Mon 22 November 2021
Baltic Creative Community Interest Company (CIC) has welcomed three new co-opted members to its board of directors with the appointment of Aaron Fontenot, Geraldine Achieng and Lila Tamea, all of whom are under the age of 30.
The appointments are in response to Baltic Creative’s recently updated diversity and inclusion policy, which aims to ensure that a broader range of voices from across Liverpool’s thriving digital and creative sector are represented and have an opportunity to help shape its future.
New board member, Aaron Fontenot is a socially driven entrepreneur with a passion for branding and an eye for tech and consumer trends. He is the business lead at Matchstick Creative, as well as project lead on Firestarters, a cross-sector community of Liverpool City Region organisations coming together to do good.
Outside of Matchstick Creative, Aaron is also the founder and head of programming at Culture Deck, Liverpool's leading urban media platform which celebrates the region's black and urban culture through events and creative media projects. As an entrepreneur and a social activist, Aaron is on the frontline of the Liverpool business communities' fight to become more purpose driven.
Originally from Kenya, Geraldine Achieng has joined the Baltic Creative board after working with Merseyside Youth Association, The Women's Health Information & Support Centre (WHISC) and the Basement Advisory Centre, highlighting the lack of employment opportunities for students, while promoting positive mental wellbeing, particularly in men from minority communities.
Geraldine also co-founded the events company, DATWAYSEASONS, at the heart of Liverpool city centre to promote the northwest between 2017 and 2020, inspiring the black empowerment digital platform, ‘The Noire Review’. In her day job, Geraldine is a PR executive, as well as being involved with Liverpool City Council’s race and equality taskforce, campaigning to prioritise health, housing and employment issues affecting Liverpool boroughs.
Lila Tamea is the former president (20-21) and vice president education (19-20) at Liverpool John Moore's Student’s Union (JMSU). During her time at JMSU, Lila was involved in initiatives surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion, particularly race equality, and introduced the university’s attainment gap council, designed to spearhead initiatives to close the black attainment gapat LJMU.
Lila is currently studying her master’s in education at LJMU and continues to be involved in work around access and participation as a student community outreach officer within the university’s student recruitment and admissions.
Commenting on the new appointments, Baltic Creative CIC managing director, Mark Lawler, said:
‘We’re excited to have three new additions to the board, and we are already enjoying their fresh input from a younger perspective, as well as drawing on their varying cultural and career experiences to date. Diversity within the digital and creative sector as a whole is a challenge and we hope that the appointment of Aaron, Geraldine and Lila will enable us to be more proactive in addressing where the gaps are, so that there are more opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved’.
In 2019 Baltic Creative, surveyed its tenants and collected business diversity data, revealing that 72% of employees were aged 20-39, 91% were white British and 63% were men.
‘The diversity survey data made for interesting reading and really highlighted to us that more needs to be done to bring more representation into the sector. We hope that with Aaron, Geraldine and Lila’s help, together we will continue to learn and facilitate positive change,’ added Mark.
The management and growth of Baltic Creative is overseen by voluntary board members providing strategic advice and overseeing how generated funds are reinvested into the digital, creative and technology sector, while driving the business forward. The appointment of Aaron, Geraldine and Lila brings the board up to eight members.