LIVE in Studio
with Rashmi Sanjay
Bringing you your community stories. We are all storytellers in our day to day lives, we just don’t call ourselves that. Our stories are not something we do, its just who we are. I will be sitting down with guests from this community, who will share their stories of highs and lows, their loss and triumphs. You will hear some great advice and insights from my guests with extraordinary stories.
GUESTS ON MY SHOW
Erin Michalski & Erin Watt
Kat Van Lammeren & Gerima Harvey
Erin Michalski @erinmichalski.photographic.art and Erin Watt @erinwattphotography, photographers from Waterloo region shared their journey and experience with Christmas Wish Project bringing joy and happiness to sick children and their families. They brought the Christmas Magic into the lives of these families trough magical Santa photos.
Kat Van Lammeren facilitates drumming workshops for hundreds of people of all ages. She found the Organic Groove (Canada!) Summer Drum Jam in 2002 and has travelled to many tiny Inuit villages in the Canadian Arctic to perform and teach kids how to drum including her travel to Hawaii to study drum circle facilitation with Arthur Hull (the author of “Drum Circle Spirit”) and to Cuba to study Afro Cuban Percussion . Kat collaborates and performs with poets, spoken word #artists , singer songwriters , electronic music, DJs and other musicians while taking workshops and lessons in West African drumming Middle Eastern drumming, Afro Cuban percussion, and Australian Didgeridoo. Kat creates and runs after-school art & music programs for children with early mental illness diagnosis through Trellis Mental and Developmental Health (now CMHA) called ‘Create & Play’. She also provides live drumming for #yoga classes and dance workshops
Gerima Harvey is a dynamic soloist and a member of many musical relationships. He lives in a world where love reigns and where he hopes there is always an abundance of music lovers to collaborate with. He hears the beat of yonder drummers and possesses a unique gift of being able to gel with any art form and artist. He launched his first CD in June 2015. From studio to stage, this magical musical genius inspires everyone, everywhere he goes
Emily Dyck & Komal Singh
In Her Shoes is a YW Kitchener-Waterloo program and enterprise. The YWCA KW is now the longest-serving and largest social services organization for women and youth in the region. A training program that helps break barriers so women and youth can get the employment skills they need.
Sharing their work and programs In Her Shoes provides, was the Social Enterprise Coordinator Emily Dyck in studio #inconversationwithrashmi
It’s a well known fact that women are underrepresented in the field of STEM -aka- science, technology, engineering and math and Komal Singh wanted to change that. Komal Singh an engineer at Google , turned author when a conversation with her daughter, where she claimed “engineers are boys” led to her to pen her first STEM book. Talking all about her picture book Ara The Star Engineer and the changes she hopes to see in the world of STEM and a more diverse and inclusive work environment, Singh shared her experience as an engineer herself and through her passion project as an author, her mission is to inspire girls to become future leaders.
Martha Adams & Stacey Jacobs
Everything you need to know about budgeting managing debts, setting our kids towards a positive relationship with money and much more with Financial Planner and Advisor Martha Adams from Tier One Investments
Talking about sex education in schools; how early is too early to have those conversations with children around choices and respecting our bodies; consent; abuse online; online material and so much more with Sexual Health Educator, Stacey Jacobs from SHORE Centre
Martha Adams a Certified Financial Planning professional, has spent her career helping her clients plan and achieve their financial goals. Through this she has found a common theme, one in which she is determined to change; the negativity around the financial conversation. The conversation around money and finances has traditionally been met with confusion, uncertainty and an overall disconnect. Martha believes a person’s emotional connection with money and finances is the true starting point and one that has been overlooked or even worse, dismissed. This is where Martha’s educational background in both business and education shines, as she brings her heartfelt compassion, experience and knowledge to uplift, empower and educate the people she works with. Martha believes in everyone’s ability to create positive and impactful change in their life by taking back control through their own understanding and self-development. As an author and financial educator Martha is committed to this process and keeping the conversation moving forward.
Stacey Jacobs is a Sexual Health Educator at Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education – SHORE Centre @shorecentrewr where she has worked for over 12 years. In her role she has educated thousands of children and teens within the school system, as well as in the community, about relationships, diversity, anatomy, puberty, consent, gender and sexual health. She speaks with Parents, Caring Adults and Educators about the best ways to approach Sexual Health Education with children and teens. Stacey also teaches classes on Human Sexuality at the University of Waterloo in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies Program.
Although Stacey feels strongly about all sexual health topics, menstrual equity and period poverty are topics that spark extra passion in her. She is often found not only at work, but at parties, in public washrooms, and in the “feminine care aisle” in grocery stores having serious conversations about menstruation and the products people use.
Although she is working on setting boundaries, a Sex Educators work is never done.
Merri Macartney & Kat Van Lammeren
Merri Macartney is an Inspirational Humorist & Professional Smarty Pants. She is a gregarious “funny lady” who has chosen to look on the brighter side of life in spite of traumatic events in her past: abandoned by family at age 6, failed adoption, failed marriages.
Merri Macartney shared her inspiring journey , her struggles as a single mother, her decision to head back to school at 40, her new beginnings and her next chapter. Through the use of humor, she inspires leaders to seek out life-fulfilling choices and muster the courage to embrace change. When she takes the stage, she brings loads of laughter, lessons learned and love of life. Merri is the irrepressible Queen of Acting Up, whether she’s juggling, or dressed to kill in a prison uniform, or rocking a feather boa! Her hilarious stories, hard-won wisdom, and years of overcoming challenges will make one laugh at the excuses and kick the limitations to the curb
Kat vanLammeren better known as Kat van Groove @kat_van_groove . She is the Owner/Instructor/Drum circle facilitator of Organic Groove and Found the Organic Groove Summer Drum Jam in 2002. Kat teaches hundreds of people to drum at her
Rhythmic Journey group drumming classes since 2009. She facilitates drumming workshops across all ages and abilities. She has been involved in the school art & music programs for children with early mental illness diagnosis through Trellis Mental and Developmental Health (now CMHA) called ‘Create & Play’ . Kat has travelled to Hawaii to study Drum Circle facilitation with Arthur Hull (the author of “Drum Circle Spirit”) and to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban percussion. Kat travels to tiny Inuit villages in the Canadian Arctic to perform and teach kids how to drum. She collaborates and performs with poets, spoken word artists, singer/songwriters, electronic music DJs and other musicians. She conducts many workshops and lessons in West African drumming, Middle Eastern drumming, Afro Cuban percussion and Australian didgeridoo
Monica Maika & Diana Lobb
Conversation with Monica Maika and Diana Lobb from Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre @kwlittletheatre talking all about their journey and love for acting, bringing community together through community theatre ; importance of volunteers onstage and offstage ; onstage and backstage goof ups; facing stage fears and so much more
Monica Maika is the project manager and archaeologist with Archaeological Research Associates (ARA), Ontario’s oldest archaeological and heritage consulting firm. Monica has been acting since high school. She got involved with Musical Theatre Productions and was cast in the chorus in several shows and started to branch out as part of ensemble casts in plays put on by Musical Theatre Productions and the Elgin Theatre Guild . She was cast as Lady Macbeth in Stage North’s production of Macbeth and has directed the Canadian play Mary’s Wedding in Fort St. John, which was selected to be work shopped at Theatre BC’s mainstage festival in Vernon in 2018. After moving back to Ontario in 2018, Monica found Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre and was cast in 3 of the 2018/2019 season shows; Blood Relations, Sister Cities, and Steel Magnolias.
Diana Lobb is an instructor at the University of Waterloo and St. Jerome’s University in the department of English. Her engagement with performance is an extension of her interest in how to engage with play texts as more than just words on a page, and how to communicate that aspect of theatre to her students. She has been involved with two F.A.S.S. shows (Faculty, Alumni, Students, and Staff) at the University of Waterloo. At Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre she has performed in a variety of one-acts, Sister Cities, and Steel Magnolias, as well as directing main stage shows, Immigration Acts, Blood Relations, and the upcoming production of The December Man (l’homme de decembre). She has also been involved in Page 1 Entertainment’s Outfest as both a performer and a director .
Andrea Munk & Malcolm Smith
Planning her own business Cedar Lily Bra Boutique while being diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer, going through chemotherapy, its what kept her distracted from the dreadful disease. An in-depth conversation with Andrea Munk about her struggles and challenges to helping many women today through her business at Cedar Lily Bra Boutique.
Andrea Munk, originally from Toronto is a breast cancer survivor and the owner of Cedar Lily Bra Boutique @cedarlilybraboutique in Guelph, which is located inside a women’s clothing store, Yolanda’s Fashion Boutique. Andrea shares her journey as a mother fighting Stage 3 breast cancer while staying focused on starting her own business. When Andrea first became a mother, she could not find the right bra no matter where she looked. So she came up with the idea of converting a regular bra into a nursing bra with easy-to-use magnetic clasps and began Simply Nursing Bras. Learning from the women that were coming to see her, she discovered that what they really needed was someone to help them find a comfortable bra that fit them well. So, that is when the idea of Cedar Lily Bra Boutique began. And, to be able to help more women, Andrea now does fittings for everyone and converts the bras into nursing bras and also mastectomy bras as needed.
Have you ever wondered 🤔 how a letter carrier walking for hours carries a drink during cold winter months where everything freezes, especially when he depends on it to keep his sugar levels going.
Ever stopped to think how they deal with a dog chasing them on an icy slope or their risk of falling from icy stairs.
Malcolm Smith shares his journey with Type 1 diabetes, the risks and challenges and an insight into things we just seem to take for granted.
Malcolm Smith is a letter-carrier delivering mail for Canada Post in Waterloo. At fifteen, in grade nine Malcolm was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He has been living with this very manageable disease for the past twelve and a half years. It taxes his life at specific times, especially the mornings, but he also believes it has taught him a lot.He never pursued a job in the Health & Fitness, a diploma he completed in 2012. After graduating and receiving regular work at Canada Post, he landed a permanent part-time position, which meant decent health benefits. He now uses the knowledge and training he learned from the program to help him. As a letter-carrier he now walks many kilometers, takes the stairs, walks up hills and the occasional dog chase gets his heart racing. He even ran the Harvest Half Marathon this month which is the first time running more than 10KM
Ivy Friedman & Steve Singer
A wonderful and an important conversation speaking everything about the importance of building strong communities, the ongoing urbanization and isolation, they shared the work they have been doing and strategies and suggestions for building communities in the neighborhoods. From how to engage and encourage community involvement and participation to the importance of volunteers within communities and having younger generations involved to lead.
Ivy Friedman, originally from Montana, moved to Canada not too long ago and has made Waterloo Region her home. She along with her family moved to the neighborhood not knowing anyone. Starting with a grin and hello, conversation ensues and then dinner invitations, ladders borrowed, tips shared she continuously meets new people in the area. It was so important to Ivy to live in a tolerant, culturally rich, generous and kind community and her love for this community has only grown
Steve Singer 69 years old , has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from University of Toronto and an M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario. Steve spent his 35 years working in the die making and cutting machinery business with Ontario Die Company in Waterloo and then with his own company Singer Cutting Machinery Sales Ltd. He has coached in Waterloo Minor Baseball for about 10 years and in his 20th year as the Head Coach of the local Special Olympics Basketball Program. He is also a lay leader at Temple Shalom and in the past has taught courses in business and sales management at Wilfred Laurier University and Conestoga College . He currently writes and edits the Neighborhood Newsletter and runs the summer Produce Stand . As President, he was involved in several internal/external issues that threatened the neighborhood including the Lapsing of their Dues Covenants, Student Housing, and High Rise Development. His work with kids and in the neighborhood are both predicated on his interest in building strong local communities.
Gary Diggins & Dr Arla Kasaj
Sat down with the amazing Gary Diggins @garydiggins Gary has worked for over three decades as an expressive arts therapist. His work combines counselling, mindful practices, and music as medicine. As an educator, Gary teaches in the expressive arts department of Fleming College and he lectures at various learning institutes, including Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Gary’s current publication is entitled Tuning the Eardrums – Listening as a Mindful Practice. The content of Gary’s work has been shared in communities affected by conflict in both Africa and Israel . At home, Gary has supported autistic clients at Toronto Geneva Centre, cancer patients at sick kids hospital and addiction recovery groups. In addition to Gary’s therapeutic practice, he continues to perform Internationally as a cornet player and multi-instrumentalist artist. He plays a range of acoustic instruments from around the world. Combining ancient sounds with modern music, the airwaves become a canvas for imaginative soundscapes. Gary has appeared on dozens of recordings and composed for three films. His musical collaborations have taken him to India, Israel, Europe, and throughout North America. Gary has collaborated with artistic organizations ranging from Cirque Du Soleil to Canadian composer, R. Murray Schaffer. Gary is a co-owner of an arts space in Guelph that houses Silence, a not-for-profit collaborative devoted to new music. His personal sound sanctuary and therapeutic studio is based in this downtown facility.
Dr. Arla Kasaj practices as a Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Acupuncturist at Belmont Natural Health Centre @bnhchealth
Dr. Arla has experience with treating a variety of conditions that are encountered in a family practice including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, digestive concerns, and hormonal imbalance. She has a special interest in assisting patients with weight loss and establishing a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Her background in Kinesiology and sport therapy has allowed Dr. Arla to provide very effective treatments for pain management and rehabilitation from sport and workplace injuries. She prefers to use a variety of Naturopathic modalities when treating her patients including but not limited to nutritional and lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. Dr. Arla is also an NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) practitioner with extensive experience in the treatment of allergy and sensitivity related illness. In addition, Dr. Arla has been trained by Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur ND to provide advanced care for breast health especially for patients who are at higher risk or who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.Recently, Dr. Arla has added cosmetic acupuncture treatments to her practice as a great option for patients with dermatological concerns including acne, rosacea, skin discoloration, and aging.
Maria Brennan & Lindsay Ford
Maria Brennan spoke about her journey of becoming an Occupational Therapist at CBI Kitchener Victoria. Originally from St. John’s, NL and moved to Waterloo in February 2017, Maria describes her career and life journey as one that has taken her all over the map and ultimately away from home. She shared her knowledge and expertise on CONCUSSIONS and how it impacts lives. Maria loves what she does and looks forward to opportunities to share how she got to this point of helping people of all walks of life get back to living through her work at CBI.
Lindsay Ford @lindsaythinkfeeldecide is a parenting coach, certified in Positive Discipline, who helps struggling parents build cooperation in their young children and restore peace back into their home. She teaches parents to see the emotions under the misbehavior and identify effective strategies that fit their family. She helps parents overcome hitting, biting, tantrums, picky eating, not listening, struggles getting out the door or into bed, strong-willed temperaments, name calling, and anything causing conflict and tension. She shared some wonderful tips and ideas for back to school week.
Dr Jodi Rosner , Leya Oommen & Ellen Brisley
Dr. Jodi Rosner, an assistant professor with McMaster University, teaching pediatrics to medical students and to the pediatric residents in our own local program. Her practice is quite diverse, she has an outpatient office where she sees a wide variety of patients.
At Grand River Hospital she is one of the pediatrician part of POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario) where she cares for the children of KW with cancer. In addition, Dr. Rosner has a pediatric diabetic clinic.
Inspired by the children with cancer who she cared for, some of them who have lost their battle to cancer, she took her love and hobby of running and turned it into a charity. She founded Kitchener kids with Cancer Run/Walk which raises money for our local children with cancer (through POGO). The first race which began in 2014 has grown from 134 people to 576 people in 2018 and raised $250,000 for our local children with cancer. Dr. Jodi Rosner shared the stories of real people, the survivors of cancer, the struggles and challenges families go through and how raising money for this event has helped to financially support the families and fund further research. It is also an event that has allowed families to honour the angels who have lost their battle to cancer.
Inspired by the worst floods in the state of Kerala, India in over a century, a pair of 14-year-old girls from #KW created an app to help with disaster aid, resulting in them winning a North American competition.
Leya Oommen and classmate Ellen Brisley, who coined themselves ‘String Theorists,’ developed AID as part of a pitch for the Technovation competition, where they were named the junior winners of the North American regional semifinals. They are the regional winners in each division, beating 38 other teams in the North American semifinals.
Natasha McKenty & Joanna Rickert-Hall
Natasha McKenty, has been a Daytime Reporter/Guest Host and Television Host on Rogers TV. As the host of an urban magazine show, IN STUDIO, feature writer for 570’s Kitchener Today and Public Relations consultant Natasha McKenty @natashamckenty has a thirst for devouring all that her community has to offer. She is a passionate storyteller, driven by the desire to communicate to an audience. She encompasses over a decade of experience in broadcast media, but her love for this field goes back as far as she can remember. Her experience as a producer, journalist, writer, mother, and communicator propelled her to find her calling: public relations. When she’s not in studio or studying PR, she’s writing and volunteering for charitable organizations. Her decision to go back to school was driven by her desire to pursue her dreams of becoming an expert writer and communicator.
Joanna Rickert-Hall is a social historian whose research interests focus mainly on Waterloo County, its people and their little known stories that include Black history, local Indigenous history and even more supernatural themes. Passionate about sharing the past with new audiences, Joanna has developed (and taught) courses in local history at Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University. In honour of her contributions in this area, she received the 2015 Jean Steckley Award for “Excellence in Heritage Education” from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation.
Over the years, Joanna has worked at several local museums where she has been an interpreter, curator and program development consultant. She is commonly found facilitating at historic workshops in period costume, baking bread over an open fire or just telling stories.
Most recently, Joanna has written a new book entitled “Waterloo You Never Knew: Life On The Margins” (which was just released in June of 2019 by Dundurn Press @dundurnpress .It is available through all of the normal online channels like Amazon, Indigo and even locally at Wordsworth Books @wordsworthbooks in Uptown Waterloo).
Amit Mehta & Erica Lauren James
Amit Mehta is the Founder and City Lead of Good Company Productions @goodcoprod.
Together with a team made up of students, young professionals, and industry leaders, Amit works to create and provide unique, curated musical experiences in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Since 2017, Amit and the team have hosted secret, invite-only popup concerts across the region, featuring unconventional venues — such as museums, living rooms, hair salons, tech offices, and more — and showcasing a mix of local and international musicians to an always attentive audience. Recently, the team has started to grow into the world of community-centric event production, hosting concerts in collaboration with local partners, putting together accessible community events, and finding ways to support more artists and creators in their own endeavors.
Erica Lauren James @ericalaurenjames is a 51 yr old proud parent of two adult children, advocate for LGBTQ2S+ communities, Pflag chapter leader, public speaker as well as a future politician who also happens to be an amazing transgender woman! Erica, a Sales Manager at Closet Couture Boutique is proud to share her personal stories of resiliency, hope and trust in public spaces in hopes to pave the way for other transgender women and the community around them towards a life of more self love and acceptance. Erica shared her struggles, the journey of acceptance while speaking candidly and openly about what it was like to transition from male to female.
Jasmine Mangalaseril & Amanda Case
Jasmine Mangalaseril @cardamomaddict is a promiscuous eater and adept home cook who writes. Sometimes she’s a writer who’s an adventurous cook with an equal opportunity gullet. It depends on the day. Described as quick-witted and insightful, she was one of a handful who pioneered food blogging in Canada. Jasmine has spoken at BlogHer and to the Canadian Public Relations Society, and featured by Canadian Press, CanWest News, CBC, @foodnetworkca , and SRC, as well as culture.ca and delish.com.
As a food writer, she covers a range of topics from profiles to food history to food ways, with her words having appeared in canadianliving.com, foodnetwork.ca, and pbs.com. She’s a restaurant reviewer for the Waterloo Region Record. Her World of Food column for Grand Magazine tells the stories of people who’ve come to Waterloo Region and the foods that remind them of home. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.
When not eating, cooking, or writing about eating or cooking, Jasmine’s a strategic communications consultant. She’s active in her community, having served on several non-profit boards of directors and committees, including The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce’s Physician Recruitment Committee, TEDxWaterloo, and the YWCA-KW. She believes in paying it forward and is a requested communications and social media panellist, and was an adjunct faculty member of Conestoga College’s Public Relations program
Amanda Case a graduate from Laurier with an Honours in Kinesiology and Physical Education and who has studied Holistic Nutrition and Active Aging, became a personal trainer and fitness instructor. She then went on to manage corporate wellness programs for Ford, Toyota, Home Hardware, Christie Digital, Dofasco
Amanda Case teamed up with her very talented friend Nicky who had a background in cooking and a dream of owning a food business. Together they created MVP Meals @mvpmeals 3.5 years ago. It started with a one day a week meal delivery and expanded to two days per week, with pick up options. Eight months ago they opened a retail location becoming the only meal prep company in Canada that offers a dine in experience combined with the option to stock your fridge with meal prep! Proud to be located in the heart of downtown Kitchener inside the food hall at the Kitchener Market 5 days a week, Amanda is so grateful to combine her passion of helping people with healthy living and cooking while still a part time Wellness Consultant for Corporate companies.
Tamara Menon & Dr. Gerard Yun
I sat down with the Founder, Tamara Menon of YUVA Arts Project @yuvaartsproject , a singer herself who after being selected into a reality TV show in India called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa from Dubai, brought her to the beautiful city of Mumbai, after which she made a few more TV appearances and sang professionally for various producers. Tamara shared her journey and what inspired her to start YUVA Arts Project. Joining Tamara was Dr. Gerard Yun, music professor, mentor, researcher and one of the many collaborators who played an integral part in this project.
YUVA Arts Project is a cross-cultural collaborative initiative addressing issues related to displacement and disintegration faced by marginalized youth groups across the world. Using arts as a medium, Yuva Arts team aims to provide a space for youth to explore solutions, so that they may overcome social challenges that they experience.
A group of 6-8 Indian youth from Kamathipura, who are children of commercially sexually exploited women, from Mumbai, India travelled to Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, where they had the opportunity to collaborate in various arts-based projects with Indigenous and refugee youth. Yuva Arts aim is to build leaders so that, not only will they strive for an enriching future for themselves, but also for their communities
Suzanne Dietrich & Rebecca Van Kan
Life is too short for eating to be complicated says Suzanne Dietrich
Suzanne Dietrich @suzanne.dietrichrd , Registered Dietitian and the owner of Gut Instincts Nutrition Counselling, specializes in helping people make peace with food. She works with all humans, specifically those who are sick of dieting and confused about what to eat, those in recovery from eating disorders and those with gut health concerns.
Suzanne believes that all foods fit and the best way of eating for everyone is one that takes into nutrition but just as importantly access, time, life situation/trauma, health conditions, financial ability, food skills, sustainability, preference and pleasure. She continues to learn and absorb from many sources – her clients and colleagues; professional development conferences; her own family, where both her husband and son have significant food allergies that have radically challenged their eating habits. As a Mom of two, she understands the dynamics and challenges of feeding a family.
Have you been on numerous diets, felt shame about your body and were in a love-hate relationship with food? Are you dealing with eating disorder, be it anorexia, bulimia, binge or something in between, listen to Suzanne Dietrich In Conversation with Rashmi
Rebecca Van Kan , 27 years old is a simple girl from a small town in Niagara in Ontario, Canada, who survived some soul wrenching times as early as age eight. Her courage, strength and bravery in deciding to share with the world what she went thru from being molested by family at an early age to being in a physically and sexually abusive relationship for years, writing became Rebecca’s most valued escape from the demons of her world.
In sharing her story, Rebecca was meeting more and more people who had survived a history similar to her own and began feeling less alone and more understood which led to her truly finding herself and started her healing journey. In 2015, she met her spouse and moved to Cambridge. She started writing her first book a year later, and the year after she started her blog ‘The Written Compass’ @THE_WRITTEN_COMPASS .On her blog she shared short pieces of writing to bring important issues faced by survivors to light that are often overlooked, like the individuality of pain, and to share the bits of strength Rebecca found along her journey of healing.
Currently, she is also focusing intently on her second book while she continues to develop her writing ability. Learning how to redefine her relationships with people, as some of them were heavily rooted in simply surviving trauma together, and Rebecca is looking forward to the new building blocks that have been offered.
Rebecca shared her darkest times so others are not be faced with fear or silenced.
Sandra Dynka & Aileen Agada
Sandra Dynka was crowned Miss Oktoberfest 2018, making her the 50th Miss Oktoberfest. Sandra describes her journey nothing less than magical. She is so grateful to be in this role and feels so honoured to be part of not only the Oktoberfest community but Kitchener Waterloo
A Kinesiology Graduate from Texas Tech University with a minor in nutrition, Sandra’s passion for nutrition was not just limited to educating people on the importance of it, but making it accessible to every single person in the region.
In addition to her passion for nutrition, she is an advocate for encouraging women and young girls in this community who feel unworthy of their dreams and write them off before they even attempt to chase them, to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, no matter their age. We are all worthy.
Aileen Agada, this young entrepreneur is currently an environmental engineering student from the University of Waterloo is born and raised in Canada. Aileen is a Nigerian-Canadian who has experienced life through the lens of being a first generation Canadian.
Her passion is not just for engineering, solving systemic problems but to serve black women and make them feel included and inspire them to be their best selves
Aileen is also the founder of BeBlended Inc., which she started from her own experiences after struggling to find a salon for her haircare needs. Beblended Inc. is an online platform that connects black women with hair stylists that meet their hair care needs.
Aileen will share her struggle and experiences as a black woman and her journey as a young entrepreneur since starting Beblended and what that means to herself and the black women of all ages for whom this has been a huge challenge.
Peggy Dietrich & Kira Burt
What she quickly scribbled has now turned into a children’s book that explores and celebrates the ties that bind women. For Peggy Dietrich, the idea for “The Women in the Moon” came suddenly.
While the book is the brainchild of Dietrich, it was a family affair. Her granddaughter, Ali, did the illustration for the book. The idea of the moon connecting people is inspired by her relationship with her grandchildren. While it is a children’s book, Dietrich said it speaks to women of all ages as well. We, as women, can join together to form a healing community throughout the globe. We just have to look up at the moon and believe in ourselves, says Peggy Dietrich who wrote The Women in the Moon
Kira Burt, has worked at the library for 3 years as a Children’s Programmer. She has worked with kids of all ages from preschool to teens for many years and continues to enjoy it. An outdoor person, she has always enjoyed cycling and being outside and was one of the first to volunteer to be a rider for the Book Pedaler. The Book Pedaler is all about getting out into the community and meeting people where they are. We also want to be an active and engaged part of the community, says Kira Burt
Maria Almhana & Mac-Anne
My guest this week Maria Almhana, arrived in Canada in November 2017 from Syria. She was confused, depressed, was not sure what to do. In January 2018 she applied to get “the 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives Scholarship” from Jusoor organisation which had partnership with student-funded humanitarian initiative, International Student Overcoming War(ISOW), at Wilfrid Laurier University.
As the Syrian conflict escalated, she maintained hope and began to apply her education and skills toward those who were increasingly vulnerable. She volunteered with agencies and became employed as a caseworker for the charitable organisation, Terre Des Hommes, Syria. This scholarship is for Syrian women who have demonstrated exemplary social service with leadership, academic excellence, and civic responsibility, who have characteristics reflecting the importance of empathy, humility, courage, and resilience, and who have potential to serve as global leaders. Currently, she is among 13 students coming from conflict zones at WLU who get the support from ISO. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in International Public Policy at Balsillie School of International Affairs
She shared her story is of losses and some wins as a young Syrian in a time of war. Her experiences before arriving in Canada from Syria is something that her new friends in Canada may never understand. Even as she settles in this place of peace, with its quiet nights, its houses and streets intact, in her mind, she is building a bridge back to her home
Mac-Anne loves her country and is so proud of her culture and the religious freedom, my next guest comes all the way from Ghana. Mac-Anne , her friends call her Mac, is an International student from Ghana, who completed her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Mac is in her final semester of her Masters Program in Civil Engineering at University of Waterloo, she is focused on structures and construction and is also a climate change activist.
I sit down with Mac-Anne as we talked about her experiences here in Canada. What it is like as an International student to adjust to life here. What life is like back in Ghana, food, culture and so much more
Stephanie Rozek & Robyn Hobbs
A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Stephanie Rozek is the award-winning co-founder of Marit Collective @maritcollective an organization that promotes thoughtfulness and change at the personal level through constantly evolving, honest human dialogue. An established coach, writer, and speaker, she has over 20 years experience working with clients and companies locally in Waterloo Region and across North America, in industries including software development, healthcare, industrial automation, and academia.
At present she is the KW Ambassador for TechGirls Canada, and a board member with the inter-arts collective Pins and Needles Fabric Company. Stephanie has worked at a leadership level with National Engineering Month Ontario, the Waterloo Region chapter of Canadian Women in Technology, TEDxWaterloo, and Engineers Without Borders Canada, and sat on the Women in Engineering committee at the University of Waterloo as an alumni member for four years. She has received both the KW Oktoberfest Women of the Year Entrepreneur award (2014), and a Waterloo Region 40 under 40 award (2013). Stephanie shared her amazing work in our community and her work with Marit Collective
Robyn Hobbs @robynleprix has a passion for sustainability, fashion, woman empowerment, self-love and community. This inspired her to create Le Prix Fashion and Consulting, a women’s fashion social enterprise that sources second-hand and new sustainable and ethical fashions from all over the world. But this didn’t come easy for Robyn, she has had her fair share of struggles and after being discouraged several times, she continued to peruse her passion. Robyn spoke all about creating Le Prix Fashion, this year’s summer trends and so much more. Robyn has a home shop in Waterloo and online store, where she creates a fun shopping experience, by free appointment, for women to discover their style while buying environmentally-friendly and socially just products.
Tanya Otterstein-Liehs & Kirstie Smallman
Tanya Otterstein-Liehs is a Health, Wellness & Fitness Coach & Self-Care expert who coaches women on the “how to’s” of unlocking and unleashing the crucial tools that are already inside of you to become EMPOWERED and make vital me time every day without letting guilt, fears, or excuses to stop you. She transforms the lives of women by creating personal self-care routines & coaching you on the baby steps needed, so that you can shine with self-confidence, self-love, self-worth, to loving your own reflection when they look in the mirror, revamping your outlook on life, & including time to move their body, develop positive mind-shift & rich self-discovery.
Tanya will always inspire, support, & motivate you to finally give yourself permission to love who you are, go after & achieve your own personal goals without feeling you need to make sacrifices, & without letting your fears or excuses stop you.
She has an Online Body & Mindset Makeover Program, runs Lunch & Learn Workshops, & is host of two Podcast
Kirstie Smallman calls what she does “movement medicine” – She uses combinations of guided movement and free form movement to assist people in finding their way into sensation, and therefore back home to their body. The focus is on following pleasure, comfort, and ease (at first). And once a level of self-trust is reached within the self, she invites people to dance on their edge, to challenge, condition, strengthen, release & heal. Embodying the mental work we do is the key to transformation, because it brings the awareness, the affirmations, the forgotten/buried memories into feelings which we can finally let go of – like literally shaking them out on the dance floor, says Kirstie
Kirstie is a certified in Nia White Belt – somatic awareness training, Nia Blue Belt – the art of communication, Nia, Move to Heal – adapted and simplified Nia for the purpose of deep healing (surgeries, limited mobility, elder-accessible), Nia, MoveIT – the 52 moves of Nia energized with Interval Training with a focus on physical conditioning along with a spontaneous element of improvised choreography in each class, she is also a Chakradance Guide, Ageless Grace Facilitator, GuiDANCE creator, Montessori Educator and Communications Ninja
Lloyd Schmidt & Carolina Miranda
Race Director, Lloyd Schmidt @runwaterloo an avid runner for over 40 years, began directing races in 1987 and has a reputation for organizing quality events, a long history of race innovation, and a dedication to the community. A family effort since conception, the organization is dedicated to building a strong, healthy, and connected community in Waterloo Region through the sport of running and the attitude of giving back. The Waterloo Classic is Waterloo Region’s oldest and largest 10k Race. The Father’s Day tradition that began in 1978 is still going strong, bringing families and the running community in general together for a fun summer morning
My second guest, Carolina Miranda @carolinapmiranda is an Educator and one of the main organizers of the first Waterloo Region Women’s March in 2018. She is the creator and co-founder of Feminine Harbor @feminine_harbor and a social profit that promotes education, storytelling and the arts by women in order to foster female leadership and created the LIGHT Stories.
She immigrated to Canada from Brazil in 2003 and has since grown new roots in the Waterloo Region, one of the most dynamic ecosystems in Canada for culture, and technology. In 2004 she was one of the very first ensemble actors for the internationally acclaimed theatre company, The Multicultural Theatre Space.
She is a writer, and some of her most recent essays and poetry can be found in the “Anthology of Social Justice and Intersectional Feminisms”, organized by Dr. Katrina Sark, and which officially launched on International Women’s Day 2018 in Victoria, BC. A single mother of two incredible girls who inspire her daily to become not only a better person but to leave behind a better world. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are not just aspects of her job, but how she authentically lives her relationships with direct family ties to four different countries: Canada, Brazil, The Basque Countries (Spain) and The Dominican Republic
Carolina will sit down with me as we chat about her work, her role as a mom and her dedication to do more for women not just in our community but for women across.
Davor Cvijic & Dave Tidd
In Conversation with Rashmi, brings you early Father’s Day special with stories of two proud and strong dad’s who will share the paths that transformed them into who they are today. Tune in Saturday, June 1st, 9AM (EST) on @ckms102.7fm
With a wife who was 5 months pregnant and an almost two-year-old, life was incredibly busy in the Tidd household, they didn’t have time for a brain tumour, however it quickly consumed their lives. From having told he could be home within 3 days and back to work in a few weeks, to spending 6 weeks in hospital before he was able to go home. Followed by months of rehab and radiation therapy to treat the remainder of the tumour and then heading back to work after 7 months, Dave Tidd @davetidd1980 will share his toughest journey, the challenges and the warning signs that he didn’t really pay attention.
Today almost 5 years later, he still faces challenges with day to day activities that we all take for granted
Imagine having the freedom to move without restriction
Imagine having the confidence to move without hesitation or injury
Imagine having a strong and mobile body with ‘bulletproof’ joints
Imagine being able to MOVE STRONG
A single and proud dad to a 14 year old daughter who he says is an absolutely incredible human being to begin committed to helping build better humans through nutrition, strength and movement. Davor Cvijic @davor_cvijic believes we have created environments for ourselves that while comfortable, have in many ways cost us our mobility. One of the main areas of focus in the Move Strong method is to create mobile bodies that allow you the freedom to move in the way humans were designed to move
Dana Marie & Andrea Taplin
Dana Marie from @danamariemusic believes that music is another language that we can not only express ourselves, but also learn about ourselves. It can energize & calm at the same time, build confidence, creativity, social skills, memory, emotional & physical development, and language. She has released two full length independent albums as a Christian Pop Artist & has travelled across Canada performing & leading worship at many churches. Currently, she is involved at her home church & teaches from her home studio in Kitchener, Ontario
After 12 years in a toxic workplace Andrea Taplin @andrea_living_healthy reached a whole new level of unhealthy. She struggled with weight, depression & anxiety all her life. She changed her focus & life style completely to transform herself physically & mentally. In 11 months she lost 100 pounds 90% through nutrition & was able to reduce her medications from 10 pills to 4 pills. Today she feels empowered, stronger, more fit & healthy both physically & mentally. She has learnt to push past her comfort zone & started her own business called The Health Equation as well as joining an amazing wellness clinic called Encompass Health & Wellness. She also experienced the loss of a dear friend to suicide & regrets if only she had shared her story. Today she shares her experience so she could reach out to others just like her that need a little help
After a series of major & very difficult life events, she found herself addressing some serious mental health & nutritional needs in her life. A profound journey of consciousness found herself drawn to birth work, nurturing & supporting families. I am very excited to introduce you my next guest Victoria Nicholas @victorianwellness, a Doula who has an extensive knowledge with pregnancy, nutrition, fitness & pelvic muscle care in pregnancy & birth. Also a placenta specialist who loves aromatherapy, herbs & natural way of living. She began her Doula training in 2014, and supported many families over the years with birth & postpartum care. Those who know Victoria say she is nothing less than spectacular, a gifted listener and they felt safe, calm and more confident with her around.
Every day is a chance to start again. We are not defined by our mistakes or missed opportunities. There are things that I wish I could have done differently, or that I could take back. I’m not perfect, but there is grace. It is there with me in my coming and going…everyday. When I sleep and when I wake. My past is for yesterday and my present shapes the future. Today, I choose grace.
I’m amazed that I can look back at where I was, even just a year ago, and see a huge difference in my self-confidence and perseverance”
Being true to herself and sharing her honest experiences so someone else will feel encouraged, Kaleena Schultz will tell it all…. In Conversation with Rashmi
Introducing my first guest, Elaine Kapogines @holisticparentmag from the Holistic Parent Magazine. Elaine a mom of two daughters, 6 and 3. She worked in publishing for 8 years before the birth of her first daughter in 2013. She had worked in various senior editorial and management roles in the GTA, including launching her first independent publication in 2008. She then started The Holistic Parent after she decided not to return to work after her first maternity leave, and has been growing the business ever since while being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Elaine will share the challenges, risks, struggles and success in growing her own business while trying to also balance the home front. She is the owner and publisher of The Holistic Parent, a natural health and wellness hub for families in the Waterloo Region and Wellington County.