Reema Faris - Power

1) Tell us, where do you draw power from?

To be honest, sometimes I just don’t know! 

Here is what I do know. I have a strong, loving, and supportive family - that’s my primary circle of influence.  I’ve got amazing friends who, over a glass of wine or two or a text here and there, can change my outlook and help me get ready to face the next challenge. 

Then, there’s a perspective I’ve gained with age. The ability to look back and say, “yes, I did do that and that and that and each of those meant something.” Even difficult “thats” are part of that source of power I can draw on. Surviving difficult times and dark days are just as important in building the strength and ability to face whatever it is life throws at us.

There are the opportunities I’ve had to travel, to learn, to experience new things that have all shaped my ability to power through the days. Chocolate, music, a sunset, and the ability to appreciate it all are also instrumental to my sense of well-being.

Stubbornness, perseverance, and being a Mom are all factors that have helped shape who I am and the sense I have of being capable and accomplished.. 

Those are some of the things I can identify. Then there are those times when I reflect and still can’t figure out how I managed to put one foot in front of the other, to get through very difficult times. And it is the latter that always leaves me feeling humble and grateful for those mysterious sources of power and for all that life has offered me.

2) What has been your moment that you felt most powerful?

October 15, 2015. The day of my defense for my Master of Arts in the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Simon Fraser University.

I knew my material and I felt ready to face any questions. More importantly, the travelling I’d done in the summer, which involved partly retracing Mary Wollstonecraft’s footsteps through Scandinavia, had led me to greater insight into the work I had done. I felt a sense of confidence that has eluded me at other points in my life and I was rewarded by the compliments I received afterwards. Completing that project and defending it was such a crucial step in propelling me forward to where I am now.  That experience has made it possible for me to continue my studies as a doctoral student and I’ve never been happier although I am back to being sleep-deprived and living with deadline stress!

3) How do you empower others around you? 

During my tenure as a Trustee on the West Vancouver Board of Education, I attended a number of conferences held for Trustees from across British Columbia. I remember at one such event meeting a women who thanked me for a blog post I’d written and explained that I had captured a different point of view, which she didn’t often see expressed and which reflected her own experience within her own community. That sense of helping someone understand an idea or express a feeling, especially if it is a way of thinking that challenges the majority viewpoint, is the way I feel I have been able to empower others. By being willing to ask questions and by pursuing the integrity of my own inquiry, even at the cost of being unpopular, sets an example that our obligation is to speak up and to speak out. That has always ever been the way to bring about change and to make things better:  for ourselves and, more importantly, for others!

4) Anything else you want to say/final thoughts?

On October 26, 2016, the World Economic Forum released its annual report on gender-based gaps around the world. Canada ranked 35th out of 144 countries on the list and at this pace of change women globally will not earn as much as men for another 170 years. Women everywhere need to exercise their power to continue to fight for gender parity and gender equity across a fluid gender spectrum. Women have come a long way and we have a long way to go. Let’s work together and let’s get it done before another century or more elapses!

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar



Suzanne Solsona - Information Is Key To Power

1) Tell us about the power you feel from being a CEO and owner of a company?

Being an entrepreneur and CEO of my own company is empowering because it gives me the flexibility to dictate my work hours and schedule, which is vital when I also want to be a stay at home mama to my two young boys. I'll also be quite candid and admit that the title, responsibility and power that comes with the position of CEO are all exciting and ego-boosting, but my true sense of personal fulfillment and thus power comes from the belief that MyMayu is improving the lives of families all over the world. Knowing that we are helping families reconnect with nature fills me with an incredible sense of power and satisfaction.

2) How do you empower others to be powerful?

I have always held the belief that information is key to power. In keeping with this belief, I have always tried to give others as much information as they need to make informed decisions. I did this as a lawyer and continue to do it as a business person and a mother. Unless you know all the circumstances, a decision and course of action is less powerful than if you act based on full knowledge and comprehension.

3) Tells about the power struggle in your life.

Presently, the power struggles in my life mostly surround getting my two young boys to eat their vegetables and brush their teeth. Sometimes, no amount of logical reasoning effects the desired outcome. I am fortunate that my business partner (who is my husband) and I are more often than not on the same wavelength and we rarely clash about matters concerning the company (or the family). 

4) Anything else you want to say/final thoughts?

I'm honoured and excited to have been chosen to give a talk on October 29th with such an amazing group of women. I'm also grateful to have been given such wonderful coaching and mentorship from Karen McGregor. It is going to be an amazingly inspiring event- one that will make Vancouver and TED proud.

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Rosalyn Mow - A Powerful Mindset

1) Pole dancing might have a negative connotation attached to it - how are you taking it from taboo subject to powerful and confident fitness regime? 

Pole dancing has evolved much faster than public opinion.  In fact, what is generally believed to be is either not true or is a mere fraction of the full picture.  Education is one of the best ways to change public opinion, but instead of telling people that this form of fitness has the potential to become an Olympic sport, I get to show them.  It's about opening people's eyes to see how pole dancing has combined aspects of strength, endurance and flexibility, which makes it a perfect combination in any powerful and confident fitness regime.  I feel that with each performance I do, movement is made in shedding its negative connotation.  Although it still feels like I'm sharing a best kept secret when I perform, pole fitness is quickly gaining popularity.  It's just a matter of time before it's negative connotation becomes a thing of the past.  

2) How do you instil power in those around you? 

Power to me is a holistic energy that can be uplifted in those around through our interaction.  As a Notary Public, I feel that sharing my knowledge with clients has the ability to instil in them a measure of confidence and control over the subject matter.  Delving deeper, I've always been moved by people who share a passion that shows they've put in a lot of hard work.  I feel it's not only inspiring to be passionate about something, but becoming aware of how goals can be achieved with hard work and passion always encourages me to do more for me.  Realizing that I have the ability to achieve something is a powerful mindset.  It is my hope that I inspire people the way they inspire me when I see the outcomes of their hard work.  Everyone has something to be proud of and I'm always empowered by those who feed this energy around me.  

3) How does pole dancing empower you? 

Pole dancing has empowered me in so many ways.  Physically it's helped me stay in great shape and enabled me to become more confident and have more energy.  It also helps me stay focused when working on a new pole trick or training for competition.  It also challenges me mentally with it's creative side when making choreography for myself or for a class of students (I teach a class called Lyrical Pole at Tantra Fitness).  I love how choreography can inspire students to tell a story with their movements, and it's ability to control an audience's emotion.  Perhaps the best way pole dancing lifts me up is through its amazing community.  It is a community that does not discriminate, and has taken away many fears of failure when aiming for a goal.  Being surrounded by such a supportive group of people has created a positive environment that truly enables me to feel my best in body, mind and soul.    

4) Anything else you want to say/final thoughts?

I would like to thank the event organizers for allowing me to be a part of this event.  I feel honored to share the stage with so many talented and intelligent women.  I've prepared a new piece for the event that for me embodies the theme "Power", and I hope everyone enjoys my performance.

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Julie Salisbury - Disempowered By A System

1) Tell us about your struggle with book publishing. How did it disempower you?

I was confident that a traditional publisher would be interested in my manuscript about my seven year journey around the world. It was a fascinating "Eat, Pray, Love" real story. In addition, I had realistic expectations about my own involvement in marketing. I received twenty-two reject letters before I decided to figure out how to self-publish. For many people they end up waiting for years for those reject letters and then lose faith in their story. Many great stories go unpublished and the great knowledge and wisdom they have goes to waste.

I realized that the traditional publishing industry is only interested in known celebrities and the chances of being recognized as a first time author was very slim. As I researched the self-publishing world I realized this was an industry preying on the dreams of those who needed help on how to navigate this "pay-for- publishing" world. I realized I was not alone, so I created a company to help other first time authors who felt "disempowered" by a system who did not want to help unknown people that had great stories to tell.

We are led to believe that publishing companies are looking for great stories and then we can get the help we need to transform our stories into a published book. The truth is, most of the independent and print on demand publishers just take your manuscript as it is and print and distribute it, with little or no advice about the manuscript or how to market it. This is why most self-published books flop. 

This is where I can really help emerging authors, I have a process called Inspire A Book that takes them through the chaos, the fear and self-doubt of getting a book out of your head and onto the page.

2) How do you instil power in those you help?

My InspireABook process is all about inspiring my authors. The reason I know so much about this comes from my own process with dyslexia. Many people think of dyslexia as confusion, but it is a different way of thinking. The dyslexic mind takes confusion and is able to problem solve and simplify through that chaos. The gifts of a dyslexic mind are: creativity, imagination, innovation, finding simplicity in complex situations and problem solving. This is what we do in InspireABook. I encourage my authors to literally "throw up all their ideas" on to a page in a mind map and then I help them "clean it up" into a structure of a book. This process really empowers my authors and helps them get to the task of writing. Once they have the book written, I then bring an objective reader's viewpoint to their writing. Often the author can get stuck in their own head and in their own way giving lots of details and evidence to prove a point. What the reader really wants to know is: How did you come to that realization and how did that affect your life? This helps my authors make their story accessible and interesting to their audience, so it is not a flop.

3) Where do you draw your power from?

I know that I draw my power from within: owning and using my dyslexic gifts to help others in the publishing industry. I found publishing an elitist group of people that loved telling people that their story is "not good enough". This was an old record I'd heard many times at school, "You are not good enough". I found many writers who had amazing stories to share but did not think their writing was "good enough". So I started a publishing company to fill this gap and to empower authors and great stories to emerge. In the last ten years, I've now published close to 100 books based on this philosophy.

4) Anything else you want to say/final thoughts?

I want people to understand the distinction between "story-telling", creative writing, and editing. I hear so many objections like "my writing is not good enough", or "my grammar and spelling is bad", where what I am really concerned about is do you have a great story to tell. A good editor and publisher can help with things like sentence structure, flow and purpose. InspireABook is the first step on the journey to publishing a great book.

If this interests you, please look at all our free informational resources online at

and don't be afraid to reach out to

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Vicki McLeod - Personal Power Is Intrinsic

1) Tell us when you first felt power for the first time

What immediately came to mind with this question was a time when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was standing in the tall grass in the playground outside my neighbourhood school. It was summertime, and I was barefoot. In those days, they didn’t cut the schoolyard grass in summer, so it made a great place to play.

I remember so vividly the feeling of my feet on the cool ground, and the tall grass up to my knees. A feeling of energy ran through my little body and I knew – deep inside - that I was part of everything: the grass, the sun, the breeze, the earth – connected to it all, and it filled me with power.

Something in that moment lasted a lifetime, and I’ve always understood the difference between personal power and positional power. As a result, titles, roles and positions --- while they give us context, structure, and influence, haven’t held as much relevance for me as standing in my own personal power. Positional power can be taken away, but personal power is intrinsic.

In a way, I think that childhood experience made me see myself, and of all of us, as part of a universal force – and that connection gives us an unlimited source of influence at every touch point in our lives.

2) Give us a small insight into Childless by Choice: A Powerful Act of Fulfillment

We live in a time and culture where women are faced with a world of choices, yet there still seems to be an outdated social expectation that all women are destined to be mothers. I just don’t believe that's true. Biologically, perhaps, but we are far beyond making choices based simply on biology - or gender, race, or class for example.

As a woman who chose not to have children, I wanted to lend my voice to a conversation about a woman’s right to choose her own destiny, whether that includes children or not. I also explore the notion of fulfillment as the result of powerful choice-making --- that honouring our deepest truths and living with our truth is a path to being fully human, and therefore fulfilled.

3) When do you feel least powerful? 

There are definitely times when the world gets too big for me. There are big problems to solve, and I can get to feeling pretty small when I fully consider the scope and my possible role or responsibility to help solve them. I’m nearing sixty and I think I believed the world would be in a much different place by the time I got here. I experience a certain sense of frustration when I think that there is still such a long way to go.

And on the more personal side, as I experience my own aging and the inevitable loss of family members and peers, I am reminded (again) that all of life is learning to let go, and that I have no power over these processes or control over the mysteries. I just consider myself lucky to be part of them, having a human journey, making a difference where I can.

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Maili Wong - Power Toward Positive Action


1.    What do you think "power" really is?

Power is the courage to step beyond what is comfortable and take a risk.  Owning one’s power means accepting that life is filled with uncomfortable challenges that require us to adapt and change. Ironically, it’s the challenging points-of-decision that actually allow us the opportunity to define our life purpose and subsequently direct our power toward positive action. 

2.    Do you believe power can be lost/stolen/restored in people? Or is it all a state of mind?

Power can be lost, and regained.  During my most vulnerable time, I felt like I was completely alone, scared, and powerless.  But, as I realized how lucky I was to be alive and that I had the power within me to make choices to find a way forward, I slowly felt my power emerge again.

3.    Why do you think we are obsessed with power in society?

Power and control are often intertwined as synonyms in our western society.  For instance, when one spouse is more informed about or “controls” the couple’s finances, there is often an imbalance of Power in the relationship.  But why is it that the other spouse allows this to happen?  Is it fear or lack of knowledge that prevents them from asking the right questions?  I’m an advocate for taking smart risk and years of experience have taught me that a Roadmap is a powerful tool on the path towards a life worth living.  When we begin to understand the incredible life force inherent in being truly connected to our life purpose, we tap into a power that is undeniable.  That power puts into our path the people who believe in and support us.  We gain a perspective about healthy risk that builds our resilience, our inner muscles

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Shirley Weir - When The Power Goes Out


1) You've created Menopause Chicks - empowering women to take charge of their life change. Did you create this because you felt powerless during menopause? 

I created from my own experience in perimenopause. And yes, the mission of Menopause Chicks is to provide a platform for women to get informed, to become their own best health advocates, and to connect with professionals who can support them on their journey.

You see, menopause is just one day. It’s the 12 month anniversary of your last period. But there is a phase of life…sometimes 5 to 15 years leading up to menopause…when our hormones begin to fluctuate. This phase is called perimenopause. Perimenopause is a relatively new term only invented in the 1990s, so chances are, when you hear the phrase “going through menopause” from your mom, grandma, or even some doctors, they actually mean “going through perimenopause.” 

Perimenopause can include experiences ranging from mildly annoying and disruptive, through to turning your world upside down. For example, I experienced brain fog that seriously affected my ability to work and sometimes affected my ability to hold my cool. There was also chronic sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and changes to my period that I was not expecting.

You know how a storm can blow up suddenly causing the power to go out? That’s what perimenopause did to me. I was looking after my kids and a business and a busy household and not looking after myself and my power went out. 

But it wasn’t all about what was happening to my body. It was the shock I had when I genuinely tried to learn about perimenopause by talking with friends (“Not there yet,” or “please don’t post anything about menopause on my facebook page,” they’d say) or from “Dr. Google,” the bookstore and even my own doctor. What I found was either people didn’t want to talk about perimenopause and menopause, or the information was confusing and conflicting. I launched Menopause Chicks as a way to crack open the conversation.

2) Did going through menopause make you feel more powerful or less powerful? 

Both. To me, power equals choice. Power means having the choice to think about things differently so I can choose to react differently. For example, I don’t get to choose how or when I get a hot flash, but I do get to choose how I react. That’s powerful. And that’s how I am trying to teach myself to flip my perspective on a lot of things these days.

So in the early days of perimenopause, I felt powerless because I was scared. I was scared because I didn’t have the knowledge or information. I wasn’t prepared. And what I found was that some media and advertisers thrive on our sense of powerlessness as they present their solutions like it is our only answer. Within our health care system, this power paradigm also exists. It infers that people who have questions (patients) are powerless and those with answers (health professionals) are powerful. As I continued to research perimenopause and menopause, I decided I wanted to try to shake this paradigm up. 

What if we stop talking ONLY about the negatives and celebrate the positives too? What if we learned to be proactive in our midlife health? What if we could teach women the questions to ask so they could become their own best health advocates? And then, what if those empowered women empowered others? Would this mean that my daughter wouldn’t have to grow up in a world that treats menopause as taboo?

3) When have you felt the most powerful during life's journey? 

2016 is my power year! On new year’s eve last year, I laid in the bathtub and looked down at my body and I thanked it. I thanked it for allowing me to have two healthy, amazing children. I thanked it for carrying me this far on my journey and told it I was looking forward to the second half. Then I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in 2016, and having the honour to crack open the menopause conversation on the TedX stage was on that list! And finally, knowing that I was going to reach menopause in 2016, I also committed to having a party to mark the occasion. That was powerful! I celebrated a milestone that I hope, one day, all women will embrace, look forward to and plan a party around!

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Reut Amit - An Unspeakable Sense of Power

1) Your job puts you in a position of power (so to speak)- does it change the way you interact with people?

I'm not sure I'd say that my job puts me in a position of power.

It puts me in a position to maneuver various sources of power on behalf of my clients. I'm not trying to be opaque with that answer- I swear. It's just that being a lawyer and going to law school is a privilege because it equips you with tools to interact with and impact the sources of power in society.

I think that this understanding of the power structures embedded in society must affect the way that I interact with people simply because it informs the way I view the world. At times that makes me an excellent advocate and, at others, it makes me a terrible cynic. I try my best to stick with the former. The knowledge and privilege of the legal profession also brings with it a great deal of responsibility. The ability to see the power structures in society means that I have an obligation to challenge those structures if I believe them to be unjust. I have always been an advocate, even when I wasn't yet a lawyer, but the addition of the power which accompanies a legal education and career gave me the tools to engage with issues of injustice in a more practical and, often, more effective way. 

2) Tell us about the loss of power? How has it changed you? 

I'll say first, a loss of control is not necessarily a bad thing, though it may be very difficult. A sense of powerlessness over your own being, on the other hand, is always bad.

I've experienced both on many occasions. In my experience, each time I've lost anything in my life, particularly that second type of power, time has shown me with greater and greater clarity how powerful and resilient I am. The depths of my sorrow and pain have always reflected skyward to equally great heights.

Experience has given me the clarity of knowing that, with time, power will follow powerlessness. It's repetition, really. I wish I could have taught my younger self this truth but I know it could have only come with repetitive experience. Eventually, your reaction to loss becomes quicker. Your faith in and knowledge of your strength to overcome moves beyond the realm of doubt. You actively say to yourself, "this hurts, but I know it has an end point." I now know that, despite immense pain, life will always change. It will get better and more difficult and better again.  The way that loss changed me was, therefore, by showing me that I will always rise up. Always. My losses are some of the experiences for which I am most grateful because they've shown me the strength of my character, of my fabric as a human being. My loss has laid the foundation for my greatest pride. 

3) You experienced a "rise up" power moment in life after an abusive relationship ~ would you tell us where the power from within came for you? 

The power came from me and from other women. I began to write about my experience around the same time that the #yesallwomen movement began. I began reading the tweets and the stories of many of these women and I remember getting goosebumps all over because I realized, for the first time, that what I had experienced was, in fact, abuse. I saw myself so precisely in their words and the walls around me began to fall. It became clear to me that all the stories I had told myself, which were a reinforcement of my abuser's narrative, were false. If these women had experienced what I had, then maybe this was not ok. I began to write my story at that point and eventually published it. 

Writing my story empowered me in so many ways. It gave my experience weight. It allowed me to talk about my experience with my friends and family- something I had hidden for years because I couldn't reconcile reality with the stories I had to tell myself to stay with him. 

Sharing my story gave me an unspeakable sense of power. The women who reached out and honoured me with their stories gave me the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. They gave an enduring meaning to my pain. I wouldn't trade that pain for the world. In its absence, I would not have had the tools to support these women and to receive their support in turn. They allowed me to transform a story of isolation and shame into one of unity and strength. 

4) Anything else you want to say/final thoughts?

I'm so thrilled to share a stage with the amazing women who will be speaking this year. I can't wait to meet all the speakers and conference attendees. It's going to be an amazing and inspiring day. 

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Brittany Whitmore - Our Fierce and Powerful Leader

This is the 2nd annual TEDxGastownWomen (TEDxGTW) event and we couldn't be happier to be hosting this event again. 

The inaugural year sold out in 20 minutes. We packed the Segal Graduate School Of Business on Granville Street and learned a lot of lessons about putting on a TEDx event.  This year, we added triple the amount of tickets. 

We thought it would be great to introduce our fierce and powerful leader, Brittany Whitmore. It is her vision, passion and pure drive that makes this event the show stopper that it is. 

Brittany, Why Host Another TEDxGtw?

The response form the community was so amazing! Almost everyone who was in attendance last year, wanted to attend again and be part of it. The volunteers all came back and we gained some new ones so I thought, why not? 

In order to host a TEDxWomen event, we have to do our event in conjunction with TEDWomen and when it was announced late in 2015, we hit the ground running in January and decided to do it all again! 

Bringing people together is a passion of mine. I love to see everyone collaborating, sharing ideas and knowledge. It's an amazing and inspirational day. 

How Did The Idea of Power Come to You?

At our initial meeting to discuss the event, talk about ideas and discuss tome lines, the committee was brainstorming and one team member thought of it. as soon as we looked it up i knew we had to do it. No other TEDx has been focused around power and we knew this was a charged topic. 

Power is a hard topic to ignore. Look at the current state of the's hard not to focus on power and who may be running the world and deciding what's next. 

Tell Us About What You Think Power Is? 

I think power is the ability to create change or initiate change. Power is being able to impact something in some way. You can choose a negative or positive outcome or it can be internal or external. 

Power has so many facets to it!

What are you hoping people take away?

I hope that people discuss things they wouldn’t typically discuss. Our line up of speakers are covering a broad range of topics including: menopause and being child-free by choice. We even have a pole dancer. This year, we focused on topics that people do not regularly engage in but the world needs to be talking about. 

It would also be great if everyone came was able to learn something and build great connections. 

I am excited to be the MC this year and I am excited to see you in the crowd on October 29th. 

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar



Barinder Rasode - Winning Back Power

You've probably heard the name Barinder Rasode before. She was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in Vancouver, in 2014.

It is evident why this TEDx talk about Power is a perfect fit for her. 

Barinder is a problem solver! She is known to tackle past, present and future threats regarding BC's economic forum. Her current CV includes working alongside senior levels of government. Barinder is also a board director for Fraser Health and she is the Co-founder & Advisory Committee Chair for SheTalks. 

Barinder is one of those people who exudes confidence and conversing with her is effortless and refreshing! 



1) Has anyone ever took your power away? How did you get it back?

It feels as though my power is taken away on a regular basis. Instead of fighting to regain power and instead of fighting with people who are power hungry, I find myself redefining my definition. of power. I typically look for another way to achieve the goal I set out to accomplish if I feel my power to tackle to the problem has been depleted. 

Achieving a goal or solving an issue is far better then winning back power, in my opinion. 

I also strive to be an egoless person - with an ego - I would never survive. It's also very hard to get into power struggles and win or lose power when ego is not involved. 

2) Have you ever taken away someone's power? 


When we do things a certain way or demand that things be done a certain way, we unknowingly create challenges for people who do things a different way then we do.

When we feel the need to micro manage we become overly committed to the process and not the outcome.  And when we only focus on the outcome we can hinder people from getting what they want and need. This essentially takes the power away from individuals. 

3) What do you think makes people believe someone is "powerful"?

I think it's the perception of power we have by someone's image, or what they want to portray as their image that makes us believe someone is powerful. 

Real power is how much influence somebody has. An individual with a title has power because of their position or the position of their inner circles. However, if we take a step back - the power we really recognize and relate to is from the power of people who can get things done because of the influence they have on others.

Last words:

We need to fight better to share power. One person holding all the power and struggling to keep it that way is not helpful to anyone. Sharing power empowers everyone and it does not diminish yours - it highlights it!

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Sophia Sunwoo - Power House

Sophia Sunwoo is a force to reckoned with. In 2010, Sophia was busy building and selling her first company. 

After selling her first company, Sophia continued to manage projects over 1MM for fortune 500 companies. She was also focusing on effective market strategies to take the resource-constrained out of poverty. 

If that wasn't enough to sufficiently impress you, Sophia has built Water Collective: An international nonprofit that secures life-lasting clean water for rural communities in Africa and India. The focus is to resolve the short comings of clean water access in the developing world, where 40% of water points are not working at any given time. 

Sophia's list of accomplishments does not end there. She was listed as a leading force in Social Entrepreneurship on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list (2016) and awarded the Fred Alger Finance Award in 2015.

Here is what Sophia has to say about Power. 

1) When do you feel most powerful? 

I feel the most powerful when I am surrounded by a supportive, accepting, and empathetic community. It fuels me, and gives me the courage to make thoughtful decisions and be a more effective leader. 

2) When do you feel least empowered? 

I feel the least empowered in spaces and places that don't value equality and acceptance of diversity. It creates a lot of internal tension for me and muddles my clarity and direction. 

3) Why do we care so much about power and why do we focus on power struggles?

I think that we care so much about power because it intersects with our self validation. Our power is earned through our life's accomplishments, and the moment we face a power struggle, it holds so much weight because it removes validation of the personal hurdles and hits we took in order to earn our power. 

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Christina Benty - Power Is An Inside Job

This former Mayor of Golden, BC retired after serving 12 years in local government. When you meet Christina you are enveloped by her vivacious energy.

Christina knows about effective and impactful leadership but most importantly, she models that behaviour in all aspects of her life. 

We couldn't think of a better woman, then Christina, to talk with you about what power means. 

1) Tell me what you think power is!  

Power very much starts as an inside job. It is a strong internal belief that you are both responsible and privileged to lead your own life. Those who are truly powerful realize that their primary and ultimate responsibility is to take charge of self.  They are self regulated and carry an energy into their lives that invokes confidence in those around them.  From there,  power is the ability to influence others while recognizing that you can't change them. Real power should  never take from or absolve another of their power. 

2) What happens when people lose power? Or feel they have lost it? 

When people lose power they get fearful and anxious.  They tend to lose their ability to identity their choices in any given situation.  When people believe they have no power, They tend to engage in blaming and justification rather than ownership and agency.  

Has it happened to you?  The times when I believed  the story that I was powerless were the times i felt anxious, fearful and closed off to possibilities.  It always required a good internal smack down to remind myself to take back my personal power. 

3) Do you think power deepens relationships or halts them?  

My experience leads me to believe that Power deepens relationships. Personal responsibility endears trust and empowers a felt sense of reciprocity.  Candor and accountability flourish in relationships where true power exists and the ego is less likely to be a barrier.  

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar



Emelia Symington Fedy

Emelia is that lady who meet once, and you know you could be great friends with! I had the privilege of watching her in Motherload at the Cultch Theatre and I was impressed by her candid spirit and charisma on stage. I also confessed to her that I was girl crushing on her - HARD. 

She is that girlfriend you need in your life. She is honest (most of the time?), raw and brilliant! "I tell the dark messy truth. I show you my double chin. I tell you about the time I lied to my boyfriend about being pregnant..." 

After you read this blog you will be waiting impatiently to see her live at the Imperial on October 29th. ! 

1) Tell Us About The time you felt most powerful.

I was in Thailand by myself. My boyfriend had just left me for the 3rd time and i’d been begging him to come meet me in Thailand to reconnect (you know that desperate, pleading time where you’re willing to give up all of your life blood to make it work?) He said no. 

It was a full moon and i was walking down the beach alone, feeling the most alone I’ve ever felt. The moon was high and bright and the water was clear as glass. I took off all my clothes and I walked into the water.  I was alone, naked, in a foreign country, on a deserted beach, entering water that was known for its sharks. But I kept going. I walked the path the moonlight was making on the water until i was fully submerged. I let the water hold me up and I floated. I lay in the ocean and let the tears come. All of a sudden I felt a shark, it’s huge jaws clamping on my ribcage breaking me in half and tearing my guts out. This obviously wasn’t happening, but I felt it, I felt the sensation of terror so extremely, it was like it was actually happening. “stay in the water” said a voice. “don’t be scared of what’s not happening.” I jerked and shook. I wanted to jump out and run for the beach but I stayed floating. The image of the shark tearing into me kept coming into my mind and every time my body would convulse with fear but I’d hear “stay in the water, don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.” And after about 30 minutes of this terror/panic/breathing/ staying put I realized that the terror of the terror was more terrifying than the terror itself. You know? So what? I thought. SO what if I get eaten by a shark, SO what if he left. I’m staying put. I’m not letting my fear run me. So I floated. It didn’t get easier. I was sweating in the water I was so stressed out but I stayed. And little by little the fear subsided and for a brief moment, I felt like the queen of the world. 

2) What Was The Least powerful moment of your life?

Giving Birth. I had no idea how painful it was going to be. I was an animal. I couldn’t take it. I wanted to die. The birthing culture is so weird and judgemental at times and I got so stresed out about “doing it right” that when it went “wrong” I felt like a complete failure. it was a tough one.

3) How do you inspire others to be powerful?

I tell the dark messy truth. I show you my double chin. I tell you about the time I lied to my boyfriend about being pregnant and when I stole a candle from a yoga studio. What? Who does this? I did. 

I share my worst parts- in the best way- so we can all bask  in the hilarity of being imperfect humans, together. 

Anything else you want to say? 

subscribe baby!  Every time I get a new friend I fist pump the air.

Blog Post: Nicole Parmar

Let's Talk About POWER!

We are getting ready for our 2016 TEDxGastownWomen event at the Imperial on October 29th, 2016 and we couldn’t be happier to share our theme and idea with you!

This year, we are talking about POWER! 

Well, to be specific we are LOOKING for presenters to share their ideas on a TEDx stage about power. If you want to apply to speak about power, please fill out our application form here.


  1. What does power mean to you?

  2. Do you feel powerful and if so, what makes you feel like you have power?

Do you believe that power is either good or evil or do you feel that power is neutral and the forces that act upon it create the energy of positivity or negativity? Can you provide us an example?

You might be wondering when the questions will end and when we will get to the grit of the information. However, this post is specifically about questions; Questions to get us/you engaged and questions to create a community around this idea and concept.

We really don’t have the answer(s)! We are simply looking outwards to you, our community, in order to evoke thought provoking dialogue about power. What does the word power mean, what/how do you feel about it and what do you want to share about it?

Are there only two types of power? Is power either unilateral or relational? If so, which one do you think is better to harness? Or, do we need them both?

If you lose your power (if you believe it can be lost) how do you get it back or if you can’t get power back do you strive to achieve a new balance? If so, what does that look like?

We look forward to discussing these ideas with you and we look forward to meeting you at our our TEDxGastownWomen event on October 29th, 2016.

Let’s stay in touch! Please join our mailing list so we can share ideas and curate more conversations.

The TEDxGastownWomen Team!



Announcing TEDxGastownWomen 2016, Theme: Power

The TEDxGastownWomen team is excited to announce the theme for our 2016 event: Power.

What is power? Why do people crave or run from it? What does it mean to have, give up or have taken away? Do you have an idea worth spreading, related to power or gender and power?

Apply to speak at our October event here.

This year's event will take place in late October, venue TBA. 

Want to get your business or brand involved? Email to find out how. 

Sign up here for updates on tickets, speakers and more.

Fatima Hewaidi: 3rd culture individual

The life/travels of Fatima Al-Zahra Hewaidi, are plentiful. Libyan by origin, spent her life between Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Vancouver.

Fatima has had to adjust to cultural and societal norms across a vast array of countries. It is because she has grown up amidst diverse cultures and constant new ways of life that she naturally gravitated towards pursuing a BA in International Relations at the University of British Columbia. 

"Be honest with yourself and what you really want. Your greatest competitor, and judge, is often yourself - so learn how to listen to your body and be comfortable with embracing change."


What is being fearless: 

To be fearless means to stay true to yourself as you serve a purpose through which you find fulfillment - and doing that on a consistent basis. Staying true to yourself means holding yourself accountable to yourself before anyone else, and at the end of the day, asking whether the decisions you made, the results you achieved, or the dialogue you have exchanged, was the absolute best you could do given the resources you had to work with.

At the same time, being fearless means having the courage to re-evaluate, when necessary, the principles you stand for, the norms that are embedded in your society, and embrace change when your inner gut advises you to do so. That means (1) going against the current alone and persevering; or (2) having the ability to  be open to the voices, opinions, and purposes of others, even when they clash with yours.  We are living beings that thrive best when we interact, and cooperate to achieve goals that are bigger than ones we could have achieved alone. So we must institutionalize, within our own minds, a space for constant reflection, re-evaluation, and adaptation to voices, environments  and trends that were once foreign to us. That all stems from being honest with yourself.


What has been your greatest fear you have had to overcome: 

As a "third culture" individual, I have never had a home to which I felt an innate sense of belonging. My entire family is from Libya, but I was born in Abu Dhabi and raised there as an expat. Which a lot of the time meant that I couldn't call the UAE my "sustainable" home. When I was twelve years old, my family immigrated to Canada. While Vancouver has been a great home to us, I always felt that something was missing and I knew that I couldn't spend my entire life here.

I'm twenty-two now, and I have yet to feel fully Canadian. At the same time, whenever I go back to Libya, I never feel whole-heartedly Libyan. So you can imagine the kind of identity confusion that could follow this line of thinking. To overcome that, I did a lot of deep reflection paired with even more travelling. I keep realizing that the life that I've had so far, with all the moving, becomes all the more enriching especially when I proactively reach out to different cultures. I'm now most comfortable in social circles that involve people from diverse cultural backgrounds. I spent most of last year living in a small French town, which now I consider to be another home of mine. I'm about to move again to Italy for a year and then to Washington D.C. for the following year to complete my graduate studies -- which means more places to call home! 

In the end, overcoming my identity dilemma meant deconstructing what "home" really means and tailoring that term to whatever provides me with happiness and a deep sense of fulfillment.


How do you work through your fears: 

I spend a lot of time alone reflecting on what informs my values and decision-making at a given moment in time. Through that process, I try to identify what has worked for me, and what should probably be modified in my thought dynamic.

To fill in the gaps, I explore different options by seeking the advice of mentors who understand my needs and passions (and my flaws), and I regularly engage in new opportunities, particularly ones that I find very challenging, in order to keep growing as a person. I find that every time I set new goals to achieve, or set my mind to acquiring new skills, I leave one more fear behind me and I find new fulfillment in places I didn't exactly expect to do so.


Advice for others: 

Be honest with yourself and what you really want. Your greatest competitor, and judge, is often yourself - so learn how to listen to your body and be comfortable with embracing change.

Make the best out of the experiences that you have. If you feel that you're stuck somewhere for a short while, don't keep thinking about better days ahead. Find (or create) an opportunity that fulfills you in the present moment. When in doubt, make sure to seek the advice of experts and mentors who may offer you ideas you didn't consider before as to how to approach a problem.

Embrace who you are and make sure you really know why you're conforming (or not conforming) to the norms that your community adheres to in your social sphere. And make a genuine effort to understand the values of people from different cultures - your own thought process will grow even richer as a result of that.

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography 

Samar Shata: A fearless life

"Be vulnerable. It is a sign of confidence and self love!"

Samar is the mother to two young girls. She recently received her master's in Counseling Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and she is currently completing her first book, "14 letters to Ms. Money".

She has made a lot changes in life from immigrating to Canada, leaving a marriage and going against religious norms. 

Samar is a survivor and I believe it is because of what she went through, that she has an incredible awareness of those around her.  I was enthralled with her life story and her reactions to her situations. She holds with herself with grace and dignity, which is something to be admired. 

Tell me about being fearless....

My background is Egyptian and Egyptian woman are not empowered in the same way that Western women are. Deciding to leave my marriage took a lot of courage in order to work through my fear and move into a better situation for my life.

For me, I had to block out all cultural norms in order to make it through the journey. I needed to resolve to a plan and stick to it.  Forget what everyone is telling you and what they want you to do and do what you know you need to do in order to succeed. That's how I worked through my fear and came to place of peace.

How do you get through fear or what do you do in order to work through it?

I meditate and use guided meditation. Sometimes some people call this faith.  When I meditate I go through a dark hole and then I have to decide to go through my journey anyway and fear based emotion take me through to the other side.

Fear is important to share and it would be wise not to act tough and share that fear with others. Ask for guidance and be vulnerable. It is a sign of confidence and self love.

As a mother I need to be a role model and I want to do something that I would tell my daughters to do. That is the strongest feeling I use in order to get through fear.

What is a pieces of advice for others in your situation?

I would say my piece of advice would be to believe in yourself or in your heart even when the going gets tough. Crumble, fall to the floor, bawl your eyes out, do it, do it all and then get up.

Be very proud of being a human being and unfortunately fear and pain are part of the experience of being human.

The Western world wants us all to be stern, super strong and never share our emotions as it is a sign of weakness. I say, do the opposite. Be vulnerable. Let yourself feel the fear and like I said before, go through it to get to the other side.

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography 

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones: Do not accept the status quo


Pam is a mother of three, former Mayor of West Vancouver and has recently completed her third university degree in Aboriginal business and leadership. Yes, she is one of those individuals who can do it all.

She has been in the public eye for 12 years in various adventures including founding her own business, serving several non-profit groups and she is now running for Parliament in the upcoming Federal Election.

Pam shared her overall philosophy of fear and what being fearless means to her.

Do not accept the status quo as the status quo provides a safety net for us and that comfortability keeps us from moving forward.”

1) What does fearless mean to you

I agree with Aristotle's version of not knowing what not to be afraid, so why fear, fear at all. There are very few things to really be afraid of when you actually think about it. I am not a fan of fear based thinking and I do not believe that making a list of fears is a great tool to advance thinking. I believe we need to encourage optimism and think about freedom and the power of choice.

I feel if I treat people with dignity, and provide them choice, then I will be treated that way back. It’s easy to be on a high road (if that’s the road you take) over people’s own behaviours but that keeps them from achieving a higher level of personal self achievement.

Through my careers and through my life lessons I have compiled three lessons to live by, if you will. I have tried to instill 3 guiding rules to support raising my children:

1) are you helping

2) are you free to make your choice

3) do you have good manners

Even if you are in the wrong, everyone has the right to a healthy sense of self. Following those three guidelines can help us move forward through fear.

2) Where do you find strength to keep going when fear holds you back

This might sound a little different but I have an Internal sense of justice. There is a streak in me that rises up and I’ve learned to embrace it rather than thinking of it as a source of anger. I feel as though if work through fear and find a solution, I will also seek out justices and so I always try to find the right way out. People view that as brave or fearless act and in all honesty, I was only trying to do what was right and fair. We have this innate sense of fairness. The Mohawk say “what is right comes into being” and so I keep this always in my mind and in my heart.

Think about that. How is your situation or fear holding you back? What is coming to you then that is right? I take myself out of the equation and focus on the dignity of the people in order to make the best decision I can with the information I have.

3) What is your most fearful moment to date

My most fearful moment is a personal family story, as is like most mothers with a seriously ill or seriously sick child you -- you are afraid. You cannot help it!

Our daughter was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and while we were at the hospital watching her undergo testing she said to me, “I don’t like your scared face!" That was scary because I was not conveying strength. I was instilling fear in an already fearful situation. The fearful part was that there is nothing anyone can do to calm you, and you are alone!

Having children is the biggest personal risk and it never ends and it is sort of out of your control, which is scary all of the time.

4) What advice do you have for females working in male dominated sectors

My advice is “Change the tone and people play up.” What I mean by this is that you can set the mood for your environment! When I was the mayor, 5 years ago, there was a male individual who rolled his eyes at me while I was speaking. I kindly said to him, “I do not roll my eyes at you when you speak and so I would love it if you could control your eyes when I speak". His reaction? He burst out laughing. This is the power you have when you can turn it around by not being critical and not being controlled by anger.

Another piece of advice I have for females is to speak the truth. Do it kindly if you can, but speak it no matter what! My example of this came about when I was the keynote speaker at the rotary club and one of my fathers friends patted me on the bum and casually said “nice to see you”. I told my parents, explained my course of action and they asked me not to follow through as it might ruin our family friendship. However, the opposite happened. When I confronted this gentleman he replied by saying, “I want to thank you for telling me that. I have needed to hear that for 30 years.”

The last piece of advice I have for females is to do your homework. You cannot fail by doing your homework. I feel people respect an individual who is well versed and well prepared. If you do your homework, you succeed and women are exploiting that option more often. Women before us fought hard for equal rights and we need to exercise that. 

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography 

Anja Novković: Divine feminine

"True femininity is power!"

Anja is a person who's purpose and confidence you can feel when you meet her. Her energy is consuming, and listening to her speak charges your soul and allows you to believe that you can achieve anything you want to.

Our theme is fearless -- tell me what that means to you.

I don't think being fearless is about having no fear, I think it's about not letting that fear control your decisions.  It's doing things even though you have that fear.

Do you feel fear motivates or holds you back?

Fear used to control me, but I think now it motivates me.  A lot of the time, I think when something scares you, it's good. It means you should definitely be doing it.

I also believe there are different types of fear. Once I was chased by a bear and I thought I was going to die. It taught me I can get through difficult things, like sleeping less than half a kilometer away from it with a tiny can of pepper spray in my hand. It wasn’t a profound change but rather a realization that I can survive.

Your poetry deals with the emotional spectrum. Tell me about that.

The emotional spectrum is the breadth and width of the emotions we have. We need to express all emotions--in the healthiest way possible. I think most people say love is the greatest emotion because it allows us to work through some blocks, but anger is also incredibly powerful, and so is fear, and they are not negative unless you allow them to be. The emotional spectrum is the extremes and in-betweens of all of these emotions.

What advice would you give to women moving through fear?

The best piece of advice I can give to women is to check out of the social norms of what a woman is supposed to be. That doesn't mean you don't paint your nails and watch romantic comedies, but I feel women stay in a state of fear because of the unknown. Women are not taught to use our bodies for protection and a lot of women don't know how to use their bodies in a compromising position. Fear holds women back from stepping forward and taking risks in life. Forget social norms. For powerful heterosexual women, sometimes we feel that if we show our power we will never find a man. True femininity is power. Once we are able to start to slowly unwind how we've been socialized- because it doesn't happen overnight -we can take more of our power back and be what we really are.

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography 

Kelsey Grant: Infidelity

“Embrace something more authentic than fear.”

Kelsey and I sat down to discuss relationships, the loaded topic of cheating and fear.

One might assume that after being cheated a person would feel defeated and would lose a little bit of confidence or faith in love. However, it’s quite the opposite for charismatic Kelsey. Rather than looking at cheating as a catastrophic event Kelsey enrolled in a 3 month intensive Radical Self Love journey, where she focused on lessons learned and ways to heal from the inside out. The life lessons are what morphed her into rebranding her company to focus on self-love and relationships.


Being fearless -- what does that mean to you

Fearless means being completely connected to love. In being completely connected to our own sense of purpose and courage we activate a deep sense of inner strength that allows us to authenticity to shine in the world.

Fears come up but we should not be stopped by them. The fears that do pop up build us in to better versions of who we are . When we move past the dramatic nature of fear is when we truly open ourselves up to love’s potential.

How do you work through fear

I tell the truth, to others and most importantly I tell the the truth on myself. It is so simple and yet not always easy. I embrace the fact that I am afraid and I call myself  out on it rather than hide from it.

The second thing I do to work through fear, after calling my attention to it, is I start to look for the lessons the presence of fear has to teach me. It is in this somewhat detached viewpoint I begin to regain my sense of power, strength and connectivity.  As the fear starts to dissolve my energy becomes more expansive, open and freeing. Every time I go through experiences of this nature, my faith and trust grows in myself, and I become more and more present to how truly capable I am in powerfully facing anything life may bring my way.

If I am really terrified or stopped, I immediately take a personal time out to meditate or do breath work. I have coaches as well to help me through the very difficult times.

What piece of advice would you give to other females who may have been in the same situation as you

Honour what's true for yourself. Every circumstance is unique. Not everyone is meant to stay and not everyone is meant to go when it comes to cheating.

Intuition is your best guide. Sometimes accessing the answer can be a little bit muddy when emotions are at an all time high but ultimately if you really get still the answer is there. In being authentically true to ourselves our experience of life grows in its richness and depth.

Take care of yourself. Self care will be key to accessing those answers within. Make your wellbeing and state of mind your top priority. When you do it, it helps you to feel good about your decisions and your ability to clearly communicate what you need or want going forward.

Why do you think cheating is such a charged topic

I feel the reason we are so universally charged up by cheating, is because infidelity mirrors the greatest betrayal of them; all-self betrayal. When someone breaks the integrity or agreements of a relationship it hits us at the core. It unearths the hard to swallow truth that in some way shape or form we all cheat ourselves out of our potential everyday. It is much easier to villainize someone else and focus outside of ourselves instead of taking a real honest look inward. When we honestly look, we can see how we cheat ourselves out of our greatness, happiness, abundance, freedom and love every time we let fear win.

Fearless in love doesn’t mean the absence of fear, it just means that when fear shows up we do something expansive with it. Something that will lead us back to love.

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography