Alumni Blog: Fauzia Mazhar

Fauzia Hazhar, Leadership Waterloo Region Alumni, Class of 2005

What is your name, and who is it you work for? What sector do you represent?

My name is Fauzia Mazhar (pronounced Fo’zi-ya Muz’hurJ).  Born and raised in Pakistan, my husband and I lived and worked in the Persian Gulf for 15 years before coming to Canada in November 2000 in pursuit of a better future for our family.   Here, my husband and I owned and co-managed a gift and souvenir store in downtown Kitchener from 2001 to 2005. Today, as a family, we own and manage a small real estate rental business and a driving school.  I am in the final stages of launching a counselling services business venture in partnership with two very dear friends. Stay tuned for the announcement!
I have worked in the social services and health sector for the past fourteen years.  My professional portfolio now includes management, program/project planning and implementation, and community development.

In March 2010, I co-founded the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW, a not for profit organization that provides leadership training and opportunities for Muslim women and build bridges of understanding between Muslim women and the larger community through art, entertainment and dialogue. Our yearly Muslim women festival was first of its kind, and is still one of its kind, in North America and Europe, and has earned us two nominations for Waterloo Region Arts Awards in 2012 and 2014.  My other volunteer activities include two terms on the executive council of Pakistan Canada Association-Waterloo-Wellington Counties, first as their secretary and then as the president, over three years at Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership Council, and over five years with Mennonite-Muslim Bridge Building Project and Abrahamic Peace Builders. I currently chair the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW, and Immigration Partnership Belong Steering Group. 

What does “Community Leadership” mean to you?

Community leadership to me is "be the change you wish to see."  Everyone counts and everyone contributes.  It is built on gifts, both individual and collective.  It transforms the community, and in the process, transforms individuals engaged in community leadership.

Was there an event or incident that changed your life, shifted you into more of a community mindset?

Not really.  My lifelong interest in community work, both on micro and macro levels, has been stimulated by growing up in a family where both my parents were passionately involved in community work with a focus on social justice.   Whether it was literacy training for adults in Pakistan, fund raising for a community member's expensive surgery in Bahrain, or organizing a food drive locally, I have remained involved with the community work since my adolescent years. 

What are traits or ideals that you feel embody a Leader in the Community?

 A leader in the community brings people of all ages and backgrounds together, united, believing that they have the power and ability to create and shape how they will live and grow.

What advice would you say to anyone looking to be a part of Leadership Waterloo Region’s Core Program?

I fondly remember my one year with the Leadership Waterloo Region Core Program. As someone who was still new to the community, and the country, participating in the core program provided me with the invaluable knowledge of the Region and its social profit sector. I am also very grateful for all the valuable connections and friendships I have made and benefitted from through the Leadership Waterloo Region program. Most importantly, the core program helped me to explore my own self as I engaged in the many interactive activities and discussions on leadership and community. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to attend this program, and very proud to be a part of an impressive network of leaders in the community and community leaders.  I know you will be too!

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