A passionate thought leader with multiple business and charitable interests, experience at the highest corporate level, and motivational speaker, Leila McKenzie-Delis is moving the dial on diversity, inclusion and equality in business.
In 2019, she founded DIAL Global, a global community for ‘Diverse Inclusive Aspirational Leaders’. She aims to foster a more open, diverse and inclusive society by helping organisations think differently about their working culture, attitudes and understanding of diversity. Not only does this include gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, mental health and disability, she also promotes the inclusion of neurodiverse employees.
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As well as being a top executive for several businesses, Leila McKenzie-Delis is passionate about charity, going on to create the McKenzie-Delis Foundation. The aim of her charity was to further the research into diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging. In 2020, she launched the McKenzie-Delis Review, a ground-breaking report on diversity and inclusion in the UK workplace.
Her commitment to diversity and inclusion was inspired by her upbringing, education and career. Born in Hong Kong, Leila was adopted by a British couple and grew up in Harrogate, Yorkshire. As one of the few non-white children in her school, Leila began to think about the nature of race and identity in a professional setting.
Whilst she excelled academically – graduating top of her year with first-class honours in business and management studies – she noticed she was not getting the same employment opportunities as her peers. So, instead of waiting on someone else to hire her, she started creating opportunities for herself, founding and running several successful businesses.
Leila has always had a business-centred mind, with experiences ranging from renovating a grade 2 listed tea room, to being a scientific and medical recruitment consultant, events manager, corporate promoter, account manager, and advisor in property development and investment. She was the founder of recruitment specialist LOFT, managing director of Leila McKenzie Associated Ltd, which is a bespoke search and research firm specialising in executive DIE appointments, as well as an advisory member for the Co-Op on their diversity, inclusion and equality promises, executive committee member for Institute of Directors, and advising founder member to Winmark.
She is also the presenter of a podcast series titled Diversity Inclusive Leaders and fronts a YouTube channel where she interviews today’s most inspirational thought leaders. In 2019 she published her book Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, exploring how diversity and inclusion are about more than just race, gender and age, but extends to how we think cognitively and how we make people feel.
Leila has appeared on Sky News and CNBC to promote her ‘CEO Activist & Moving the Dial on Diversity’ pledge, which encourages 100 Chief Executives to take positive action in their industries.
She hosts high-profile events around DIAL, including their global summit to bring together leaders from across industries to look at the future of diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace. She has also spoken at the GG2 Diversity Dividend Conference and awards ceremony alongside journalist Clive Myrie and worked with the Management Development Scheme to equip young people with the appropriate training to become business leaders. She has also taken her keynote speeches to schools, colleges and universities to motivate the next generation of leaders.
– Diversity, Inclusion and Equality
– Women in Business
– Overcoming Obstacles
Clients include Accenture, Air Liquid, AstraZeneca, Barclays, Britvic, Cambridge Judge Business School, Co-Op, Depop, KPMG, LexisNexis, Marks and Spencer, Pfizer, PMI, Royal Mail, Unilever, Verizon, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Yahoo.
Leila very kindly stepped in at the 11th hour to support out International Women’s Day conference after we reached out to the IOD. She is passionate, drive and has a keen desire to help others. She reached out to her network and together with another fantastic peaker, co-hosted a masterclass on “building an sustaining a diverse and inclusive culture in the boardroom”. Not only that, but Leila raced back from an early London meeting to get back to Chester to make sure she was there too. She has been incredibly supportive and I’m so pleasure we have connected.
Sandra, Founder of the Women Leaders Association
Leila has amazing energy and is really good at helping people and organisations achieve their ambitions. A real giver to the world and great to work with.
John, Chief Executive of Winmark
I would recommend Leila as someone who always gives 100%. She brings a high energy and competent service with her passionate and vibrant personality. Leila’s strengths lie in her ability to build relationships and her driven personality.
Claire, Chief Compliance Officer, Kinetica
On behalf of all at the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre, I would like to say many, many thanks for an enjoyable Tuesday evening. Your wonderful contribution to our Enterprise Tuesday session was really appreciated. The majority of attendees thought that it would indeed help them on their entrepreneurial journey. Which is fantastic!
Cambridge Judge Business School