Aliya Hallim-Byne and Yoanne Magris, two highly-respected and accomplished professional women in their respected fields in New York City, have come together to give back to women everywhere. Aliya has been featured on the cover of GO Magazine, and has worked with organizations such as Out Professionals and Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Yoanne was nominated by GO Magazine as one the 100 most powerful women list, and is the Executive Chef de Cuisine at her own Spanish Harlem Bistro, Yo In Yo Out, which won four stars from the New York Daily News and was highly rated in Time Out and the New York Times. Wonder Women (Facebook, Twitter), an national non-profit organization based in New York City, launches with their first ever event in partnership with the JCC in Manhattan on January 13th for a delightful Women’s Night of Comedy featuring Lauren LoGiudice and Jessica Halem. We recently caught up with the always-inspiring Aliya Hallim-Byne to discuss Wonder Women and how it will help women everywhere:
Bambi Weavil: How did you come up with the concept of Wonder Women?
Aliya Hallim-Byne: Well..when Yoanne and I met in the Summer of 2010, we had an instant connection, understanding and mutual respect based on our similar life experiences and the positive way we both overcame our challenges.We also discovered that the women we respect, admire and share our lives with also possessed an unshakable belief in the ability to face the challenge ahead when there is no apparent sign of hope. Yoanne and I decided to expand our contacts, reach other similar women and form our own community both locally and on a global scale to unite and support all women. We agreed that the name of our organization would need to be inspiring, motivating, action oriented and powerful. Thus our formation as Wonder Women came to us as naturally as our admiration of our favorite superhero herself.
BW: I love it. How did your professional career in the non-profit and LGBTQ communities influence your decision to start Wonder Women?
AH-B:I could not be where I am today without the knowledge and experience gained through my commitment to working in those communities over many years. I, however, feel a greater desire for doing work that would remove as many barriers as possible and to commit myself to a higher level of contribution through Wonder Women’s mission.
BW: In what ways will Wonder Women serve it’s members and what will make it different from other networking based organizations?
AH-B: Our calendar would include networking events, collaborative events, panel discussions, workshops and special events that range from issues that relate to women’s business and professional lives, to body, mind and spirit programs. Members and their guest would enjoy exclusive culinary events for intimate groups of women, interesting events that focus on the Arts, Culture and Entertainment and festive events that celebrate our member’s culture and diversity. Our diverse membership would be exposed to the potential benefits of meeting individuals they do not usually embrace and have not been open to. As a collective group we would support causes we all care about and become mentors to the next generation of wonder women and the lives of the men they touch.
BW: Can you give me an idea of the kinds of women you personally consider to be Wonder Women?
AH-B: Women who are determined, persistent and resilient who overcome major challenges that would make most people give up, and find the time to share their stories and inspire others to overcome.
BW: Who are the Wonder Women in your life?
AH-B: My partner Yoanne and several of the women on our board , as well as many of my dear friends are Wonder Women. However, on a very personal note there are three powerful Wonder Women who has positively influenced me: My beloved mother who underwent critical surgery for a brain tumor at the age of 79 and continued the battle with grace and never ending faith until age 83. My only and elder sister who helped my parents raise 5 out of 8 of us from the age of 12 and whose complete love of family and selfless dedication is truly an inspiration to anyone, and my daughter who gave me the courage and strength to remove myself and her from a domestically violent husband and father and who in spite of all the challenges in her youth, never lost her optimism even after being bullied at school, becoming critically ill from the age 15 and being told by doctors that she had to give up a promising future as a singer/performer.
BW: Incredible. What are you most excited about this year for Wonder Women?
AH-B: I am most excited about the tremendous growth we are destined to have as we touch one life at a time with our mission.
BW: On January 13th at The JCC in Manhattan (The Samuel Priest Rose Building, 334 Amsterdam at 76 St.) will be the first Wonder Women event of 2011 featuring Lauren LoGiudice and Jessica Halem. How does this event set the tone for the year?
AH-B: Our January 13th kick-off event brings you the best medicine, laughter, especially at a time of year where many are in full stress mode of sticking with personal resolutions and trying to achieve balance in their lives. This event reflects an organization of women who partner and support each other. Our comedic artist presenters Lauren and Jessica have donated their incredible talent and time and will become an integral part of our history, the event is in partnership with the JCC and there are 14+ talented and hard working Board of Directors, Ambassadors and other very important volunteers , sponsors and partners such as Out Impact, contributing to make this the first of many memorable events. We expect a diverse group of women and men coming together at this event and therefore setting the tone for diversity and inclusiveness.
BW: We are a proud non-profit sponsor partner for Wonder Women and extremely excited to be involved with and apart of Wonder Women! How can our audience become members and how can sponsors work with you in the upcoming year?
AH-B: We am so very honored to have your support and we are excited to collaborate and support. Both members and sponsors are invited to visit www.wonder-women.org, become a fan on Facebook and to secure answers to additional questions by emailing email@example.com.
BW: Thank you for your time Aliya, we look forward to a very successful year with Wonder Women. We hope that our readers will support this up-and-coming fantastic organization of Wonder Women!