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Cover Story

Women of Steel: Inspiring Stories of South Asian Female Achievers

Ish Sharma Darpan, 01 Apr, 2022
  • Women of Steel: Inspiring Stories of South Asian Female Achievers

Highlighting inspiring stories of 7 South Asian women in BC. 

 
 
 
 
 
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In 2020, DARPAN Magazine started a project, that has now become a tradition. Witnessing the immense contributions of South Asian women in various fields, DARPAN celebrated International Women’s Day that year by featuring inspiring stories of women from BC’s South Asian community.

In 2021 again, the March/April cover story saluted the women in our community for their relentless courage and unyielding voice. This year, we highlight 7 women who are using their platform to (1) break barriers within the industry they work in; (2) to give voice to women facing discrimination; (3) and to mentor and uplift young women and girls.

These women of steel have shattered the glass ceiling, and are making sure the next generation of women are well-equipped with the tools as well as the power to take charge of their own lives.

Meet these incredible 7 South Asian female leaders who are paving the path for the next generation of women to create their own remarkable stories. 

Photo: A Master Media 

Venue: Maharaja Banquet Hall, Surrey 

Meet BC’s 7 South Asian female role models as they share their thoughts, aspirations and advice with DARPAN. They are superwomen in their own right and a wonderful example of female power.

    -> CLICK LINK BELOW TO READ THEIR INSPIRING STORIES <--

Aman Grewal, President- BC Nurses' Union 

Aman Grewal began her nursing career at Surrey Memorial Hospital and worked in the pediatric unit, emergency department and in the pediatric emergency department. She is also passionate about pediatric diabetes and diabetes education and has worked as a Diabetes Educator in the Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) Diabetes Clinic, the SMH Pediatric Diabetes Clinic, and within the South Asian community providing diabetes education and testing. .... CLICK TO READ HER STORY

Azra Hussain, Chief Operation Officer-Surrey Hospitals Foundation.

With her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) professional designations, Azra brings a unique skill set to her responsibilities of financial oversight, fundraising, talent management and operations to the Foundation.Azra was recognized in the 2021 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the KPMG C-Suite Executive category, presented by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN). ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

Dr.Balbir Gurm, Nursing Professor-KPU & Founder of NEVR With 30+ years of experience in education, health and health promotion, leadership, social justice, cultural safety, older adults, and social auditing, she influences policy through leadership on boards, organizations, advisory panels, speaking engagements and committees to improve communities. ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

Devina Zalesky, President- Allwest Insurance Services Ltd.

Founded in 1968 in North Vancouver, BC, Allwest Insurance Services Ltd. is one of the largest Autoplan producers in British Columbia and provides full service coverage for all its customers’ insurance needs. Devina Zalesky was a Finalist in  the BC Business & Ernst and Young 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

Devinder Gill, Regional VP, Business Financial Services, BC -Royal Bank of Canada

As the Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services I am the first South Asian and first female in BC to become a boarded executive at RBC in Business Financial Services. With over 26 years of experience, Devinder has a deeply diversified background and strong expertise in the financial services industry; notably, in small business, financial planning, retail, and commercial banking. ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

Jagandeep (Jag) Nagra, Visual Artist.

Jag Nagra collaborated with the Vancouver Canucks on two occasions; once to create an icon for their Vaisakhi celebration game, and later to design limited-edition warmup jerseys that gained international recognition. She is using her gift of art to spearhead community development initiatives, to fight for womens' rights and to end the stigma against LGBTQ+ people within the South Asian community. She is currently serving as the Creative Director of the Punjabi Market Collective, a non-profit working to revitalize Vancouver’s historic Punjabi Market. ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

 
Neetu Garcha, Reporter/Weekend News Hour Anchor-Global BC
 
In 2017, Neetu reported every day for nearly three weeks straight in what would become an unprecedented wildfire season in B.C., travelling throughout the Interior providing coverage that balanced the evolving statistics associated with the raging blazes and the stories of real people, with real struggles.Before landing her current job, Neetu worked as Global BC’s Vancouver Island reporter, based out of Victoria. ....CLICK TO READ HER STORY

 

--> CLICK LINK ABOVE TO READ THEIR INSPIRING STORIES <---

Photo: A Master Media

Venue: Maharaja Banquet Hall, Surrey

   

A Word From the Sponsor: Teja Foods

Teja Foods, Proud Sponsor of the 2022 Women’s Special Issue

Teja Foods is a proud sponsor of DARPAN Magazine’s spring issue 3rd year in a row as we celebrate the extraordinary South Asian women in our community. Teja Foods was part of this great initiative when DARPAN released its first Women’s Day issue in March 2020. Our support towards celebrating women and recognizing female achievements was greatly appreciated and applauded by BC residents.

The positive feedback was a testament to our work and service in the community. When the opportunity to sponsor this year’s Women’s Special issue came to us, we were thrilled to be on-board.
 
 

The tremendous achievements of women in our community symbolize the advancements towards greater gender equality and inclusion. At home, in our South Asian community, we continue to support the empowerment of women – our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. Our proud South Asian heritage is rooted in the essence of the modern woman, as we commemorate her strength, courage and resilience.


Gurdial Singh Teja launched Teja Foods in 1955. He embarked on a journey of service to our South Asian Community during a time when high quality South Asian products were not readily accessible. The foundation of our company was built to overcome these barriers in the Canadian market, allowing our community to embrace our cultural heritage and traditions.


Our beloved historic brand, the portrait of an Indian woman, is recognized across Canada as a symbol of our strong culture and commitment to excellence. We chose the portrait of an Indian woman who exudes empowerment but also celebrates tradition as a source of strength and pride. Braham Teja and Mandeep Bains are currently leading our company into the next generation while continuing to recognize the importance of heritage, culture and history.


Teja Foods is committed to supporting the community and celebrating the empowerment of women and girls as they become leaders in economic, social and political life. As we applaud the extraordinary women who are leading the transformation of our community, together we also celebrate the inspirational women who empower, inspire and advocate in our daily lives. From our household to yours, The Teja Foods Family

MORE Cover Story ARTICLES

Women of Steel: Neetu Garcha

Women of Steel: Neetu Garcha

Neetu Garcha is a reporter with Global BC and the Anchor of the Global BC Weekend News Hour at 6. Some recent highlights include being live from BC Green and BC NDP election-night headquarters in 2017 and 2020 respectively, on what would become historic nights in both years for the parties and provincial politics.

Women of Steel: Jag Nagra

Women of Steel: Jag Nagra

Jag Nagra is a visual artist. As a freelancer, she has worked with high-profile clients such as Tim Hortons, Microsoft and Tumblr. Last year, Nagra collaborated with the Vancouver Canucks on two occasions; once to create an icon for their Vaisakhi celebration game, and later to design limited-edition warmup jerseys that gained international recognition.

Women of Steel: Devinder Gill

Women of Steel: Devinder Gill

Devinder Gill is the RBC Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, for British Columbia. Devinder serves as a Board Member and Women’s Events Chair with TiE Vancouver and is a Director on the Board of Special Olympics, and previously a Director and Finance Committee Member on the Board of Minerva BC and Risk Management Association (RMA).

Women of Steel: Dr.Balbir Gurm

Women of Steel: Dr.Balbir Gurm

Dr Balbir Gurm is a nursing professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and an inducted Fellow of the Canadian Nurses Association's Canadian Academy. Dr. Gurm founded the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) with a mission to eliminate relationship violence.

Women of Steel: Devina Zalesky

Women of Steel: Devina Zalesky

Devina Zalesky is the President of Allwest Insurance. Founded in 1968 in North Vancouver, BC, Allwest Insurance Services Ltd. is one of the largest Autoplan producers in British Columbia and provides full service coverage for all its customers’ insurance needs. 

Women of Steel: Azra Hussain

Women of Steel: Azra Hussain

Azra Hussain is the Chief Operating Officer at Surrey Hospitals Foundation. Azra was recognized in the 2021 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the KPMG C-Suite Executive category, presented by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).  

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