Sonia Meggie is a multi award-winning business and diversity leader from south London. She has been named as one of the Top 30 most inspirational women in the City by Brummell (Diversity Champion category) in 2015. She was the winner of the BE Mogul Award for being one of the most influential and successful Black business people in Britain. She completed a Masters in Digital Media (2015) and is passionate about technology. Sonia is a qualified football coach; former board advisor for Police Now; vice-chair of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) Friends Committee; patron for Revolutionary Underground in Ghana; trustee for Lewisham Young Women’s Resource Project, and supports the GUBA Expo in London.
She is the founder of Inspirational YOU, a UK-based social enterprise that specialises in delivering empowering masterclasses and workshops for women, students and start-ups. She has engaged with thousands of attendees via Inspirational YOU, and has a proven track record of successful partnerships with the corporate, statutory and third-sector organisations. These include: Viacom International, BBC, UK Supreme Court, Lewisham Homes, PwC, Pearson, ITV News, Channel 4, Go Think Big, Impact Hub, Punch Records, London Youth, Birkbeck University of London, Lambeth Council and Metropolitan Housing. Sonia also launched an accessories company called FunkyNChunky in 2015, which is a fashion brand that sells jewellery and clothing that are handmade in Ghana. Proceeds go towards her new youth project, Inspire YOUth, which will be based in Lambeth.
Tell us about your community project and its aims
“Inspirational YOU seeks to empower women, young people and Black and Asian professionals with their career choices and aspirations. Sonia is in the process of setting up a Saturday School in Clapham, south London. It will educate young people aged 8 to 16, and focus on English, maths, coding, public speaking and martial arts. Everyone will get a mentor and meet a senior professional every week.”
As a mother of a teenage daughter, Sonia understands the challenges that parents face in securing a good school, college or university place. She wants to ensure that no doors are closed, and that every student has the confidence and skills to get ahead.
Inspirational YOU utilises their professional contacts to facilitate employment opportunities, mentors and inroads into competitive industries. Sonia is aware that many students struggle due to a lack of awareness or contacts in their chosen field.
What have been the most influential experiences in your life?
“I am driven by knowing that I can impact those around me positively. Key moments include: being awarded a National Diversity Award ‘Positive Role Model for race, faith and religion’ in September 2014, and a ‘Back to Black’ Inspirational Award at BAFTA in October 2014. It was humbling to be listed on Blackenterprise.com as one of London’s most powerful Black women, as well as being featured in the Powerlist 2013. In September 2016, I won the Word 4 Weapons’ Inspirational Leader Award for Inspirational YOU at London’s City Hall.
I was selected as one of the 2014 RSA Diaspora ChangeMakers, which is a leadership programme that identifies the UK’s most promising individuals of African origin, who have a desire to support African communities in the UK and Africa, and am a Fellow of the RSA.”
What kinds of things bring you the most pleasure now?
“I enjoy ‘me days’. These are moments where I just switch off my phone, go to the theatre, travel, read, do something different and enjoy time with my daughter, family and friends. I am learning to ensure that I stop and don’t get lost in being busy. Time out and days off are so important for my wellbeing. I also enjoy working out, or an evening out catching up with friends.
I enjoy connecting with different women at my church, and the warmth shared by complete strangers who will often approach me and pray. Finally, hearing from previous attendees of Inspirational YOU workshops or events, who have taken a leap of faith and changed jobs or careers. I get so much fulfilment from my new brand, FunkyNChunky, as I love African fashion and travelling to the continent.”
What are you most passionate about in life and in your work?
“I am passionate about seeing young people progress and access every opportunity available to them. I have met so many incredible entrepreneurs and senior professionals, who have all come on board to empower and motivate others because they see and share my vision. I am determined to see the dial shifted within the workplace around race, and for more of us to progress and remain visible. I have met thousands of people over the last seven years, and want to ensure that those who want to get ahead are introduced to the right people to make this happen. I also want to see girls in Africa educated, and travel to Ghana to support a girls’ project that I support.”
For more information about Sonia, visit www.inspirationalyou.co.uk
Find us on Facebook /www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-YOU
Follow Sonia on Twitter@Inspirational_U