognise the talent amongst us. We can all optimistically learn from the past by applying and sharing positive change for the future of women of colour within the community and worldwide.”
The hybrid event also streamed online will be co-hosted by two incredible role models, journalist and Sky News anchor Gillian Joseph and TV presenter Rianna Scipio who join forces to solidify the community of empowered women that the awards uphold. “You can’t be what you can’t see, and you can’t aspire to achieve without the example of those who have gone before. The Baton Awards are vital in highlighting those women who have not only excelled, but who motivate the next generation. The baton must and will always be passed on,” says Gillian.
The first Baton Awards was accredited and endorsed by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as a symbol of Diahanne’s determination and advancements to champion and amplify women of colour. Diahanne is an inspiring role model who has invested time, lived experience and training to encourage women of colour to celebrate their achievements, and share knowledge by nominating themselves or others to pick up and pass on the baton. It’s this empowerment that frames the Baton Awards as a unique platform to showcase talents and one that has attracted, among other dignitaries, Lord Dr Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE’s continued support and endorsement from the outset.
“The Baton Awards is a wonderful moment to recognise genuine and consistent commitment from individuals who are fighting to build a stronger more generous society. I was thrilled to discover the Baton Awards and honoured to get involved in enabling better recognition of people’s character as well as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic activity as well as and in my own small way, to add to someone’s compelling effort, my humble respect and appreciation,” says Lord Dr Hastings of Scarisbrick.
The nomination categories have been chosen carefully, transparently, and wisely to reflect the diverse talent, qualities, struggle, effort and, above all excellence among women of colour who are selected on an in-depth three-stage judging process. The categories include: Third Sector, Campaigner, Sports, Entrepreneur, Media, Services to Education, Stem Trailblazer, Politics and Creative to name a few and further endorsed by the Lord Hastings Integrity Award and Special Founder’s Award – Against All Odds.
Previous winners include Third Sector of the Year Award Ndidi Okezie who said: “I just wanted to say a huge ‘Thank You! for the spirit, the passion and all of the work that goes into these awards. Thank you for everything that you do. I think that the Third Sector have definitely demonstrated why it is so important for our society over the last two years particularly just to be involved in this incredibly humbling experience, so thank you!”- and winner of Thought Leader of the Year Award Meena Kumari: “Thank you so much for giving me the award and opportunity. The work that I do, honestly hand on heart, I can say I really enjoy. And I’m really grateful to all the women that have influenced me and allowed me to do this work. So thank you so much!”
Each year the Baton Awards is sympathetically aligned to fall within the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence, an international campaign to raise awareness and funds to help eradicate domestic violence. Recognising the true potential of women, despite physical, mental, or economic challenges, the Baton Awards is unique in delivering inspiration and empowerment today, tomorrow and into the future to current winners, with ongoing support and advice from a previous winner (torchbearer) to continue the legacy throughout the sisterhood and through its reverse mentoring programme, ensuring that this critical pipeline is always open.
The Baton Awards ceremony annually raises funds for Domestic Abuse registered
charity Strength With in Me Foundation (S.W.I.M) a non-profit organisation, providing comprehensive intervention in response to the prevalence of domestic abuse
among young girls and women, and whose mission is to reduce the incidence and minimise the impact of domestic abuse by teaching young people how to identify effectively toxic
relationships via workshop programmes, events, and services.
2022 is a significant anniversary year for the Baton’s Award but looking into the future, Diahanne and her team will continue to validate its presence with continued commitment to pay tribute to some of the most influential and unsung women of colour and engaging in a wider public debate about the powerful role and talents of women of colour in society today and the positive social change that will enable these women to prosper.