Kanika Selvan

Kanika Selvan is Associate Director of Data and Technology at the University of Sheffield.

At the age of 33, the youngest member of her leadership team and a committed advocate for diversity through technology, her Transformation Director states that she is ‘the most talented Data and Technology leaders I have ever had the privilege of working with’.

Kanika is a strong believer that social change is best achieved through reshaping how technology is delivered and led in organisations. Inclusive Leadership practices are embedded in all that she does, whilst mindfully building a pipeline of talent, set up to challenge the norm. She often talks of herself as a ‘professional disrupter’, leaning into uncomfortable conversations and challenges to ensure the right outcome for her people, her technology, the HE institution she works for, feeding into the wider communities it serves.

Her role as AD of Data and Technology, means that she leads technical teams to deliver strategic change that will shape the experience for Students and Employees. Her career path speaks a story of courage and resilience, as a BAME, neurodiverse woman who has transitioned through; starting her own social enterprise, a graduate programme in Energy Retail, to Telecoms and finally into Higher Education. She has grown through 4 incremental promotions in the last 3 years, now managing teams of over 80, sizeable budgets and delivering releases of technical changes that cover both software and infrastructure in complex technical ecosystems. Kanika is a strong believer that her personal progression is directly correlated with her passion to grow talent and empower teams to think differently. Through restructures, she has built in roles to drive a pipeline for diverse talent, championed the adaptation of procurement processes to speak directly to the Diversity & inclusion agenda in recruitment, grown, recruited and trained female tech leaders internally and supporting them to grow into other organisations for further development. She is now celebrated as a public speaker, showcasing the practices diversity of experience and thought can bring to technical change.

As working from to her values is her core driver, her work to promote inclusivity and equity is also shown in the portfolio of other activities she does. She mentors for the Ada woman’s network, Black Valley technical Career Accelerator Programme and Diversity in Housing, offering up personal time to connect and coach other women to succeed.

She supports the supports the Tech Training Organisation, Diverse and Equal, with strategic & commercial development, enabling them to deliver new initiatives to grow diverse tech talent. Speaking at their events, driving new commercial partnerships and shaping the vision for driving a shining new future for communities that have been historically marginalised to step into their power.

She is also a Non Executive director for Incommunities Housing Association, sitting as Group Board Member and Chair of Customer board, she takes on an additional role as Diversity & Inclusion Lead. This Social Housing provider of 25,000 homes, with a £100m turnover, she supports the board as both a strategic leader and embedding Inclusive leadership practices at a senior level. She regularly speaks out to support employee engagement with D&I and draws the link between the ability for the organisation to be successful & the need to understand their diverse Northern Bradford community base

Kanika has founded and led employee diversity networks. Her most notable, the founding of Npowers women’s network (Moxie) The ambition to create an employee network that would increase representation of female staff, create a space for a discourse around gender related work inequality & support other diversity networks to encourage an intersectional approach. She chaired the set up and delivery of the employee network as it recruited representation across 8 sites, grew its membership to 300+, delivered diversity events, reported to the executive board, started a new engagement with HR professionals who quickly collaborated with us and quick following of LGBTQI+, Neurodiversity & BAME employee networks.