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Good Things Happen Season 4Podcast26 Mar 2024

Good Things Happen, E1: Social Mobility - Breaking Barriers

Season 4

Talent is everywhere, but all too often opportunity isn't. The futures of far too many young people are determined by background, not potential. Evidence shows that people born into low-income families do not have access to the same opportunities as those born into privilege, regardless of their skills or hard work.

Andrew Pitt, Citi’s Global Head of Research and Insight joins the podcast to talk about the bank’s efforts to help people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds access and climb the career ladder. He explains why a socially diverse workforce makes business sense and the evidenced impact it can have on wider society and GDP.

Joining him is Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, CEO of Career Ready, which connects talented young people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to a spectrum of different industries and employers, through summer internships. He describes his interns as ‘pioneers’ and reveals the barriers they are overcoming, as they pave the way for future generations.

Sophie Hulm, CEO of Progress Together, joins to talk about the importance of collaboration among UK financial services. She explains how data collection is an essential cornerstone for companies to measure mobility. And how diversity of experience and innovation in leadership leads to sound decision making.

Citigroup.Inc. (“Citi”), Career Ready and Progress Together are not affiliated and are independent companies, though Career Ready and Progress Together has a relationship with Citi through Citi Global Insights. The speakers’ views are their own and may not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or any of its affiliates.

All opinions are subject to change without notice. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The expressions of opinion are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results.

Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa is a seasoned social entrepreneur and senior leader with a track record of executing innovative social impact concepts, particularly within the media and youth development sectors. Tokunbo is the current Chief Executive of Career Ready, a UK wide social mobility charity that links employers with schools and colleges to open up the world of work for young people. Tokunbo is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and was a Cabinet Office appointed Social Enterprise Ambassador for three years. In addition, in 1999 Tokunbo was co-founder of the ORIGIN rites of passage programme for young men of African Caribbean descent. In 2020 he founded the Black Unity Bike Ride, which saw 2000 riders cycle across London with the aim of increasing diversity within cycling and also celebrating Black empowerment. Tokunbo joined Career Ready in January 2020, following his role as CEO of the Foyer Federation. He was highly commended at the 2021 Third Sector Awards as a ‘Rising Chief Executive’ and was shortlisted for CEO of the Year at the 2022 Charity Times Awards. Tokunbo embodies the ethos of Career Ready and our mission to boost social mobility. He grew up in a single-parent family in Leyton, East London and went on to study journalism at University of the Arts, London. Prior to working in the third sector, he enjoyed a successful career in journalism. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his young family, competing in triathlons, listening to 90s hip-hop and watching Liverpool Football Club.


Sophie Hulm is the CEO of Progress Together, a not-for-profit membership body. Progress Together aims to level the playing field for employees from all socio-economic backgrounds, across UK financial services. As Head of Skills Policy at the City of London, Sophie was the founder and architect of a Government commissioned Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce. Sophie sees a clear link between the skills and labour challenges which exist in UK financial services and the need for greater socio-economic diversity at senior levels. Sophie joined Progress Together as Chief Executive in September 2022. Sophie currently sits on the SteerCo for the 30% Club and has led a number of high-profile initiatives including the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards. Throughout her working life Sophie has focused on the power of business to bring about change, including working for a welfare-to-work organisation, a Corporate Responsibility membership body, and as a trustee for Governors for Schools. Her dad is a working-class East Londoner and her mum a retired academic with immigrant parents. She lives with her partner and two mixed-race children who are big fans of Pokemon and Octonauts.


Andrew has 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry and has been at Citi since 1996. He has been in Research management roles for 18 years having previously been a No.1 ranked investment analyst. He is Global Head of Research at Citi and a member of Citi’s ICG Management Committee with a broad mandate to coordinate and develop original content across the whole of Citi’s Banking and Markets businesses. Andrew is also a co-Chair of the Citi Women affinity network in the UK and a member of various academic Advisory boards, including at Oxford and Cambridge universities. He works with numerous universities, think tanks and research institutes in order to facilitate collaboration between Citi and outside research partners, with many research outputs being produced through Citi’s publicly available GPS series which he launched in 2011. Andrew has two degrees from Oxford University and taught as a Lecturer at Keble College, Oxford, before joining the Financial Services industry.




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