BY: LEANNE BENN
On March 8th, 2017, many of us had the chance to celebrate and recognize International Women’s Day, a day of empowerment and support for women. Sadly not all females have the privilege of celebrating this day due to reasons beyond their control. For many immigrants and especially female immigrants, Canada is a country that offers you above all, freedom. This was something that was profoundly relayed to a group of powerful and talented immigrant women celebrating the official launch of IWB, Immigrant Women in Business.
Svetlana Ratnikova is the founder and CEO of this new non-profit social enterprise aimed at helping Immigrant Women in the Business world succeed. Ratnikova is also the COO of another group called RTG, Receiving Through Giving. IWB is a subgroup of this organization and is more focused on female leadership. “Female leadership is different, it is a natural relationship, one where you lead with your heart.” Ratnikova expressed. IWB is a sort of collaborative team effort to inspire business women to overcome the adversity they may face when it comes to jobs or starting a business because of the lack of ‘Canadian experience.’
IWB addresses the reality that many women face in the world and not just immigrants, for instance, female owned businesses are less likely to receive venture capital for start-ups versus her male counterpart or the other reality of decreased amounts of women in top leadership positions. This frustration may cause many women to feel hopeless or stuck and IWB gives you the mentoring and encouragement you need to turn your situation around. The logic of IWB stands on the foundation that women are stronger together than against each other. This seems to be the resounding theme of “We Can.”
We Can, overcome growing up in a Jordanian refugee camp and being married off at fifteen to being the bestselling author of a book called Real Estate Riches and negotiating countless real estate developments. This story and other similar achievements belong to Tahani Aburaneh, who was able to change her life after coming to Canada. Tahani overcame her doubts of being able to afford her first home to being able to pay off her mortgage in four years as well as becoming a licensed real estate broker and developing countless properties. Tahani is a founding member of IWB because it relates to her character and goals of helping other women get to where they want to be. Tahani knows that education, character and mental strength are key factors that enable you to move forward in this world. The truth is that immigrants often work twice as hard and because of this, they figure out how to move things forward.
IWB helps you develop a voice for yourself and to become innovative and strategic while focusing on action-oriented leadership. IWB helps you grow personally and professionally and they encourage members to join as they will gain insight and benefits of the business world enabling you to be mentored, find a new job, to build lasting networking connections and to finally turn your dream into a reality and help other women to do the same.
Starting over in a new country can be a challenge, the language may be different as well as the customs, however, once you are given the perfect slate on which to craft your story nothing is impossible.
Naira Velumyan is another inspiring woman, aiming to follow her intuition, through IWB to promote the artwork of Russian contemporary based artist, Alexey Klokov. Naira is finding her own path in Toronto despite only being in the country for a bit over one year, 522 days to be exact. While speaking about Klokov’s work at the IWB event, Naira was able to showcase the starting point of an immigrant and all the curves in life they face to achieve success through art.
If you want the chance to do something good and to make a difference in people’s lives physically, financially and emotionally or even if you are just curious and want to network with awe-inspiring and determined immigrant females, explore the benefits of the Immigrant Women in Business community. For more information feel free to contact Svetlana Ratnikova at firstname.lastname@example.org or keep an eye out for future events by this dynamic new organization helping to create positive waves for women in Canada.