Back in April I attended the UNICEF Annual Meeting in Washington DC and one of my favorite workshops was “How to be an effective introvert leader” by Maureen Eno. She is the founder of Life by Her Design and is an empowerment coach who helps women find their own path in life while providing them with the confidence and tools they need to succeed. The greatest part of this workshop was that she spoke about one of my biggest fears – public speaking. This is definitely one of my least favorite topics at work, and in general, but she shared her funny experiences and was a pleasure to listen to. She was even a little nervous when she started speaking which made this all so much more relatable.
Her icebreaker set the tone for the rest of the workshop as she provided all of us with a Jack, Queen, King card and told us to place it in our forehead without looking at it.
Then we had to talk with the person next to us to try and determine what type of card was in our forehead. It was a great chance to engage with others in the room and it taught us about the importance of connecting and engaging. It is important for a good leader to treat those around them as individuals and to connect with them authentically. It was also a relief to be reminded that the main focus of your audience is to hear the information you are presenting and not to see you sweat profusely. Thinking with the big picture in mind allows you to establish better goals and stay committed.
Maureen is also founder of Echoes of a Kora which is a charity helping underprivileged children in Nigeria. She is an amazing woman and I encourage you to head on over to www.lifebyherdesign.com and check out her valuable resources.
It was a pleasure to meet Sanja – one of the most bravest women I’ve met during my travels. She is a marine biologist and activist at Ekoloska Udruga Mala Sirena which is an NGO dedicated to protecting the marine ecosystems and educating the public about the environment. We met her during our trip to Croatia last week where my friend and I scuba dived to the underwater Edivo Vina winery in Zuljana (located in the Peljesac Peninsula). We were very nervous but she held our hand and walked us thru the whole process. Once we were all ready with our gear it was time to jump off the boat and view the beauty under water. There were corals and fishes and laying at the bottom of the reef was the underwater cellar. A unique experience to view the clay pots in a rack submerged upside down at the bottom of the sea.
The Edivo Vina winery is a spectacle to see underwater but if you are not interested in diving you can visit their location in Drace and learn about the process while you taste the various wines they offer.
Check out my video here to see more about our adventures.
What made the whole experience so incredible was meeting Sanja. She taught us about the corals, showed us the fishes found underwater and explained the various projects her organization is working on. You can see her vertical gardens near the beach and her work to clean the environment and the Zuljane Bay Marine doesn’t go unnoticed. Such a beautiful town! She is an incredible person who’s mission is one that we can all take part in to help the world become a better place. We learned so much from her and hope to one day to come back and visit her lovely town again.
It’s a new year and I am sure that some of you probably had “eating healthy” on your list as one of your new year’s resolution. I know I did and broke it the next day but don’t worry as I want to introduce you to one of my good friends, Desiree Rodriguez. Not only does she inspire people to eat healthier but she has a list of amazing plant-based recipes that anyone can make. Desiree loves incorporating her Puertorican roots into her dishes and you will be amazed how easy and delicious they are to make. Her collection of original and Latin inspired plant-based recipes along with her blog will definitely motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle. We sat down to have a quick chat with her and her future plans. Don’t forget to visit her website at www.ricanvegan.com to learn more about her and her amazing recipes.
Can you please explain what consists of a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet consists of eating only real whole foods that are nutrient dense such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. This way of eating does not include eating any meat, fish or animal byproducts such as cheese, eggs, or cows milk. Also, processed foods containing chemical preservatives, excess sugar, salt and oil are avoided.
Who is your favorite role model?
My favorite role model is Oprah Winfrey because she is very inspirational and she inspired me to find what I love to do and make it my job. My blog is the combination of my love for creating recipes and helping people and without Oprah helping me realize it I would have never started it.
Any tips and advice you can share to help us start making healthier choices in our busy schedules?
Planning and making your meals in advance can help ensure that you will always have a healthy meal available to eat when you have a busy week ahead of you. Preparing double batches of your meals also saves you time because you would only need to cook once and can eat twice. I would also recommend carrying healthy snacks with you where ever you go so if you get hungry you can eat one of your snacks and avoid buying something unhealthy.
Any future collaborations in the works?
I am actually getting ready to film a recipe demonstration video with another blogger who makes vegan dishes. We are collaborating on a dessert recipe that consists of making ice cream from frozen bananas instead of milk. That video will be posted on my blog and YouTube channel. I am working on a cookbook that will be available on my blog later on in the year. I have The Spark Program which is my 6 week plant-based coaching program where I work one on one with people helping them properly transition to eating a plant-based diet.
Meet Dr. Marium Kazmi! I’m so happy to introduce you to one of my best friends – she is smart, kind, and a master with the make-up brush. She is not only a doctor but also a philanthropist and role model to her younger sisters. Just recently she had the honor of cloaking her younger sister, Rabiya, with her first white coat who is also following in her footsteps to become a doctor. She has indeed become an inspiration to her family and others as well. Her positivity is always contagious and did I mention she also makes a bold fashion statement in the office? She can make any outfit standout when she wears her coat. Her passion for helping others not only constitutes of being a mentor but also in helping her home country. Marium and her husband donated to the Lahaute Foundation who provide clean drinking water to the villages in rural Pakistan. Their donation made it possible to build a well for one of the villages and provide clean water. Women like her are individuals who are not only working hard to succeed but are also making a difference in the world. They put others before them and never forget where they come from. I wish her nothing but continued success!!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in medicine?
Medicine is such a wonderful field but as with all good things comes immense responsibility. My biggest advice is never to give up if you aspire to pursue a career in medicine. The journey is a long and hard one but the amount of joy you get from helping your patients is well worth the sleepless nights on call, the stress of exams and many sacrifices you have to make in your personal life. Make sure to balance your work and family life, many times you have to miss a lot of important occasions in life due to the long hours but surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends always helps.
Who was your role model growing up?
Growing up my role models were my parents. They immigrated from Pakistan and worked hard to provide everything they could for us. My parents were always helping people who were experiencing difficult times, they’re belief is that you should try and help everyone in any small or big way you can.
What advice would you give to working women who want to make a fashion statement in the office?
I feel that any working professional should always dress the part because your choice of clothing is a reflection of you. It shows you took the time to look presentable and respect your patients and coworkers. As for a fashion statement, I think each person has their unique style and it should reflect in their clothing. Most importantly for me, my choice of clothing for the office always has to be comfortable.
What is BeyondBeanie? It is a Social Company the both empowers artisans and helps the children in Bolivia. Every purchase you make helps provide school meals, supplies, and dental care to children in need while also empowering the women who make these products. For example, one hat will provide 5 school meals for a child in need and you can see each hat is signed by the artisan who created it. Half of my family is from Bolivia and I remember visiting La Paz many years ago. The landscaping was jaw-dropping, the food was delicious, and their culture was full of folklore and myths but the one thing that stood out everywhere was the poverty. There were homeless children and women all over the plazas asking for money . That is why I am proud to be their rep for the next few months as not only are they helping the children but also empowering the women in Bolivia.
You can learn more about their work and products at www.beyondbeanie.org and also don’t forget to use Code BVASQ15 to receive 15% off your order.