Membership Team Biographies #3

 

Sonia Meggie
Diversity Adviser

Sonia  is a passionate Diversity Advisor who has supported and empowered women and ethnic minorities in the UK for over 10 years.  She is also the founder of Inspirational YOU, a London based social enterprise launched in March 2010.  Their mission is to connect, inspire and empower young people, women and ethnic minorities who want to develop their careers or start a business.

Sonia is also a mentor and football coach who is driven by making a difference and seeing those around her reaching their full potential. Her objective is to leave a legacy that will see the progression of women, ethnic minorities and young people.  Featured in the Powerlist 2013, which profiles the most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom and listed on Blackenterprise.com as one of London’s most powerful black women, Sonia has a BA in Business Studies and Social Policy, and an MSc in E Commerce.   Sonia is well networked and followed by over 7,000 people on social media.  She has supported many to secure senior roles and to progress their career.  She is also well known for empowering BME women and connecting businesses with diverse applicants.

She is currently completing an MA in Digital Media and has been selected from thousand’s to be a RSA Diaspora Changemaker.

 

 

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Rachael Ohwin
Diversity Adviser 

Prior to joining Business in the Community, Rachael was Head of Programmes at the Aleto Foundation (formerly Powerlist Foundation), a charity that accelerates the development of young leaders from less privileged backgrounds. In this role, she successfully pioneered and managed a highly acclaimed leadership development programme for students of African and Caribbean heritage, in partnership with Accenture UK.
 
A true explorer and experienced researcher, Rachael has a wide range of international experiences from the fields of government, law and education. She worked in the Scottish Parliament during the independence referendum, has undertaken quantitative and qualitative research with BLAST – one of the largest legal aid organisations in Bangladesh – and was a secondary school teacher in Ogun State, Nigeria.
 
Rachael holds a Bachelor of Laws, which included one year studying at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college in the USA. Following this, she completed an MSc in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford, for which she raised over £10,000 in eight days through her successful crowdfunding campaign #OXFORD10000.
 
Passionate about access to quality education, Rachael was awarded a 2017 Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, which she utilised to learn how schools and organisations around the world develop leaders from disadvantaged backgrounds, through education. With her discoveries, she is improving access to elite institutions in the UK.

 

 

Johanne Westhauser
Diversity Adviser

Johanna is an experienced international adviser specialising in employee engagement, behaviour change, and diversity 

Prior to Business in the Community, Johanna worked for Willis Towers Watson, a global HR management consultancy, where she managed FTSE 100 client accounts and led high-quality internal HR projects. Examples include culture change, M&As, benefit communications, and
employee value propositions.
Johanna also set up, ran and championed the Willis Towers Watson multicultural inclusion network for 4,000 employees across the UK with the aim to empower all colleagues to feel comfortable in bringing their culture to the workplace.

As Board member and Director of Communications for SIETAR UK – the UK’s leading organisation promoting intercultural education, training, and research – Johanna runs intercultural training sessions, shapes networks across the country, and hosts intercultural events and workshops.
Johanna holds a BSc in International Communication Management, best of year (The Hague University, Netherlands) and an MSc with distinction in Intercultural Business Communication (Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland)

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Gemma Parmar
Diversity Knowledge Co-ordinator

Gemma is Diversity Adviser for Business in the Community’s Gender and Race Equality campaigns. 

Prior to this role, Gemma joined the team as Benchmarking Officer where she supported the Race and Gender benchmark before moving to Diversity Knowledge Coordinator. Gemma has a background in working in stakeholder engagement and communications across the public and private sector.

Her past work experience includes working for Business in the Community’s ITC’s International campaign where she supported a variety of projects covering Disaster Relief, Human Rights and the International awards, and in stakeholder engagement for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Gemma has an interest in international development, sustainability and behaviour change.

Gemma is passionate about workplace equality and intersectionality and last year visited Kenya where she volunteered with the women’s empowerment charity,Gihon Women Empowerment Programme which provides women opportunities, practical skills as well as life skills and a community to help them develop and learn. Outside of work, Gemma volunteers with UpRising’s One Million Mentors scheme mentoring young people to support them in finding employment.

Gemma has a MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation from King’s College London and outside of work has a keen interest in film, theatre and music. 

Image of Gemma Palmer - Benchmarking Officer

Ruth Yohannes
Benchmarking Officer

Ruth has an MSc in Geographical Information System and a BSc in Geography. Both of these qualification stems from a  strong interest in social science and development studies. Proficient in using GIS technology such ArcGIS across various platforms to manipulate data and analyse patterns and better understand relationships and processes in the human and natural world.  Ruth is a skilled project manager and analyst. Ruths interests outside of work include Zumba and Art Textiles.