5 Awesome Women 2016

Now three year’s running, in honour of International Women’s Day, I’ve named 5 awesome women; women who I appreciate, admire, have learned from and who I personally know.  Here are my 5 for 2016.

Kristin Engvig: I’ve known Kristin since 2010 when I was presenter at the annual Women’s International Networking (W.I.N.) conference she has been organising since 1998. From one event, W.I.N. blossomed into several platforms to connect & develop leadership.

Brandi Himmelreich: Brandi and I met in 2009 and were roommates together when I lived in Amsterdam. Born an American, now living in the Netherlands for well over a decade, in 2008 she won the Dutch Popstars singing competition and since then she hasn’t stopped performing.

Yasmine Khater: I’ve known Yasmine since my days working in AIESEC back in 2006/07. Over these last few years, she’s grown her own business, based on Fearless Therapy, helping people build the businesses of their dreams.

Gabriela Gandel: Gabriela and I worked together for 2 years at AIESEC International, during which time we also became dear friends. Although we haven’t lived in the same city for years, I still find myself wishing she lived just around the corner (like she used to). She’s now in Vienna working as one of the Managing Directors of Impact Hub Global an international network of workplaces to grow organisations with positive impact.

Eglantine Karakouzian: My wonderful grandmother (Medzmama as I called her) passed away on February 24th. Born in 1929, she had the rare opportunity to live 3 lives, one in Lebanon where she started a family with my grandfather, the second when they immigrated to Canada in 1984, and the third in 1998 when she successfully underwent a triple bypass surgery. Because of that third life, I got to spend an additional 18 years with her, she got to meet all of her grandchildren (as one of my cousin’s was not born yet). I was at my grandmother’s home every day after school when I was a child, almost every day when I was a teenager and I’d visit every time I came back to Toronto. Eating was a big part of her hosting me and the rest of our family; a happy memory I have is when one of my cousin’s came to visit and he told me the food I made tasted like hers. This weekend when I watched Michael Pollan’s Cooked documentary, he ended with a quote that reminds me of her: “For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”


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