At veza, we honour the work of inspiring leaders every single day. Not just the known and notable but rather, everyday women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.

These are truly women to watch and veza community is so pleased to share their brilliance.

May their stories inspire YOU to rise.

Meet Raj Patara.

Raj and her husband are raising their daughter in Abbotsford for the true city in the country experience. Her daughter Micah, is the real drive behind putting her name forward for School Board Trustee. Becoming a parent has truly opened her eyes to see the world through a different lens, and she’s committed to want our education system to be the best model it can be for our children.

She was raised in a large family of six, with parents that were always involved with all her activities and were always trying to do right by them. She was taught that if you don’t understand something, go speak to your friends, go to their church, ask questions. But whatever you do, don’t be ignorant to what’s around you, educate yourself. Having that as her backbone, she always felt responsible to understand what’s happening in her community. Being raised in a small town, she was community parented, which means for those that have no idea. If you walked down the street and did something wrong, your parents would receive a phone call before you made it home. No where to hide. That’s what she wants to bring back to our education system. To bring our parents back into the conversation of education and create transparency and communication from Board level to community.

She is a huge advocate of the public education system, and feels that even though our budget looks quite substantial there’s only 12% of it that actually goes towards the curriculum. Why? She wants to advocate for further funding. The population in Abbotsford is increasing and will continue to do so. Last year the board had projected an increase in 200 students, the outcome was a bit over that, at 250. That’s a pretty good projection. How are we preparing to start looking at funding those students, since that number will increase.

It’s our responsibility as parents and teachers to ask these questions and work together to achieve results for our children. She is a solution based person, and quite pragmatic. She will look at both sides of a coin and try to understand where everyone is coming from. However, if we’re not communicating, and providing transparency, how are we accountable to the public, how do we achieve success? We’re continuously playing catch up, aren’t we? Explaining why we do what we do. She has seen a lack of communication, and transparency throughout the District, but to be fair, she does note that they are actively trying to achieve a solution for this issue. If we’re doing a great job, let’s share those wins with parents and children.

She has worked on the Federal and Provincial Government level and understands Governance from Board level to staff level, this insight will be a huge asset to the board. Her latest experience working with NGO’s on the downtown eastside has given her the experience working with a marginalized community that has either been a victim of resident schools or has spent time in the system and want to become positive additions to society. These are wins in her world. Education is the true hero, in their lives.

Today, she works at BCIT and sees where the future is headed, She believes we need to continue pushing for more Innovative Technologies, this needs to be at the forefront; requiring our educators, politicians to look at what we need to include in our curriculum to offer our children the opportunities to be able to be competitive, to attend the best Universities around, let’s increase the caliber of coding, and learning about applications. We’re almost there…. How does our education system help mold the brightest, intelligent, and competitive children on a global scale. We can educate the next leaders of the country, or the next Bill Gates. Let’s send our children out in the real world with those tools but let’s do this together.

Tell me in 100 words who you are? How would you describe yourself.

So tell us, Raj: What inspires you most? What motivates you to get up every morning?

My daughter motivates and inspires me to want to be a great example and role model for her.

What is it that you feel that you teach others through how you act/show up each day?

Integrity and transparency is the key to open communication.

What is one change you’d like to see in the world?

If we respected everyone equally, we didn’t see colour or gender.

Which of your contributions to date have given you the greatest sense of pride?

If you know a leader we should feature please invite her to share her story with us here.