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28 • 09 • 2024

The Annual & Blaze Inclusion Awards

The Annual is a yearly gala celebration that showcases the Blaze Inclusion Awards ceremony, recognizing and honoring individuals, organizations, and companies that champion and amplify diversity and inclusion in the Nordics.

The Blaze Inclusion Awards amplifies and celebrates trailblazers – individuals and organisations from across the Nordics – who actively and passionately uplift Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives in their workspaces, communities and society.

Blaze Inclusion Awards aims to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of implementing intentional and measurable inclusion strategies across in all they do.

What to expect at the Annual?

It gathers stakeholders from different industries, backgrounds, cultures, identities and perspectives.

It is an opportunity to connect with influential individuals and broaden your network.

You can enjoy a friendly atmosphere, and come together with like-minded social and workplace innovators.

The Annual 2023

Why partner with The Annual?

Employer branding. Demonstrate you value diversity & inclusion and become employer of choice.

Promote your services. Promote your product or services to our audience

Media visibility. Be recognized as a champion of diversity & inclusion.

Network with potential clients, partners & stakeholders.

The Blaze Inclusion Awards

Join us to congratulate and celebrate the Blaze Inclusion Awards Regional Winners who will be awarded at The Annual.

The Blaze Inclusion Awards celebrate and illuminate trailblazers – individuals and organizations – who actively and passionately uplift Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives in their workspaces, communities and society overall. With a focus on the Nordic region, the Blaze Inclusion Awards highlight DEIB champions in each country and recognise outstanding individuals and organisations whose practices shine within and beyond the Nordics.

GALA PROGRAM

Clarion Hotel The Hub

(Biskop Gunnerus gate 3, 0106 Oslo)

28.09.2024

Come as you are in your Sunday’s best

Program

- Speeches
- Blaze Inclusion Awards Ceremony
- Artistic performances
- Wine and dine
- Network

Our Speakers and Performances for
the Annual 2023

Chisom

Chisom Udeze

(She/Her)

Founder of Diversify, HerSpace & Mettle Consult

Chisom is an Economist, a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Strategist, and a 3 times founder of impact driven companies. She has over 14 years of experience working with organizations like the European Commission, The United Nations, ExxonMobil and The Economist Group. Chisom is analytical and a data enthusiast…

Lalla Coulibaly

(She/Her)

Innovative and Passionate Startup Founder – Daba, Krølltopp.no, Krølleløftet

Lalla is a dynamic and driven professional with a deep understanding of the natural curly hair industry. She founded her first company at the age of 22 and is the owner of two websites that provide information and resources for people with natural curls. Lalla isin the process of launching a startup in this growing industry, with a focus on promoting diversity and inclusion…

Lalla Coulibaly pic

Dominic Gorham

(He/Him)

Guest Relations Manager at The Thief

Mr. Guest Relations himself, Dominic Gorham is a man who has carved out a niche for himself and perfected his craft. Of all the trendiest and luxurious places to visit and indulge in Oslo over the past 20 years, Dominic has been at the helm of a majority of them. 

Chi Lee

(They/Them)

DEIB Advocate, Keynote Speaker

Chi Lee has a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University.  For over two decades, they have been a freelance consultant for design/build studios working with global retail companies. Chi previously worked as a liaison and organizer for Arts for Humanity, a non-profit bringing the arts to underserved communities. 
Chi's pic
Sebbe img

Sebastian Håkenstad

(He/Him)

Activist

Sebastian Håkenstad (He/Him), can easily be called a young human rights activist. At the age of 14 he founded the local pride in Honefoss called FossePride. Being the youngest of 3 siblings, he has learned from a very young age to speak up and speak his mind. Today, he uses his voice to speak about topics close to his heart such as LGBTQ+ and Transgender rights.

Diversify Team

Eleanor Flowers pic

Eleanor Flowers

(She/Her)

Poet, Artist, Writer

Eleanor grew up in a small town outside of Manchester, UK and has lived and worked as a writer and researcher in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Bergen and Oslo. Her writing and research has been published in Tatler, Huffington Post, and Stylist Magazine as well as in academic journals.

Angelica (Miss Balanta) Balanta

(She/Her)

Founder at Miss Balanta / Content Creative

Angelica’s experience with the world of fashion and communication comes from a journey over the last 24 years in different areas as a graphic designer, turban designer, fashion blogger, model, fashion stylist, keynote speaker, production manager, and fashion performance. During this period, she had the opportunity to work in Mexico City, London, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Panama, Oslo, and Bogotá.

Angelica (Miss Balanta) Balanta pic
Spence's pic

Spence

(He/Him)

The Troubadour of Oslo

They say music is the universal language, and Spence is fluent. Born in the UK and now enchanting audiences in Oslo, Norway, Spence is a professional musician who’s been captivating audiences for nearly a decade. His journey started on the streets of the UK as a busker. Those early experiences were instrumental in crafting his unique blend of soulful melodies and authentic storytelling, which eventually led to a book aptly titled “Busking for Beginners.”

…and more

Performances'22

The gala evening was made unforgettable by the resonating performances of diverse artists.
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Blaze Inclusion Awards 2024
Nomination Form

Step 1 of 3

Nominated individuals and/or companies must be based and operate in the specific country they are nominated in. Upon nomination Diversify will carry out a background check of the operations and achievements of the nominees within the DEIB field. In case of finding no trace of activities within the DEIB field, the nominees will be disqualified.

We accept nominations of individuals and/or companies/organisations from all sectors (public, private, non-profit) who/which actively and passionately advocate for and lead the way for a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable society and workspaces.

Chisom Udeze

Economist | Founder of Diversify, Diversify Consult and HerSpace

Chisom

Chisom is an Economist, a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Strategist, and a 3 times founder of impact driven companies. She has over 14 years of experience working with organizations like the European Commission, The United Nations, ExxonMobil and The Economist Group. Chisom is analytical and a data enthusiast. She is passionate about interrogating the cross-sectoral relationship between society’s inhabitants, resources, production, technology, distribution and output. She efficiently and effectively unlocks complex systems, interprets data, forecasts socio-economic trends and conducts research.

Having lived and worked in 7 countries across 3 continents, she is highly adaptable to different circumstances and people, and thrives in uncertain environments.

As the founder of Diversify and Diversify Consult, Chisom and her team work with companies, institutions, governments and civil society to develop sustainable DEIB strategies and embed measurable diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and society. In addition, in 2022, Diversify launched the Diversify Nordics Summit, the largest conference in the Nordics that gathers cross-sectoral stakeholders to amplify DEIB in the Nordics and beyond.

In 2020, she founded HerSpace, a diverse and inclusive co-creation community for all genders, with particular focus on women and non-binary people. In 2022, HerSpace launched HerTech, Women in Tech incubator, for women-led companies, with a focus on the inclusion of diverse founders.

Chisom is a thought-leader in DEIB and a passionate advocate for mental health and wellness. She writes often on DEIB and justice related topics, some of her work is published on Forbes.

Lalla Coulibaly (She/Her)

Innovative and Passionate Startup Founder - Daba, Krølltopp.no, Krølleløftet

Lalla Coulibaly pic

Lalla is a dynamic and driven professional with a deep understanding of the natural curly hair industry. She founded her first company at the age of 22 and is the owner of two websites that provide information and resources for people with natural curls. Lalla isin the process of launching a startup in this growing industry, with a focus on promoting diversity and inclusion.

In addition to her expertise in the curly hair industry, she has a strong background in customer service, team leadership and has led teams to success in various capacities. Lalla is passionate about using her skills and experience to help others, and is constantly looking for new ways to make a positive impact.

Her diverse background and skills make her a valuable asset to any organization looking to tap into the power of natural curls and promote diversity and inclusion.

Dominic Gorham

Guest Relations Manager at The Thief

Mr. Guest Relations himself, Dominic Gorham (He/Him) is a man who has carved out a niche for himself and perfected his craft. Of all the trendiest and luxurious places to visit and indulge in Oslo over the past 20 years, Dominic has been at the helm of a majority of them. A trusted partner of globally renowned artists, his availability often determines if and when International Stars come to Oslo. Dominic curates unforgettable, quality and rich experiences. His work ethic is unmatched and defines a standard of excellence above all others.

From a multi-ethnic background, he’s fluent in Norwegian, French and English. Dom comes from a large family and loves with a big heart. He’s fiercely loyal and his circle goes back to childhood friendships he nurtures to this day.

He is gracious, humble and a role model to many. He creates space where there are seemingly none, and holds the door open for countless others to pass through. If you are lucky enough to know him and call him a friend, then you will have a rich life.

It’s difficult to quantify a man like Dominic in words, he has to be experienced.

Chi Lee (They/Them)

DEIB Advocate

Chi Lee has a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University.  For over two decades, they have been a freelance consultant for design/build studios working with global retail companies. Chi previously worked as a liaison and organizer for Arts for Humanity, a non-profit bringing the arts to underserved communities. They have also served as a translator for Four Seas Group, a Chinese-American non-profit increasing accessibility to the performance arts for local communities.

Sebastian Håkenstad (He/Him)

Activist

Sebbe img
Sebastian Håkenstad (He/Him), can easily be called a young human rights activist. At the age of 14 he founded the local pride in Honefoss called FossePride. Being the youngest of 3 siblings, he has learned from a very young age to speak up and speak his mind. Today, he uses his voice to speak about topics close to his heart such as LGBTQ+ and Transgender rights. Being a member of the rainbow family himself, and having experienced violence because of it, he is trying to create a platform for young people to be themselves and feel safe to love who they love regardless of their gender. As a young activist and spokesperson, he understands the importance of allyship through education and regularly holds lectures about topics such as the importance of allyship and pronouns.

Eleanor Flowers

Poet, Artist, Writer

Eleanor Flowers pic

Eleanor grew up in a small town outside of Manchester, UK and has lived and worked as a writer and researcher in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Bergen and Oslo. Her writing and research has been published in Tatler, Huffington Post, and Stylist Magazine as well as in academic journals.

She began writing poetry in 2020 and draws inspiration from many poets, from William Blake and William Shakespeare to Ocean Vuong and Sharon Olds. She started creating large-scale paintings for her poetry in summer 2022 and hosted her debut poetry show and exhibition The Dress and other Love Stories at HerSpace, Oslo on Valentines Day 2023. She is currently working on her upcoming art exhibition and poetry performance Shopping for God which is scheduled to be shown in Oslo in the coming months.

You can follow Eleanor in Instagram @flowerseleanorflowers

Angelica (Miss Balanta) Balanta

Founder at Miss Balanta / Content Creative

Angelica (Miss Balanta) Balanta pic

Angelica’s experience with the world of fashion and communication comes from a journey over the last 24 years in different areas as a graphic designer, turban designer, fashion blogger, model, fashion stylist, keynote speaker, production manager, and fashion performance. During this period, she had the opportunity to work in Mexico City, London, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Panama, Oslo, and Bogotá. She is currently also a keynote speaker, and her talk is about entrepreneurship and narrative of racism, discrimination, and sexism in Latin America and most parts of the world. With her project she wants to empower women through the use of turbans, feeling proud of their origins and gender. Three years ago she moved from Colombia to Norway and wants to continue this ambitious project.

The Miss Balantas project was born as a fashion blog in 2011 in Barcelona, and years later, it became a brand specializing in turbans and Balantas. The graphic designer Angélica Balanta grew up seeing her mother wearing turbans, which became her main inspiration.

Her need to learn more about her Afro-Colombian roots has been her motivation to transform pieces of fabric into pieces of fashion art. Inspiring and empowering women and highlighting the afro culture’s values are all part of Miss Balanta’s DNA.

Spence

The Troubadour of Oslo

Spence's pic

They say music is the universal language, and Spence is fluent. Born in the UK and now enchanting audiences in Oslo, Norway, Spence is a professional musician who’s been captivating audiences for nearly a decade. His journey started on the streets of the UK as a busker. Those early experiences were instrumental in crafting his unique blend of soulful melodies and authentic storytelling, which eventually led to a book aptly titled “Busking for Beginners.”

In 2019, he made a life-altering move to Oslo, continuing his musical journey while exploring the vibrant Nordic music scene. Spence has a repertoire that’s as diverse as his experience, performing at weddings, corporate gigs, and an array of venues around Norway. He’s not just about live performances; Spence is a scholar of the craft. He holds a professional degree from the esteemed Noroff School and offers coaching to upcoming musicians.

Spence is also the proud founder of Promu Connect, a networking event designed to bridge gaps within the music industry. Between planning events and performing live, he’s working on achieving his dream of going on a profitable tour with original music and elevating the world of live performance coaching.

Tonight, he’ll serenade us with a 20-minute set that promises a journey through emotions, melodies, and life stories, captivating your senses and leaving you wanting more.

Anthony Kalinde

Stand-up Comedian

Born in Malawi and raised in 7 countries by the time he was 21, Anthony Kalinde has lived, studied and worked in different countries across several continents, giving him a uniquely international perspective. By day, Tony is an IT consultant. But don’t let that fool you! His fast, intense, observational wit is anything but dry.

Sunniva Lundh

Singer and Composer

Sunniva Lundh is an artist, composer and singer. She released her debut album Contradictions in January 2019 with excellent reviews and a 5/6. Her album was named one of the best albums in 2019 by thewilhelmsens.com. Sunniva Lundh has been featured on a number of Spotify playlists, including Nu-Blu, New Music. While her first album had a more experimental sound, her second album, Fall from Grace, is slightly more down to earth and acoustic. 

Numa Edema

Singer-Songwriter

Numa Edema is a Norwegian singer-songwriter.  He made a mark as one of the greatest and most innovative soul artists in Norway. With his hit Delta Man, he charmed the entire country with folk-inspired soul. He has released 2 albums and 1 EP. He has played for Nobel Peace Prize winners and toured the United States with Stephen Stills and Judy Collins. He has also performed at Lindmo, TV-aksjonen and during the medal ceremony for the 2016 World Biathlon Championships at Universitetsplassen in Oslo.

 
 
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Isabella Håkenstad

Isabella Håkenstad (She/They), can easily be called a young human rights activist. At the age of 14 she founded her local pride called FossePride. Being the youngest of 3 sisters, she has learned from a very young age to speak up and speak her mind. Today, she uses her voice to speak about topics close to her heart such as LGBTQ+ rights. Being a member of the rainbow family herself, and having experienced violence because of it, she is trying to create a platform for young people to be themselves and feel safe to love who they love regardless of their gender. As a young activist and spokesperson, she understands the importance of allyship through education and regularly holds lectures about topics such as the importance of allyship and pronouns.

Youth Activist

Kimya Sajjadi

Founder of Big Enough Global

Kimiya Sajjadi is the founder of Big Enough Global. She has been nominated as one of Dagens Naeringsliv´s 30 under 30 leaderstars. She studied law for 2.5 years before she decided to be a full time entrepreneur. Today she also serves as a board member for to companies, and works as a columnist for E24. She also helps companies in the private and public sector with their diversity and inclusion strategies.