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.

 

 

Image of Sonia Meggie

Priya Mitchell
Diversity Adviser

Priya is an experienced facilitator, consultant and policy advisor. Before joining BITC, Priya worked as an Equalities Advisor at Metropolitan -, a national housing, care and support organisation, leading on Organisational Development and Policy Analysis.  She has worked in the UK, the US and India.  Priya has spoken extensively at conferences including the Dignity and Respect Conference and the Fighting Extremism Together Conference and has been quoted in publications such as the San Diego Business Journal, the Photo Industry Reporter, The Meeting Professional and Law Technology News.  An alumni of Carnegie Mellon University and New York University, her particular strengths are policy and strategy development, public relations and conflict resolution. 

 

Image of Priya Mitchell- Diversity Advisor

Gemma Parmar
Diversity Knowledge Co-ordinator

Gemma is Benchmarking Officer for Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity. Gemma has a background in working in stakeholder engagement and communications across the public and private sector. Her past work experience includes working for BITC’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 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

Maria Petnga-Wallace
Diversity Adviser

Maria has worked in developing diversity to drive business performance across a variety of sectors including corporate legal, government and education. She first became involved in engaging employees with diversity following the Macpherson report in 1999 where she implemented and managed a diversity action group in response to the report's proposals. As Mentoring Programme Manager at Race for Opportunity she set up the first Mentoring Circles across four national regions.

She has experience of designing and delivering training sessions, focus groups, policy development, communication plans and effectively managing employee networks to build strategic business objectives. As part of her business degree, Maria investigated the business benefits of race diversity in the workplace.

Maria is part of the NOTICED (Networking Opportunities to Integrate, Celebrate, and Educate on Diversity) network's steering committee, an inter-firm initiative to promote diversity and multiculturalism in the legal sector. In her spare time when she is not helping her son's out with their homework she can be found storytelling to a large group of enthusiastic children in Barnet.

Image of Maria Petnga Wallace
Head of Membership

Piyumi is Head of Membership for Business in the Community’s Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity campaigns.  In her time with the campaigns, she has managed a wide cross section of Champion and Core member relationships and led on a variety of key projects.  Her past work experience includes managing the internationally acclaimed Shell LiveWIRE programme and managing a flagship Women’s Empowerment programme for MAS Holdings, a leading global apparel manufacturer headquartered in Sri Lanka.  Piyumi’s experience of working in both the Corporate and Charity sectors in Asia, the US and Europe has given her international exposure, in addition to a useful and relevant set of skills which is matched by her passion for diversity and inclusion.  Piyumi has a BA in International Relations from the first all women’s University in the USA, Mount Holyoke College and an MSc in Politics and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Piyumi has a keen interest in theatre and film and has played lead roles in both mediums.

Image Piyumi Samaraweera

Ruth Yohannes
Benchmarking Officer

Ruth has an MSc in Geographical Information System and a BSc in Geography. Both of these qualification stem 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.  

 

 

Margherita Zorzetto
Diversity Adviser

Margherita comes from a Law background, having earned a LLB and LLM at the University of London, specializing in Human Rights. From 2003 to 2014 Margherita lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada leading a number of projects on diversity and equality. In particular, Margherita worked with the Canadian Cancer Society and the BC Ministry of Jobs and Skills Training, helping businesses better link with diverse communities, building partnerships and developing culturally competent practices across operations. She also developed community-based programs using capacity building approaches to support Aboriginal and other under-served communities. Her advocacy work includes involvement in anti-poverty and anti-trafficking campaigns.

From 2007 to 2013 Margherita was the president of the British Columbia Human Rights Coalition. This role has given her an opportunity to lobby the BC provincial government for the strengthening of anti-discrimination laws.

Margherita has studied and has provided training on the communication method known as Non Violent Communication (NVC) and is currently providing pro-bono consultations on applications of NVC methods in primary school.

Margherita is a prolific potter and a violinist.

Image of Margherita Zorzetto