Management committee

The ASAP Management Committee has nine members who have expertise in the legal profession, asylum support, human resources, finance and fundraising, communications/marketing and charity management.  

Current ASAP Management Committee members are:

Alasdair Mackenzie (Vice Chair) 

Alasdair is a barrister with Doughty Street Chambers, where he specialises in immigration and asylum law. Before joining Doughty Street from pupillage in 2005, Alasdair spent many years as a campaigner and advice worker on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.  He was among the founders of the charity Asylum Aid, of which he was Co-ordinator from 1990 to 2002.  He spent some years as an executive committee member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, of which he remains an active member, and is a former Chair of the Asylum Rights Campaign and of the Refugee Legal Group.  He has acted as an expert consultant to the Immigration Services Commissioner, the regulator of immigration advisers.  Alasdair has written or contributed to a number of significant reports and publications on asylum and immigration issues. Alasdair joined the Management Committee in May 2017.

David Garratt

Dave has worked in advice services in the UK for 20 years. Beginning as a volunteer in street homeless services, he developed extensive grounding in working with vulnerable people with complex needs. He began managing homeless services in 1995, developing first single services, then networks of residential and day-care provision. Moving to the refugee sector in 1999, Dave spent 15 years as a senior manager for Refugee Action, first as Operations Director and then, from 2010-15, as CEO. Dave joined ASAP’s management committee in January 2015 and is also Chair of the charity Student Action for Refugees.

Imogen Greener (Deputy Treasurer)

Imogen is a qualified chartered accountant (CA) currently working for the civil service in International Climate Finance. Having previously spent time volunteering with Amnesty International to campaign for a fairer asylum system in the UK, Imogen is passionate about ensuring the rights of those seeking asylum in the UK are upheld. Imogen joined the management committee in February 2022. 

Loraine Masiya Mponela

Loraine is a community organiser and member of a grassroot organisation- Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG). CARAG is a peer support group which is for and run by people seeking asylum, refugees, migrants and anyone subjected to the UK Immigration and Asylum system. Loraine's vision is a world that is fairer and just to all, not just the loudest. During her free time Loraine mentors students from disadvantaged backgrounds who can't afford fees and are seeking scholarships to advance their education.

Marion Edge 

Marion is Pro Bono Counsel at Dechert LLP.  She is a Solicitor Advocate responsible for managing Dechert's pro bono programmes across Europe, Middle East and Asia. She is passionate about access to justice.  She joined ASAP's management committee in Jan 2019

Maryam Oghanna

Maryam is a commercial disputes lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, with a wide practice covering civil fraud, trusts and charity law. She joined ASAP as a duty scheme volunteer in 2017 and joined the Management Committee in December 2019.

Mahdi Saki

Mahdi is a refugee advocate who works with refugees and asylum seekers in different capacities. He worked for Komatsu and Tefal in the sales team while he lived in Iran but came to the UK to seek asylum in December 2008 and was granted a refugee in Nov 2012. Since 2009 he has been a volunteer for organisations such as: board of Iranian Scottish Association for 6 years, board member of Glasgow ESOL Forum for 7 years, board member of BEMIS (Scotland) for 4 years, Oxfam. He is currently a board member of South East Integration Network Glasgow with 81 members. Mahdi has worked for Refugee Survival Trust, Safe in Scotland. He was part of Leading Beyond Borders 2021 - Clore Social Leadership. Mahdi has BA degree in Business and is a fellow member of Chartered Management Institute (FCMI).

Mike Spencer (Chair)

Mike is a lawyer who specialises in social welfare law.   He joined ASAP as a volunteer in 2009 and worked as ASAP's solicitor between 2010 and 2012.  Since then, he has worked as the Legal Officer of the Child Poverty Action Group and is now working as a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers.  Mike joined the ASAP management committee in 2017.

Nicola Parker​

Nicola has a strong background in HR, she is a former Head of HR at Refugee Action and is a now a coach, trainer, facilitator & HR consultant . Nicola joined the Management Committee in May 2015.

Sarah Taal 

Sarah has worked with refugee and asylum seeking women since 2007. She began this work as the coordinator of the Coventry Refugee Centre’s Women and Therapeutic Service Project. Subsequently she was employed by the Hope Projects, a Birmingham based charity which works with people seeking asylum, as a Housing and Womens Worker, by BIRCH (a Birmingham based community hosting project); and by the Birmingham based Rape and Sexual Violence Project as its Refugee and Migrant Support Practitioner. She is currently the Director of the Baobab Women’s Project, a community CIC working with refugee and migrant women in the West Midlands, assisting women to access immigration housing and health advice, as well as providing emotional support and signposting to relevant services. She has researched migration issues following an MA in Migration and Social Policy with the University of Birmingham, producing reports on destitution, and sexual and gender based violence for refugee women.

Sheryl Whitehall (Treasurer) 

Sheryl  is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the not for profit independent global media platform, openDemocracy. She is an accomplished and goal-focused finance and operations executive who has worked in prestige organisations locally, regionally and internationally and has held senior leadership positions in various sectors including, the not for profit. She is interested in helping organizations create positive impact from their operations while ensuring financial sustainability and business success. She is qualified accountant (FCCA), holds a BSc in Industrial Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in financial strategy and is trained in sustainability leadership. She joined the ASAP's management committee in January 2020.

Zain Hafeez

Zain is an Expert by Experience with more than 10 years of first-hand experience of Migration and Asylum journey. He obtained a full paid scholarship for his university and graduated with a First-Class Honours in Philosophy and Global Studies. He is a strong communicator who has comprehensive experience in public speaking through being involved in campaigning, making appearances in the British Parliament, BBC radio and being a panellist at several events and Universities, where he shared his story and discussed the issues related to asylum and migration in the UK. He has substantial experience working with asylum seekers and refugees during his role with the British Red Cross, Voices Network and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre. He recently produced an award-winning podcast series named “We are VOICES” with the British Red Cross and the Voices Network to portray and raise awareness about the asylum journey. He continues to campaign and advocate for Asylum seekers and Refugees and currently works as a Complex Needs Team Leader at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and Community Organiser at Citizens UK.