Lela is a qualified accountant and has over 20 years’ experience as a senior manager in the public sector. She was Assistant Chief Executive at Islington Council until September 2016 where she was responsible for a range of services including corporate policy and performance, equalities, communications, adult and community learning, business engagement and voluntary sector grants.

She also led on the Islington Fairness and Employment Commissions, which included engaging communities in new models of delivery and resource allocation. She worked part time as Director of Employment Programmes for NHS England until July 2018, which included increasing the number of people with learning disabilities employed within the NHS and setting up the first Individual Placement and Support (IPS) trial to extend employment support beyond mental health to other health conditions. She was adviser to the Department for Education on improving access to apprenticeships for disabled and BAME people. 

Lela currently chairs Health and Employment Partnerships, which is a social purpose company within Social Finance that helps people with health conditions and disabilities secure, sustain and retain fulfilling work. She is also a trustee of Action for Southern Africa, Ballet Black, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, DFN Project Search and Global Generation.