The London-based award-winning diversity champion and author Sonya Barlow who has always strived for her place as a South Asian woman has launched the business “Like-Minded Females (LMF Network CIC)”. Her business is a not-for-profit social enterprise focused on allowing and educating women and minority individuals in tech, business, and digital sectors.
When Sonya was four years old, her parents moved from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. Her mother, she claims, inspired her to create a temporary disruption because she, too, has encountered difficulties as a brown lady in both South Asia and the Western world. Sonya recalls being ignored, emotionally manipulated, and even fired from jobs as a South Asian woman living in the United Kingdom.
Sonya noticed a gap while working in the business world that organizations wanted to be inclusive and establish community but didn’t know how to build a community. And that woman was frequently assigned to lead these activities internally, as a side of the table, but either did not succeed in creating a community for themselves or were undervalued for their efforts.
Like-Minded Females Network (LMF) was founded by Sonya in 2018 as a small project to bring together women from various backgrounds for career and confidence chats over brunch meetings. Sonya’s first LMF brunch turned out to be a disaster. No one showed up but she was adamant and determined to learn from her mistakes.
Sonya was determined to grow. She didn’t learn to give up and whenever she faced failure, she takes it as an opportunity to grow. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the start of 2020, Sonya Barlow found herself without income. Despite the pandemic, Sonia has led over 200 seminars and built the LMF Network to a global social group of over 50,000 women on her own.
LMF provides mentoring, discussion boards, and corporate consulting services to help educate and promote marginalized individuals in the workplace. It also focuses on overcoming the skills gap and developing inclusive cultures to address the problems women face in negotiating the workplace.
Furthermore, Sonya has been recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice 2022 and a LinkedIn Changemaker for Gender Diversity. She has been named a Marie Claire Future Shaper, the Most Influential Women in Tech UK, Women in Software Changemaker, Top 50 BAME Entrepreneurs Under 50, and the Most Influential Women in Tech UK.