Maya Chivi - Badass Networker, Social Entrepreneur & Speaker - focusing on gender equality, stereotypes, mental heath, wellness and the power of decision to transform lives.
Ã¥Ã¡ Whatâ°ÃÂªs your Story?
My mom recognized early on that I was really good with other kids and encouraged me to explore the child development field. By the end of my undergrad, I realized I have an entrepreneurial mind, and decided that whatever I did, it had to make a positive impact on others.
My first big opportunity came in 2011 when I decided to leave Montreal and join my parents in Lebanon. I introduced healthier child development ideologies through parenting seminars, childrenâ°ÃÂªs workshops, and teacher trainings, and was interviewed by magazines and on TV, which helped spread my message further.
Several burnouts in my 20â°ÃÂªs, however, combined with challenges overcoming eating disorders and depression in my teens have led me to truly value wellness and self-care. As such, I currently focus on bringing conversations around mental health, gender equality, stereotypes, and their economic impact into schools and the workplace through my workshops and speeches.
Ã¥Ã¡ What do you love most about the work that you do?
The best part is when people who have heard me speak, attended one of my workshops, or watched my TEDxMontrealWomen talk tell me about how something I shared or my ability to transform my life has inspired them to change. Itâ°ÃÂªs humbling and motivating at the same time.
Ã¥Ã¡ What did you learn early in your career/experience that has made the biggest difference?
Being a social entrepreneur does not equal being a charity. As I was building my brand in Lebanon, I often offered services for little or no cost because I prioritized reaching as many people as possible over earning money. This was both stressful and unsustainable. If you want your business to thrive, know your numbers and donâ°ÃÂªt sell yourself short!
Ã¥Ã¡ If you could give advice to your 20 year old self, what would you say?
Take care of the asset â°ÃÃ you! Youâ°ÃÂªre your most valuable resource, the fountain from which everything flows. If you start out running sprints, youâ°ÃÂªre going to be out of air fast. Similarly, if you chase multiple goals, youâ°ÃÂªll spread yourself too thin in the process. To go the distance, prep for the marathon and focus. Seeing how I was constantly exhausted, my mom kept repeating to me, â°ÃÃCarry one watermelon at a time, Maya!â°ÃÂ. I didnâ°ÃÂªt want to listen, but she was right and I learned my lesson the hard way. I now proudly add to a list of things I say â°ÃÃnoâ°ÃÂ to, meditate and write in my gratitude journal daily, and make personal wellbeing my priority.
Ã¥Ã¡ What are you most excited about?
Iâ°ÃÂªm working on a few projects that I canâ°ÃÂªt wait to share. Iâ°ÃÂªm publishing one of my stories, What Nobody Knows, thatâ°ÃÂªs an adult picture book with accompanying workshops on leadership, change, and self-confidence. Early results indicate to real, positive changes in readers.
Iâ°ÃÂªm also looking forward to upcoming workshops Iâ°ÃÂªm organizing with Avanti Women this summer, as well as Mind Power, a new mental health seminar in collaboration with a Laughter Yoga expert.
Personally, Iâ°ÃÂªm most excited about how empowered I am and the direction my life is taking, in large part thanks to putting self-care first.