Aisha Alfa is one powerful and creative women. Our story goes back to when we met first as competitors and later as team mates on the soccer pitch. We both played competitive soccer (football) growing up and as life would have it, we crossed paths many times later on in our adult lives. Aisha is such a magnificent and creative women. She is constantly reinventing herself and following her passion to lead the life she desires. In listening to her on the show today, you will hear how she has woven so many of her talents along her journey, learning some really hard lessons and using her sport psychology background to help her navigate her journey into the entertainment industry where she made her breakthrough on an NBC comedy contest and the rest is history, well, history in the making! It’s always so much fun to speak with Aisha, she keeps things light and funny, but all of it is grounded in such purpose and meaning. I hope that you will enjoy her perspective of finding her way, remaining authentic and attaining your goals.
Aisha Alfa was born in Nigeria, grew up in Canada, lived in South Korea and France and has traveled all over the world. She now makes her home in Los Angeles, CA. Aisha is an actor, comedian, host and writer. After retiring from playing soccer professionally and overseas in a men's league, Aisha moved back to Winnipeg, Canada where she started her acting training/career. She got an opportunity to try stand-up comedy and hosting through her acting training and all three became pillars of her career. She has gone on to appear in TV, film, commercials, festivals, live events and new media programming throughout the world. Aisha has a degree in psychology from the University of Alberta, specializing in sport psychology. She played varsity soccer for the university and left with a National Championship win and two silver medal finishes!
In addition to acting, Alfa is also a standup comedian and has performed at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, the Montreux Comedy Festival in Switzerland and at various comedy clubs in South Africa. She shares her birthday with Albert Einstein (March 14) and her favorite number is pi, which she has memorized to 25 digits.
One of my favourite parts of our conversation is on the importance of “celebrating” along the way – both big and small wins, work related or just regular life events and Aisha gives a great suggestion on how she practices this by creating a “Win Wall” with her friends – I’m going to suggest we do the same. Leave me a comment below or join our new secret facebook group called “Fempowered” (from my "Dr. Andrea Kraj, P.Eng" facebook page) and leave your comment there. This is a safe space for you to join like-minded women and fix each other’s crowns like true Queens. See you on the Win-Wall Friends!
I am so excited for today’s episode! Joelle Foster is an amazing women with so much life experience. She has mentored, coached and inspired so many entrepreneurs in their journey and she knows what it takes. Joelle has been there for me when I was faced with the challenge of taking my business to the next level and she has been a sounding board for so many. Her passion and positivity is contagious and this episode is full of amazing advice, stories, experience, laughter and real life. It’s always a treat to get to spend some time with Joelle and having her on Fempower is extra special because her message is so foundational to this show and to so many of our lives – helping us to find our inner power, to believe in ourselves and to face our fears, to know our worth and to thrive.
Joelle is best known as a spirited activist for entrepreneurship in Canada. In March 2018, she left Winnipeg to lead the new University of Calgary Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking as the inaugural Executive Director. Prior to this, Joelle was a Director for Futurpreneur Canada, for 7.5 years overseeing Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and NWT. Under her leadership, in Manitoba alone, 325 businesses opened their doors. She achieved a 91% success rate over 7 years. She has affectionately earned the title of “Start-Up Mom”.
Supporting a wide range of entrepreneurial initiatives, she currently sits on the Board for North Forge Technology Exchange and the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE). In recognition of her work, Joelle was the 2017 recipient of Volunteer of the Year Award from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and she received the Board of Directors Excellence Award from the Manitoba Business Council in 2016. She was a nominee for the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Business in 2015, a finalist for the Spirit of Winnipeg awards in 2015 and was the Runner Up for the Start-up Canada Award for Ecosystem Builder of the Year in 2014.
Before I knew Beth Shaw, I knew yoga. I discovered yoga early on in my 20s, I knew I wanted to do it, but I knew nothing about it – not even that I should have a mat. I went to my first class, it was in a dimly lit room, nobody talked and I didn’t feel like I was doing it “right” and no one was there to help. It was so foreign and didn’t feel right at the time. I left that class and didn’t go back for a while, to any yoga class. This was probably early 2000s. I knew I needed more flexibility in my body, being a serious athlete; I had been playing sport since a child, growing into competitive sport at the provincial, national and university level and knew that my body needed more flexibility to it.
However, I didn’t get serious about yoga again until I was in grad school when I found a little yoga school in my neighbourhood and decided to be brave enough to sign up for a class. It was an Iyengar yoga school and it changed my life. I discovered so much about how the body can strengthen and heal both physically, mentally and spiritually with this gentle practice and it felt like I came home. Finally a place where these aspects could co-exist in my life! Through my years of practicing various yoga styles, completing numerous 30-day+ challenges and studying yoga as far away as Brazil, I had entertained the idea of becoming an instructor, but it was always so complicated and you needed to travel to some far off place or commit to a whole month or more of doing a teacher training, and a ton of money – and that just wasn’t an option when you are working on your PhD in Engineering.
So, I continued to work in the fitness industry while completing my degree and it wasn’t until years later that I discovered a modular program that enabled me to become a yoga instructor overtime. I thought this was great – it worked for my schedule and would let me know if I’d even like to be an instructor, if I could do it, if I wanted to do it as a job….and that was how I discovered YogaFit. Becoming an instructor did change my life and enabled so many great ways of getting to know my body more and helping others know theirs. What a journey…and here we are today, speaking with the founder of this amazing program!
Beth Shaw is a pioneer in the Wellness, Yoga & Fitness space in North America. Beth is single-handedly responsible for the widespread growth of yoga throughout the span of the U.S. and Canada. In 1994, she founded the global mind-body education school, YogaFit, which has since certified over 200,000 instructors worldwide. She believes, "in empowering cultures and sharing the gift of yoga beyond borders."
Through the continuous development of YogaFit, Beth remains at the forefront as President, creating programs and yoga teacher training courses that are innovative and educational. Beth is also a best-selling author, her premier book, YogaFit has sold over 100,000 units worldwide. Her next book, YogaLean, a lifestyle program that provides tools towards for maintaining optimal health. The YogaFit Athlete was released from Random House in Spring 2016 and has inspired a 100-hour YogaFit for Athletes specialty track for instructors. All books have been translated into multiple languages, providing the universal appeal of YogaFit. (Human Kinetics, 2001 & Random House, 2014).
Beth is a go-to yoga/mindfulness expert in the media and has been featured in numerous fitness, business and consumer publications including SELF, Yoga Journal, Huffington Post, New York Times, Time Magazine, LA Times, Entrepreneur, Washington Post, and USA Today.
As an E-RYT 500 and C-IAYT, Beth has spent time in India and Asia studying yoga and holds numerous certificates in mind-body disciplines. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Nutrition. She has also been a trained Anger Management Specialist and Yoga Therapist since 1994. Beth has dedicated her life to service via YogaFit's community service program and her own personal path of Karma Yoga. She is a passionate animal advocate. Her non-profit organization, Visionary Women in Fitness awards scholarships to women worldwide. Shaw has dedicated her life to YogaFit and the transformational growth that the company creates globally. Annually, YogaFit is committed to giving One Million of Free Yoga Trainings to those in need.
There is so much more I can tell you about this amazing woman and her contribution to this world, but instead, have a listen to our episode today and find out for yourself – and be sure to follow the links if you want to know more!
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
Denise is President of Denise Zaporzan and Associates, a strategy practice based in Manitoba and is on Fempower today! @dbydenise
Denise Zaporzan is a talented, brave and warm woman. She lights up any room she is a part of. She has reinvented herself so many times in her career and it’s a fascinating story of courage and faith. Our conversation is so warm and endearing. Although we talk business and real advice, there is so much real life in this conversation. This is a deeply rich conversation filled with so many golden nuggets of advice and thought provoking insights.
As a trusted advisor, Denise demonstrates her passion, energy, and knowledge of strategy and leadership through work with public and private clients. Denise is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and received the prestigious Fellowship CPA (FCPA) designation in 2010, the profession’s highest recognition of significant career achievements and contributions to community. In 2017, Denise developed and launched her newest initiative, D by denise, a Canadian lifestyle blog, brand, and e-commerce platform. D by denise publishes content celebrating the modern middle-aged professional woman, and collaborates with local (Canadian) brands and media to celebrate the authentic voice of the modern, middle-aged female audience.
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
Dr. Andrea Kraj