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How to Reach Your Potential: An Interview with Shaila Kibria

· Reach Your Potential

Community activist Shaila Kibria took part in the "How to Reach Your Potential" initiative, an interview series featuring leaders who inspire Alex Rascanu and whose insights can help you reach your potential.

Shaila Kibria

About Shaila

Shaila Kibria is a mother of four, loving wife, and a daughter to one of the first Bangladeshi immigrants to Canada. A community activist at heart, Shaila Kibria works towards fighting inequality in the community.

Shaila is most known for her passion in alleviating poverty, speaking for the oppressed, and joining alliances to help improve the political atmosphere.
Shaila’s favourite moto is by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) “Feed the hungry. Visit the sick. Set free the captives”.
Shaila Kibria has been involved in raising money for the Syrian refugees, fundraising for marginalized Black youth, and being one of the voices for women in Peel.
After writing a book, Maariyah's Day, Shaila was pleased to have it featured in Chapter's bookstores across the country. Shaila wrote about a little girl's experiences of being a Canadian Muslim wearing a hijab.

Shaila is called upon for interfaith dialogue for opening ceremonies. Shaila sincerely loves working with people of different cultures and religions. She strives to build bridges between different faiths. This has led her to pursue her masters in interfaith Pastoral Studies at the University of Toronto.
Shaila is proud of her work on CBC Radio 1 freelancing stories about the multicultural tapestry in Canada.

Shaila volunteers with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, is a member of the Sisterhood of Shalom Salam (a group for Jewish and Muslim women), a member at the National Muslim-Christian Liaison Committee, and a director at Islamic Relief Canada where she makes decision to alleviate poverty.

Shaila works at the Ironworkers Union assisting members with their rights at work.
Connect with Shaila on
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Shaila Kibria with Jewish and Muslim allies

Alex: What is your life’s purpose?
Shaila: My purpose is to love my children and to educate them about world peace.

Alex: What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
Shaila: I am most passionate about the world's children, peace, and alleviating hunger.

Alex: How do you stay healthy? What’s your main health-related goal?
Shaila: I stay healthy by remaining positive and thinking about the bright side.

Alex: How do you build wealth? What’s your main financial goal?
Shaila: Even though I volunteer, I put my job first and concentrate on my job. I make sure to save money for my children's RRSPs so that the education from home can then be brought to fulfillment by entering university.

Alex: How do you balance work and family life?
Shaila: I focus on work at work, and family at home. I do not mix the two. I put my phone away when I am with the children and my husband. I make sure that everyone's needs are met, and that I give them love and conversation before going to bed. After everyone is asleep, I check my emails and phone texts and messages. At work, I keep my phone in my drawer or purse, and only concentrate on work. In this way, I can concentrate on the tasks at hand at the right time of day.

Shaila with husband Alex and son Jacob

Alex: How do you enjoy spending time with family and friends?
Shaila: I really enjoy spending time by walking, or dancing, or singing. I love these three things. But of course, every get together has to include food whether it be before a long walk, or before we go out dancing, or while listening to good music and songs.

Alex: What has been the most fulfilling role you’ve ever had, or the most fulfilling project you’ve been involved with so far?
Shaila: I feel that I have reached a very fulfilling role right now in my life. I work at the IronWorkers Union, and it is so lovely to assist the union members with their needs. I feel that I am doing very important work making sure that the members have what they need to protect themselves in the working world.

Shaila Kibria activism

Alex: What’s one career planning lesson that has made a significant difference in your life?
Shaila: A very important career-planning lesson has been to focus on work when at work, and to choose a career that you enjoy so that going to work doesn't feel like work, but rather another happy medium in your day. It doesn't matter what your title is, or what your role is, as long as you do it well.

Alex: What would you like your legacy to be?
Shaila: I would love my legacy to be that I am a good mom, a wonderful wife, a good daughter, and the best friend anyone has ever had, and someone that folks can count on.

Alex: Shaila, thank you for taking part in this interview! Thank you for sharing story and insights.

Did you find one or more of Shaila’s thoughts helpful? Are there any ideas or resources that came to mind as you read the interview?

Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, and consider sharing the interview with a friend via social media or email.

Also, consider checking out the How to Reach Your Potential interviews with Trina Boos, Hamza Khan, James Tjan, Vlad Rascanu, Drew Dudley, Alexandru Holicov, Andrew Mizzoni, Christa Dickenson, Louise Adongo, Sarah Chaudhery, Jake Nicolle, Andy McIlwain, Busola Akin-Olawore, Rebecca Laramée, Richard Obede, Bailey Parnell, Cerys Cook, Blake Snow, Sean Cooper, Toota Nihal Hassanien, Kulwant Bangar, Angela Achitei, Sharon Chakkalackal, Lauren Bates and Gabriela Casineanu. Thank you.

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