Our story

Rokhsareh shares how this group came about on WE MCR Podcast. Why not give it a listen?

Rokhsareh founded the group on meetup.com in May 2021. She began to organise and host online meet-ups discussing the topic of women’s empowerment. The group soon attracted more and more women and the movement continued to grow. As a result, within 6 months the group had over a thousand followers. It became clear how many women were looking for a space, a voice, and the tools to take power and control over their lives.

As it grew, scores of women were joining the events and discussions. They were opening up about their struggles in life, and in return, they got comfort and support. Comfort and support from other women, who all had their own story to tell and wanted a safe space to be vulnerable and feel connected. But that is not the end of it. Rokhsareh’s vision was always to give women the tools and the platform to empower themselves and others. A woman who knows her worth is unstoppable.

And so, the Women Empowered Manchester was born to connect and empower women. The non for profit group holds many social and self-development events and discussions. This includes the esteemed 11-week course on “Building self-esteem and overcoming negative thinking”.

As we empower each other, we see our responsibilities as far-reaching. With this in mind, we are keen to form partnerships with our local community. The aim of this is to reach those who need help and build long-lasting altruistic relationships.

Women Empowered Manchester is a CIC (Community Interest Company) and is an exciting place to be and we look forward to seeing you at one of our events.

“Creating this group is one of best things I have done in my life.”

Rokhsareh, Founder & Chairwoman of Women Empowered Manchester

Our vision

Our vision is to create a strong, supportive, kind, and united community of women who support each other.

We are Empowered Women who are all about empowering other women because every woman’s needs matter and every woman counts.

We believe that empowering women will lead to creating more secure, healthier, and happier families, relationships, and communities.

Above all, we offer a safe and supportive space for those who want to thrive.

Our mission

Our mission is to carry on activities which benefit the community and in particular (without limitation) to empowering women by providing support, guidance and opportunities to learn new skills and build self esteem.

Our values

Community

Kindness and compassion

Inclusivity

Equity

Respect

Empowerment

Open-mindedness

Integrity

Forgiveness

Meet the team

Board of Directors

Rokhsareh Vahid

Founder and Chairperson

Born in Iran, raised in the United States, and having lived in England since 2015, Rokhsareh speaks fluent Farsi (Persian), English, and basic Spanish.

Rokhsareh’s work earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees with honours. She qualified as an attorney in Texas in 2010. She worked at the Texas Supreme Court before graduating as a lawyer. As an American lawyer, her practice focused on sanction law, commercial litigation, and civil rights.

Rokhsareh completed her LLM in International Business and Commerce Law at The University of Manchester in December 2016. Since then, she has been working as a legal professional in England. Rokhsareh currently works at a mid-sized firm based in London and she has handled many high-profile cases. She has appeared in the Guardian and accepted public speaking engagements on matters relating to litigation and civil rights in the US, Europe, Iran, and the UK.

Passionate about helping other women avoid and overcome their traumas and feel empowered, Rokhsareh set up Women Empowered Manchester on 22 May 2021. This grew to a level that required a leadership team and volunteers. To meet this need, she converted the group into a Community Interest Company with the help of other amazing women. Rokhsareh shares how this group came about on WE MCR Podcast. Our long-term goal is to make it a registered charity.

Soraya

Soraya Lakhaney

Self-Development Director

Soraya is a qualified Life Coach and Executive Coach and will be launching her coaching practice in mid-2022 which she is very excited about. She is very excited at this new venture and in coaching people who are seeking to rebuild their lives after bereavement, divorce, redundancy, and illness to find meaning again in living, a sense of purpose, and a new direction ahead.

Born in the United Kingdom and having spent most of her life there, Soraya took a sabbatical when working to spend a year in Italy doing voluntary work with the elderly and homeless. It was a strategic choice to support the vulnerable and alone. Soraya wanted to give back to the community and help others feel connected and hopeful in the present and for the future.

Soraya earned her Degree in Italian at the University of Reading with honours. She spent over 20 years working in London and Brighton in the corporate world. Soraya specialised in learning and development, leadership and talent development, supporting High Potential leaders, and coaching. She worked with the Executive Team, senior leaders, rising female leaders, and managers.

She moved to Manchester in 2008 and spent over 11 years caring for her late sister and late mother. Soraya is now returning to her passion of coaching people to be creative, resourceful, and supported in seeking new meaning in life.

In her time outside of work Soraya enjoys spending time with friends, walking, and doing yoga.

Executive Committee

Rayanne

Rayanne Ali

Head of Human Resources 

Rayanne was born in the Sultanate of Oman, a country known for its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. From a young age, Rayanne was exposed to a family with a strong background in science, which ultimately led her to pursue studies in biomedical science. However, her path eventually took her to a career in pharmacy, which she excelled in after completing her training with the NHS.

Currently Rayanne works as a locum across Greater Manchester. Outside her professional life, she is also passionate about sports and Latin dance, both of which have allowed her to stay active and engaged in her community. She also places a high value on family time and cherishes the opportunities she has to spend quality time with her friends and loved ones.

Rayanne’s commitment to helping women achieve their full potential is evident in her decision to join EW, a community dedicated to empowering women from all walks of life. With her fluency in English, Arabic, and basic Swahili, Rayanne is well-equipped to connect with a diverse range of individuals and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

Overall, Rayanne is a dedicated and accomplished individual who has overcome challenges throughout her life to achieve success in both her personal and professional pursuits.

Louise McCloy

IT Manager

Louise, originally from Northern Ireland, began her career as a mental health support worker. Later, she made a career transition into Software Development, where she developed software solutions for a multinational insurance company before venturing into the startup world.

Louise played a pivotal role in establishing MWEG’s online presence by building their first website. After a relocation from Manchester, she returned to assist the group in enhancing its IT infrastructure as it grows and develops its brand.

Louise aims to apply her professional background in mental health and software development to streamline processes and support MWEG in realising its full potential.

In her free time, Louise enjoys reading, running, and exploring new places.

simone

Simone Moxam
Lead Podcast Host

Simone, a native of Kent, has followed an intriguing academic and personal journey. She commenced her educational voyage by pursuing a BSc in Sociology at university, demonstrating an early interest in understanding societal structures and dynamics. Subsequently, Simone embarked on a path of further enlightenment, attaining an MSc in Mental Health, followed by another MSc in Psychology, displaying a deepening commitment to exploring human behaviour and mental well-being.

Beyond academia, Simone nurtures a passion for photography and podcasts, leveraging these mediums to express creativity and share perspectives. In addition to her personal pursuits, Simone sought to actively engage with societal issues by joining Women Empowered Manchester, looking to contribute towards movements that foster support and openness.

Simone’s ongoing journey of self-discovery also includes professional development, as evidenced by her recent endeavours in completing a Level 2 in Counselling Skills. This experience has enriched her understanding of effective and empathic communication, emphasising the profound impact of active listening as a tool for meaningful engagement and support. Through her diverse experiences and pursuits, Simone exemplifies a commitment to personal growth, social advocacy, and the cultivation of essential interpersonal skills.

lucy

Lucy Galloway

Head of Finance

Lucy is a CIMA qualified management accountant and has worked in various senior finance roles since 2006. Currently she is working at The Co-op Academies Trust as a Finance Manager overseeing the finance function  for a new high school, and a 16-19 college both in East Manchester. She really enjoys her role and being part of a team that is working hard to give the best education and opportunities to young people. In previous finance roles she has worked for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Mind, and the University of Manchester supporting the senior leadership team on all finance and budget matters.

Since 2017 Lucy has also been a School Governor at a local primary school. She is the Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee, and also Wellbeing Link Governor. She enjoys being able to use her professional skills to give back to the local community.

As a mother to two teenage girls she feels responsible for raising them to be strong, independent women who know their worth, and that they can be anything they choose to be. This journey is made so much easier with good role models and the support and encouragement of other like minded women. Lucy found Women Empowered  through meetup and it has greatly helped her through a difficult time in her life. Graduating from the eleven week self esteem course has been life changing,  and she now feels like the best version of herself, and has made some amazing new female friends along the way.

Outside of work Lucy is also very interested in wellbeing and complementary therapies. Along with the importance and benefits they bring to both work and personal life for everyone young and old. She feels this is even more important due to the unprecedented times we are all now living in, and the mental health challenges that so many people face.

In her free time Lucy also enjoys hiking in nature, going to the gym, cooking, reading and trying to spend quality time with her teenagers.

daphne

Daphne Chiang

Digital Marketing Manager

Daphne is a Singaporean with over a decade of experience in strategic communications and digital marketing. With a diverse background spanning various sectors, she has honed a unique skill set, including digital strategy, social media management, and stakeholder engagement.

 

When she is not busy shaping digital landscapes, you’ll often find her exploring the world and fully engaging herself in different cultures. Whether discovering hidden gems in bustling cities or simply soaking up nature’s beauty, she is always up for an adventure that broadens her horizons.

 

Daphne lives and breathes social media. In her spare time, she is immersed in all things digital, exploring new ways to use technology for positive change. She is passionate about leveraging digital platforms to uplift and empower others and is thrilled to be part of the Empowered Women community, where it is making a real difference in women’s lives.

Our team

yuwen

Yuwen Huang

Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Yuwen is a communication professional with over 7 years of experience in the field. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs and Politics from Wenzao Ursuline University in Taiwan and completed an academic semester at Loughborough University in the UK as an exchange student.

 

Yuwen believes in the strength of the community and how to engage various parties to create systemic social changes. Throughout her career, she has worked in communication roles for political campaigns, non-profit organizations, and impact-driven entities, engaging with corporate and external stakeholders.

 

As the Head of Public Relations and Marketing at Design for Change Taiwan, she successfully led over 10 hybrid campaigns, raising awareness and funding for diverse projects. Collaborating with public individuals, educators, corporations, and government officials, she formed strong partnerships to drive progress and advocate positive change.

 

In 2020, she campaigned for the first female president in Taiwan and three female MPs in the general election, showcasing her passion for empowering women and youth participation in public affairs. She was also a youth ambassador for the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an invited speaker for multiculturalism, global citizenship, and international participation for youths. 

 

She is deeply passionate about empowering others, promoting inclusion, and creating diverse and safe spaces. Her dedication to helping women achieve their full potential is evident in her decision to join the Manchester Women Empowered Group, a community devoted to empowering women from all walks of life.

Zahra

Zahra Ramzani

Graphic Designer

Zahra is an Iranian Artist, Illustrator, and Graphic Designer based in Manchester, UK.
With over 10 years of experience in graphic design and illustration, Zahra brings a unique blend of creativity and storytelling to her work. A graduate of MA Illustration Authorial Practice from Falmouth and Exeter University, she is passionate about uncovering the hidden stories behind every life and everything around us.
Zahra has not only collaborated with various companies but has also authored and illustrated captivating children’s books. Her dedication to storytelling is evident in her upcoming publications, where she weaves narratives that resonate with readers of all ages.
Specializing in illustration, especially for children’s books, Zahra’s work is a celebration of women. Through her art, she explores and represents women’s feelings, lives, and challenges. By sharing these experiences, Zahra aims to create a sense of unity and understanding, reminding us that we are not alone in our journey.
ari

Ariadna Cabrera

Photography

Born in Mexico City. Ariadna discovered her passion for photography and art at an early age. This innate creativity led her to pursue a degree in Professional Photography and later in Digital Creation.

With over a decade of experience behind the lens, she has created a way to show the world in each photograph she takes, capturing the beauty and complexity that it’s life one frame at the time. Whether photographing the intricacies of nature, the resilience of the human spirit or the fleeting moments of everyday life, she approaches each subject with reverence and authenticity.

Ariadna is passionate about empowering women through her photography, building self-esteem and creating safes spaces where women can be comfortable enough to be themselves.

In her free time, you can find her curled up with a good book, exploring new knitting projects, going for a walk or doing yoga.

mathilde

Mathilde Gerritsma

Events Co-host

Mathilde is a 25-year-old professional living in Manchester. She is originally from the Netherlands and spent two years studying and working in China. Upon graduating with a BA in Chinese Studies from the University of Manchester in 2022, she now works for a higher education company, organising internship programmes for students across the UK.

 

During her time in school and university, she has always engaged in volunteer work, ranging from leading a Malala Fund initiative, to participating in the Dutch UNICEF youth panel, to supporting her university’s Raise and Give Society. Volunteering work fell off the radar after starting her job, but she greatly missed contributing to society in a meaningful way – which led her to WE.

 

Mathilde is passionate about female empowerment and creating spaces where women feel accepted, supported, safe, and comfortable. Having spent years building up her confidence and learning to stand in her power, she now hopes to help other women connect to overcome the difficulties in their lives. She gains energy from fostering community and building relationships, and hopes to use that energy to celebrate the women that are part of WE.
In her spare time, she enjoys running, weightlifting, crocheting, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

silvia

Silvia Bosheva

Social Media Marketing Manager

Silvia was born in Bulgaria in The Rose Valey, a small but picturesque place. Seeking independence and her purpose in life, she moved to the UK in 2015 and built her own life on her terms. Silvia has a BA (Hons) in Business Management and recently has been honoured with a first-class MSc Digital Marketing degree. During her student years, Silvia has been in the health and fitness industry, empowering women to become their best version.

 

Silvia likes to engage in different fitness and sports activities or spend time with friends in her spare time. She appreciates her quiet time and often finds herself reading a book or writing poetry. The recent passion that Silvia discovered is Astrology.

 

She is passionate about empowering women by enhancing their self-esteem and convincing them that they can achieve anything they desire if they put their minds to it! Furthermore, Silvia is determined to send the message to all women to be proud of wearing the title – WOMAN!

Karishma

Karishma Singh

Whatsapp Community Manager

Karishma has long been passionate about the subject of women’s empowerment and all its principles. Upon studying Law at the University of Leeds she began to develop a particular interest in topics such as human rights, equality, and justice, in relation to women. She found a desire to shift her focus onto how she can help bring support, guidance, and opportunities to women, and to help them thrive and feel empowered in both professional and personal spaces. She looks to develop her knowledge and skills in public relations in order to bring awareness to the topics she is most passionate about.

 

In her spare time, Karishma likes to engage in activities which allow her to feel a sense of self expression and empowerment, and incorporates mindfulness and wellness into her life. She is a firm believer of feeding interests that bring great curiosity, in order to receive personal fulfilment, growth, and joy. In turn she has found appreciation for astronomy, fashion, languages, poetry, and photography. Karishma hopes to help women raise their self-esteem and encourage them to find their place in the world through positive influence, communication, and creativity.

hunter

Hunter Wang

Audio Editor

Hunter is an audio producer with a passion for creating immersive sound experiences. He has garnered three years of hands-on expertise in crafting high-quality audio and music content.

 

Hunter graduated with a Master’s degree in Audio Production. He has honed his skills through rigorous assessments in diverse areas such as Music Technology, Film Audio Production, and Radio Production. He collaborated with film crews as a boom operator and assumed responsibility for Dolby Atmos mixing, showcasing proficiency in various audio production processes. Additionally, he used to be a singer-songwriter and produced his first music album “0 – 121” in 2023, which was released on various platforms worldwide.

 

As a freelance audio engineer and producer, Hunter has interacted with clients across diverse industries and notable brand. His adeptness in client coordination and strong communication skills have been instrumental in fostering successful collaborations. His extensive experience in the music industry equips him to navigate unforeseen challenges with ease, maintaining composure under pressure and delivering optimal solutions.

 

Driven by a commitment to excellence and a dedication to delivering unparalleled audio experiences, Hunter is poised to make significant contributions to meaningful projects. He has been a voice for many minority groups in the audio content he has produced and has taken responsibility for a documentary on the topic of LGBTQ+.

 

Hunter believes in the power and indispensability of women, with his piano teacher, singing teacher, and his girlfriend, who currently has a great career in the advertising industry, all serving as examples. He is committed to producing more meaningful content to help the team, show the power of women, fight for their rights, and gain respect!

Jennifer

Jennifer Morgan

Audio Editor / Musician

Jennifer is a composer, producer and session musician with a keen interest in collaborating on projects that represent marginalised communities. Originally from Solihull, Jen is now based in Liverpool after gaining a first class degree in Popular Music from the University of Liverpool in 2021.

 

Since graduating, Jennifer has composed music for several short films including an LGBT+ romance, a black comedy for which they won the jury award for best soundtrack at the Europe Film Festival, and a documentary made by young adults around the world about the effects of climate change which was played at the 2022 climate summit, COP26 in Glasgow.

 

Over the past six years Jen has established, self-produced and recorded her solo artist project, ‘Jensyn’. In 2022, they were awarded funding from Youth Music to create a project plan and produce, market and release their third EP, ‘January Left’. Through being part of Youth Music’s Next Gen Fund as well as participating in mentorship schemes such as FAM’s Composer’s Assistant Mentorship Programme and Help Musician’s Co-pilot scheme, Jen has attained a broad knowledge and experience of audio editing and production softwares, working in collaborative environments as well as creating their own brand as a multi-disciplined creative.

 

As a session bass player, Jennifer has performed in venues such as the Town Hall and O2 Academy in Birmingham, The Cavern Club in Liverpool and on the Waterfront Stage for the 2023 Eurovision Festival with Bedroom Pop artist, Lazygirl! They are currently producing an album that explores their experiences as a queer person and have begun teaching a self-developed course on composition for film to LGBT+ filmmakers in Liverpool as part of a project by First Take called Reel Queer! Jen is eager to help create safe spaces for women and non-binary people to empower them in all aspects of life as well as provide them with the confidence to share their experiences, in turn building a strong and supportive community.”

saniya

Saniya Rane

Team Well-being and Engagement Manager

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Saniya Rane is a compassionate and dedicated professional with a background in psychology and human resources. Driven by her desire to bridge the gap between psychology and corporate environments, Saniya relocated to Newcastle, UK, to pursue her Masters in Occupational and Organisational Psychology after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Throughout her academic journey, Saniya has honed her skills in organisational understanding, employee satisfaction, and work engagement, showcasing exceptional communication and interpersonal abilities.  Passionate about cultivating a positive employee experience, Saniya has actively led and volunteered in various initiatives, including her role as a core team member for an animal welfare organisation.

 

With leadership experience spanning academic and professional domains, she seamlessly blends professionalism with empathy in all her endeavours. Beyond her professional pursuits, Saniya indulges her passions as an avid cook, exploring diverse cuisines, a devoted animal lover, and a skilled painter, reflecting her creativity beyond the workplace.

 

Saniya deeply cares about women’s empowerment and mental well-being, believing that if given the right support, direction and resources, they can achieve to best of their abilities and potential. She hopes to leverage her compassion and professionalism to make workplace a safe space for all individuals.

anne

Anne Njoroge

Legal Counsel

Anne is a highly skilled and tri-qualified lawyer admitted to practice in England and Wales, Scotland, and Kenya. With a specialized focus on data privacy law, Anne navigates the intricate legal landscape to ensure her clients’ compliance and protection in an increasingly data-driven world.

Anne’s journey in law began with a deep-rooted passion for justice and a commitment to excellence. Graduating with honors from prestigious institutions, she honed her legal acumen and embarked on a career dedicated to upholding the rule of law.

As a data privacy lawyer, Anne is at the forefront of addressing the complexities of privacy regulations and safeguarding her clients’ interests. Her expertise extends across various industries, where she provides strategic advice and guidance on data protection laws, risk mitigation, and compliance frameworks.

Beyond her legal prowess, Anne finds solace and rejuvenation in yoga and pilates. Embracing the harmony of mind, body, and spirit, she embodies balance both in and out of the courtroom. Anne’s dedication to holistic well-being underscores her commitment to leading a fulfilling life amidst the demands of her profession.

In addition to her legal endeavors, Anne actively engages in initiatives promoting diversity, inclusion, and access to justice. She advocates for equitable representation within the legal profession and strives to create a more inclusive environment for future generations of legal practitioners.

With a blend of legal expertise, passion for privacy rights, and a commitment to personal well-being, Anne continues to make meaningful contributions to the legal field while inspiring others to pursue excellence and balance in their professional and personal lives.

nikita

Nikita Merchant

Volunteer photographer

Nikita is from Manchester and began her career as a photographer and social media coordinator in the last year of her Bachelor Degree in photography. She has passion in the art field which led her to express her personal journey and emotions about her mental well-being through her love for photography.

Her concept of photography focuses on mental well-being and the mind through artistic symbolism to make people feel seen and heard.

Nikita is currently a freelance photographer and a retail assistant, she currently works on building her portfolio through the style of portrait, landscape, nature and conceptual photography. She is keen to immerse herself in creative work and projects

saira

Saira Tahir

Legal Counsel

Saira is an experienced solicitor, who is currently on maternity leave. She has held the position of General Counsel and Assistant Company Secretary at a PLC in London. So works closely with the Executive Team, and the Board of Directors and its Committees, advising them on corporate governance requirements, D&I, and ESG matters.

 

Saira has a Bachelor’s in Law and Master’s in International Economic Law. She has always been involved with local communities and youngsters by offering free legal advice at the local Citizens Advice Bureau, and mentoring aspiring and junior lawyers too.

Saira is keen to help women achieve their full potential by encouraging and supporting them in their corporate journeys to executive and leadership levels.

banita

Banita Virdee

Copywriter

Banita is an SEO Copywriter with over 3 years of experience in the field of marketing. Based in Birmingham, she holds a degree in English Literature and Sociology, which she qualified from Aston University.

 

In November 2023, Banita decided to open her own business called B Writing LTD, where she works alongside many big corporations worldwide to create SEO-optimised website content and help relay a company’s message through their written content online. Throughout her career, she has worked in different industries such as travel, UK trips, hospitality, law, printing, literature, YouTube channels, self-help, and restaurants. Banita wants to show many women around the world through her successful business that women can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and they can have their ideal career!

 

One of Banita’s greatest success stories in her career is that one of her poems was featured in a Black Lives Matter anthology in America, which helped raise over £800 to support families suffering from poverty.

 

Banita is known as a bookworm. In her spare time, she loves reading and writing poetry, and she has her own dedicated poetry page on Instagram. Banita is also known to be very spiritual, as she believes in manifestation, astrology and loves to teach others about positivity. Banita loves being in nature, and if she’s not curled up with her book, you’ll find her taking a long walk in nature!

Yolaine Djeukam

IT Assistant

Yolaine was born and raised in Cameroon, which she left to study in Netherlands where she obtained her Bachelor Degree (Bsc) in Information Technology (IT) ,then she moved to the UK where she continued her studies and obtained a Masters (Msc) in Management of Information Systems.

 

With her technical and business management skills , Yolaine has been working for several companies as Enterpise Resource Planning (ERP) system developer & architect helping organisations develop solutions to support their business processes.

 

Yolaine is in the pursuit of achieving her full potential and as a woman a firm believer of empowering each other to reach that potential.

 

In her free time, Yolaine likes to explore new things,engage in self-development activities and socialising with friends and families.