Hey, I’m Maya. I’m an author, 2x-TEDx Speaker, and advocate for mental health, gender equity, and children’s rights. I am also proud to be a TELUS Wise #EndBullying Ambassador.
I hold BA in Child Studies, with Distinction and Dean’s Honour List, from Concordia University and was awarded the Malone Medal at graduation for an outstanding contribution to the university’s internal community by improving the quality of student life due to my work as President of the Concordia International Students’ Association.
I’ve also completed an MA in Educational Leadership, with Dean’s Honour List, from McGill University. At the same time, I was a Policy Fellow at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy where I conducted research on the Queen Rania Family and Child Center in Jordan. I studied the child and youth abuse prevention model adopted, including methods for increasing women and girls’ involvement in the community.
In 2011, I moved to Lebanon and pioneered healthier child development ideologies with the launch of my first social enterprise. Within six months, I created and began to deliver teacher trainings, parenting seminars and private consults, and a children’s etiquette and life skills series. During this time, I was featured in several magazines and appeared in numerous TV interviews, reaching thousands of people across the Middle East and North Africa.
In February 2013, I became the first person in the Middle East to speak on live, international TV about the rights of LGBTQ children for unconditional love. It’s one of my proudest moments.
Invited to speak at TEDx Montreal Women, I used the opportunity to advocate for gender equity by speaking on the importance and impact of raising girls and boys with equal rights and opportunities, as well as the media’s effect on mental health. At a keynote speech delivered to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission in Helsinki, Finland, I spoke for the rights of children of all genders to fair and equal opportunities and those opportunities’ future outcomes on businesses, boardrooms, and the economy at large.
While all this may impress you, that’s not my goal. Over the years, I’ve been privileged with the opportunity to motivate thousands of individuals around the world to make positive changes in their own lives and in those of others in their communities. However, it all came at a cost. Before turning 30, I had burned out more times than I’d like to admit. And in the end, there was nothing left of me to give.
I spent the better part of my 20’s as a workaholic and burnout junkie. While I managed to accumulate enough experiences and accomplishments to fill up a 6+ page resume, the reality was that I couldn’t continue running on empty.
Late one night in 2013, while recovering back in Canada, I wrote a blog post called You Matter. I had hit rock bottom; my mind and body having decided that they would force me to take a break if I didn’t give them one. And for the first in my life, I was learning that I mattered.
Since writing that blog post, I’ve directed my focus to what it means to take care of ourselves, in both personal and professional contexts. I mean really take care of ourselves. Every day. Not just when it’s convenient or trendy to declare it #SelfCareSunday.
Which brings me to you.
The array of items and writings featured on this platform, from my illustrated book, What Nobody Knows, to the line of You Matter products and speeches, are here in hopes of serving as a reminder of one simple fact - You Matter too.
Thank you for visiting and remember, take care of yourself so you can take care of business,