The independent assessment panel


Our independent assessors bring a highly robust standard to the accreditation process. The panel of business experts are all incredibly passionate about being involved in making a positive impact on our economy and society through diversity.

The experience to guide your business

The panel is made up of vastly experienced independent assessors who each have an array of sector knowledge and real world experience across diversity and inclusion, implementing best practices and seeing the positive results first hand, time and time again.

Once your companies has successfully achieved a Bronze level accreditation mark, you will be permitted to nominate candidates to sit on the review panel.

Judith Gillespie CBE

Former Deputy Chief Constable, PSNI

Judith served as a police officer in Northern Ireland for 32 years, making history by becoming the first woman in RUC/PSNI to become an Assistant Chief Constable in 2004. As a Chief Officer for 11 years, she helped steer the organisation through significant change, including leading on the PSNI’s Gender Action Plan. On leaving PSNI in 2014 she became an independent leadership advisor. She served for four years on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, for five years on the Garda Policing Authority, and for six years on Probation Board for Northern Ireland.

Deborah Lange

Board Member Invest NI & Belfast Harbour Commission

Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant with a lengthy career in international business and tax.  She was Senior Vice President of Tax at Oracle Corporation in California for 20 years and before that worked in public accounting in London, Hong Kong and the U.S.  Deborah is passionate about maximising every person’s potential through promoting diversity, equality and inclusion.

Kieran Harding

Managing Director at Business in the Community

Kieran has been with Business in the Community since 1990 taking on the role of Managing Director in January 2011 and has since played a leading role in the organisation’s growth, and been instrumental in championing the responsible business agenda in Northern Ireland.

Deborah Donnelly

Equality Commission

Deborah has a long history in working on equality and human rights issues, and she is currently a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for NI. Recently she has been working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland and as an adviser to the EU on women, peace and security strategic plans and evaluation.

Fergal McFerran

Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Fergal is the Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the Children’s Law Centre; Northern Ireland’s leading children’s human rights centre. Prior to this he worked for Stonewall – the leading LGBTQ+ rights organisation – where he was responsible for supporting a wide range of employers to shape truly LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces.

As Chair of the People and Culture Committee at the National Children’s Bureau, an advisory reference group member for the public policy Think Tank, Pivotal and former President of Northern Ireland’s National Union of Students, Fergal has extensive experience in driving change in a variety of settings.

Denise Black

Executive Director for Human Resources at Invest NI

Denise is Executive Director for Human Resources at Invest NI and has responsibility for Corporate Culture, Organisational Design, Talent, HR Operations, Contract Management and Corporate Social Responsibility. Denise previously worked in the Financial Services Industry for over 32 years. In later years she led and executed several strategic change management programs implementing new organizational designs, managing voluntary severance schemes, building employee engagement and optimizing talent management methods.

After moving from the Private sector to the Public Sector in 2018 Denise focused on driving Transformational change as People Lead within the Department of Infrastructure, on a specific project within Driver Vehicle Agency. Denise has a lifelong interest in optimizing peoples’ career motivations and abilities.

Joanne Kelly

Executive Coach & Leadership Consultant

Joanne is a highly experienced executive coach & leadership consultant, who specialises in impactful women’s leadership development. She has over twenty years’ experience, which includes successful delivery of executive education programmes for the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s University Belfast. Joanne is a passionate advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion, through coaching and facilitation of strategic gender diversity programmes to catalyse cultural change.

Furthermore, Joanne has significant proven experience as an assessor with various awarding bodies, supporting the achievement of robust quality standards. She is currently working part-time for Emergenetics International and developing her women centred coaching consultancy.

Jill Michael

Talent Manager at A&L Goodbody

Talent Manager at A&L Goodbody is an experienced Talent Manager with over 15 years’ experience within the fields of Law, Financial Services, Oil and Gas, and Engineering. Currently at A&L Goodbody she leads the Talent Strategy in NI working closely with the partnership. At A&L Goodbody, Diversity and Inclusion is about respecting, valuing, and fostering the differences that exist in our people, and the domestic and international markets in which we do business. Culture is based on collaboration and creating an environment where all can belong. Our D&I guiding principles are, Be Kind, Be Curious, Be Brave and Be Accountable, and through these we are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with respect, fairness and integrity.

Jonathan Patel

Consultant at Aspiring Solicitors

Jonathan is a consultant for Aspiring Solicitors, the UK’s largest legal diversity platform. Having previously worked as a solicitor, Jonathan works with students and law firms to increase diversity in the legal profession through events, mentoring schemes and work experience opportunities. Jonathan was the first in his family to attend university and completed a history degree at Trinity College Dublin, before completing the GDL and LPC. 

Throughout his training contract and on qualification as a BAME solicitor, Jonathan witnessed the relatively small number of other BAME solicitors working in the City and joined Aspiring Solicitors to help address this and inspire other underrepresented groups to join the legal profession.

Emma Patterson Bennett

Portfolio Manager, Inclusion at BBC Northern Ireland

Emma is the Portfolio Manager, Inclusion at BBC Northern Ireland. Emma works to ensure Diversity & Inclusion best practice is embedded across the organisation and supports the leadership team to deliver effective cultural change. Previously Equality & Diversity Manager at the Education Authority providing advice and guidance on all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion. Emma developed the first Gender Action Plan for the organisation including designing and leading on the award-winning EA Menopause Workplace Policy.

Emma has worked for CAJ where her focus was strategically working to effect change on critical equality and social justice issues through the use of the statutory equality duty. Also part of the BrexitLawNI Project identifying the human rights and equality aspects of the EU exit for Northern Ireland. Emma has also been involved in promoting and delivering gender equality through the use of human rights and equality mechanisms for the last 10 years.

Emma McIlveen

Barrister specialising in Employment Law

Emma is a first-generation barrister who primarily specialises in employment law. She has a special interest in pregnancy discrimination and vulnerable claimants. Prior to qualifying as a barrister, she was a Kennedy scholar at Harvard University. She now publishes a monthly employment law newsletter known as McIlveen on Employment and was a co-founder of an Advanced Employment Course at the Institute for Professional Legal Studies. In 2021, she was shortlisted for a Next100Years Inspirational Women in Law award and recently completed a global leadership programme delivered by Cambridge University.

Alongside her employment practice, she serves as an independent assessor for the Commissioner of Public Appointments and serves as a Non-Executive Lay member on NI Practice & Education Council for Nursing & Midwifery. Outside of the Bar, she is a mother of three and is passionate about social mobility and advocating on behalf of working mothers.

Sorcha Diver

Risk & Compliance at Allstate NI

Sorcha led technology and security teams at Allstate before heading up Risk & Compliance and Administrative Services, including responsibility for business conduct and ethics. She is involved in a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the business and is a member of the IDE steering group. She is Chair of the Board of Governors of Lough View Integrated PS and is a board member of the Integrated Education Fund. Sorcha is passionate about all areas of diversity and inclusion.

Dr Nazia Latif

Human Rights and Equality Specialist at Right Practice

Nazia has extensive experience of working on human rights, equality and diversity in NI and internationally. A highly experienced trainer and researcher, she believes in empowering communities through genuine engagement and collaboration.  She worked for the NI Human Rights Commission for 13 years where she led a number of systemic investigations of international significance, including In Defence of Dignity, an investigation into the human rights of older people in nursing homes. 

Nazia currently runs Right Practice and specialises in providing practical assistance to organisations in the public, private and voluntary sector to initiate and manage change in order to improve service delivery and internal management. Her focus is on helping organisations meet their human rights and equality obligations. Nazia is a Non-Executive Director on the Health and Social Care Board and a member of the NI Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Ignoring or dismissing D&I will have a negative impact on your business as the world continues to commit to progress

Why does D&I Matter?

What is the Diversity Mark accreditation?

Book a call with a Diversity Mark team member

Let us help you take action now to address diversity in the workplace

“We recently ranked as the top indigenous company in Northern Ireland to work for, and part of this success can be attributed to our dedication to inclusion. Diversity MArk’s accreditation programme has helped build on this ongoing commitment to maintain an inclusive culture”

Paul McElvaney, Group CEO of Learning Pool

Need support? Have a frank conversation with us about your businesses Diversity and Inclusion

1

Book a call with Emma from our team

2

Discuss where your business is at today and what you’d like to improve

3

Start your Diversity journey with confidence and build a better business