Updated: Sep 21, 2018
My name is Reena and Toledo has been my home for almost two years. Originally from Canada, I virtually knew no one besides my husband when I moved here. I knew it would be a challenge building my network when many in the community have known each other for years – even decades. I would have to work hard as a new professional in the area, and building quality relationships quickly became my passion. In the last few years, I have met some wonderful people and have made some amazing friends. As I continue to make Toledo my home, I want to do the same for others who are new to the area just as I was.
My professional story begins in the 90’s when I was attending university in Canada. During that time, I had been bitten by the political bug and I knew that after I graduated I wanted to get involved in politics. After graduating I worked for a member of parliament in Ottawa, Canada from my home town of London, Ontario. I then moved on to work for the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. I thoroughly enjoyed my work, learning about key issues for the day and the government’s plans to solve them. However, when working there in early 2000’s, I soon found that women were not being promoted to senior roles and I didn’t see a future for myself.
Realizing this obstacle, I left Ottawa and went to Toronto to further my education and started working in civil service. I loved it. I loved being an issues expert, in the thick of the action, making decisions quickly, and collaborating with different departments. I enjoyed being given an opportunity to work on different projects and stretch myself. One of my favorite projects I worked on was a multi-billion-dollar business plan to bring one of the government’s largest infrastructure investments to Ontario.
While in Canada, I was on Rexdale Women’s Centre’s board that supported new immigrant women and their families who were adjusting to a new life in Canada. It was inspiring to be a part of an organization that helped women establish their families in a new country and help overcome some of the hurdles that came with moving to a culturally and geographically different country. When I came to the US, I didn’t experience all the same struggles, but a few small ones like understanding Fahrenheit versus Celsius - which I am still working on!
Toledo – and America is my new home. It is different but still feels familiar. I am so fortunate to meet so many wonderful people who have helped me feel connected to the community. Toledo is becoming more familiar and comfortable for me because of the kindness of strangers who have now become close friends and are like family.
I recently joined the Women of Toledo as an advisory board member because I believe in the mission to educate, engage and empower women. The organization has a lot of energy and momentum and that excites and inspires me. I believe that Women of Toledo can become a leading organization not only in the Toledo region but also across the nation. I am excited to have the privilege to be on board and do my part to help make it happen.
It’s important for women to learn from other women about the opportunities and challenges that await them as they move forward in their personal and professional lives.
I believe that women need to support women in their choices and help each other become stronger, more powerful and not be afraid as new opportunities arise.
To connect with Reena Dar, MBA, email her at email@example.com.