Businessman inducted into the Black Cultural Archives
An East Lancashire entrepreneur and psychologist has been inducted into the Black Cultural Archives this week as part of a cohort of 40 Black leaders.
The founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing, entrepreneur Lee Chambers, from Blackburn, was the only nominee from Lancashire and has been a proud advocate of his home county through both his personal and business pursuits.
The ceremony, which took place at Brixton House Theatre in London was to inaugurate the 40 leaders in celebration of 40 years of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), which opened in 1982.
As well as their induction, each of the awardees has become part of a portrait exhibition curated by Sherece Rainford, which has been on show at the BCA building on Windrush Square.
The induction comes at the end of a standout year for Mr Chambers, which has featured winning several awards, including a Great British Entrepreneur Award.
Alongside this, his Preston-based workplace wellbeing company, Essentialise, has more than doubled in growth during 2022, despite the current economic challenges facing businesses across the region.
Mr Chambers said: “It is one of the proudest and most humbling moments of my life.
“To be selected alongside some of the most talented and revered Black leaders in their fields is truly an honour.
“Having this position allows me to become even more of a role model to the next generation, and it is a responsibility that I care about deeply.
“Possibly the most important part for me is being one of only five awardees from the North, and the only one from Lancashire, and I’m overjoyed to showcase the area that raised me in a positive light.”
The BCA mission remains solid in collecting, preserving, and celebrating the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK.
And 2022 marks the BCA’s 40th Anniversary and to celebrate that, they have curated the inaugural Black Cultural Archives Chair’s Award.
Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, chair of the BCA, said: “This is a new era for BCA and with that, we recognise and celebrate new talent in our communities.
“It is important that we continue to keep the fires of creativity, education, and resilience, through our young talent to light the way for BCA, for the next 40 years.
“Together with Black Britain and Beyond, I have identified future leaders from a wide variety of industry sectors including arts, culture, and heritage to ensure that the home of Black British Culture is continuously grown and safeguarded for generous to come.”
The recognition comes at a busy time for Mr Chambers, having just launched Black STEM Futures, a mentoring and support organisation for Black female STEM graduates, addressing the opportunity gap and inequity across sectors.