Influence Montreal welcomed Malala Yousafzia on September 26, 2018 in Place Bonaventure. Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban when she tried to speak up for girls who are deprived their right to go to school. A Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head for her high-profile activism. After two years, in 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The event started at 8:00 am, where different panels about entrepreneurship, creativity, money, and marketing were held. Many influencers and entrepreneurs shared their experiences of how they began, as well as their advice on how to become successful. The common piece of advice that they all had was about believing in ourselves and always trying to work hard in order to reach our goals, despite the hardships and obstacles that we might face.
Nalie Agustin was one of the speakers who talked about her journey with stage 4 breast cancer and how she was able to create her own happiness. She talked about the importance of social media when it comes to sharing her story with other women. When one of the people in audience asked her whether it’s possible to think of having future goals, Nalie responded by saying that she does everything day by day and she tries to look at everything in a positive light. In the “Creativity + Entrepreneurship” panel, the DJ at the event Fafa Khan talks about the difficulties women face in the music industry that is dominated by men. It is her 10th year DJing and she feels proud, because many girls who are new to DJing look up to her.
Also, the artist Keish said that she uses her paintings to empower black women by showing their beauty. The photographer Naska Demini gave advice to artists that stop feeling creative, saying that children have a very big imagination and wonderful ideas so it is easy to get inspired after talking to them. The deputy premier of Quebec Dominque Anglade and Montreal’s mayor Valerie Plante also spoke at the event in front of influencers, students, and entrepreneurs.
Malala was the final speaker, and when she came everyone stood the moment they saw her. She was interviewed by the business woman Daniele Henkel. Malala talked about what the Taliban did to her. She said that the moment they did not allow her to go to school was the moment where not only her education was taken away from her, but her future. “I want all girls to be able to get an education and decide their future” she said. She talked about equality and the importance of education and how educating girls and giving them the chance to enter the workplace can add millions of dollars to the economy. Malala definitely inspired everyone at the event and she will continue to spread her empowering message around the world.
Written By: Lara Kaafarani
Image: Influence Mtl