News and stories03 October 2023
Diversity and inclusion heroes
Seven colleagues have been recognised in the 2023 Heroes Role Model Lists for driving diversity in the workplace.
BAT is proud to be a diverse global organisation that encourages people to value their differences. We value diversity because it encourages innovation, creativity and different ways of thinking – and makes BAT a fascinating place to work.
That is why we are delighted the 2023 Heroes Role Model list has recognised seven exceptional colleagues for their role in championing women in the workplace and driving gender diversity. Each person in the list was nominated by peers and colleagues and scored on the influence of their role, their impact on diversity inside and outside of the workplace, and their business achievements.
Kelly Burtenshaw, Head of Finance, Pakistan Tobacco Company, said:
“I feel extremely proud. This award belongs to all the women I have had the privilege to work with. Without them, I wouldn’t have got to where I am today. These women are the driving force behind female networks, communities, mentoring clubs and Employee Resource Groups.
I am the first female Finance Director in the history of the Pakistan Tobacco Company and see it as my responsibility to pave the way for future female leaders. This award motivates me even more.”
Heroes Top 100 Women Executives:
Kelly Burtenshaw, Head of Finance, Pakistan
Kelly is the first female Finance Director in BAT’s Pakistan business and has been a driving force behind enhancing working conditions, parental arrangements, and career pathways for women’s talent within BAT.
Heroes Top 100 Women Future Leaders
Jessie Chen, Area Head of Marketing Deployment, Taiwan
Jessie is the first Country Manager for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Her leadership exemplifies how women can drive business growth. She plays an active role in diversity and inclusion activities and has successfully harnessed female talent within BAT.
Priscila Cruz, Senior Manager, Leaf Services, Technology & Capabilities Management, Brazil
Priscila lead the creation of a women manager group aimed at identifying and raising awareness of gender disparities. This led to cross-functional initiative ‘Inspiring Change’ which gained leadership support and resulted in positive change.
Melissa McLean, Senior Manager, Product Data Management, Reynolds America
Melissa is the co-lead of Reynolds America Women’s Employee Resource Group. Through this Melissa has led panels on various topics, from celebrating cultural heritage to fostering authenticity. Outside of work, she mentors young women and tutors in STEM.
Karen Taluskie, Senior Manager, Vapour Deployment, Reynolds America
Karen is the co-lead of Reynolds America Women’s Employee Resource Group and has helped grow the group by 15 per cent, making it the company’s largest ERG. Karen plays a pivotal in shaping the groups strategy, vision and monthly activities. Outside of work, she mentors and promotes gender parity and inclusiveness.
Heroes Top 100 Women Advocate Leaders
Wael Sabra, Area Director, APMEA West
Wael has driven substantially improved gender diversity representation in senior teams and management roles. He is committed to supporting working parents as well as coaching female talent for future career development and progression. Wael is the main executive sponsor for the Women Inclusion Network that promotes allyship and helps to elevate women within the business.
Ali Akbar, General Manager, Pakistan
Ali passionately drives diversity, equity, and inclusion in Pakistan's corporate landscape. His impact is evident through his initiatives to promote women’s advancement in non-traditional roles. Over three years, he achieved a remarkable 63% promotion rate for women, breaking gender barriers.
This recognition is a tribute to the inspirational work of these individuals and their significant contribution to diversity and inclusion within BAT and wider society. To learn more about their achievements visit the INvolve Heroes website .