Lead Coach: Farheen Khan
As the Lead Coach of Ascension of Women, Farheen continues to coach women to find their purpose and to remove barriers to living to their full potential, which can mean pushing them to limits to what is within the realm of "possible".
After starting out from humble beginnings and growing up in project housing in Mississauga, Farheen is now the Principal Consultant of her own firm, FSK & Associates where she works with a team of experts to re-org and redesign nonprofits and charitable organizations to increase their capacity and their resource development capabilities. Farheen has worked with several large charitable organizations including the United Way of Peel Region, United Way of York Region and the International Development and Relief Foundation. Farheen's graduate of many leadership development programs including the Maytree Foundation's Leaders for Change Program, the Civic Actions's DiverseCity Fellows, United Way's CITY Leaders and the Centre for Social Innovation's Agents of Change programs.
Farheen has a background in business marketing and has a continued interest in learning about religion and how that intersects with gender and in particular women's rights within Islam.
With this in mind, Farheen has written two books to date: From Behind the Veil: A Hijabi's Journey to Happiness and
As a child, Farheen grew up in the mosque and felt safe to practice her faith. But as she got older she quickly realized how much women were restricted and confined to particular roles and spaces within the community. This was of concern to her and she did her part in trying to take on leadership roles within the faith as best as she could.
At age 16, after her father fell ill, Farheen was forced to give up her education and start working fulltime - carrying 3 jobs to help the family make ends meet. She soon found herself in corporate Canada where she climbed the ladder and managed to secure a job as a young person in the corporate communications department.
After 9/11, Farheen experienced an Islamophobic attack which in many ways changed the course of her life. It was this moment that she realized that being a visibly Muslim woman would mean putting her physical safety at risk. After making the decision to keep her hijabi on, she was sexually assaulted by a man who was trying to "teach Muslims a lesson for what they had done". This moment changed her life and she moved from working in Corporate Canada to working in the nonprofit sector where she has remained.
Farheen has worked in the anti-violence and anti-violence against women sectors for the last 15+ years and has held a variety of positions in Women Shelters' Rape Crisis Centres and has worked extensively to develop and design the protocol in Halton region to support women that have exited sex trafficking. Through these roles, Farheen has organized and spoke at many events including Take Back the Night, Dec 6 vigils, International Women's Day, International Day of the Girl, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as well as Walks to end Violence Against Women.
In 2011, Farheen found herself in a short but tragic arranged marriage. Within 8 months she discovered he had married her for immigration and had to do the difficult task of divorcing him despite the family and community outrage and the stigma that is associated with such an act. In 2012, Farheen was committed to reclaiming her body and really loving herself. And thus she embarked on a journey of self-love and weight loss, losing over 270 pounds and dropping from a size 26 to a 16 and then more recently a 12.
In 2015, Farheen ran in the Federal election as the only Hijab-wearing woman to make it through an 11 week anti-muslim, divisive election campaign. That year Farheen was featured on every major news channel and was being followed by media as she advocated for people's civil and human rights. After the election campaign, Farheen experienced housing precarity and a period of homelessness.
As you can see, to push the limits of what is possible has always been something that Farheen has exemplified. Farheen is now currently the Co-Founder and Imama of the Women's Mosque of Canada which is an organization committed to creating a safe healing space for Muslim women to learn their faith and the Board Chair of Azeeeza for Women and the host of the Azeeza Show where we are committed to empowering and educating women on social issues from a gendered lens.
This work takes courage, confidence, and trust. When we truly surrender ourselves and accept that it's time to overcome our obstacles (heal, release the past, challenge our fears, unlearn what no longer serves us) and embrace our full potential, then and only then can truly ascend within.
When we ascend within, we attract the life we want to live and will see our world transform before our very eyes. The key is to take that first step forward. Are you ready?