Alan Quarry Founder Heart Beats Hate, a well-known entrepreneur, educator and philanthropist in Waterloo Region.
He grew Quarry Communications from a three-person boutique marketing firm to a 100+ company with offices in Canada and the United States. He has served an entrepreneur in residence at both Communitech and the Accelerator Centre , and has taught business and marketing at Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. Alan has dedicated much of his life to building a stronger, more vibrant Waterloo Region. In 2015 he organized the Stone Soup benefit concert as a way of bringing diverse members of the community together to raise awareness of and funds for Doctors Without Borders and raised money for local charities encouraging the community to raise over $50,000 for numerous important causes through these concerts.
For Alan, a tipping point was the Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, VA when he decided to stand up , speak out and push back. With that Heart Beats Hate was born.
While menstrual movement is happening internationally, the conversation does not include menopause which is part of the menstrual cycle.
People experiencing menopause are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce. This is another life event that is almost as disruptive and that isn’t much discussed. Talking openly about menopause, the change, the challenges, the remedies and more is Stacey Jacobs. Stacey has been a Sexual Health Educator, Writer and Speaker for almost two decades. She has personally educated over 10,000 people in her community, including children, youth and adults. Stacey is currently an instructor at the University of Waterloo in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies program.
Started in 2018 by Anna Kuepfer, Abigail Loewen and Leah Wouda , SheCycle aims to end the cycle of poverty for women in Uganda with a focus on menstrual hygiene. SheCycle is creating an antimicrobial and reusable menstrual pad that is environmentally friendly, creates employment and has a sustainable business model. In 2019 the trio from University of Waterloo SheCycle project took the top prize of $30,000 in the World’s Challenge Challenge beating 17 other universities from 9 countries at an international competition where students pitch their ideas to address a global issue.
Lipoffkw is KW’s only lip-sync battle fundraiser. The team is entirely volunteer and made up of 4 local women Tiffany Iden, Jen Wilson, Jolene Knott, and Rebecca Petricevic who organize the most fun fundraiser. They have raised almost $10,000 for local charities and each year, they choose a different benefiting cause. In the past funds were raised for St. Mary’s General Hospital Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre, St Mary’s General Hospital , YWCA KW, Homelessness Housing Umbrella Group and this year they are supporting ALL IN 2020. They strongly believe, together as a community we can end homelessness in Waterloo Region.
Carlie Roberts is a curvy movement maker, leading women to a stylish place of self love and fashion confidence one consignment at a time. She founded Consign Your Curves , Canada’s largest size inclusive consignment sale in 2013. After nearly adding to the closets of over 2000 women, Carlie then turned her treading hashtag into a headquarters when in 2018 she opened Consign Your Curves in Guelph, ON
A musician, songwriter, artist and music teacher. She has been the owner and founder of Russell Music Teaching Studios in Waterloo for the last 8 years and has been teaching for 18 years. A powerhouse vocalist and an adept multi-instrumentalist, who uses her classical training to create fiery, eclectic, soulful jazzy-electronica as well as acoustic songs, Charlena Russell
The fascinating story of clock-maker Andrew Bass. A retired mechanical engineer who previously owned his own company that he sold in 2012 started “Tempus” @tempus.making.time a business unlike anything he’s operated before. Bass, not sure yet if he’s making art or manufacturing a product, or a combination of both has made a total of seven clocks from external grade MDF and Baltic birch plywood for all of the mechanism parts, relying on his mathematics and mechanical engineering background. In an era of decreased life-cycles and product quality, Bass has become deeply invested in the revival of craft , handmade art and the making of time itself. To know more check out his website www.makingtime.ca
An artist, a musician and a passionate performer Juneyt Yetkiner @juneytyetkiner , from Istanbul, Turkey, Juneyt is a self-taught musician playing Nuevo-Flamenco guitar for 17 years. Juneyt has performed on many albums and at numerous festivals representing Canada. He has also played alongside & opened for well-known musicians throughout his career such as Alex Cuba, John Mcdermott, Liona Boyd, Doobie Brothers and Santana. Juneyt has composed music for two television documentaries, won the Records Readers Choice Awards 11 times 2011-2019, Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2017 & and Waterloo Arts Awards In 2019 to name a few and has been nominated for many awards both Nationally & Internationally. He has built an impressive career as a professional musician playing both locally and internationally. You find find schedules and information on Juneyt at www.juneyt.com
Azra Gregor@azragregor is a multifaceted woman – refugee mother and serial entrepreneur. She is a successful mom blogger , a coaching business entrepreneur of Matrescend and her debut book called “Your Mother Is A Storm” is an honest look into unspoken areas of motherhood and the gifts that this enormous challenge brings with it. Azra is on a new venture to publish a collection of poems and short stories based on her own journey of becoming a mother.
A young passionate singer Ramya Ramachandran@ramyamusic18 is set out to follow her dreams with hard work and dedication. Sharing her struggles and failures in a competitive world where at times wanting to give up, she reached out to her tribe who helped pick herself up and move forward. Sharing her journey, she is giving many youth hope to never give up and keep following their dreams. Ramya has been training for the past nine years under the tutelage of Smt. Senthil Selvi Sureswaran in bharathanatyam , an indian classical dance form. Ramya a singer as well, sings cine music and carnatic music at various competitions and shows. She has been training in Carnatic music under Sri. Delhi. V. Muthukumar for the past two years
Mary Neil is a singer, songwriter, community musician with a MA in Community Music, and founder of KW Junk Music
Mary makes music accessible to everyone, and encourages people to think about their sustainable practice by making instruments out of material diverted from landfills and recycling plants. Mary challenges people to wonder, “why do we have so much junk to make instruments out of?” and how we can make a difference in our lives toward a more sustainable future. As the 2019 City of Kitchener artist in residence, Mary’s residency project involves engaging with participants creating music that reflects the values and diversity of communities across the City of Kitchener. Mary is also working on an album of songs inspired by issues faced by the rapid growth in our community, communicating narratives of people with lived experience. Joining her perform live on air in studio was Jeff Cowell and Len McCarthy
Talking about his love for travelling, seeing and exploring new places is Zdravko Gunjevic, aka ‘Zee’. Zee’s love to explore new places has led him to travel across Canada, around the US, Caribbean, Europe, down to Australia and China. North, South, East and West. He likes to see it on a budget, experience cities and cultures like a local. Zee talked about how he chooses to make it all happen and the tricks and tips of travelling. He also suggested a few amazing websites that offer some great deals, listen to find out.
Erin Michalski@erinmichalski.photographic.art and Erin Watt@erinwattphotography, photographers from Waterloo region shared their journey and experience with Christmas Wish Project bringing joy and happiness to sick children and their families. They brought the Christmas Magic into the lives of these families trough magical Santa photos.
Kat VanLammeren facilitates drumming workshops for hundreds of people of all ages. She found the Organic Groove (Canada!) Summer Drum Jam in 2002 and has travelled to many tiny Inuit villages in the Canadian Arctic to perform and teach kids how to drum. Kat collaborates and performs with poets, spoken word #artists , singer songwriters , electronic music, DJs and other musicians while taking workshops and lessons in West African drumming Middle Eastern drumming, Afro Cuban percussion, and Australian Didgeridoo.
Gerima Harvey is a dynamic soloist and a member of many musical relationships. He lives in a world where love reigns and where he hopes there is always an abundance of music lovers to collaborate with. He hears the beat of yonder drummers and possesses a unique gift of being able to gel with any art form and artist. He launched his first CD in June 2015. From studio to stage, this magical musical genius inspires everyone, everywhere he goes
In Her Shoes is a YW Kitchener-Waterloo program and enterprise. The YWCA KW is now the longest-serving and largest social services organization for women and youth in the region. A training program that helps break barriers so women and youth can get the employment skills they need. Sharing their work and programs In Her Shoes provides, was the Social Enterprise Coordinator Emily Dyck in studio #inconversationwithrashmi
It’s a well known fact that women are underrepresented in the field of STEM -aka- science, technology, engineering and math and Komal Singh wanted to change that. Komal Singh an engineer at Google, turned author when a conversation with her daughter, where she claimed “engineers are boys” led to her to pen her first STEM book. Talking all about her picture book Ara The Star Engineer and the changes she hopes to see in the world of STEM and a more diverse and inclusive work environment, Singh shared her experience as an engineer herself and through her passion project as an author, her mission is to inspire girls to become future leaders.
Everything you need to know about budgeting, managing debts, setting our kids towards a positive relationship with money, Holiday shopping and spending and much more with Financial Planner and Advisor Martha Adams from Tier One Investments
Talking about sex education in schools; how early is too early to have those conversations with children around choices and respecting our bodies; consent; abuse online; online material and so much more with Sexual Health Educator, Stacey Jacobs from SHORE Centre
Merri Macartney is an Inspirational Humorist & Professional Smarty Pants. She is a gregarious “funny lady” who has chosen to look on the brighter side of life in spite of traumatic events in her past: abandoned by family at age 6, failed adoption, failed marriages.
Merri Macartney shared her inspiring journey , her struggles as a single mother, her decision to head back to school at 40, her new beginnings and her next chapter. Through the use of humor, she inspires leaders to seek out life-fulfilling choices and muster the courage to embrace change. When she takes the stage, she brings loads of laughter, lessons learned and love of life. Merri is the irrepressible Queen of Acting Up, whether she’s juggling, or dressed to kill in a prison uniform, or rocking a feather boa! Her hilarious stories, hard-won wisdom, and years of overcoming challenges will make one laugh at the excuses and kick the limitations to the curb
Kat vanLammeren better known as Kat van Groove. She is the Owner/Instructor/Drum circle facilitator of Organic Groove and Found the Organic Groove Summer Drum Jam in 2002. Kat teaches hundreds of people to drum at her Rhythmic Journey group drumming classes since 2009. She facilitates drumming workshops across all ages and abilities. She has been involved in the school art & music programs for children with early mental illness diagnosis through Trellis Mental and Developmental Health (now CMHA) called ‘Create & Play’ . Kat has travelled to Hawaii to study Drum Circle facilitation with Arthur Hull (the author of “Drum Circle Spirit”) and to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban percussion. Kat travels to tiny Inuit villages in the Canadian Arctic to perform and teach kids how to drum. She collaborates and performs with poets, spoken word artists, singer/songwriters, electronic music DJs and other musicians. She conducts many workshops and lessons in West African drumming, Middle Eastern drumming, Afro Cuban percussion and Australian didgeridoo
Monica Maika is the project manager and archaeologist with Archaeological Research Associates (ARA), Ontario’s oldest archaeological and heritage consulting firm. Monica has been acting since high school. She got involved with Musical Theatre Productions and was cast in the chorus in several shows and started to branch out as part of ensemble casts in plays put on by Musical Theatre Productions and the Elgin Theatre Guild . She was cast as Lady Macbeth in Stage North’s production of Macbeth and has directed the Canadian play Mary’s Wedding in Fort St. John, which was selected to be work shopped at Theatre BC’s mainstage festival in Vernon in 2018. After moving back to Ontario in 2018, Monica found Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre and was cast in 3 of the 2018/2019 season shows; Blood Relations, Sister Cities, and Steel Magnolias.
Diana Lobb is an instructor at the University of Waterloo and St. Jerome’s University in the department of English. Her engagement with performance is an extension of her interest in how to engage with play texts as more than just words on a page, and how to communicate that aspect of theatre to her students. She has been involved with two F.A.S.S. shows (Faculty, Alumni, Students, and Staff) at the University of Waterloo. At Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre she has performed in a variety of one-acts, Sister Cities, and Steel Magnolias, as well as directing main stage shows, Immigration Acts, Blood Relations, and the upcoming production of The December Man (l’homme de decembre). She has also been involved in Page 1 Entertainment’s Outfest as both a performer and a director .
Andrea Munk, originally from Toronto is a breast cancer survivor and the owner of Cedar Lily Bra Boutique @cedarlilybraboutique in Guelph, which is located inside a women’s clothing store, Yolanda’s Fashion Boutique. Andrea shares her journey as a mother fighting Stage 3 breast cancer while staying focused on starting her own business. When Andrea first became a mother, she could not find the right bra no matter where she looked. So she came up with the idea of converting a regular bra into a nursing bra with easy-to-use magnetic clasps and began Simply Nursing Bras. Learning from the women that were coming to see her, she discovered that what they really needed was someone to help them find a comfortable bra that fit them well. So, that is when the idea of Cedar Lily Bra Boutique began. And, to be able to help more women, Andrea now does fittings for everyone and converts the bras into nursing bras and also mastectomy bras as needed.
Malcolm Smith is a letter-carrier delivering mail for Canada Post in Waterloo. At fifteen, in grade nine Malcolm was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He has been living with this very manageable disease for the past twelve and a half years. It taxes his life at specific times, especially the mornings, but he also believes it has taught him a lot. He never pursued a job in the Health & Fitness, a diploma he completed in 2012. After graduating and receiving regular work at Canada Post, he landed a permanent part-time position, which meant decent health benefits. He now uses the knowledge and training he learned from the program to help him. As a letter-carrier he now walks many kilometers, takes the stairs, walks up hills and the occasional dog chase gets his heart racing. He even ran the Harvest Half Marathon this month which is the first time running more than 10KM
A wonderful and an important conversation with Ivy Friedman & Steve Singer speaking everything about the importance of building strong communities, the ongoing urbanization and isolation. They shared the work they have been doing and strategies and suggestions for building communities in the neighborhoods. From how to engage and encourage community involvement and participation to the importance of volunteers within communities and having younger generations involved to lead.
Sat down with the amazing Gary Diggins. Gary has worked for over three decades as an expressive arts therapist. His work combines counselling, mindful practices, and music as medicine. As an educator, Gary teaches in the expressive arts department of Fleming College and he lectures at various learning institutes, including Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Gary’s current publication is entitled Tuning the Eardrums – Listening as a Mindful Practice. The content of Gary’s work has been shared in communities affected by conflict in both Africa and Israel . At home, Gary has supported autistic clients at Toronto Geneva Centre, cancer patients at sick kids hospital and addiction recovery groups. In addition to Gary’s therapeutic practice, he continues to perform Internationally as a cornet player and multi-instrumentalist artist. He plays a range of acoustic instruments from around the world. Combining ancient sounds with modern music, the airwaves become a canvas for imaginative soundscapes. Gary has appeared on dozens of recordings and composed for three films. His musical collaborations have taken him to India, Israel, Europe, and throughout North America. Gary has collaborated with artistic organizations ranging from Cirque Du Soleil to Canadian composer, R. Murray Schaffer. Gary is a co-owner of an arts space in Guelph that houses Silence, a not-for-profit collaborative devoted to new music. His personal sound sanctuary and therapeutic studio is based in this downtown facility.
Dr. Arla Kasaj practices as a Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Acupuncturist at Belmont Natural Health Centre. Dr. Arla has experience with treating a variety of conditions that are encountered in a family practice including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, digestive concerns, and hormonal imbalance. She has a special interest in assisting patients with weight loss and establishing a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Her background in Kinesiology and sport therapy has allowed Dr. Arla to provide very effective treatments for pain management and rehabilitation from sport and workplace injuries. She prefers to use a variety of Naturopathic modalities when treating her patients including but not limited to nutritional and lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. Dr. Arla is also an NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) practitioner with extensive experience in the treatment of allergy and sensitivity related illness. In addition, Dr. Arla has been trained by Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur ND to provide advanced care for breast health especially for patients who are at higher risk or who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Recently, Dr. Arla has added cosmetic acupuncture treatments to her practice as a great option for patients with dermatological concerns including acne, rosacea, skin discoloration, and aging.
Maria Brennan spoke about her journey of becoming an Occupational Therapist at CBI Kitchener Victoria. Originally from St. John’s, NL and moved to Waterloo in February 2017, Maria describes her career and life journey as one that has taken her all over the map and ultimately away from home. She shared her knowledge and expertise on CONCUSSIONS and how it impacts lives. Maria loves what she does and looks forward to opportunities to share how she got to this point of helping people of all walks of life get back to living through her work at CBI.
Lindsay Ford@lindsaythinkfeeldecide is a parenting coach, certified in Positive Discipline, who helps struggling parents build cooperation in their young children and restore peace back into their home. She teaches parents to see the emotions under the misbehavior and identify effective strategies that fit their family. She helps parents overcome hitting, biting, tantrums, picky eating, not listening, struggles getting out the door or into bed, strong-willed temperaments, name calling, and anything causing conflict and tension. She shared some wonderful tips and ideas for back to school week.
Dr. Jodi Rosner, an assistant professor with McMaster University. Her practice is quite diverse, she has an outpatient office where she sees a wide variety of patients. At Grand River Hospital she is one of the pediatrician part of POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario) where she cares for the children of KW with cancer. In addition, Dr. Rosner has a pediatric diabetic clinic.
Inspired by the children with cancer who she cared for, some of them who have lost their battle to cancer, she took her love and hobby of running and turned it into a charity. She founded Kitchener kids with Cancer Run/Walk which raises money for our local children with cancer (through POGO).
Dr. Jodi Rosner shared the stories of real people, the survivors of cancer, the struggles and challenges families go through and how raising money for this event has helped to financially support the families and fund further research. It is also an event that has allowed families to honour the angels who have lost their battle to cancer.
Inspired by the worst floods in the state of Kerala, India in over a century, a pair of 14-year-old girls from #KW created an app to help with disaster aid, resulting in them winning a North American competition. Leya Oommen and classmate Ellen Brisley, who coined themselves ‘String Theorists,’ developed AID as part of a pitch for the Technovation competition, where they were named the junior winners of the North American regional semifinals. They are the regional winners in each division, beating 38 other teams in the North American semifinals.
Natasha McKenty, has been a Daytime Reporter/Guest Host and Television Host on Rogers TV. As the host of an urban magazine show, IN STUDIO, feature writer for 570’s Kitchener Today and Public Relations consultant Natasha McKenty has a thirst for devouring all that her community has to offer. Her experience as a producer, journalist, writer, mother, and communicator propelled her to find her calling: public relations. Her decision to go back to school was driven by her desire to pursue her dreams of becoming an expert writer and communicator.
Joanna Rickert-Hall is a social historian whose research interests focus mainly on Waterloo County, its people and their little known stories that include Black history, local Indigenous history and even more supernatural themes. Passionate about sharing the past with new audiences, Joanna has developed (and taught) courses in local history at Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University. In honour of her contributions in this area, she received the 2015 Jean Steckley Award for “Excellence in Heritage Education” from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation.
Most recently, Joanna has written a new book entitled “Waterloo You Never Knew: Life On The Margins” (which was just released in June of 2019 by Dundurn Press @dundurnpress .It is available through all of the normal online channels like Amazon, Indigo and even locally at Wordsworth Books @wordsworthbooks in Uptown Waterloo).
My first guest Amit Mehta is the Founder and City Lead of Good Company Productions @goodcoprod. Together with a team made up of students, young professionals, and industry leaders, Amit works to create and provide unique, curated musical experiences in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Since 2017, Amit and the team have hosted secret, invite-only popup concerts across the region, featuring unconventional venues — such as museums, living rooms, hair salons, tech offices, and more — and showcasing a mix of local and international musicians to an always attentive audience. Recently, the team has started to grow into the world of community-centric event production, hosting concerts in collaboration with local partners, putting together accessible community events, and finding ways to support more artists and creators in their own endeavors.
My second guest Erica Lauren James @ericalaurenjames is a 51 yr old proud parent of two adult children, advocate for LGBTQ2S+ communities, Pflag chapter leader, public speaker as well as a future politician who also happens to be an amazing transgender woman! Erica, a Sales Manager at Closet Couture Boutique is proud to share her personal stories of resiliency, hope and trust in public spaces in hopes to pave the way for other transgender women and the community around them towards a life of more self love and acceptance. Erica shared her struggles, the journey of acceptance while speaking candidly and openly about what it was like to transition from male to female.
Jasmine Mangalaseril @cardamomaddict is a promiscuous eater and adept home cook who writes. Described as quick-witted and insightful, she was one of a handful who pioneered food blogging in Canada. Jasmine has spoken at BlogHer and to the Canadian Public Relations Society, and featured by Canadian Press, CanWest News, CBC, @foodnetworkca , and SRC, as well as culture.ca and delish.com.
As a food writer, she covers a range of topics from profiles to food history to food ways, with her words having appeared in canadianliving.com, foodnetwork.ca, and pbs.com. She’s a restaurant reviewer for the Waterloo Region Record. Her World of Food column for Grand Magazine tells the stories of people who’ve come to Waterloo Region and the foods that remind them of home. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.
Amanda Case a graduate from Laurier with an Honours in Kinesiology and Physical Education, studied Holistic Nutrition and Active Aging, became a personal trainer and fitness instructor. She then went on to manage corporate wellness programs for Ford, Toyota, Home Hardware, Christie Digital, Dofasco. Amanda Case teamed up with her very talented friend Nicky who had a background in cooking and a dream of owning a food business. Together they created MVP Meals @mvpmeals 3.5 years ago. It started with a one day a week meal delivery and expanded to two days per week, with pick up options. Eight months ago they opened a retail location becoming the only meal prep company in Canada that offers a dine in experience combined with the option to stock your fridge with meal prep! Proud to be located in the heart of downtown Kitchener inside the food hall at the Kitchener Market 5 days a week.
I sat down with the Founder, Tamara Menon of YUVA Arts Project, a singer herself who after being selected into a reality TV show in India called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa from Dubai, brought her to the beautiful city of Mumbai, after which she made a few more TV appearances and sang professionally for various producers. Tamara shared her journey and what inspired her to start YUVA Arts Project. Joining Tamara was Dr. Gerard Yun, music professor, mentor, researcher and one of the many collaborators who played an integral part in this project. YUVA Arts Project is a cross-cultural collaborative initiative addressing issues related to displacement and disintegration faced by marginalized youth groups across the world. Using arts as a medium, Yuva Arts team aims to provide a space for youth to explore solutions, so that they may overcome social challenges that they experience.
A group of 6-8 Indian youth from Kamathipura, who are children of commercially sexually exploited women, from Mumbai, India travelled to Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, where they had the music professor, mentor, pportunity to collaborate in various arts-based projects with Indigenous and refugee youth. Yuva Arts aim is to build leaders so that, not only will they strive for an enriching future for themselves, but also for their communities
Suzanne Dietrich, Registered Dietitian and the owner of Gut Instincts Nutrition Counselling, specializes in helping people make peace with food. She works with all humans, specifically those who are sick of dieting and confused about what to eat, those in recovery from eating disorders and those with gut health concerns.
Suzanne believes that all foods fit and the best way of eating for everyone is one that takes into nutrition but just as importantly access, time, life situation/trauma, health conditions, financial ability, food skills, sustainability, preference and pleasure. Have you been on numerous diets, felt shame about your body and were in a love-hate relationship with food? Are you dealing with eating disorder, be it anorexia, bulimia, binge or something in between, listen to Suzanne Dietrich In Conversation with Rashmi
Rebecca Van Kan , is a simple girl from a small town in Niagara in Ontario, Canada, who survived some soul wrenching times as early as age eight. Her courage, strength and bravery in deciding to share with the world what she went thru from being molested by family at an early age to being in a physically and sexually abusive relationship for years. Writing became Rebecca’s most valued escape from the demons of her world. She started writing her first book a year later, and the year after she started her blog ‘The Written Compass’. On her blog she shared short pieces of writing to bring important issues faced by survivors to light that are often overlooked, like the individuality of pain, and to share the bits of strength Rebecca found along her journey of healing.
Currently, she is also focusing intently on her second book while she continues to develop her writing ability. Rebecca shared her darkest times so others are not be faced with fear or silenced.
Sandra Dynka was crowned Miss Oktoberfest 2018, making her the 50th Miss Oktoberfest. Sandra describes her journey nothing less than magical. She is so grateful to be in this role and feels so honoured to be part of not only the Oktoberfest community but Kitchener Waterloo. A Kinesiology Graduate from Texas Tech University with a minor in nutrition, Sandra’s passion for nutrition was not just limited to educating people on the importance of it, but making it accessible to every single person in the region. In addition to her passion for nutrition, she is an advocate for encouraging women and young girls in this community who feel unworthy of their dreams and write them off before they even attempt to chase them, to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, no matter their age. We are all worthy.
Aileen Agada, this young entrepreneur is currently an environmental engineering student from the University of Waterloo is born and raised in Canada. Aileen is a Nigerian-Canadian who has experienced life through the lens of being a first generation Canadian. Her passion is not just for engineering, solving systemic problems but to serve black women and make them feel included and inspire them to be their best selves. Aileen is also the founder of BeBlended Inc., which she started from her own experiences after struggling to find a salon for her haircare needs. Beblended Inc. is an online platform that connects black women with hair stylists that meet their hair care needs.
Aileen will share her struggle and experiences as a black woman and her journey as a young entrepreneur since starting Beblended and what that means to herself and the black women of all ages for whom this has been a huge challenge.
For Peggy Dietrich, the idea for “The Women in the Moon” came suddenly. What she quickly scribbled has now turned into a children’s book that explores and celebrates the ties that bind women
While the book is the brainchild of Dietrich, it was a family affair. Her granddaughter, Ali, did the illustration for the book. The idea of the moon connecting people is inspired by her relationship with her grandchildren. While it is a children’s book, Dietrich said it speaks to women of all ages as well. We, as women, can join together to form a healing community throughout the globe. We just have to look up at the moon and believe in ourselves, says Peggy Dietrich who wrote The Women in the Moon
Kira Burt, has worked at the library for 3 years as a Children’s Programmer. She has worked with kids of all ages from preschool to teens for many years and continues to enjoy it. An outdoor person, she has always enjoyed cycling and being outside and was one of the first to volunteer to be a rider for the Book Pedaler. The Book Pedaler is all about getting out into the community and meeting people where they are. We also want to be an active and engaged part of the community, says Kira Burt
Maria Almhana, arrived in Canada in November 2017 from Syria. She was confused, depressed, was not sure what to do. In January 2018 she applied to get “the 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives Scholarship” from Jusoor organisation which had partnership with student-funded humanitarian initiative, International Student Overcoming War(ISOW), at Wilfrid Laurier University.
As the Syrian conflict escalated, she maintained hope and began to apply her education and skills toward those who were increasingly vulnerable. Currently, she is among 13 students coming from conflict zones at WLU who get the support from ISO. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in International Public Policy at Balsillie School of International Affairs.
She shared her story is of losses and some wins as a young Syrian in a time of war. Her experiences before arriving in Canada from Syria is something that her new friends in Canada may never understand. Even as she settles in this place of peace, with its quiet nights, its houses and streets intact, in her mind, she is building a bridge back to her home.
Mac-Anne loves her country and is so proud of her culture and the religious freedom, my next guest comes all the way from Ghana. Mac-Anne , her friends call her Mac, is an International student from Ghana, who completed her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Mac is in her final semester of her Masters Program in Civil Engineering at University of Waterloo, she is focused on structures and construction and is also a climate change activist. I sit down with Mac-Anne as we talked about her experiences here in Canada. What it is like as an International student to adjust to life here. What life is like back in Ghana, food, culture and so much more.
Robyn Hobbs has a passion for sustainability, fashion, woman empowerment, self-love and community. This inspired her to create Le Prix Fashion and Consulting, a women’s fashion social enterprise that sources second-hand and new sustainable and ethical fashions from all over the world. But this didn’t come easy for Robyn, she has had her fair share of struggles and after being discouraged several times, she continued to peruse her passion. Robyn spoke all about creating Le Prix Fashion, this year’s summer trends and so much more. Robyn has a home shop in Waterloo and online store, where she creates a fun shopping experience, by free appointment, for women to discover their style while buying environmentally-friendly and socially just products.
A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Stephanie Rozek is the award-winning co-founder of Marit Collective organization that promotes thoughtfulness and change at the personal level through constantly evolving, honest human dialogue. An established coach, writer, and speaker, she has over 20 years experience working with clients and companies locally in Waterloo Region and across North America, in industries including software development, healthcare, industrial automation, and academia. At present she is the KW Ambassador for TechGirls Canada, and a board member with the inter-arts collective Pins and Needles Fabric Company. Stephanie has worked at a leadership level with National Engineering Month Ontario, the Waterloo Region chapter of Canadian Women in Technology, TEDxWaterloo, and Engineers Without Borders Canada, and sat on the Women in Engineering committee at the University of Waterloo as an alumni member for four years. She has received both the KW Oktoberfest Women of the Year Entrepreneur award (2014), and a Waterloo Region 40 under 40 award (2013). Stephanie shared her amazing work in our community and her work with Marit Collective