Barbara Kasumu


Current Work

Barbara holds two non-executive roles on the boards of the Youth Hostel Association and the Foyer Federation. She has a degree in Politics from Queen Mary University and a Masters in International Public Policy from University College London.

Barbara is currently Chief Executive of award winning social enterprise Elevation Networks and a respected equalities campaigner, working on the participation, employment and leadership of young people and women. She has worked extensively with government departments, NGOs and various youth initiatives across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Barbara has worked in the youth sector for over ten years and specialises in providing consultancy services to employers from Barclays to the Civil Service Fast Stream and other stakeholders on how to engage and attract young people, women and people of colour to their talent pipelines and governance structures. She also runs Visible Women, a campaign to match young women and girls with female role models and mentors in male dominated industries. On Twitter alone the #IamVisible hashtag reached 259,290 unique users and as a result VW was featured in The Independent as one of the top campaigns ‘tweeting for equality’. Barbara is also an RSA fellow.


Barbara was appointed to the Diversity and Inclusion board for the London 2012 games alongside Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and was a victory ceremony presenter for the Paralympic Games.

Barbara has been a consultant for the Department for International Development- Civil Society Youth Working group; supporting the implementation of the “Youth Guidance Project”. She has also been a member of the international steering committee for the Commonwealth Youth Forum that feeds into the bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

In 2009, Barbara was a Youth Advisor for Oxfam GB, where she ensured that young people remained on the agenda with Oxfam’s campaigns and policy work. As a trainer and facilitator Barbara has worked with reputable organisations such as the Scottish Youth Parliament and the British Youth Council. She was previously selected to be a Young Advocate for the Changemakers charity where she worked with think tank of the year; Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to help to improve the LGIU’s practice and policy regarding the inclusiveness of young people.

International Advocacy

Barbara has represented the UK globally at a number of International meetings, including being part of the official delegation to the G8 and G20 summit in Canada 2010. Barbara was selected as the Commonwealth Youth Representative for the election observer mission for the Kenyan General Election in December 2007, chaired by former President of Sierra Leone Dr Kabbah. In 2008 Barbara chaired the international steering committee for the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Youth Leadership Programme that took place in Cyprus on the theme of “Youth and Peacebuilding”. Whilst in Cyprus Barbara met with President Demetris Christofias and the then leader of the Northern Republic of Cyprus. She also met with UN agencies including UNDP and the UN Peacekeepers to assess the reconciliation efforts.

Barbara has been recognised as a Global Changemaker by the British Council and invited to attend the African Youth Summit in Cape Town, South Africa alongside the World Economic Forum which was hosted by Kofi Annan GCMG. Ahead of the G20 meetings Barbara co-facilitated the Department for International Development (DFID) White Paper Youth Consultation. She also attended the 16th Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting and Commonwealth Youth Forum which was included in the Queen’s Speech.

Awards and Notable Achievements

  • Brummell Magazine Inspirational Women Champions of Diversity 2015

  • Stylist‘s Magazine Top 25 women under 30‘ sponsored by Nivea

  • Shortlisted: Management Today’s 35 under 35

  • Telegraph “Wonder Women” Business Panel

  • Sage Small Business Expert

  • Victory Ceremony Presenter Paralympic Games 2012

  • Red Magazine Award Winner 2011 “Woman To Watch” Category

  • HE Social Entrepreneurship Catalyst Award Winner 2011

  • Google Zeitgeist Young Mind 2011

  • SMK Young Activist of the Year 2009

  • Election Observer – Commonwealth Observer Group – Kenya 2007

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