Shah Begum, a paralegal at international law firm Gowling WLG, has been recognised in the New Year Honours List 2023 for her services to equality, diversity and inclusion. Shah has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the first New Year Honours to be awarded by King Charles.
Shah has been recognised for the outstanding work she has done whilst on secondment at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, where she was part of the Birmingham 2022 legacy integration team. Shah worked tirelessly to find a route into the Games for community groups, organisations and individuals that would normally face barriers to accessing a major event like Birmingham 2022. She was also the deputy chair of Birmingham 2022's staff network for ethnically diverse employees and delivered a series of events aimed at celebrating and encouraging dialogue between staff and stakeholders.
Usually a paralegal in the firm's construction and engineering team, Shah has spent the last two and a half years helping local people in Birmingham and the West Midlands get involved in programmes like the Birmingham 2022 Festival, Bring the Power youth programme and the Commonwealth Collective volunteer programme. She also took over responsibility for the United By Birmingham 2022 community partnerships programme, which celebrated local, grass roots organisations who were delivering projects to celebrate Birmingham 2022.
Following the announcement, Shah said: "I was overwhelmed to be nominated and I am so proud that the work of the legacy integration team has been recognised. It's so important that local communities feel the benefits of major events such as the Commonwealth Games and that their voices are at the heart of the decision making process about the projects that happen in their area.
"It has been an honour to be a part of a legacy programme that has been a huge catalyst to enable engagement at a local level and for future generations to build upon. I am looking forward to bringing my community connections and social value experience back to my team to help support our clients who want to play a bigger role in supporting the communities they are based in and tell the story of their social impact."
Gowling WLG is committed to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can be themselves. One of the firm's global values is: 'we all bring something different'. We have several employee networks, all helping our people to be the best they can be. Each has board sponsorship and support, and guidance from our strategic diversity and inclusion partners. All of our networks are open to everyone.