Taylor Bennett Foundation announces 2018 alumni Natasha Ferguson as their first Chief Operating Officer

Renowned charity the Taylor Bennett Foundation that encourages diverse talent from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds to pursue a career in the UK public relations and communications profession through their professional development accelerator programmes – has today announced the appointment of Natasha Ferguson as its first Chief Operations Officer. 

This year is one of change and transformation with the Board of Trustees setting a new growth strategy as the Foundation celebrates 15 years in service. As Chief Operating Officer, Natasha will focus on expanding their programme reach across the UK alongside developing new flagship partnerships to increase and diversify representation in new sectors and more. Alongside the CEO, she will implement the new strategy whilst overseeing the charity’s day-to-day operations. Natasha’s appointment marks a full circle, previously working for the Foundation and now returning to the organisation leading the work to strengthen and grow their partnerships.

Leading across operations, partnerships, and strategic growth since August 2023, Natasha is an international communications specialist with over 15 years of experience across industries in the consumer, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. As a former journalist, editor and EU strategic communications consultant, Natasha’s entrepreneurial expertise and experience across executive recruitment, talent management and career progression over the last six years underpins her drive for increasing diverse representation in the workplace. 

As a senior talent advisor, Natasha has provided global businesses including FTSE companies, SMEs and government institutions with counsel in implementing accountable talent solutions that increase underrepresented diverse talent into senior and executive roles. She also served as a Board Director for the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations).

Natasha is one of few Black women who occupy senior positions in UK business and in the third sector. Just 17 of 1099 leadership roles across British society are held by Black people – just 1.5% compared to a 3.6% proportion of the national population, according to research by Green Park. Furthermore, according to the ACEVO Charity Leaders Network, there is less racial diversity at the executive and non-executive leadership levels in charities. Inclusive Boards looked at the largest 500 charities by income and found that only 5.3% of people in senior leadership teams were from an ethnic minority background, and BAME women represented only 2.25% of leaders. 

Natasha Ferguson,  COO said: “Driving operational excellence culturally and technologically has made this an exciting period of transformation we’ve been in over the past few months. Coming into this new role has allowed me to authentically provide strategic leadership, management and vision uncompromised to roll out the Foundation’s next growth phase. 

As we prepare for the future, we’re excited about providing more diverse talent nationally with the opportunities, professional development and training they need to start, thrive and progress in a career in PR and Communications. Working alongside the leadership team and the trustees, this next period is about working with organisations that are actively taking accountable and operational steps to transform the workplace for diverse talent to thrive.

I want the phenomenal diverse talent in the industry who are working towards their dreams to see in me and this milestone I have achieved in my career that diverse creativity, thought and intersectionality are represented in the workplace at all levels because nothing is impossible to those who believe. We have a way to go but we’re moving forward.”

Sarah Pinch, Chair of Trustees said:  “I am delighted with Natasha’s appointment. Her expertise in providing diverse talent solutions underpins her drive for increasing representation in the workplace. Coupled with her energy for our work, and her lived experience puts her in a perfect position as Chief Operating Officer.”

Syma Cullasy-Aldridge, Interim CEO said: “Working alongside Natasha is an exciting place to be – this year is all about growth and having a bigger impact on our communities. She’s a communications specialist with over 15 years of experience so her knowledge and insight of our brilliant profession, alongside some of the challenges it faces, is essential to our success.”

Former CEO, Melissa Lawrence, stepped down in July 2023 after nearly five years at the helm. During her time as CEO, Melissa oversaw significant change, including successfully growing the charity’s income, reach, and impact. 

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