This is YOUR community! We want paradiGM to be a space where you can be yourself and feel accepted for who you are. The purpose of our Diversity initiative is to cultivate an authentic sense of belonging by working to achieve a more diverse and welcoming community. We will champion diversity in everything that we do. From our members, the organizations that we partner with, speakers and topics – we aim to be a community that is truly global and inclusive.
What is Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts—but they are not interchangeable.
Diversity is about representation or the make-up of a community, business or group that can be used to differentiate people from one another. Its importance relates to empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different.
This can be in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education and national origin, but it is not limited to these factors. While some differences might be considered to be more self-evident (such as national origin, age, race and ethnicity, religion/belief, gender, marital status and socioeconomic status) it is important to also consider what is less obvious (such as neurodiversity, educational background, sector experience, and even personality) about how people can be different.
Inclusion is about how the perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment. It is an organisational effort in which different groups or individuals of different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed.
Inclusive cultures make people feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group. People feel a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they can do their best to contribute to what they care about.
When people feel valued, they function at full capacity and feel part of the organisation’s mission. This is why Diversity is an essential pillar of the paradiGM Community.
Why Do They Matter?
Diversity and Inclusion matter because it gives us a sense of belonging. They pave the way for more creativity and innovation. This is what we want to achieve for everyone who is a member of the paradiGM Community
The more people we have with unique experiences, beliefs, and perspectives the more opportunity there will be for us to generate new ideas together.
Secondly, a diverse and inclusive community means a respectful and tolerant space where members feel welcomed and accepted. This results in members who will align our mission with their personal goals.
Charlotte O’Connor – Advocate
Charlotte is UK born and bred but with immigrant Irish heritage and it is maybe this that has opened her heart to the diversity of the world we live in. For the last 20 years, she has had a relationship with Mauritius and the myriad of cultures that co-exist on the island. She has recently returned to London following an extended period living there and is adapting back to life in the city.
She is the founder of Agile Immigration Services Ltd., a UK US immigration boutique which she started just before the pandemic. Before this, she was a Director at Bonheur Legal Consultancy, another immigration boutique which she helped grow into a Legal 500 firm handling the immigration requirements for several multi-national corporates, software and gaming companies, and banks. Charlotte is also a listed Legal 500 practitioner from her time at Bonheur.
Charlotte is honoured to hold the position of Diversity Team Advocate this year. It is a subject close to her heart and from experience, she feels it is important to consider the context. What Diversity and Inclusion mean in one country may not be the same as another and may not be what it means on a global stage. It is important to consider the setting to ensure a true sense of belonging is fostered.
Janaína Chezanoski – Vice Advocate
Janaína is Brazilian, the only child of an interracial marriage and spent most of her childhood in a Polish colony in Southern Brazil.
From an early age she has cultivated a passion for different cultures and, at age 18, she had her first international experience doing a university exchange program in the USA, where she confirmed her wanderlust profile. With a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, an MBA in Strategic and Economic Business Management and international certifications in Global Mobility, today Jana holds the position of Director of Operations at the North American consultancy GLOMO.
She is a human rights defender, advocates for inclusion in environments and is passionate for people, always seeking to maximize connections, opportunities and talents. A free spirit and lover of life…, travels, plays, good drinks and discovering new restaurants will always be a YES for her!
paradiGM is one of the possibilities to connect her mission and personal values within the Global Mobility sector, which fascinates her so much.
Mahrukh is a co-founding partner of Consortia Legal and heads the firm’s global mobility practice. She is based in London and co-heads the employment and private client practice as well.
Mahrukh has extensively worked in the area of Indian immigration. She regularly services global multinationals, international relocation companies, accounting practices, law firms and other service providers in their Indian immigration and mobility requirements. The global mobility practice offers a range of services from strategy advice to assistance in availing visas at the Indian missions to post-arrival compliances in India.
Prior to co-founding Consortia Legal, Mahrukh worked with a reputed Indian law firm heading its global mobility practice. She is recognised for providing concise and practical solutions to her clients and business contacts in a timely and cost-effective manner.
From pre-arrival strategies to post-arrival formalities in India, Mahrukh advises across the entire gamut of Indian immigration including initial visa applications, local in-country registrations and visa extensions, repatriation formalities, police verifications, exit and re-entry permits, passport applications, police clearance certificates legalisations and apostilles, surrender certificates, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards and the like.
On the private client front, Mahrukh works alongside international tax advisors, lawyers and other consultants to assist persons of Indian origin in the UK, Europe and US with non-contentious matters related to Indian estate/succession planning.
Mahrukh also speaks at various seminars and conferences on a variety of Indian legal and regulatory matters. She also conducts workshops for clients and business contacts across the globe on various aspects of Indian immigration rules and regulations, employment and labour laws and HR best practices.
Sarrah, a renowned entrepreneur and advocate for Diversity and Inclusion, carries the essence of global diversity within her. With over 30 years of multifaceted experience ranging from global mobility and immigration to citizenships by investment and market entry, Sarrah’s upbringing across the UAE, UK, USA, and Sri Lanka has endowed her with a profound appreciation for diversity.
Her eclectic education, including primary schooling by Italian nuns and being taught by French, Indian and Arabic teachers in the Middle East, and secondary studies in the UK in law and politics during the era of the Iron Lady, having a Christian father, Buddhist mother and marrying a Muslim husband, has set the stage for her to embrace the world’s differences as challenges to conquer. This eventually led her back to Sri Lanka, where she pioneered the global mobility industry with a focus on “being who you are wherever you are”.
As the founder of MAGELLAN CHAMPLAIN, Sarrah has shaped the future for HNWIs, corporations and families, seeking worldwide mobility and residency. Her standing as the sole Sri Lankan Global Mobility Professional with Talent Management with Worldwide ERC, and for several international organizations such as EURA, FEM Chapter President and Investment Migration Council Switzerland underscores her leadership in her field.
An ardent supporter of women’s rights through economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, Sarrah’s work with the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka, including founding their Policy Advocacy Arm, has earned her accolades such as the Women Achievers – Berg Singapore and the Woman Leadership for Excellence in Business from the World Women Leadership Congress.
In her recent role as the Country Representative for Sri Lanka for the Center of International Private Enterprise, USA, she has been instrumental in forming the Alliance of Sustainable Infrastructure. Her strategic coordination for large-scale infrastructure pilot projects in Sri Lanka reflects her commitment to sustainable development and inclusive growth.
Her association with the South East Asia Leadership Academy and as a Board Member now is further evidence of her continuous commitment to nurturing leadership and inspiring change and acceptance of geographical diversity.
Joining the Diversity and Inclusion team of Paradigm Community, Sarrah brings her unique experiences, knowledge and empathy to foster a culture where differences are not just accepted but celebrated. Her perspective on diversity as more than just a societal concept but a journey she has personally traversed resonates deeply with paradiGM Community’s values.
Sarrah’s lifelong commitment to breaking down geographical and personal barriers, whether in business or societal norms, embodies the true spirit of diversity and inclusion. Her contribution will undoubtedly contribute to paradiGM’s mission, working alongside the committed team to create meaningful change, celebrating what makes each individual unique, and building a community that truly reflects the paradigm shift towards an inclusive future.
An avid learner, traveler and reader, Sarrah’s founding of SCOR Literacy Salon (Silent Community of Readers) echoes her belief in transformation through conversation, a philosophy she plans to carry into her role with paradiGM.