Meet Beisan Zubi – Community Relations Manager at Communitech and candidate for Waterloo Regional Council! Beisan is a prime example of what you can achieve when you jump onto opportunities and trust yourself.
What’s your greatest internal motivator?
Overall, it’s about not wanting great opportunities to pass me by. Whether it’s working with the startup or a community group that has a need we can fill, I want to find a way we can take advantage of the momentum of change going on and utilize it.
For example, Communitech took a big chance with True North – the 3 day international tech conference held in Waterloo Region in May. A lot of the programming was global, we were working with people both in and out of town, and we got to focus on the Waterloo Region community and local issues.
One of the things I’m most proud of was using the platform of True North to have a very local-focused community conversation. I convened a talk around how the tech community is engaging with our neighbours and the greater community. Out of that conversation, we’re now opening a gallery space in the Tannery (Area 151) to help expose the tech community to local art.
What’s been the most surprising part of your journey?
The most surprising part has been learning that a little bit of confidence (or a good amount of confidence…) goes a long way. A lot of the time, people have preconceived notions about who you are based on superficial level things, such as being a young woman in a professional workplace. Simply knowing your stuff, your opinions and being able to express them clearly goes far. Even if that’s not what’s explicitly expected of you, people will respond well – much better than you think they might.
What are you most proud of professionally?
My career path. It’s been broad and diverse. I have a degree is creative writing and I thought for sure I would be a novelist. I never thought that I would be doing what I am now. When I was offered a job with CIGI, I accepted immediately. I hadn’t even visited Waterloo Region before coming in to sign a lease for a new apartment and begin a new life in a new city. I’ve surprised myself with the moves I’ve made, the challenges I’ve accepted for myself and how well they’ve worked out. My conception of what my career track would have been 10 years ago is so off base from what it’s ended up being and I’m proud of that.
What do you do to maintain energy/sanity outside of work?
I find unplugging important for my sanity. I put my phone down and focus on being fully present. I’m pretty good about it and sticking to the parameters I set for myself. If I work on the weekend then I set aside a specific time to do that and not let it bleed over. If I’m not at work, I try not to let myself be pulled into it.
Other than that, getting out to exercise by doing activities like bike riding.
What’s the most exciting aspect of the Waterloo tech ecosystem, in your opinion?
The rapid growth is so exciting. The area has a really cool vibe and a great quality of life. There’s no feeling like you’re struggling to make it in a rat race here.
There are the same opportunities, same growth that you’re seeing in Toronto but you don’t have to spend all your income on rent. You can do all the stuff that makes life great, like enjoying beautiful parks, but you can also grow a business as aggressively as you could in any major city.