Winners of the Asian Achievers Awards in 2017

  • Achievement in media

    Tanika Gupta MBE Tanika has written over 20 stage plays that have been produced across the UK and has written extensively for television (Eastenders/Grange Hill) and radio drama. Some of her plays include: Lions and Tigers (Globe theatre) Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe Theatre –Dramaturg), Anita and Me (Birmingham Rep); The Empress (Royal Shakespeare Company); Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells); Sugar Mummies (Royal Court Theatre); Gladiator Games (Sheffield Crucible Theatre). Her awards include: John Whiting Award for The Waiting Room, BBC Audio Drama Award for ‘Best Adaptation’ for A Doll’s House and Amnesty International Media Awards for radio play Chitra. In 2008 she was awarded an MBE for services to drama and in 2016 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

  • Achievement in Community Service

    Saba Nasim BEM is a solicitor by profession. Cricket has always been a passion of hers and she began playing and coaching youngsters at Wanstead CC in 2010. Her enthusiasm and passion for passing on the knowledge of the game to others led her to do the ECB Level 2 qualification and she began to coach within her community. She set up a girls only project in an area where there was a lack of facilities for them to try the sport at the grassroots level. Since 2010, Saba has coached over 1000 girls at various schools, clubs and youth centres and has used sport as a vehicle to drive change in her community. She has become an inspirational role model for young females especially in the South Asian community in getting girls to try the sport. She has shown that you can work full time in a high pressure job whilst also pursuing your passion to make a difference to people’s lives.

  • Sport Personality of the year

    Sivakumar Ramasamy As a youth, seeded GB Taekwondo athlete, Siva represented his club Gurumu Taekwondo and country at national and international levels. At 17, Siva became a trainee coach and later established himself as the Head Coach of Gurumu Taekwondo. Under his leadership, the club endured phenomenal success and evolved to become one of the top ranked clubs in Europe. As the Cadet and Junior National Talent Development Coach for GB, Siva has worked closely with athletes who have podium-potential for future Olympic Games. His athletes have won medals at the European, World and Commonwealth Championships. Siva, a key contributor in the development and shaping of British Taekwondo, is currently London's Development Officer for Taekwondo. His mission is to make Taekwondo an accessible sport for all.

  • Professional of the year

    Fayyaz Afzal OBE (blind barrister formerly at No 5 Chambers) is now a District Judge dealing with civil and family cases. He is believed to be the only blind District Judge. As a Recorder he deals with serious care cases. He was one of the first Asian blind barristers. He practised in crime, civil, family and immigration. He was a Legal Assessor and Legally Qualified Chair for health and professional regulators. He has served on committees at the Advocacy Training/Bar Councils and Lincoln’s Inn. He is a senior advocacy tutor. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University. DJ Afzal has been an inspirational role model for those with disabilities and from non-traditional backgrounds.

  • Woman of the year

    Jagdeep Rai Jagdeep has worked for Barclays since 1995 having joined its graduate management training programme. Since then, Jagdeep has undertaken a number of wide ranging roles including strategic, client facing and leadership positions within the retail and corporate environment. Jagdeep is passionate about her role and the opportunities it allows her in leading and developing people whilst driving commercial value, and making a positive impact in the local community. She has a particular interest in the diversity agenda; particularly the development of females and BAME individuals into more senior positions, as well as the support and growth of female and BAME led businesses. In this regard, she regularly contributes as key-note speaker and panellist across a wide variety of internal and external forums. She was listed as number 18 in the EMpower and FT Ethnic Minority leaders list.

  • Entrepreneur of the year

    Gi Fernando MBE is an engineer, social impact entrepreneur and investor, who founded workforce technology and transformation company Freeformers. He is a thought-leader on the future of work, behavioural change and the impact of Automation/AI on employment and society. Gi also holds positions on various Boards relating to creative, education and learning transformation, including Apps for Good, Duke of York IDEA and as well as being the founder of Code and Canvas. His investments include, Technology Will Save Us and The Skills Academy alongside innovative startups changing the world around us, such as, BookingBug, Citymapper,, Timberyard and Playmob amongst a portfolio of 30+ investments.

  • Business Person of the year

    Surinder Arora Surinder Arora is the founder and chairman of the Arora Group. Surinder founded his business in 1999, running a luxurious four-star hotel at Heathrow. From there he built a business based on strong principles of enterprise, including the purchase of the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel in 2012. Today, the Arora Group is a successful private group of UK-focused companies, with specialist property, construction and hotel development and management divisions. The Group owns and manages a diverse portfolio of assets with a particular presence in airport regions. Surinder and wife Sunita are co-founders of the Arora Charitable Foundation. The Foundation’s charitable balls have raised a combined total of over £1.8million. Surinder has been honoured with success in a number of recent awards, including the “Corporate Responsibility” category at the London and South East Institute of Director Awards 2016 and “CEO of the Year” at the UK Private Business Awards in 2016.

  • Uniformed and Civil Service

    Kulbir Pasricha , Born in Middlesex, Kulbir has worked in the public sector for 27 years where she has worked at operational, tactical and strategic levels. She joined Kent Police in 1998 as a central crime reporting unit investigator and her career progressed from Crime Support Officer to Area Diversity Manager, and since 2012 she has been Community Liaison Coordinator. Her discretionary roles include Family Liaison Officer, Trauma Risk Management Practitioner and Critical Incident Advisor. Over the years she has made a positive difference to diversity and community engagement, and has been recognised through various awards including the Wainwright Trust Award/National Criminal Justice Award and more recently as a finalist in the Chief Constable’s Awards for The Phillip Pratt Award for Community Policing. Kulbir is also a carer and enjoys charity work and writing poetry.

  • Achievement in arts & culture

    Amrit Kaur Lohia is a Sarangi player and vocalist in genres of Punjabi folk, R&B and soul. Based in London, she tours internationally as a performer, composer and workshop facilitator. She is a youth worker, mentoring youth offenders and children in foster care. Amrit is also the founder of ‘’, a social enterprise dedicated to humanising history and social issues through the Arts and she is currently a Global Youth Ambassador for ‘A World at School’. Amrit has also trained as a theatre director at the Young Vic Theatre and has a masters degree in history, specialising in South Asia, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her notable performances include Glastonbury Festival, UN General Assembly (New York) and Googleplex (California).

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