Tessy Ojo CBE is passionate Civil Society Leader who has spent over two decades driving change for children and young people in the areas of social justice, youth leadership and social equity. In 2020, Tessy was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE – Commander of The British Empire for her services to children and young people.
She is the Founder of Tessy’s Brunches, a mentoring forum for female self-improvement. She is also the Chief Executive of The Diana Award – the only charity that bears the name of Diana, Princess of Wales and through it has developed internationally recognised programmes that give young people skills to thrive and create positive change in their communities globally.
Tessy has had the honour of working with Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex for over 20 years, who both support the Charity. She was also privileged to be a Chapel guest at the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. With over twenty-two years in third sector leadership and expertise in redefining outcomes for with young people, Tessy played a founding role in the building and sustainability of the charity, bringing strategic clarity and innovative approaches leading to a 360-degree turnaround of the charity’s growth and global industry recognition.
Always passionate about making a difference, Tessy holds various influential positions such a non-executive director at Comic Relief, IWILL Board (a partnership between National Lottery and DCMS), The BBC’s Appeals Advisory Committee, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, and the Royal Cyberbullying Taskforce, where she focuses on social justice and social equity.
Her dedication to fostering social change extends beyond her professional commitments. She is actively involved in campaigns and philanthropic endeavours, demonstrating her passion for creating a positive impact. In 2017, she set up the first All Party Parliamentary Group on Mentoring to advocate for careers mentoring to be part of the Government’s plans for youth engagement and youth social action.
Tessy has promoted change in the access to, and quality of, mental health support for young people from all racialised communities, advocating for a redesigned mental health support service that is fit for purpose and culturally competent. She has also led the call for mandatory anti-racist bullying training in England, as it is now mandatory in Wales, to ensure parity across the UK.
Her innovative approach to youth leadership and driving systemic change has been recognised internationally, resulting in Tessy becoming the very first British National to be honoured with The Prestigious Martin Luther King Award in Atlanta, in recognition of her innovative approach to leadership and humanitarian work. In the same year, she was also named by British Airways, alongside other key notable leaders, as one of the top 100 British Leaders. In 2015, Tessy was awarded an Excellence Award by Eva Longoria through her Global Gift Foundation.
Tessy’s success and dedication are inspirational. Her multifaceted contributions to various boards and her work at The Diana Awards highlight her tireless efforts in driving positive change and promoting diversity and inclusion alongside her professional achievements. She is a sought-after speaker and TV commentator who regularly comments on issues around young people, youth culture and insight as well as diversity and inclusion.
She is married and has two children.