Salima and Barbara on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 17: The limitless possibilities of not knowing her diagnoses

Guest: Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

Barbara authentically shares what it was like growing up with severe learning difficulties, having no known diagnosis at the time. She was pressed to carve and navigate her own path through feeling that she couldn’t fit in, feeling that going to school was meant to ‘feel stupid’, feeling ashamed that she couldn’t learn what others could, that at times it got so emotionally and mentally unruly that she had to fake illness so she could get out of going to school. She never told a soul what she had experienced, endured, and suffered through for decades. Barbara presented with exceptional strengths, so it was easy to mask the true struggle. Barbara shares with vulnerability emotions that emerged — hopelessness and despair, questioning how she could be successful when she often found herself guessing the answers — at times she was right and other times she was not. She expresses that what she endures had no logic in her world, unable to decode language, whether it be in reading, writing or comprehension of verbal communication. Through perseverance, she worked her process and overcame her learning difficulties when she immersed herself into the science of neuroplasticity and created meaningful work, that is her life’s work today. Her key message to listeners is that: there are solutions; there is hope and optimism in every situation if you look, so test it out and challenge what you know; never give up; keep investigating, ask questions, get curious; there is no one size fits all answer.


Guest Bio: Barbara is the founder of the Arrowsmith Program, which is an assessment process and a suite of cognitive exercises designed to stimulate and strengthen weak areas of cognitive functioning that underlie a range of learning difficulties. Her program has been delivered for 40+ years throughout the world. Her vision is that all students struggling with learning will have the opportunity to benefit from cognitive programs utilizing the principles of neuroplasticity, programs that change the brain’s capacity to learn and open to these learners a world of possibilities. 

The genesis of the Arrowsmith Program’s cognitive exercises lies in Barbara’s journey of discovery and innovation to overcome her own learning disabilities. She has written an international best seller, titled, ‘The Woman who Changed Her Brain’, she is also the recipient of the 2019 Leaders and Legends Innovation Award from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto for her contributions to education.


Passionate about:


Salima and Ross on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 16: Getting there: An inner knowing, despite the repressed + uncovered memories.

Guest: Ross Taylor

Ross shares that his story began when he was just 5 years old, when his father was arrested for a white-collared crime, and though Ross was witness to this, he has no recollection of this time in his life. Ross openly talks about how this experience manifested into a multitude of emotions and behaviours as a young child. He talks about dysregulated emotions where he would act out physically, destroying all his belongings, developed a speech impediment, and though he was a high performer as he progressed on the academics’ side, he discloses that he was bullied and struggled throughout elementary school and high school. Ross came to heads with what he knows now as ‘depression’, is not what he knew at the time when he began university. In this interview, he pours into details about the various emotions he experienced like, sadness, anger, confusion and self-blame. With courage, support and loved ones, he has been able to journey though it all, and now contributes to the mental health field and hopes his contributions make it a better place for others. His key message to listeners is that: just start to open up and reach out to one person, people deserve more credit than you might be willing to give, but if you do — it can really help. It’s all about reaching out and starting with just one person.


Guest Bio: Ross from Burlington, Ontario, is a new father to a 4-month-old son and married to an incredibly supportive wife. Professionally he has worked in corporate health and wellness for the past 11 years, just recently taking a new role to help lead and implement a mental health strategy at Sobeys. Ross has lived with depression since before he even knew what it was. He joins us to talk about how mental illness has impacted his journey, through struggles to the greatest successes of his life.


Passionate about: Morneau Shepell;


Salima and Amy on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 15: Resiliency + Thriving: A multi-part journey through grief, ill health and violence

Guest: Amy Syed

Amy tells her full journey filled with turmoil and shares what she endured that
culminates the story of loss, unknowingly becoming the sacrificial lamb of the family, a marriage filled with uncertainty, battling cancer twice, and reeling in with all her might walking away to start a new beginning. She spoke about how perfectionism kept her stuck in a domestic situation where she endured verbal, emotional and physical abuse, and how she leaned in with bravery to find herself, find her inner strength, and looked in the mirror to gain clarity with what she was prepared to do so she could live on her own terms. Amy came to terms with her position and says that she has owned up to her own role in her demise. She learned to embrace her inner child, give herself the love she needed, and worked through the many difficult emotions that showed up throughout her journey. Her key message to listeners is that: shedding the exterior of an old shell is possible; it’s not about the diagnosis, it is about the experience; start to acknowledge your hurt and your pain, and you will understand the deeper layers of yourself and your true wisdom.


Guest Bio: Amy Syed is a Kinesiologist and Rehab Professional and she is also a serial entrepreneur who believes significant impact can be made through intentional business concepts that foster resilience and sustainability. She is the Founder and CEO of and started Amy Syed Enterprises Inc. as the teaching arm of her business to teach others how to use their experiences and genius to create a successful business and career.

Amy is the Host of a podcast named, Calm After the Storm and has been cast on The Social Movement — airing on Apple TV and Amazon Prime in 2022. She is a Humanist and an advocate for the global protection and annihilation of violence against vulnerable women and children and a proud Canadian who is headquartered in Toronto. Amy lives with her 5 children and partner, Amir.


Passionate about: WomenattheCentrE


Salima and Mary on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 14: She Learned the True Meaning of ‘In Sickness and In Health’

Guest: Mary Volintiru

Mary takes the plunge and dives right in to speak about what it is like to go through an already long journey of her and her partner to be together, and then to be hit with a curveball when she least expected. She shares about how she quickly went from being newlyweds with exciting new beginnings, to becoming a 24/7 caregiver to her husband. Mary talked about the devastation of her husband’s illness, and how nothing could stop her from doing whatever it took to fulfill her duties as a partner, and in doing so, not realizing that she put every other aspect of her life on hold, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Mary admitted that it took her a while before she recognized how her self-care routine was in the negative, she started to recognize that it is okay to receive help, take breaks, and keep her stance to help her partner fight his health battle by also looking after her basic foundational needs. She openly shares about all the mix of emotions she experienced, like how nervous and anxious she became and needed to control the situation in any way that she could, to feeling scared and frightened about what is to come, and what she eventually turned to, in order to regain new fuel. Mary’s key message to listeners is: Be strong and choose to be resilient; choose to shift your mindset; get up when you fall; put things into perspective; self-care matters; letting go actually makes it better; and trust the systems.


Guest Bio: Mary works in the healthcare field, with earlier days in administrative roles — she has worked her way upwards and now holds the ‘Quality Improvement Manager’ position at Southlake Family Health Team in Newmarket, ON. Mary holds a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences with Minor in Psychology. In her current role, she continuously looks for improvement opportunities in the healthcare sector including the delivery of patient programs to adapt to the current times, such as pandemic planning — without impairing quality of service delivery.

Mary is hardworking, caring and often likes to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. She gives back to the community in various ways, such as donating blood and other volunteering endeavours. If Mary is not spending time with her family or husband, she can be found playing retro video games like Nintendo, experimenting new recipes, shout-singing to pop music, going to concerts and travelling she so she can experiment and taste new foods. She is also an adrenaline seeker who has skydived, done the CN Tower EdgeWalk and is always looking for a new adventure.

Passionate about: Canadian Healthcare Systems, Canadian Blood ServicesPrincess Margaret Cancer Centre and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.