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