Amani has contributed to the Bank’s LGBT & Ally, ethnic diversity (BAME Network) efforts and gender parity (Modern Muse student mentor) efforts. Amani mentors a student with an under-privileged background, who has reached round two of the bank’s Step to Success program, which provides scholarships to university and guarantees summer internships. Amani is the co-chair of the EMEA Credit Suisse Black, Asian, and Multi Ethnic (BAME) Advisory Committee. Outside of Credit Suisse, Amani is the founder of Amatte, a new premium coffee brand that empowers female farmers and celebrates Africa’s rich culture and history of storytelling.
She has been shortlisted for the WIBF Young Professional Award.
How does it feel to be nominated for our Young Professional Award?
We work in an industry where meritocracy and hard work is a bare expectation. Such recognition provides additional affirmation that my current path is the right one, which always helps as a young professional. The recognition has also allowed me to pause and reflect on how far I’ve come and where I plan to go. It feels wonderful to be recognised by these remarkable senior female leaders, both within Credit Suisse and WIBF. Despite their hectic schedules, they invested time and effort to encourage my progress.
Can you tell us about Amatte and your role on their executive board?
Amatte, is a direct trade premium coffee company that empowers female farmers. On a global level, women do 70% of the work on coffee farms but own only 15% of the land and traded beans. Economic (and often cultural) challenges mean that they are unable to access the funding, resources, or health care that they desperately need. As a female led company (all female board), Amatte believes coffee can empower women. 5% of our coffee sales are given to the Amatte Foundation. The Foundation sets out to support the education of farmers’ children and orphans and to provide financial education to female farmers who often don’t have the chance to learn the business skills they need, in order to be able to get the biggest possible profits from their beans. We’re working with local producers focusing on gender parity so that female farmers can improve their coffee cultivation and business management.
Our ethos is simple really; you can still do good and be profitable. Our core values is to leave things better than we’ve found them.
My role on the board is to provide direction on strategy execution, define impact measurement and prepare the company for growth.
You are the co-chair of the EMEA Credit Suisse Black, Asian, and Multi Ethnic (BAME) Advisory Committee, what does that role involve?
Diversity in its entirety is important to ensure we remain innovative and competitive as a firm. Personally, diversity is all about equal opportunities; everyone should be given the same opportunities to succeed regardless of their background. I identified a gap within the Multicultural framework of the organization and was able to reposition and rejuvenate the need to focus on, and create awareness around, ethnic diversity. I shaped the strategy and approached senior leaders in the firm to gain their buy-in. My role is to set the strategy and direction of the Network and partner with divisions to ensure implementation, represent the Network at various Town halls, external and internal meetings, as well as to chair the Steering Committee and the Advisory Committee.
If you could have one wish come true for the Banking & Finance industry what would it be?
My wish for the sector is slowly becoming a reality – an increased focus on impact investing and for the industry to participate in shaping the world positively. I feel fortunate to be in a team doing exactly that.
If your boss had to describe you one sentence, what would it be?!
I put this question directly to my manager and here’s what she said “Bringing maximum impact both to the workplace and the world”
How do you relax, do you have a hobby?
With several key priorities to manage, the gym and mindfulness are a great way to ensure resilience. I also enjoy discovering different cultures through travel.