Women Inspiring Women – Paying it Forward

To commemorate Women’s History Month, the Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County hosted a virtual conference celebrating accomplished inspirational women on Friday, March 26th at 6:30pm CST.  These women shared their inspirations, their contributions, and how they are imparting their knowledge and resources to future generations.

The Dawoodi Bohras strongly believe in empowering women and contributing to society.  Women are encouraged to pursue high levels of education and hold careers across all major professions.  Dawoodi Bohras also strongly advocate for contributing to society in ways of volunteering, teaching, philanthropy, mentoring, healthcare, and trying to make sure no one goes to bed hungry.  The goal of the virtual conference was to showcase inspirational women from different perspectives.

The event was co-moderated by Sakina Ismaelbay, a Realtor and Businesswoman, and Dr Tasneem Dohadwala, a Neonatal and Pediatric Anesthesiologist.  Both women are members of the Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County.

The event brought together a group of highly accomplished diverse women with different backgrounds from across the Collin County area.

The panelists included:

  1. Lisa Hermes, President and CEO of the Mckinney Chamber of Commerce
  2. Kim Sanchez, founder of the Mckinney Little Free Pantry
  3. Rashida Rasheed, President of Burhani Woman’s Association (BWA) of Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County
  4. Salima Madhani, Registered Nurse and member of the Ismaili community.

The second part of the session included an insightful interactive session with Tasneem Kagalwala, a life coach and member of Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County on “Celebrating Yourself”.

Lisa Hermes, President and CEO of the Mckinney Chamber of Commerce, has been an asset to build the business community within Mckinney and beyond.  She gave great advice to build a network, find a mentor, gain confidence, and understand the business model.  She explained that many women in business are afraid to take a risk, and sometimes need a tap on the shoulder and words of encouragement.  She said, “tap your daughter on the shoulder, tap your friend on the shoulder, and let them know you can do this!”

Kim Sanchez is the founder of the Mckinney Little Free Pantry, which is a non-profit organization that distributes over 20,000 pounds of food/month.  Kim’s passion is philanthropy, and she started this organization as a way for her children to actively participate and give back to the community.  She said “I didn’t want anyone to fall through the cracks… I wanted a place where whoever is hungry could get food, no questions asked, 24/7”.  Mckinney Little Free Pantry is currently supported largely by the people of Mckinney. She has inspired many people of the Collin County area to do their part and support their community to attain basic needs and food.

Rashida Rasheed, is President of Burhani Woman’s Association (BWA) of Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County.  She explained that learning from challenging situations and looking from different perspectives has helped her become a better leader.  She said, “As women we are the backbone, and when we come together, when we support each other, when we motivate each other, the possibilities are endless”.  Her source of inspiration comes from the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (TUS), who she said, “always guides and encourages us to do good for humanity”.  She discussed various different initiatives, including one with mentorship and role modeling, where the core essence is “paying it forward” to others.

Salima Madhani, a Registered Nurse and member of the Ismaili community.  As a medical professional, she spoke of the importance of education, mentoring, and teamwork.  She said, “Share what you know unconditionally and be excited to learn from each other.”  She went over “the three Ps”, which is something her mentor taught her regarding work ethic – to have “Passion, Persistent, and Patience”.  She encouraged the audience to practice “the three Ps” in whatever work they do.

The next part of the event was a great interactive session with Tasneem Kagalwala, a Life coach and Strategist and member of Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County.  Her motivational session was about “Celebrating “Yourself”.   She distinguished between self-growth and self-care, in which “self-care is doing things you truly love to do that brings happiness”.  She explained to be mindful of what we are thinking and gave concrete examples to change “negative self-talk” to “positive self-talk”.  She said, “we are all unique and priceless, and we should treat ourselves as such”.  The audience participated actively via the chat functions on various reflecting exercises.

The event was a huge success, as the above inspirational women from different perspectives spoke of their achievements, provided encouraging words, were motivational, and gave insight on how each of us can continue to pay it forward. The event was watched at home by over 100 participants – both live on zoom and can also be found on YouTube.  The Dawoodi Bohras of Collin County were truly honored to host this event with our distinguished women speakers.

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