For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am grateful to have been blessed with an enormous amount of resilience; although this came at a price through surviving war and genocide as a child, it provided me the tools that have made me a global leader and philanthropist for vulnerable women and children. As President of Elevate International, I am fortunate to wake up everyday knowing that my work contributes to building a world of heart-centered leaders who are creating positive change.
What is the biggest change you want to make in your life?
As a UNICEF Ambassador for 11 years, the biggest change I would like to make is to enhance the lives of 262 million children without access to education in the world today. Having earned a Master’s degree, this is a reality hard to comprehend. I have learned that to build a better world, we need the contribution of everyone; and it starts with every child gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to build their future.
What do you think is the best feeling in the world?
There is nothing more magical than sitting on a mountaintop in South Africa with young girls sharing dreams and the experiences that are shaping them into the incredible women they are becoming. As an international speaker and mentor for young women, from Canada to Geneva, United States, Jamaica, Haiti, and Zimbabwe, I am fortunate to meet and empower brave and inspiring girls worldwide. That feeling of experiencing love and hope simultaneously is incredibly heartwarming.
What was the single, best realization you have ever had?
To be kind to myself. As a young girl, after surviving war and genocide, I pressured myself to just thrive and help everyone around me. Years later, I learned that trauma is real and it’s okay to acknowledge pain and take time to heal my wounds. Today I invest in my personal development and spiritual growth. My guiding reminder is that we are not required to set ourselves on fire to keep others warm.
What sound do you love?
Our children laughing! I call it the sounds of my heartbeat. In our daughter Naylah’s short time on earth, my husband and I were reminded how life is a gift. As a mother of three incredible girls, I am inspired to make the best of each day so that our daughters can experience life through a positive lens. At home, you will often find us in the kitchen, dancing and sharing moments of laughter.