Samantha (‘Sam’) is an oil and gas professional and a Calgary based food and lifestyle blogger. Sam believes in the importance of empowerment through education, building confidence and peer support which is what inspired her to volunteer with Gems for Gems.
After the passing of my daughter Nadia El-Dib and having worked with Gems for Gems who has named a scholarship after her, I would love the opportunity to give back by helping others and being hands on with the initiative that has a great initiative to stop the cycle of domestic abuse. I do not want another family or woman to go through what we did and what my daughter was the outcome of a very violent act. To save even one woman in Nadia’s name would mean that her legacy has impacted someone.
I am married with two children and was born in Calgary. I have worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for close to 30 years and earned a MBA from the University of Calgary. I love to spend quality time with my loved ones being outside, taking the dog for walks, crafting and baking, camping and cross-country skiing. Being the daughter of a survivor, Gems for Gems message and mission have resonated with me. We have a shared vision to make domestic violence end in our society.
Gesm for Gems Ambassador
With a career ranging from retail to manufacturing, to distribution to marketing and sales, to career transition to executive search in oil & gas, to human resources and now international development and global fundraising, Brian Foster has a varied and highly interesting career.
Currently the executive director of Operation Eyesight Universal, Brian previously served as vice president of Advancement and IT, overseeing all aspects of global fundraising and communications. Under his leadership, the Advancement team’s focus raised significant funds for individual donars, foundation, corporations and service clubs for the fight against avoidable blindness.
Before joing Operation Eyesight’s leadership team, Brian serves as chair of the board and was also a director and then chair of the Operation Eyesight Foundation. During that time, the board was instrumental in moving from an oeprational board to a governance one, which coincided with Operation Eyesight’s transition from an aid organization to one of development.
As a certified human resources professional, Brian has also served as a director on human resources board locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. His was in both the buiness and non-for-profit sectors has allowed him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout North America, India and Africa.
While I have struggled with mental illness & abuse in my lifetime, I have understood the importance of obtaining an education in the helping profession in hopes of breaking the bounds of my history 7 to change the path of my life. Because of this, I pursued an education as a Child & Youth Care Counsellor as well as a background as a Child & Youth Educator. While my passion was working with children, my heart was in helping children who have been hurt by abuse, neglect or addiction.
Within my pursuit, I also found myself in a journey of a struggle with mental illness brought on because of my life experiences with domestic abuse. I feel empowered to help others who struggle with mental illness & who have overcome addiction because of the abuse they encountered.
While I have been in the process of rediscovering my strength in finding joy in hope, I created a support group -Hidden Inside Myself- Glimpse Into Mental Illness Support Group which I take great pride & care for nurturing the relationships I have made in this support group. I facilitate this support group with the purpose of creating a supportive environment in which people who suffer with mental illness can share their struggles as they celebrate their triumphs.
My life’s purpose is to educate women & empower them in overcoming their greatest struggles in realizing they are worthy of nurturing & loving relationships.
We are all capable of growth, change & stability
I am from Prince Edward Island. I moved to Calgary four years ago because there are no jobs in PEI. When I moved here I was in an abusive relationship and was scared to tell anyone. I finally got out of the relationship and would love to help people who are in similar situations as I was. I felt like I had no support and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. When I heard about Gems for Gems I had to check it out and see what it was all about. I was amazed at all the work Jordan and the ambassadors were doing. I love how many strong women there are apart of this. I would love the opportunity to join and help in any way I can.
Lily Ahonen is a Nurse and Foster Parent in the Specialized Foster Care Program, caring for medically fragile children. She loves to travel and has been to over 40 countries. Lily enjoys activities like running with bulls, car racing, rappelling down buildings for charity, and skydiving. She hopes to finish her Private Pilots License one day.
Gems for Gems impacts me strongly because I have been through countless struggles and challenges and I know that it is possible to overcome anything with support. Your past does not define you and every day is a chance at a new beginning to live your best life. Anything is possible