Covid-19 has put a stop to many things this year. But one thing still very much on the calendar is International Women’s Day (IWD), the worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements and we are delighted to celebrate this event virtually with our Quintain Living Family. This year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’ - A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let's all choose to challenge.
This year’s event for Quintain Living Residents is hosted by Coding Black Females. Coding is fast becoming a desirable skill in many industries, and we #ChoosetoChallenge our residents to learn or build on this skillset. But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve got an abundance of free virtual events right on our doorstep in Wembley Park. Find out more and get your free tickets here.
Not only have we set challenges, but we have also chosen others to challenge us. We asked our inspiring residents, local business owners, and staff members of Quintain Living to tell us about their experiences in challenging themselves to change for the better and how we can do the same.
#1 Steph, Quintain Living Resident
“My name is Stephanie Bruce, I am from South Africa and have been living in London for 5 years. I work for workspace provider, and I am a clothing designer as well as a content creator. I absolutely love making clothes so this year I have been sewing as much as I can to contribute towards my small sustainable clothing business @st_madeit.”
“I’ve always been passionate about sewing but have battled to find the time. My mum has been my biggest inspiration as she is the sewing queen. Lockdown has given me the time to really put that extra time into my sewing. I also have the lost incredible friendship support groups who has pushed me since day one. I’m so grateful for them as they have supported me throughout this journey. I choose to challenge you to pursue your hobby, because you never know where it can take you. For me, if you can’t stop thinking about it, it’s worth a shot! Yes, there are many things that will stand in your way, but ignore the voices of doubt that will come to you, but you have to preserve. Because once you have achieved the smallest of wins, I’m telling you – there’s no feeling like it.”
#2 Neha, Quintain Living Resident
My name is Neha Kunvardia and I am a British Indian born to parents of both African and Indian descent. Born and bred in London and I am a Doctor of Health Psychology and a Specialist Psychologist for the NHS. Currently working full time for the Adult Mental Health Care Service while undertaking additional clinical training to deliver safe and effective evidence-based treatment of depression and anxiety disorders
Through the lens of my work and as a Psychologist, I have become incredibly aware of gender as one of the critical determinants of poor mental health and the sad reality is that women predominate in the rates. These observations have determined me to raise awareness about the importance of gender parity for women to experience good mental health. My journey to where and who I am today was not easy. It was ridden with highs and lows and the occasional self-doubt in my own abilities to manage a career amid other domains of life. On this International Women’s Day, my respects go to all those professionals who inspired me because they reminded me that being a woman means so much more than the patriarch implies. I see so many women of all ages working so hard to achieve their goals and pursue their dream jobs whilst still being the nurturing daughters, wives, mothers and friends to those around them. It won’t always be easy and at times it’ll be exceptionally testing but let the powerful words of Michelle Obama sink in - “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”. So with that in mind, let us feel empowered to challenge the silos and break free from stereotypes and other people’s expectations of us. A woman can be who and what she wants, and my journey is my mantra and living proof that I can do anything I put my mind to. You can too. So today, I choose to challenge you to create goals to improve your mindset and make you feel positive about your future. Just one small goal will increase positivity and will inspire you to create more. Whether it’s applying for that job you thought you would never secure, pushing for a deserved wage rise or sharing out your household chores at home. Lets take reigns on building a balanced world in everything we do, afford ourselves good mental health and wellness, shape our new normal, and own it.
#3 Danielle, Quintain Living Team
“My name is Danielle, and I am from California. I am Chief Operating Officer of Quintain Living and I have an adorable puppy called Quinn.
“As Chief Operating Officer I see it as my responsibility to choose to challenge my team to be the best they can be. Taking decisive action as a company to not accept anything but a united front, to hear all voices, to remove barriers and for me to acknowledge the responsibility I hold in this. I ask my team what or who do they need to challenge to achieve what I know they are capable of. What we experience as a business, what my team experience as employees, what I experience as a woman in a senior leadership position, has to stem from a shared vision, with no barriers and common values and goals.”
#4 Maddie, Quintain Living Team
My name is Madalina Puscas, a positive and dreamy women of Transylvania, the middle part of Romania. In 2013, I moved to the UK to start a new challenge, but also a beautiful chapter of my life. At present, I am the Assistant Development Manager for Landsby, Alameda and Beton, an insightful job which allows me to learn and grow day by day.
‘’It always seems impossible until it’s done’’ by Nelson Mandela would be my life quote - Seen daily on my diary’s cover page, it challenges me to always strive for a better performance both on my professional and personal life. The quietness of 2020 challenged me to wish for more and to escape my comfort zone, it's the reason why I have started to study International Business Management, a 3 year course through which I have already gained knowledge and experience to progress in the business environment. My advice for all ladies would be to always think positive and to create a major scary goal for themselves and to stick to it – this helped me to get through difficult situation and will continue to help me and hopefully others for the years to come."
#5 Grace, Quintain Living Team
My name is Grace Oyesoro. I am a British-born Nigerian that was raised in NW London (specifically Wembley for the first couple of years of my life!). As an Operations Manager for Quintain Living, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations and the fantastic team that looks after our residents.
‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ (Marian Wright Edelman, activist)
Whilst representation, especially for roles/industries where we as women don’t see ourselves adequately represented, is incredibly important; I believe that being ‘seen’ is only the beginning and we need to push this even further.
I choose to challenge you to find your voice, believe in that voice (even when doubt creeps in), embrace the fact that it’ll evolve over time and to continuously use it - especially in spaces that are not used to hearing it and/or may be initially unresponsive towards it. Those of us with any privilege or positions of power can’t forget to amplify a diverse range of voices, tenaciously challenge systems and help cultivate an environment that works for all, rather than the few.
One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve been given was: ‘in the rush to think big, make sure you don’t forget the small’ – this reminds us to recognise and appreciate the value of the smaller, more gradual changes and to remember that there is no position or sphere of influence too small to effect positive change.
Whilst doing the above, we must not forget to be kind to ourselves. For me this kindness takes the form of:
- surrounding ourselves with others who empower and encourage
- accepting that we won’t always get it right and openly sharing learnings from mistakes
- taking the time to stop and celebrate our individual and collective wins
- realising that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a break and just binge watch Netflix.
We, at Quintain Living, are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 and we are looking forward to continuing support our residents, staff members and local businesses.
Happy International Women’s Day!