Salima and Shelly on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 30: The Now Gregarious Superwoman, Was Once a Victim of Bullying

Guest: Shelly Elisiger

Shelly uncovers what it was like to be bullied at school, residing in a small town where there are ‘small town unspoken rules’ to abide by, dating all the way back during her pre-teen and teen years, and the emphasis on one particular year that took a toll on her overall mental well-being. It is from this experience that she believes self-worth has been her core life-long issue in her journey and therefore, she must implement consistent strategies and tools to combat that unwanted voice from showing up. She spoke about her love for life, her extroverted personality and strong voice and the inner feeling of being able to do anything she wanted, quickly came to a halt when the bullying she faced exacerbated. Shelly shares how it felt to go from an extrovert to an introvert, how she felt so “little”, and would proceed with caution as she felt the need to tip-toe around her peers. She mentioned not having any support, no one really checking in on her or opening safe dialogue for her to converse, she just went silent. During the toughest part, she held back from things she liked doing, she didn’t feel worthy or good enough, there was a great deal of pressure that she placed on herself, there was a need to be amazing at any task she was assigned. She talks about self-awareness that she cultivated, she matured faster, was able to tap into inner resources, and has allowed herself to connect to community. Her key message to the listeners is that: tap into those fears, unlearn behaviours that hold you back, your voice and story matter, when you feel down and low, reach out to people and help them understand what you are going through — even when you don’t feel like it, don’t let your past define you, and whatever you are sensing and feeling no matter how awful it is, you have the power to beat it down.


Guest Bio: Shelly is an engaging and passionate LinkedIn Trainer and Speaker who coaches executives, leaders, women leaders, departments, as well as corporate teams. Inspiring individuals to maximize their professional branding potential and their social influence online by mastering the Art of Social Reciprocity and flow of social engagement. Shelly is driven to create a solid and equitable foundation and culture, so all people feel accepted, valued, & worthy.


Shelly is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), recognized as a Woman you Need to Know by the National Women Speakers Association, a Women of Achievement, a Forbes and Thrive Global Writer, Woman of Inspiration Winner 2019, and on the global list of LinkedIn Training Experts as well as trusted speaker for LinkedIn Canada. Shelly is also an Author, animal lover-and firewalker!


Passionate about:

The #decidetobekind movement

Salima and Parul on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 29: The Breakthrough of a High-Functioning Empath Meets Malfunctioning Mental Health Habits

Guest: Parul Pandya

Parul goes all in to talk about what it is like to struggle with anxiety, depression, and insomnia and when all three came to heads with each other — there was no amount of   coping strategies or tools to equip her for what she was facing on her own. She openly shares how much she internalized and protected herself from the outside world and how this translated as showing up as high functioning despite the inner turmoil she faced. She expressed feeling an empty feeling not known to her, she was unable to experience joy, she had given so much of herself that her depleted energy could not handle anything more. Parul speaks about her path to reconnect with childhood trauma, the courage she needed to pull it up from those suppressed places, and how it just took one person to recognize that she wasn’t coping well to ask her how she was, and for Parul to take that opportunity to face her truth. When Parul describes facing her reality, she felt it was a start to exploring healing from all angles, not just pharmaceutical interventions which was a journey of its own, but also looking into alternative medicine and other resources that she could tap into to help her dig deeper and heal from deep within. One thing Parul was clear about is that she didn’t want a band-aid solution, she was looking for true growth, and genuine healing right to her core. She takes a stand to talk about the importance of mental health, by humanizing, normalizing, and neutralizing conversations and creating safe spaces to explore the discomfort. Her key message to the listeners is that: be patient and kind to yourself; be open to trying new modes of healing that could help and find what truly works for you; give your options a chance, if one therapist is not a good fit, try another but don’t give up on the treatment; give yourself the compassion and kindness that you show to others; take the time and space to seek support, heal and be empowered.


Guest Bio: Founder of Community Impact Consulting, Parul has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer, and producer. After managing community grants for the largest government funder in Canada, she received much interest for continued collective impact by being asked to serve organizations in a variety of capacities. Her attraction to advocacy emerged with her work as a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, over two decades ago. She has a deep passion for ethics and social justice, which she teaches at Centennial College. She is also a huge advocate for mental health and wellness, collaborating with a variety of organizations to provide space and support.


Her approach to exchange is a high-engagement approach, encouraging participation through self-reflection, empathy, creativity, and common understanding. Parul has a deep appreciation for plants, playing plant mom to over 100 in her urban jungle. She also loves watching the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays, as well as a lot of true crime.


Passionate about:

Community Mental Health at Toronto Western Hospital has been a great support:

Salima and Rish on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 28: She vowed to take care of herself, be her own power + fight disease

Guest: Rishma Velji-Johnston

Rish takes time to open up and share aspects of her entire journey which she has not openly shared to others outside her social circle and made some poignant connections with grief literacy. Rish converses about the multi roles that she played being a daughter, caregiver to both her parents while studying in university and now wife and mother. She describes how tragedy she witnessed as very young adult has shaped her outlook on life and how she wants to make a difference for others to persevere regardless of what life might throw at an individual. She recounts her personal grief journey and how it took years to overcome and therefore ultimately laid the foundation for her own personal breast cancer journey at the young age of 37. She speaks about what it is like to grieve, having to get her life back on track at a young age, dealing with ongoing deaths, and her own personal health journey. Her key message to the listeners is that: everyone has their own personal issues which they undergo, but you don’t have to go through it alone. She encourages people to reach out to someone if they are going through something and she openly invites anyone who wants to chat and connect to do so.


Guest Bio: As a corporate professional with a diverse background in Procurement, Data Center Management and currently working as a Client Technology professional for RBC, Capital Markets, like many working mothers, Rish enjoys the balancing act of work, family, raising her five-year-old son and spending time with friends and family. What remains consistent in Rish’s life are lessons and experiences that have grounded her. As a cancer survivor herself, her commitment to making a difference in the cancer community and helping to empower women of all ages to be an advocate for their own health and to be cognizant of their bodies can make an important and positive impact.


She is a proud mama to three children, Brittany, Gordie, Aris, and her puppy Hugo. She is a sister to an amazing brother, Rizwan who has been her rock and she is grateful to her husband, Michael who has provided unwavering support throughout her own journey.


Passionate about:

Heart & Stroke Foundation

Canadian Cancer Society

North York General Hospital – Breast Cancer Care

Salima and Farahana on Dare to Share Your Untold Story Podcast

Episode 27: Healing Trauma, Cancer and ‘the’ Spiritual Journey

Guest: Farahana Kassam

Farahana shares how she has encountered a great deal of emotional pain and suffering through her life and took the time to expose publicly for the first time the traumas of growing up. She discloses being raised in a household where her parents did not get along, there was physical abuse that she witnessed, and she learned to set her own needs aside to become her mother’s referee and protector. With vulnerability, Farahana shares that her parents today are not reflective of who they were while she was growing up and that she has always been protective of them, thus, keeping her true experiences to herself. She conveys deeply how embarrassing or hurting her parents in any way is not something she ever wished to do and is the reason why she has waited until present day to share this ‘untold’ part of her story. Farahana also uncovered a dysfunctional marriage that she was in and how she fought and tackled cancer. Part of the pivot in her spiritual journey is when she encountered mindfulness and learned how to leave the part of her life that was led by anger, rage, and confusion. It has taught her to shift her mindset, look at semantics and language to redirect her thoughts. Mindfulness has given her the ability to decipher between fact and narrative. Her key message to the listeners is that: as people, we aren’t always going to have it together — it takes work, even inner work will be a lot of work to tap into, inner work takes commitment on a daily basis, take time to look into the mirror without judgement and go through each layer, one at a time.


Guest Bio: Farahana is a published author and certified Mindfulness Meditation Coach. She is a firm believer that life happens for us, not to us. Her expertise focuses on bringing the practice of mindfulness and meditation to children, educators, parents and medical professionals in educational, therapeutic and corporate settings. Through formal training and seminars for adults and creative storytelling for younger audiences, Farahana uses her creativity and passion to bring mindfulness to everyone she serves. She continues to take her life experiences and turn them into her life purpose.  She says, “our life experiences can either be used as a step down or a step up and we have the power to decide what it will be”.

Farahana was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. She is a mother to her beautiful 9-yr-old son and claims that she is here to live her best life yet.


Passionate about: All the programs and learning offered by Mindful Schools.