Meet Anowa Quarcoo, Meryam Al-waadh, and Wes Iqbal, the 2022-2023 Co-Chairs of the Emerging Leaders Network. With three new leaders at the helm of the Network, we asked them a few questions to learn more about their work, passions, and what makes them excited about the ELN.
Meet Anowa Quarcoo
My name is… Anowa Quarcoo.
I was born in… the U.K.
But I currently live in… Toronto.
One of my favourite places in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is… the Kay Gardner Beltline (and the Evergreen Brickworks).
Outside of my work/volunteering, some things I love to do are… paint (I love modern batik and acrylics), and DJ (I’m a huge fan of playing deep house and soulful house, more specifically Afrohouse and Amapiano).
One major lesson I’ve learned along my leadership journey has been… it’s important to be authentic. This way people know who you are and how you show up.
I was passionate about becoming an ELN Co-Chair… because I’m passionate about civic engagement and want to be part of driving change.
Over the next two years in this role, I’m excited to… navigate the new world and figure out how to get people engaged in light of the realities of COVID-19.
Meet Meryam Al-waadh
My name is… Meryam Al-waadh.
I was born in ….Abu Dhabi, UAE.
But I currently live in …Mississauga.
One of my favourite places in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is… a close tie between the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts and the BMV on Edwards St. in Toronto.
The accomplishment I have been most proud of in my work and/or community is… I aim to remain in a constant state of learning and growth, so I have always felt that there is no finish line. That being said, I’m proud and fortunate of being a part of projects and initiatives that have been important in supporting our public sector infrastructure(s) and continuing to advance purposeful innovation.
Outside of my work/volunteering, some things I love to do are… writing poetry and the occasional badminton match.
One major lesson I’ve learned along my leadership journey has been… taking care of your well being and surrounding yourself with a supportive network that challenges your thinking.
I was passionate about becoming an ELN Co-Chair because… I want to find ways to activate our network in learning about civic issues and becoming more engaged in their regions and communities on the issues that matter to them.
Meet Wes Iqbal
My name is… Waqas (Wes) Iqbal.
I was born in …. Jane & Finch, North York, Ontario.
I currently live in … North York, Ontario.
One of my favourite places in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is… The 401 (just kidding!). I love the waterfront – and I love even more that it’s getting better over time!
The accomplishment I have been most proud of in my work and/or community is… Being the first in my family to attend university and having stuck it out to earn three degrees.
Outside of my work/volunteering, some things I love to do are… Play chess, watch film, television, and live theatre, read non-fiction, and learn more about sartorialism and horology.
One major lesson I’ve learned along my leadership journey has been… Leadership is not about smarts, it’s about people. Being interested in people, understanding them, and wanting to understand them even better, and building up the emotional resilience necessary to handle all the challenges that come with supporting groups of people are all important factors.
I was passionate about becoming an ELN Co-Chair because… My life’s calling is to strengthen our public programs, policies, and laws that ameliorate the lottery effects of where, to whom, and with how much people are born in society. More than anything else I’ve been a part of, the knowledge, network, and community the ELN has empowered me with is something I want to pay forward a thousand times over.
Over the next two years in this role, I’m excited to… Continue the amazing work of our predecessors to further magnify the voices, capacities, and ideas of our 3000-member organization. Beyond our organizational leadership, I’d like for each one of our members to feel a sense of empowerment – and receive CivicAction support wherever possible – to drive their own visions for a more inclusive and prosperous GTHA region.