“Who do you think that I am, Wonder Woman?”
“I must be Wonder Woman.”
“I am Wonder Woman!”
With her passion for women’s empowerment, inspired by personal and professional experiences, Aliya Hallim-Byne created Wonder Women (Facebook, Twitter). Launched in 2011, Wonder Women is a non-profit organization that, “seeks to empower women to lead, to contribute and to positively impact their local and wider communities.”
“One impact we have made is to help women to realize their own power, capability and readiness to embrace the Wonder Woman ‘within’… to be complete as a human being, with the right to live your life positively, happily and healthily, we must take these matters on or out of whatever closet they have been stashed away in, due to fear of consequences,” Aliya says.
Aliya got her start in non-profit work, over a decade ago, in 1997 as a financial services professional in what she says was an effort to get more involved with the community and develop relationships that were more tangible.
“I hoped that by becoming more involved with the community, I intended to work with, I could develop a better clientele. I was right of course, but what I quickly realized was I liked it – I liked it a lot.”
The inspiration behind her own non-profit came from Aliya’s life experiences that were “very unkind,” to which she says she could interpret two ways regarding her future. “I [could] choose to grow positively or crumble in acceptance that I deserve such injustice,” she says.
This year, the organization launched the Wonder Women in Action Series, a new platform for women that is also open to positive-thinking men as well. Events are held every 3rd Tuesday of the month at Vlada Lounge in Midtown Manhattan. Beginning at 6 p.m., the event consists of two segments: the marketplace, open to a variety of vendors, headhunters, students and retirees in what Aliya calls empowered networking, and a videotaped interview between Aliya and a REAL Wonder Woman on a chosen topic for the month. Previous events featured interviews with The Wall Street Coach, Kim Ann Curtin on “Resolution Revolution,” and an informative dialogue with actress, voice over artist, writer and fitness professional Traci Godfrey.
Aliya says her passion for women’s empowerment comes as a result of her “personal life experiences as a girl, young lady and as a single parent.”
Rights such as equal pay in the workplace, having the authority to make decisions over one’s body and the small percentage of global leadership roles women occupy, are some of the biggest issues women face, Aliya says.
“When empowered, women not only take better care of themselves, and their families, but they share their knowledge and resources with others in their villages and cities, their schools and community groups and with the world.”
Through Wonder Women, Aliya says she hopes to do her part in reducing the amount of injustices against women “by creating an open dialogue and greater awareness about these issues.”
“I feel that the important work of true ‘Wonder Women’ can be seen in communities all over the world, and therefore I see the work of Wonder Women, the organization, responding to this energy and making a unified presence worldwide.”
“I think I make every attempt to live my life being mindful to be, to do – these things,” Aliya says.
With her daughter and grandchildren serving as the inspiration for every aspect of her life, family is the top priority for Aliya.
“I rate family a 10 out of 10 for importance, and for helping to shape the person we choose to become. Family can help … teach you about life; they are a testing ground for everything good and not so good that lies ahead. Family is our first community.”
“Working in my family business helped me to understand that in order to succeed at anything I must be respectful of others, work smart, treat others as I would want to be treated and never let ego stand in the way of doing the right thing.”
Since the launch of Wonder Women, Aliya says she has been focused on building a platform from which the organization can grow.
“My next step is to invite the community to support my efforts through membership, sponsorship, partnering and assisting me. I hope more women in leadership roles reach out to me,” she says.
Aliya is currently working on a book geared toward women entitled, “Glass Ceilings, Doors and Other Obstructions,” (to be published in 2016). Aliya says she would like to keep the details of the book under wraps, but she is “excited by the way in which [her] experiences through Wonder Women are helping it to take shape.”
Wondering how you can become a Wonder Woman? “To become more involved, get to know us, and get to know me!” Aliya says.
For more information on the organization, to become a member and for details on the next Wonder Women in Action Series event, visit www.wonder-women.org. The organization welcomes sponsors and advertising, branding and partnership opportunities.
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