AN ANDOVER man has been shortlisted for a prestigious prize at a business awards ceremony celebrating black professionals.
Ash-Lee James, managing director of Weystone Financial, has been shortlisted in the financial services rising start category at the 2021 Black British Business Awards (BBBA).
The awards aim to celebrate the professional achievements of black professionals across the UK, as well as the personal work they are doing to defy stereotypes and reshape the business world around them.
Ash-Lee said he was honoured to be shortlisted, calling it “one of my proud moments”.
He said: “It’s hard to put into words how it feels to be a Black British Business Awards finalist but it’s a great honour and one of my proud moments. It’s incredible to be an example of how far the Black community has come as a people.
“Seeing Black people in roles and occupations that twenty, thirty, forty years ago weren’t prevalent is truly empowering.
“As a child and more importantly in the influential teenage years, I didn’t have those professional role models in my life growing up which is why the BBBAwards provides such a fantastic platform to help inspire the next generation to follow in our footsteps.”
Ash-Lee has risen to the top of the financial services industry over the last decade, and comes from humble beginnings having started out working full-time at McDonald’s.
Judges say that he “used the opportunity to accelerate his career with his drive, determination to increase his knowledge of the insurance market”.
“His talent was highlighted as he was headhunted for being one of the top salesmen and influencers, he eventually felt the next level up would be if he owned his own firm,” they continued.
“In 2017, he founded and became the director of Weystone Financial. In the midst of a pandemic, Ash-Lee helped Weystone to secure two finalist nominations to the prestigious Moneyfacts Awards in 2020 and 2021, making him not only one of the youngest directors to make the finals, but one of the only 100 per cent black owned business owners in its history”.
Sophie Chandauka, executive founder and chair of the BBBA said: “After an extraordinarily challenging year, I am thrilled that for the eighth year running we are highlighting the resilience and abundance of brilliant, Black talent in Britain.
“Our finalists have delivered tremendous commercial value across sectors in volatile markets where entrepreneurs, in particular, have been decimated.
“They have been strategic advisors to their companies and boards as global corporations are challenged by investors to address systemic racism.
“Despite the pandemic and social unrest, they are fiercely competitive and remarkably ambitious, creative and commercially savvy, leveraging technology as their differentiator.
“They are global in their outlook and ambition and represent the very best of being British in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit Europe.”
Financial Services Rising Star
- Ash-Lee James, Managing Director at Weystone Financial
- Janet Onyia, Project & Programme Manager at Accenture
- Jordon Clarke, IBD Global Ops Project Lead and Blockchain Lead at Morgan Stanley