Our Trustees

Waseem Mahmood, Chair of Trustees

Waseem Mahmood, Chair of Trustees

Waseem Mahmood is a strategic communications expert having developed and managed several major projects specifically in Countering Violent Extremism and illegal migration. An award-winning broadcaster, he began his career at the BBC in the General Programmes Department, producing for both television and radio. He left the BBC to set up TV Asia, the first satellite subscription service for the British Asian community, where he was director of programmes.

He has been instrumental in several and various strategic communication projects in Pakistan and Nigeria, most notably, the launch of a Hausa language TV station in Northern Nigeria. Stationed in Kano, he was responsible for setting up and running a US State Department funded free to air Hausa language satellite channel aimed at supporting the Counter Terrorism Bureau’s CVE agenda in Nigeria. As well as working very closely with NGOs and government bodies involved in CVE and interfaith relations, he also collaborated with bodies promoting education, girl’s rights, human rights, women’s empowerment and health issues.

Other highlights of his career include developing a comprehensive five year strategic communication strategy countering violent extremism in Pakistan. This included running a successful Pashto radio soap for young people, “Da Duniya Zamung Duniya” (Our World) on 4 FM Radio Stations in Peshawar/FATA and the “Yeh Hum Naheen” (This is not us), anti-terrorism foundation in Pakistan aimed at de-radicalising young Muslims. In 2008, developed and ran a major multimedia campaign which culminated with world record breaking 62.8 million Pakistanis signing a petition condemning terrorism. Other initiatives include a “We are the world” type song, PSAs on aircrafts flying to Pakistan, the production/distribution of video/audio vignettes featuring personal testimonies of survivors of terrorism from around the world, developing comprehensive social media strategy to engage potential Jihadist recruits and undertaking extensive outreach campaign visiting over a hundred colleges and universities in at risk areas.

More recently, he was responsible for developing and implementing British High Commission Islamabad/FCO’s illegal migration communication strategy in Pakistan involving the production of a documentary that was aired on national TV and conducting extensive outreach in key areas.

Waseem was awarded an OBE in 2005 in Her Majesty’s New Year’s Honours List “for services to the reconstruction of Media in post war countries”, and received the KAPPA lifetime achievement award “for most outstanding contribution to media”.

Melissa Holton

Melissa Holton

Melissa has worked in television for 13 years. After finishing a business studies and tv & film degree at Brunel university, she started her television career as a runner for TSI, a post production company in Covent Garden. She then moved to the BBC, working on live television as an autocue operator and then joined Sky in 2000 where she worked her way up to being an editor.

Melissa currently works on a variety of entertainment and sport shows at Sky. She has been an editor for nearly 10- years and very much enjoys volunteering at MAMA Youth Project as a trainer.

Shaun ScoonShaun Scoon

Shaun is currently a Management Consultant at Accenture PLC. He joined the company in July 2015. 

 He has skills and expertise across corporate strategy and corporate finance – M&A. His experience encompasses financial institutional groups, legal services and commercial real estate investment. These experiences provide him with a fresh perspective to think laterally and problem solve issues that are inherent in the media industry as well as challenging the status quo. 

 He has an interest in helping under-represented groups and disadvantaged young people to acquire and develop the skills required to progress. In pursuance of that he joined the MAMA Youth Project as a Trustee in March 2016, contributing by advising C-level suite on financial and strategic matters.

 Shaun completed a law degree (LLB Hons) at Kingston University in 2008, he went on to take the Bar finals, successfully and was called to the Bar in 2009. In 2010 he graduated with a masters in finance (MSc) from King’s College London and is currently working towards an MBA at Imperial College Business School and Chartered Accountancy exams (ICAEW ACA). 

Sal Sparace

Sal Sparace

Sal has been in Television business for 30 years as a Technical Manager. He worked for Sky as a Technical Director for 13 years and now he is still with Sky as a Freelance Technical Supervisor. He has worked in many Tv sectors. His experience includes 3D productions, Live sports events, Live News, Live Talk Shows, Soaps, TV interactive, New Digital Media productions and Automation. He was one of the Technical Directors for Sky’s Champions League for 11 years, Channel 4 Breakfast Show (RI:SE), Channel 5 News, Music Video Productions. He is also a Live Gallery Director, Post-Productions (editing & Sound Dubbing).

Sal pioneered the first Satellite international news from Visnews in 1988.

He was the Technical Coordinator for the first ever show on Channel 5 - Family Affairs - A Reg Grundy Production.  

Among several productions he was the Vision Engineer for Sky Italy, Sky UK & Sky Germany for a historic event: Roncalli-Wojtyla canonization, live 3D from Vatican City.

 He also edited a Channel 4 programmes for the series "Black Christmas on 4" plus several productions and documentaries for the CNN World News and BBC World Service, including a documentary for the journalist Hilton Fyle  titled 'Nightmare in Paradise' in Sierra Leone. During his Sky TV employment he setup many ‘work camps’ with University students.

Louisa ForsythLouisa Forsyth

ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) named Louisa as VP, Global Content, Scripted in September 2018. Louisa is part of the team who oversees ITVS GE’s co-productions, content strategy and programme acquisitions, along with managing the distributor’s relationships with producers and works across ITVS GE’s wide range of international producers and clients.

Louisa joined ITV from Sky, having been with the organisation since 2003, where she held a number of positions, including ten years in Acquisitions, Entertainment and, most recently, in the Corporate Affairs team working across its Bigger Picture initiative leading the Sky Ocean Rescue content activity and MAMA Youth Project.

Jo Finon

Jo Finon

Jo Finon is currently a Contracts Manager for Sky Sports, and has worked in the Sky Sports Operations department since February 2013. Jo began her career in the tv industry over 15 years ago, working as a runner while studying. She then moved on to be a Production Coordinator, Operations Coordinator, Operations Supervisor and adhoc Production Manager, working for Broadcasters like ITV, BBC and Sky and an Outside Broadcast company called Arena TV.

Jo's current role focuses on managing facility contracts and commercial negotiations, however in 2017 Jo took a lead role in removing single use plastic from sky sports outside broadcasts. The success of these changes strengthened her passion for making Sky Sports a more responsible broadcaster, employer and client. 

In her spare time, Jo enjoys playing hockey and tennis, and heading back to her home county Norfolk.

Sara Chenery’sSara Chenery’s

Sara Chenery’s Sky story began 28 years ago when her Father, a Chauffer for the company’s executives managed to secure her an interview as a Secretarial Temp whilst studying for her A Levels. Two days after her last exam she was taking dictation in a meeting with Sky’s Managing Director of Content, Gary Davey and media mogul Rupert Murdoch!

Sara Eventually took an opportunity as a Production Secretary in Sky Sports which involved running duties and soon advanced up the production ladder to Editorial Assistant, becoming the youngest ever VT Director overseeing replays on a live event at just 19 years old.

After spending several years as an Assistant Producer on the channel’s boxing department she was promoted to OB and Studio Director in 2001, across a variety of sports. As a Senior Director, Sara is now a team leader managing direct reports.

“As a director I have the privilege of working with the top talent in the industry and helping them perform to the best of their ability”, says Sara, “I’m now looking forward to using this experience to bring value to MYP. I’ve been part of this ever evolving industry for nearly three decades and I’ve seen many changes but it’s never been more clear that broadcasters need to do everything they can to ensure representation and inclusion both on and off our screens.”

Safira Afzal

Safira Afzal

Safira Afzal was called to the Bar in 1998. She is a criminal Barrister with extensive experience of prosecuting Youth Crime, Hate Crime, Domestic Abuse and Fraud.

Safira has worked on specialist youth cases involving mental health, knife crime, gang related crime, drugs and county lines, physical abuse or neglect of children, sexual abuse, child abduction, children and young persons as defendants, victims, and witnesses, working closely with the courts, YOT teams, probation, the police, and social services.

Safira has prosecuted both In the Crown Court and Magistrates Courts throughout London.

Safira supports Violence Against Women (domestic violence, rape and other violent offences in which women are predominantly the victims). She supports Refuge the United Kingdom charity providing specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence and White Ribbon UK. The White Ribbon Campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.

Safira is a member of the Criminal Bar Association, Women in Criminal Law, and a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

Safira Afzal received the Freedom of the City of London on 20th September 2011 at The Chamberlain's Court, Guildhall, London.

Safira is a former James Bond girl. She was one of a bevy of beauties in the James Bond film Octopussy with Roger Moore, Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn. Safira travelled the world promoting the film.

Safira appeared in numerous TV Commercials including “Panama Six Appeal” and “Glade Air Fresheners”. TV credits include “Traffic”, “The Lady Vanishes” and featured in Eddie Grant’s music video Romancing the Stone, the title track from the popular Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito action comedy.

Safira was also chosen to represent Miss India for an American Beauty Pageant entitled 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World Pageant', filmed in Hawaii. The show went out live by Dick Clark Productions, the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised events (including Miss America), hosted by David Hasselhoff and Englebert Humperdinck, with Lana Turner as one of the judges.