Maya Chivi is an author, a two-time TEDx speaker, and an advocate for mental health, gender equality and children’s rights. Her 2017 book “What Nobody Knows” is an illustrated story on leadership, mindfulness and the power of believing in yourself. In 2014, Maya was invited to deliver a keynote speech to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission, where she spoke about children’s rights to gender equality and the future implications on businesses and board rooms. She’s currently focused on bringing conversations about mindfulness to workplaces and sharing her story of overcoming eating disorders and depression with youth through her platform, You Matter.
My first job ever was… selling seashells my siblings and I would collect at the beach where we grew up in Dubai. We’d each set up a “stall” in our bedroom to sell to our relatives. It’s not really a job but my path to entrepreneurship started early!
I chose my career path because… it chose me — everything I do is an outcome of following what I’m passionate about. That includes focusing on mindfulness and mental health advocacy, gender equality, and children’s rights.
My proudest accomplishment is… advocating for LGBT children on live, international TV in Lebanon. Children’s rights are important to me, and I felt it was necessary to speak up in a country where being gay is illegal.
My boldest move to date was… leaving my network and friends in Montreal and moving to Lebanon to start my first business. I was the only person in the country to be doing private parenting consults and within six months I created and launched parenting seminars, a kids’ etiquette and life skills series, and teacher trainings. By refusing to compromise on children’s rights, I got called a lot of names, but I also set higher standards for working with that demographic.
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m an introvert.
My best advice to people starting their career is… take care of yourself, so you can take care of business!
My best advice from a mentor was… you can do this, keep going!
I would tell my 20-year old self… the universe is running on time; relax, enjoy the experience, and be mindful!
“The universe is running on time; relax, enjoy the experience, and be mindful!”
My biggest setback was… burning out so many times in my 20’s that at some point, I couldn’t work for several months. It took a lot to feel like myself again.
I overcame it by… learning about real self-care and transforming my life and brain in the process. I now have a daily regimen of exercise, meditation, and reflecting on the things I’m grateful for. It feels great to have a clear mind and energy throughout the day.
Work/life balance is… for me, it’s come down to prioritizing my well being so I can enjoy my work without having it consume me as a person.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I didn’t have a name for fourteen days after I was born.
I stay inspired by… remembering why I began along this path and staying spiritually connected.
The future excites me because… as one of the lines in my illustrated book, What Nobody Knows, says, “Anything and everything is possible when you believe in yourself!”
My next step is… publishing a children’s book I wrote on gender stereotypes that’s based on my first TEDx talk, working on a project I’ve been dreaming up around gender equality in the workplace, and continuing to reach people with my work on mental health and mindfulness.