The Women I Work With: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Top row, left to right: Hougy Qani, Malalai Azimee, Hossai Qani. Bottom row, left to right: Sara Upshur, Marcella Tomas

I have a problem with the word ‘empowerment’, or at least the way it’s been co-opted as a marketing tool. These days everybody is empowering everyone, by now the world should be this fantastically equitable place where no one is left behind. It’s (too) popular, a lazy phrase to toss in because, well, everyone else is. I use it and I can feel myself cringe when I do.

But on International Women’s Day, it’s the perfect word to express how the wonderful women I work with have enabled me to do things I never imagined possible.

The evolution of Canadian Connections into the organization it is today was never planned. Instead, it evolved, in large part because of the inspiration and support I have received from women who share a common vision of Canada.

When CC was able to hire its first staff, I was so excited. That we were able to hire such talented women with skills and experiences I do not have, and that make our organization as successful as it is, was confirmation that we were doing something right.

I’m empowered by our staff every day. They help me accomplish a seemingly never-ending list of tasks and see points of view I hadn’t considered. I’m honoured to stand alongside them. There is no question that Canadian Connections is what it is because of the wonderful women I work with.


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