An Above Difference Bespoke Programme for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Hi there,

My name is Jennifer Izekor. I am the Chief Executive of Above Difference, and I am really excited to be delivering this programme for BAME leaders and Ambassadors at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

As a black woman who has held several Senior Leadership positions across the public sector, I have come to realise how important it’s to commit to the ongoing development of my cultural intelligence and inclusive leadership skills. This growth has been fundamental to building my professional and personal resilience across a number of contexts. It has been key to my ability to engage effectively with other leaders and individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and in a diverse range of contexts. I am so excited to share this journey with other BAME leaders in this unique programme which draws on Cultural Intelligence (CQ), Value Driven Inclusive Leadership and Change Management principles and theories.

I am so thankful to Joselyn and Olivia who have invited Above Difference to work with Imperial College Health Trust on this programme and to the Imperial College Foundation who have funded it.

My team and I are really looking forward to travelling this journey with each participant. I hope it adds value to you as a leader and an individual whatever your background is and in turn helps you to add value to your colleagues, patients and stakeholders.

Below you will find some details about the programme and your journey as participant. Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions and I really look forward to meeting you.


Why have you been invited to be part of this programme – What is it about?

This unique programme will engage with BAME leaders and colleagues across the Trust. It will particularly target BAME ambassadors who are working together as part of the BAME Network to challenge barriers to participation and belonging and improve the lived experiences of BAME staff and patients  

Its aim is to equip participants by: 

  • Enhancing and increasing their resilience, adaptability and effectiveness when engaging across diverse groups and contexts. 
  • Enhancing their self-awareness and understanding of how their own cultural values, preferences and biases impact on their personal effectiveness in diverse contexts. 
  • Developing strategies to intentionally and positively apply their cultural intelligence and Inclusive leadership skills when engaging across diverse contexts to enhance inclusion for themselves and others. 
  • Increasing their psychological safety and resilience in advocating for and leading inclusion strategies across their organisations.

I’ve done Cultural Awareness Programmes before , what’s different about this one?

This programme is a bespoke one developed by the Award-Winning Above Difference. It draws together 4 Models:

  • Cultural Intelligence(CQ) which is the capability to work and relate effectively across diverse cultural contexts
  • Value Driven/Strengths based Leadership which focuses on values, behaviour and attitudes while building internal resilience
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Change Leadership

These carefully curated elements are designed to help you achieve your full potential as a leader and an individual. Taken from the perspective of leaders who are daily faced with barriers to progression and engagement because of their race and ethnicity I have created a programme designed to build your personal effectiveness and capacity as a BAME ambassador and leader. We will explore issues of leadership, influence , culture and personal effectiveness.  Together you will learn new principles but also have opportunities through the workshops to apply these to specific challenges for inclusion in the Trust.

Programme Approach:

A mixture of : 

CQ Assessments
Change Implementation Workshops
Group Coaching sessions
Personal Development Plan

The Journey

At Above Difference we have developed a learner pathway transformational journey that is designed to equip you with new skills and capabilities and then offer you the opportunity to practice ‘flexing your CQ and Inclusive Leadership Skills’ in a safe learning environment. These are our design, dream and apply’ workshops which will help you become real change makers.  The journey will differ slightly for each programme but at its heart is a tried and tested pathway that is designed to go beyond a ‘training programme’ and create a unique journey that will challenge, change and transform each participant.  

Your Participant Journey

Introduce & Define
You will be invited to attend a briefing session with Jennifer Izekor CEO and Programme Design and Facilitator. This will take place on xxxxx. You will hear about the programme and be able to ask questions about your engagement and journey. Following this, you will be sent a link so you can take a CQ assessment and do some prework prior to the programme. You will also receive a Participant Personal Log Folder in the post.   

Equip & Upskill
You will be invited to attend a Masterclass which will be delivered over 2 Days , participants will be split into two cohorts. Please note that we can only have 30 per cohort. We will allocate these according to the lists we are given by the Trust and we will not be able to swop people across once dates have been confirmed. Subject to confirmation or the Trust providing a venue, these programmes will be virtual.  

Dream & Apply and Design & Innovate
These elements will be delivered as part of a single Change Implementation interactive half day workshop with each cohort. This will be a virtual session and will be with colleagues who you undertook the masterclass with.  

Group Coaching Session
The full cohort will be split into groups of 10 and these sessions will offer a follow on opportunity to reflect on learning and work together to put accountability and support structures in place for the future.   

Programme Dates, Times, Actions & Deadlines 

05 January / 10 January 2023
Introduction, scoping and programme orientation- two dates have been held whereby participants would have to be split into either of the session dates 

19  January 2023
Masterclass Day 1 for cohort 1 

20 January 2023
Masterclass Day 1 for cohort 2

07 February 2023
Masterclass Day 2 for cohort 1

08 February 2023
Masterclass Day 2 for cohort 2 

28 February 2023
Planning and Implementation for cohort 1 

02 March 2023
Planning and Implementation for cohort 2 

14 March 2023
Coaching session 1 (9:30 – 12:30)
Coaching session 2 (13:30 – 16:30) 

16 March 2023
Coaching session 3 (9:30 – 12:30)
Coaching session 4 ( 13:30 – 16:30) 

21 March 2023
Coaching session 5 (9:30 – 12:30) 

Programme Resource Docs, FAQs & Links 

What’s Your CQ 

Where are your Cultual Connections?

Other staff felt the organisations should be aiming to be more inclusive and put less pressure on staff from culturally diverse and minority groups to fit in to cultural norms and values which are not their own. One case reflected on how this had manifested in themselves; an ethnic minority female reported ‘toning down’ her own cultural norms to fit in and position herself for promotion, and then subsequently engaged with her peers in senior positions in a manner which suited them as opposed to herself. This case reported that after the CQ masterclass, she intended on being bolder and more confident in showing her own cultural norms and values. These feelings were corroborated by other cases from ethnic minority backgrounds. The case reported she felt it was challenging to progress in her career as a woman from a minority background and has faced objection to her being offered promotions. Since the CQ masterclass she had been more open about, and less apologetic of, her own cultural norms and values to help break down barriers for others who are in a similar position to herself”.

Report by Wessex Academic Science Health Network that says we help Leaders Do Difference DifferentlyImpacts of “Leading Inclusively with Cultural Intelligence masterclass” for Frimley ICS leaders, Wessex AHSN Report Finder 

The Above Difference Programme Team

Lead facilitator

Jennifer Izekor 
Founder and CEO, Above Difference


Andy Bennett QPM 
Senior Associate Facilitator and Partner


Lucy Butters 
Senior Associate Facilitator and Partner


Ashiedu Joel 
Above Difference Facilitator

Programme lead

Yemisi Ibitoye
Head of Programmes and Facilitator Development

Project and administrative support

Flora Dele-Ojo
Business and Programme Support Officer

Project and administrative support

Amanda Dove
Business and Programme Support Officer


Beth Wheeler
Head of Communications