Justine Gillespie

2023 Shortlisted Nominee
Head of Diversity & Inclusion Award


Justine Gillespie is a tireless advocate for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Sunderland. Her unwavering passion, dedication, and tenacity have made her a standout leader. She played a pivotal role in establishing 8 staff network groups, including REACH (focused on Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Heritage), Pride (focused on LGBT+), and Enable (focused on Disability). These groups have created safe spaces, fostering staff empowerment, meaningful dialogue, and positive transformation within the University. Justine has been a catalyst for change, driving impactful initiatives such as the Inclusive Passports programme, the annual Global Food Festival, and the formulation of a transgender and gender diverse policy. Thanks to her relentless efforts in breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity, their 2023 staff survey revealed a remarkable 97% positive response rate regarding the University’s commitment to EDI.