Trailblazing Black Women in Alberta

Not only is February Black History Month, but we are in the middle of what the United Nations has proclaimed The International Decade for People of African Descent (2014-2025). To celebrate, we’re shining a spotlight on some trailblazing Black women in Alberta.

1)    Violet King Henry


Violet King Henry (1929–1982) was the first Black person to obtain a law degree in Alberta, as well as the first Black female lawyer in Canada. She attended the University of Alberta and was the only woman in her graduating class. She spoke publicly about racism and sexism and fought to break down barriers for Black people in Canada.

2)    Deborah Dobbins


Deborah Dobbins founded the Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots and helped produce the award-winning documentary, We Are the Roots: Black Settlers and Their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies. The film will premiere at the Shiloh Baptist Church (10727-114 St.) on February 24 at 6 pm, after which it will be available online.

3)    Rahma Mohamed


When Rahma Mohamed (pen name Rahma Rodaah) realized that there was little to no representation of Black Muslim characters to share with her children, Rahma took it upon herself to create some. She is now the self-published author of two children’s books: Muhiima’s Quest and Little Brother for Sale.

4)    Grace Mahary


The Eritrean-Canadian model was born in Edmonton and won the ELLE Canada/Quebec model search in 2005. In 2014, she was the only Canadian model to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She has walked more than 200 runways throughout her career and has been featured in various magazines

5)    Virnetta Nelson Anderson


Virnetta Nelson Anderson (1920–2006) was the first Black person elected to Calgary City Council, serving as a councillor from 1974-1977. She had previously been the president of Meals on Wheels and was a board member for the United Way and the Calgary Centre for Performing Arts.

This is, of course, not a comprehensive history. Many scholars, activists, and citizens are highlighting Black History and current events on a daily basis. We suggest checking some of them out: @OBHistory, @BWUnitedYEG, @MalindaSmith, @BashirMohamed, @NHenryFundi.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @inspireherab

Hiba Hattab

Who is Hiba Hattab?


The Alberta InspireHer Society is proud to feature women in the Edmonton region and the accomplishments they've made. Hiba is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and is also known for her culinary cooking. Her instagram account @food_by_hiba has gotten a huge amount of support for her affordable recipes from around the world. Here is a brief interview we had with Hiba and we look forward to where 2019 will take her!

Dream country that you want to visit?


What’s the one ingredient you put in everything?


What’s your biggest fear?

To lose one of my loved ones

What are your top leadership skills?


How do you define beauty?


If your life was a song, what would be the title?

Mama hao da’ran

Best gift you have ever received?

Set of books about meditation and yoga

Coffee or Tea?


Summer or winter?


What is a skill you are working on mastering?


If you made a documentary what would it be about?

1 – obesity and kids

2 - hunger in the world

What are you most excited about at this time in your life?

Seeing my girls growing up happily and in a good health

Your go to for having a good laugh?


Most adventurous thing you have done in your life

Moving to Canada

What is your favorite time of the day?

Night, after everyone has gone to sleep

What are the three things you can’t live without?

My five senses, hope and my girls.

Secret talent?

Inline skating

Best advice you would give to your teenage self?

Don’t rush through life.

If you could master one instrument, what would that be?


If you are stuck on an island and you get to pick on food item that you can eat without getting tired of. What would you pick?


Do you have any advice for women who are looking to build their leadership skills or are who are entrepreneur?

Don’t give up, always ask for help, try harder to achieve your goals. Age is not something you have to worry about; there is no limitation for your dreams.

What is one thing no one knows about you?

I am very cautious

What three people, living or dead, you would like to make dinner for?

Too many people but if I have to choose, they would be: Mohammad Ali Clay, Barrack Obama, Jim Carrey

Super power that you would want?

Time travelling

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Celebrating Gender Equality Week


September 23 to 29 marks Canada's first Gender Equality Week with the theme that gender equality benefits people of all gender identities. 

At InspireHer, this week is an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made helping advancing gender equality in Edmonton, while we look forward on the work that remains to make sure that everyone – regardless of their gender - can achieve their potential. 

Since our launch in January, our board members and volunteers had the opportunity to create spaces for Edmonton women to connect and engage in candid conversations. 

We know firsthand through our personal experiences and those of the women in our social and professional networks about some of the unique challenges women sometimes have to face in the workplace. 

While thinking about change can sometimes be overwhelming, it's important to remind ourselves the power of small everyday actions. Each of us has a part of play shaping the gender equal society we envision.

Over the last nine months, we’ve hosted a variety of events and workshops where we can honestly talk about these issues and come up with ways to shift the culture around how talk about women in leadership roles. From uncovering our personal leadership values to updating your resume, we want each woman to leave one of our events feeling inspired () to take on any challenge in their horizon. 

We’ve got a whole series of events scheduled in the months to come, and look forward to connecting with more women. We always take great pride in seeing familiar faces at our events, women who made meaningful connections and brought their friends along too! We hope to see you at one of our next events. 

When we make progress towards gender equality, #EveryoneBenefits!

June Speaker - Jocelyn Davison

Keynote Speaker

Women Meeting Women Mixer 2018

Photo credit to Lady Luck Studios

Photo credit to Lady Luck Studios

Who is Jocelyn Davison?

Jocelyn is the owner of The Virtual Effect, an event planning and branding company; and the founder of Elevate; a network of women in business looking to elevate one another, their skills, lives, and the community. She recently left her career of 16 years to pursue her passion business and do what fulfills her every day. With the core of her business being centered on connection and understanding, Jocelyn wants each client’s experience to be memorable and connected to the essence of their brand.

Aside from being a business owner, she strives to help other women entrepreneurs succeed. Her very popular "Brand Me Baby" workshop walks participants through branding basics, giving them a clear understanding of how to put their business out there. 

What is Elevate?

Elevate is a network of women in business looking to elevate one another, elevate their skills, and elevate their lives to a new level. Through support and collaboration with like-minded women and community initiatives, the group aims to elevate the impact on the business community in Edmonton. Every month, Jocelyn holds a speaker series focused on a chosen topic. June's focus is to Elevate: Comfort Zones and how to break down those barriers. These events are of no cost, and she only asks that each participant brings a donation to the WIN House. Donations is collected upon entry into Elevate, and it is a great way to give back to the community we all love. 

The InspireHer Event

We are very excited to welcome Jocelyn to our very first Networking Mixer. Bringing together other women's groups in the Edmonton area, this event acts as a catalyst to unify and empower the female community. 

Photo credit to Lady Luck Studios

Resume Clinic

Career Advice and Resume Clinic

Learning to how to redesign your job hunting strategies and career path

April is a very busy month, especially when hiring season comes around and students are finishing final exams. The InspireHer Society decided to host a Resume Clinic featuring 9 highly skilled human resources professionals. The panel spoke about the following topics which we’ve decided to share with each of you.

What is the most important advice you would give to someone who is job hunting?

“Number one thing is to not get discouraged. It’s very competitive out there and all you can do is keep networking, keep putting yourself out there.” ~ Aly Moorji, City of Edmonton

What are some interesting facts you’d like to share with female job seekers in Edmonton?

“Did you know that in the first quarter of 2018, within the core age range of Canada (meaning between the ages of 25 - 54) the employment rate for women Canada actually grew more than that of men. Over 26,000 jobs were created. This means, that the momentum is building for women” ~ Katherine Brydges, Aerotek

What are the top mistakes to avoid on a resume/cover letter?

“Number one thing is spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Remember to include dates on employment on your resume (Month/Year). How many times I’ve seen people addressing the wrong company in the job description. Also, it’s important to provide just the right amount of detail without overcompensating on skills rather than focusing on work experience. Visually, your resume must be appealing, and ensure it’s a word document or PDF that has been uploaded to avoid complicated formatting.” ~Kyla Settingiano, CIBC

A book or website you would recommend on career, leadership or self-development that could be useful?

“Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg” ~ Leilani Coralejo, ATCO

We hope this event was useful to every participant who came to get feedback on their resume. Feel free to contact us for more information regarding our future events!

Fundamentals of Leadership

Understanding Your Leadership Style

Start focusing on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses.

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It's about impact, influence and inspiration. Too many times, we focus on the “what if’s”. What if something goes wrong? What if I’m not competent enough? What if I fail? It’s about time we start focusing on our strengths, rather than our weaknesses. Strength based leadership is about focusing on your strengths, and delegating tasks that you’re not as good at to others who are more skilled and experienced.

Whether we’re talking about weathering storms, or navigating our paths forward, the most powerful thing we can do for ourselves is taking the time to figure out what kind of leader we aspire to be. We all have different leadership styles and ways to connect with others.

That being said, the InspireHer Society created a workshop with guiding exercises to help women understand how to be their authentic self. Too often, we talk about leadership in opposition and comparison, rather than about different leadership approaches. On February 22, 2018 and March 1, 2018, the InspireHer Society held a two-part workshop called “The Fundamentals of Leadership” at the Board N Brew Cafe. This workshop had candid conversation and allowed participants a chance to better understanding themselves through mindful exercises. Women were provided with a hot meal, a printed leadership package and a chance to network with like-minded individuals.

At the end of the day this workshop explored values-based leadership and guided participants through activities to identify their personal leadership values. Part two of the workshop examined strengths-based leadership and helped participants discover  their natural strengths and talents. In return, participants were able to apply their knowledge outside the workshop setting.

The InspireHer Society hopes to continue offering this workshop throughout the year as a valuable experience for all women. Please check out our events to discover more about upcoming programs offered by the InspireHer Society!

New Year, New You

Launching the InspireHer Society - Our Story

Have you ever noticed you were treated differently at work? Has society always defaulted the man as the expert and the woman as a support?

In 2017, a group of highly skilled and professional ladies came together and realized they shared something in common: they all experience the workplace differently. With women now  transitioning into leadership roles, a profound change is already under way. There is now a new style of leader with different attributes and perspectives than what was traditionally before. That is when the members of the InspireHer Society realized that there is an opportunity and now was the time to seize it. 

After a year of hard work and dedication, the InspireHer Society was founded by deeply intelligent and intensely practical women. These women wanted to share their experience of being treated differently than their male counterparts. It's now time for new styles of leaderships and women are ready to gain the mentorship they need to progress in their careers. 

On January 25, 2018, the InspireHer Society launched their first event "New Year, New You" as a celebration of their accomplishment, but also a promise to women that they will continue to create workshops of value. The event allowed women to get a new head shot photo taken by a professional photographer, enjoy delicious food and connect with like-minded women who realize that profound changes are being made to old business models. 

This event was a success, with over 50 people attending the Pint on Jasper. Women shared their ideas that and strategies that would be important for their career success.

The InspireHer society hopes to continue it's legacy, and grow the events to attract more women in the Edmonton area. "It's about giving them something of value", said Tamreen, the President of InspireHer "We want these women to walk away from our events feeling like they gained something practical that they can apply to their day-to-day lives".