Sonia Meggie is a London based Diversity Advisor who has supported and empowered women and ethnic minorities in the UK for over 10 years. She is also the founder of a London based social enterprise. Sonia is passionate about connecting, inspiring and empowering young people, women and ethnic minorities who want to develop their careers or follow their passion. She works with senior leaders, management teams and the charitable sector to create, implement and sustain change and improvement.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently
I am a mother, student, diversity advisor and social entrepreneur. I am also a football fan (Arsenal) and children’s football coach. I have just completed an MA in Digital Media and recently launched an accessories range called FunkyNChunky.
Why did you start your business?
I run two businesses currently. The first Inspirational YOU was started because I wanted to provide a forum and platform for small businesses, young people and professionals in transition to be able to connect and learn from one another. My accessories business was started due to my love for Ghana and African fashion. I also wanted to be able to support female business owners by working with them to develop and grow their business skills.
What appealed to you about setting up your own business?
It has always been important that I leave a legacy. As a mother and mentor, I have to walk the talk and ensure that those around me learn and grow. Success is also about others reaping the benefits of your hard work too.
What has been your biggest challenge?
As a mother it can often feel like a juggle managing a heavy workload. There is also the guilt factor of not always being able to attend everything that your child does. I have a demanding schedule and there are times when my work / life balance does not always work out as I would like. I often miss some special occasions, but I have to see the bigger picture, plough on and make amends on another occasion.
What’s been your greatest achievement personally?
I am thankful for so many things. I am proud of my daughter and her achievements at such a young age (Silver in the ISA 75 metres 2014 Championships, Deputy Head Girl and Sports Captain). I have a fantastic team who share my vision and support me in all that I do and the thousands of people that have attended or spoken at our events. An achievement is receiving a thank you letter or update from an attendee who has moved on or achieved their objective. Every day is a blessing and I move on very quickly to the next goal. There is much to be done and so many others need our support.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?
I would probably be working in IT again. I started my career as a Unix Programmer and enjoyed coding. I left because I was frustrated at being the only female and black woman in each department. I was treated poorly and continuously undermined. I am so passionate about seeing more women and girls in STEM and would go back to this as I love all things TECH.
It has always been important that I leave a legacy. As a mother and mentor, I have to walk the talk and ensure that those around me learn and grow.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I am inspired by my mother first of all. She is so hardworking and has a huge heart. I admire women such as Bell Hooks, Angela Davies, Zadie Smith, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Howells and the many women who have joined our panels. I was moved by Jay Davidson who moved us to tears in 2013 by sharing her story about overcoming cancer and A’rfa Butt who humbly works for MTV, but understands her calling to shape the lives of young girls. I have much respect for Rozan Ahmed too. I have met so many women who share my vision to change society and influence positively.
What does the future hold for you?
I am branching into Production (IYtv) and you will see much more of our programmes and interviews online now. We will also be delivering more workshops for start-ups and students. I am a 2014 RSA Diaspora Changemaker and will be collaborating with a girl’s charity in Ghana to support street children into full time education.
Finally, look out for my FunkyNChunky range of bags and necklaces.