Devontay Okure


Devontay Okure was born in Nigeria, where his parents who had met at University in the UK 1960s, settled after leaving England due to the racism they faced as an interracial couple. From a young age, Devontay had an exceptional work ethic and drive instilled in him by his parents, in particular his father, a highly educated man who had been a child soldier in the Biafran War and managed to flee as a result of his academic ability.

Later in his childhood, Devontay spent time living in Malaysia before moving with his family to settle in a suburb of Nottingham which was predominantly white – something which gave him mixed experiences at school. Despite experiencing racism from some of his peers, many of Devontay’s best friends were white people. This, along with being a child of an interracial marriage, showed Devontay the importance of mutual trust and understanding and gave him the ability to treat people for who they are and on their own merits.

Devontay’s early life in Africa combined with his sometimes turbulent school experiences instilled and excellent sense of resilience in him, combined with a strong ethic for morals and principles. From school, Devontay went on to college and continued to fulfil his academic journey.

Devontay has well over a decades experience in B2B consultancy services, strategic planning, negotiations and relationship management. His business acumen and instinct has shaped him into a formidable individual in the corporate world with his drive and dynamic style of working, centered around commercial and corporate services. As a result of his working practices, Devontay ensures he secures the best return on investment possible for any businesses he has worked for, all the while forging sustainable commercial partnerships and building a wide network of strategic partners and relationships over the years.

Following his academic journey, Devontay’s professional career began in the financial services sector where he began to experience the ‘ways of the world’ and started to notice inequalities within the professional environment. Through several positions in the private sector he gained an ability to work with a diverse spectrum of people and developed the skill of being able to adapt style and communication depending on each audience.

Later, an opportunity in the public sector arose and Devontay started work with a local authority, where he noticed a complete shift in working practices centered around running a city and putting the city’s people at the heart of decisions. In addition to this, alongside the role allowed Devontay to develop a fantastic insight into how to operate in a political environment.

In each of his roles, Devontay observed different aspects of racial discrimination which affected him both directly and indirectly. This led to him becoming involved with local activism around equality and diversity because he wanted to provide a voice within that sector, and so started Devontay’s passion for driving corporate and community development through the equality and diversity agenda.

Starting out through GMB Union, Devontay began to develop a deep knowledge of the policies and legalities surrounding racism and discrimination along with the insight into what should be done when these policies are not being fulfilled adequately.

Over time this evolved and Devontay took on additional roles surrounding equality and diversity within the local authority he works as well as at a regional level, further preventing himself as a represented and voice to influence policy and drive change.

Eventually this expanded into the political sphere where Devontay has been successful in securing elected roles for the Labour Party where he has felt privileged to represent the views of black and BAME voters and being at the forefront of key issues and addressing policy which affects key demographics within the city, ensuring all voices are heard.

For over 15 years, Devontay’s involvement with equality and diversity matters on a local and on a national level have given him away to channel his passion and provide a voice for others. Devontay’s relentless ambition has drawn on realising you cannot rely on other people to create opportunities for you, you must be proactive and drive them for yourself. Founding Unity in the Community is the natural next step is this – consolidating all his previous work and bringing it together in a uniform way to achieve equality for all.

  • Future Leaders of Nottingham: Class of 2017/18. A programme for people who have been identified as having the potential to take on leadership roles and to establish skills to strengthen the potential of the city
  • GMB Union – started as a representative before becoming Equality and Diversity Lead and now sits as Regional Equality Forum Race Strand Leader
  • Labour Party – CLP (Constituency Labour Party) BAME Officer and Castle Ward Branch Chair
  • ILM Level 5 Leadership and Management Diploma
  • Nottingham City Council BAME Network Chair

“Being a person of colour myself, I’m fully grounded in the equalities agenda and committed to achieving a level and fair playing field for all. I want to lead an organisation that positively disrupts the landscape to be the number one source for bringing together organisations to formulate cohesive and constructive agendas that deliver change and drive racial diversity within the UK.

The ultimate goal is for my children to grow up in a world where ethnicity doesn’t matter, people should be judged on the quality of their character and what they can deliver. We have been in a slumber around the systemic and institutional racism that still exists, and I want to bridging the gap between those that haven’t had the opportunity to integrate as much and to let everyone know we’re all the same.

We’re past the point of excuses and why work hasn’t been done, now it’s the time for change and Unity In The Community is the vehicle for this.”

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