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OBE for Great Western Railway and Network Rail director

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A champion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the rail industry has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Ruth Busby, People and Transformation Director (Regional) for GWR and Network Rail Wales and Western, said she was overwhelmed to receive the honour.

Her award ‘for services to diversity in the rail industry’ recognises not only her work within GWR and Network Rail, but the numerous other organisations she represents to help revolutionise the railway.

Ruth, from Didcot, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled and feel so humbled that people took the time to nominate me. We know that people are at their best when they feel valued, can be themselves and believe that their wellbeing matters. 

“The work that I and my brilliant teams have been doing has aimed to create greater equity and workforce diversity, so that we’re more representative of the communities we serve and have an environment where everyone can flourish.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with organisations and charities beyond the day job to help bring about some exciting and positive change. I’m particularly proud of the work we’ve done to promote and support positive mental health and wellbeing, which is so important.”

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood CBE said:

“Ruth joined the railway industry with an impressive CV five years ago and it’s been a pleasure to work with her since then. She quickly assimilated the key issues facing the industry and has been able to work successfully on delivering an agenda of change to help us to address the challenges of the future through our people.”

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines OBE said:

“Ruth is a true star of the railway. She has a relentless focus on improving our sector for the benefit of all passengers and staff and has been a real champion of diversity and inclusion. She richly deserves this recognition. Very many congratulations, Ruth.”

Ruth joined GWR in 2018 and, after helping to lead colleagues through the Covid-19 pandemic, was named HR Director of the Year at the 2021 Personnel Today Awards.

In January this year she began a joint strategic role with responsibility for the HR and Internal Communications teams in both GWR and Network Rail’s Wales and Western Region.

Over the past couple of years, she has also worked with the Department for Transport, the Samaritans, and Mental Health at Work, to lead a research study on mental health and wellbeing across the rail industry.

She is also the Executive Sponsor for Rail Wellbeing Live, the biggest health and wellbeing movement in the history of the rail industry. This year more than 15,000 people registered to join well-known speakers like Davina McCall and Dr Alex George – a 2,000 increase on the previous year.

As a non-executive director of the Youth Futures Foundation, Ruth also works to improve employment outcomes for young people from marginalised backgrounds and is currently chair of its People and Culture Committee and Employer Advisory Board.

The married mother-of-two also remains a passionate supporter of Women in Rail, having previously served as co-chair of Women in Rail South.

Image credit: GWR