Reclaiming Multiple Identities in the Age of Extremism With Shiza Shahid

Hi Heroine,

I’m thrilled about today’s interview. Shiza Shahid co-founded The Malala Fund along with the youngest Nobel-Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. I’m sure you already know this, but just in case, Malala was the young girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head on her school bus by the Taliban for going to school, but she survived and became internationally recognized. So Shiza, who I speak to in this interview, was one of Malala’s early mentors. While in college, Shiza started a secret summer camp for girls in Pakistan, which is also her home country. Today, Shiza is a venture capital investor and many other things. Named one of Time's "30 Under 30 People Changing the World" and Forbes "30 Under 30 - Social Entrepreneurs," she’s also host of the USA Today news show "ASPIREist," which activates millennials to have a positive impact.

In this episode, we talk about why empowering women around the world is so important and what Shiza sees as global trends as she travels to different continents. As a fellow immigrant, she shares how culture helped her shift perspectives, and what it means to reclaim your identity when you grow up cross-culturally.


Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).

 
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Highlighted Excerpt:


Majo: You do so much. How do you stay grounded? How do you avoid overwhelm or do you just feel overwhelmed?

Shiza: How do I avoid overwhelm? I think perhaps by  not comparing myself. I think a lot of the overwhelm comes from comparison. Now when we do good things we have to put it on Instagram and count how many likes it got, and I think a lot of that comparison causes dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Because if you go and truly help someone, the way that will make you feel will give you so much satisfaction, it will calm the fatigue and help with the overwhelm, so as long as you don’t go to that place of you know, “Is this good enough?Am I good enough?” and allow the satisfaction of doing your work become overshadowed by the comparison, which I think we’re constantly in the middle of particularly here in the West. I was in Pakistan for a while, and I realized that I didn’t buy anything for weeks, and I was barely on social media, and I came back to the U.S. and started getting hit by all these ads and all these things I felt I needed to buy, and information about other people doing other things.

Majo: When you came back you started noticing that you were comparing?

Shiza: Absolutely. I think that over here, there’s a lot of that comparison, even when you’re doing so called social impact work, you’re still comparing –

Majo: Right. Like, who’s doing more social impact work.

Shiza: Right. I think avoiding that. Getting outside this place which can really do that to you, and focusing on direct impact.

Show Notes:

  • Shiza’s parents and upbringing in Pakistan [3:20]

  • On volunteering as a teenager in women’s prisons and her passionate activism as a young woman [5:36]

  • Applying to college in the U.S. on a whim and her decision to go to Stanford where she was first exposed to technology and entrepreneurship, but still feeling connected to help women and girls back in Pakistan [6:58]

  • The online diary of Malala Yousafzai (at the time, 11 years old), inspiring Shiza’s creation of a secret summer camp amongst dangerous circumstances [11:30]

  • Joining McKinsey and receiving the news of Malala being shot [14:00]

  • On co-founding and building The Malala Fund at age 22 and leaving the safe, predictable path [21:00]

  • Witnessing Malala become the first child to win The Nobel Peace Prize and how it shifted stereotypes about what courage looks like [26:00]

  • On the polarization of technology, tech utopianism, and how social media creates a divide and leads to a rise in extremism, as well as the need for a representative group of people making decisions [28:00]

  • On being a global citizen and how that perspective-shifting encourages entrepreneurship [32:20]

  • The patterns she sees across the world, particularly around the false facts and news, as well as untapped opportunities such as supporting women in computer science in the Middle East [36:00]

  • How to deal with feelings of overwhelm and unhappiness in a culture of consumerism and comparison [40:00]

  • On reclaiming identity having grown up cross-culturally [43:00]

REFERENCES:

Learn more about Robin Berzin and Parsley Health here.

A BIG THANK YOU & SHOUT OUT TO OUR BADASS PATRONS ESPECIALLY: 

Brigid Cabry Nelson leads Lettershop, an award-winning creative studio that serves a wide range of clients—from boutique retailers to large corporations—approaching each and every project with vigor and enthusiasm. Learn more about Brigid and her work here.

Bianca Wendt, an award-winning art director and graphic designer based in San Francisco and London. Learn more about Bianca and her work here.

Pssst....don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more goodies, inspiration, and updates when episodes drop – yay!

MUSIC:

by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs



Disrupting the System & Throwing Out the Rules with Robin Berzin

Hi heroine,

Today, I speak with Dr. Robin Berzin. She’s the doctor, founder, and CEO of a wellness and medical practic, Parsley Health, that takes a whole mind-body approach to your health. Robin is on a mission to heal and reinvent American healthcare when less than 4% of CEOs in the healthcare space are female. She’s a real badass with a medical degree from Columbia University who has raised millions of dollars in venture capital. In this episode, we talk about how she dealt with being lost and confused after college, having a baby while fundraising for her startup, and how to build your creative confidence as a woman.

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).

 
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Highlighted Excerpt:

Majo: How did your yoga practice help you align into your purpose?

Robin: It taught me to listen. It taught me to listen to myself. I think I was someone who was a little bit trapped in her head and I think a lot of us live with a bit of a concrete wall between our bodies and our heads and we don’t really pay attention to what’s happening in our bodies, and we live in our minds and we live in the past; we live in the future and we’re never present. And if you’re somebody who is like a grades getter, go-getter, and an overachiever in any way, whether that’s in sports or academics, you’re rewarded constantly for that, right?

It’s reinforced in our educational system and it’s certainly been in mine growing up in Baltimore and going into this all-girls school that was very academically oriented and also athletically oriented. I wasn’t good at the athletics part but I was pretty good at the academics part.

For me, yoga was this moment of literally just waking up to right now and I realized I had this huge concrete wall between my head and my body. And then in many ways, there’s kind of low-grade abusing myself living on really crappy food, not really exercising, partying at night, hating my job, being in a crappy relationship with a crappy boyfriend at the time, and I think yoga was just this kind of stillness. And then I started listening; and then I started looking back to undergrad and back in my life and starting asking the questions, “What do I want to do? What do I care about? What is interesting to me and how do I want to spend my time?”

Show Notes:

  • On childhood, her early days as a “neat freak” and “good girl.” [01:55]

  • Working as a paralegal and stumbling on a yoga studio that would change her life. [04:42]

  • Losing her grandmother to colon cancer and her growing interest in medicine; winning the award for a paper in complimentary medicine. [09:17]

  • Her amazing experience working with Dr. Oz and Oprah’s team. [20:20]

  • Reaching out to Dr. Oz to get the job. [23:09]

  • How she learned to fundraise and how she managed after giving birth to her son. [26:04]

  • Her thoughts on starting a company – don’t overthink it, just do it. [32:02]

  • What she reclaimed during her heroine’s journey. [33:42]

REFERENCES:

Learn more about Robin Berzin and Parsley Health here.

A BIG THANK YOU & SHOUT OUT TO OUR BADASS PATRONS ESPECIALLY: 

Brigid Cabry Nelson leads Lettershop, an award-winning creative studio that serves a wide range of clients—from boutique retailers to large corporations—approaching each and every project with vigor and enthusiasm. Learn more about Brigid and her work here.

Bianca Wendt, an award-winning art director and graphic designer based in San Francisco and London. Learn more about Bianca and her work here.

Pssst....don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more goodies, inspiration, and updates when episodes drop – yay!

MUSIC:

by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs

How to Let Go of Idealism & Create More Freely with Keiko Agena

Hola heroine,

This is your host Majo. Welcome back to a new season of Heroine!

Do you want to create more freely? If so, you might wanna shift your relationship to mistakes, and let go of some of that idealism. That’s the central topic of today’s show with actress Keiko Agena. You might remember Keiko for her supporting role as Lane Kim – the punk rock obsessed daughter of strict Korean-American parents on the show Gilmore Girls. I know I was pretty obsessed with Gilmore Girls back in the day. Recently, Keiko has been recurring on SWEET/VICIOUS, COLONY and the new Netflix release of 13 REASONS WHY.

She’s also the author of a new Artist workbook called No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists.

In today’s episode, we talk about Keiko’s experience as an Asian American woman in the world of acting and Hollywood, why you don’t have to call yourself an artist, and the one thing she recommends you do to bring more creative freedom into your life.

As a heads up: For the next eight weeks, there will be an episode dropping every Thursday – alternating between interviews and minisodes. The minisode series is all about boundaries, my favorite topic, so stay tuned for those too.   

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).

 
HEROINE interviews 1 [Website].jpg
 

Highlighted Excerpt:

Majo: Circling to the book, “No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists”, but the word ‘Perfect’ is crossed out, I wanted to get your take on something. I worked with women in my coaching work and I noticed when it comes to creativity, even our creative side projects, we can take it so seriously. We can think of it as another goal to accomplish instead of something that is full of exploration and play and I just feel like so many of us have lost our sense of play and I wanted to get your ideas on that. Why do you think that is? And I noticed your book is so playful, and I really appreciated that about it.

Keiko: Yeah, I think that that’s true. I don’t know why it is, but it definitely feels like we can get into this habit of rating ourselves against some perfect ideal. And even if it’s not worldwide perfect ideal, but somehow, we’ve gotten into this habit of an imaginary perfect ourselves and we’re like, “Oh, if I were my perfect self, it would be this and it would have all these elements.” And what I’ve found is that, for me at least, a lot of the ways in which I’m creative or only hurt by that idea of having to be perfect or having to have so many rules set on myself, it’s not to say that you don’t work hard. I think that a lot of us do work hard. It’s more that all of the self-criticism and the self-judgment gets in the way of us even figuring out what it is that we want to say – what is it that we want to create in the first place before we go back and put our editing hat on and then kind of carve out something in more detail.

I think the very first step is to get used to the imperfection of it all and reinvesting in the joy of the full-fledged, happy, amazing, incredible joy that can be in something, which our aura of the criticism kind of like stirs.

Show Notes:

  • On childhood, acting, auditioning and landing a role on Gilmore Girls show. [02:23]

  • Transitioning from Hawaii to the mainland and realizing how being Asian American would impact her acting career moving forward. [06:06]

  •  The ease of temping in contrast to her discomfort and anxiety while on Gilmore Girls. [09:50]

  • More on Gilmore Girls and newfound interest in drawing, arts, and creativity. [19:44]

  • About her new book, “No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists”. She also talks about how what you do will label you eventually. [22:21]

  •  Her advice for creative women who want to unleash or discover their creativity. [30:50]

REFERENCES:

Learn more about Keiko Agena and her upcoming book No Mistakes

MUSIC:

by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs

A BIG THANK YOU & SHOUT OUT TO OUR BADASS PATRONS ESPECIALLY: 

Bianca Wendt, an award-winning art director and graphic designer based in San Francisco and London. Learn more about Bianca and her work here.

Pssst....don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more goodies, inspiration, and updates when episodes drop – yay!