This February, all month long, we’re honouring the work of 28 inspiring leaders. 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 Harpreet M Dayal.

Harpreet was born and raised in London, England, and moved to Calgary in 2015. Before her impending move, she began writing a story about a worm that is afraid of change. Writing this story was therapy for her: the main character’s fear of change mirrored her own fears of moving to another country after spending the majority of her life in London.

Although she has a background in finance, moving to another country encouraged her to explore her creative side and start taking writing more seriously, so she could do something different in this new country. Harpreet has made a concerted effort to integrate into the local arts and culture sector and began reciting her poetry pieces at local spoken word events. Eventually, she began receiving invitations to speak at charities and mental health workshops.

She has been sharing short pieces of poetry and musings on her Instagram page (@harpreet.m.dayal) since 2015, and that page now has a following of over 60K readers. In 2016, Harpreet went on to publish her first children’s book, Wilbert the Worm, and a poetry book titled Svadhyaya: A Journey of Self Learning, which was a celebration of her taking a step into her power and self-belief in her words.

Harpreet has held two book signings in two different Chapters-Indigo branches for Wilbert the Worm, and has also held book readings in local schools, sharing Wilbert’s journey of overcoming fear and bullying. She has been invited to speak to youth and create a workshop that caters to building confidence in young people. Furthermore, Harpreet has recently started her own poetry event called “Love Notes and Coffee” with the goal of bringing positivity and people of different artistic backgrounds together and share what they love. She hopes to encourage established and aspiring artists to be able to share their work in an inviting and non-judgmental environment.

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

What motivates me to get up every morning is the challenge of being present and grateful for what the day has to offer. I have a desire to keep learning, to experience new things and better myself in whatever I decide to explore, whether it is creatively or professionally. All whilst not forgetting to stay rooted to the ground, remaining consciously aligned with my heart, and resting in the present moment.

How do you feel that your actions teach or inspire others?

People often say that they feel inspired by my words. They say that they relate to my vulnerability, the challenges I face, my struggle with low self-esteem and the fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone, which I often express through my writing. I am very open about my successes and failures, and this makes them feel like they are not alone. I hope that when young girls and women look at me and see my work, they get a sense of “if she can, then I can too”.

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

There is a plethora of changes I would like to see in the world, but most urgent to me would be the elimination of racism and gender discrimination. Even in this day and age we are seeing a rise in violence against women, and towards people of different races and backgrounds. We often lose sight of the fact that we are ultimately all the same: human.

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

I felt the greatest sense of pride when I went to a school to read a chapter of my children’s book to the students. They had already been reading Wilbert the Worm, and they had been waiting for me to come and read the ending. They were especially excited about meeting an author. When I sat down with them and asked them about their favorite characters and what they loved about the book, they were awestruck. But, I can definitely say that feeling was mutual. It truly made me feel like I had accomplished something worthwhile when they shared the things they learnt from reading something I had written.

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Harprett! Learn more about her work and stay connected via Instagram @harpreet.m.dayal, or her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/harpreetmdayal

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