Guest: Maria Morvai
At around eight years of age, she identifies as the last generation born in Estonia, Maria was raised in the Soviet Union, taught the Russian language, and brought up amidst chaos where the country was re-starting from the ground up, in addition to being abandoned by her father. At the age of fourteen, she watched Western culture on TV, which inspired her to be there one day. During her upbringing there were a great deal of pressures that felt cumbersome at times, feeling in ‘survival mode’, she felt lonely, which led to questioning her self-worth. Maria shares that her story is based on the premise that it wasn’t about giving up when it felt like everything was against her. She speaks about the introduction of the ‘Alien Passport’, it was known that if you were Russian, this is the documentation that would be given, classified as a non-citizen with no permissions to travel, bound to remain in the country. She was surrounded by discrimination, poverty, desperation as she witnessed her mother face many struggles. She expresses there was no one to care for her feelings and experienced a lack of self-identification both with her nationality and profession. When the opportunity to immigrate to Canada became a possibility, she took the risk at the age of twenty-four, without adequate finances, language barriers, minimal support, and today is the proud owner of a boutique law firm. Her key message to the listeners is that: love and believe in yourself; if there is something you want to achieve, work on it, but be your own team; learn self-respect; fight your inner critic; and learn to enjoy the present.
Guest Bio: Maria is the founder and principal lawyer of MMA Law Firm – a boutique law firm and she is a real estate investor. She is a member of Law Society of Ontario, the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, the Women’s Executive Network, both the Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations, and a founding member of Immigrant Women in Business. She regularly writes legal blogs that help her readers get educated in the areas of real estate, wills and estates, and family law, and is also involved in several pro-bono projects.
Originally from Estonia with Russian origins, she grew up in a post-soviet country that was healing from the soviet occupation by turning against non-ethnic minorities, all while entering independence in a state of serious disorder and economic chaos. From a young age, Maria learned to hide her vulnerabilities and weaknesses since there was no place left in her life for being weak. After moving to Canada at the age of 24, Maria completed the NCA accreditation process which is an alternative route taken by internationally trained lawyers to get certified in Canada.
Passionate about: All the support that is provided and made available to lawyers by the Law Society of Ontario https://lso.ca/home; and all the support and resources made available to immigrant entrepreneurs supported by Immigrant Women in Business: https://immigrantwomeninbusiness.com/