Empowering women to be their own heroines

Claire Yeung. | Photos courtesy of Claire Yeung

Claire Yeung. | Photos courtesy of Claire Yeung

Life coach Claire Yeung wants to help women become the heroine in their lives. She didn’t become the heroine in her own life until just recently. She will be speaking at the Canadian Immigrant’s first Multicultural Women’s Conference and Fair, which will be held Mar. 31 at the Croatian Cultural Centre.

In September 2012, she suffered a mysterious virus, quit a 23-year law career, did some introspection and re-evaluated her life.

“When I was working on regaining my health, I started looking at other careers. I really started doing some soul searching to figure out what do I love doing? What is it about my work that I enjoy? What don’t I like? What skills do I have?” says Yeung.

She enjoyed being an assistant coach for her varsity hockey and tennis teams. Professionally, she worked as an in-house lawyer and was a manager of a labour relations department. She liked teaching them about labour-relations and labour law. She was most proud of these experiences.

“I enjoyed watching them grow and watching them flourish. And watching them move on to other employers to become managers of labour relations in their own right,” says Yeung.

Reflecting on next career moveE_p3_women_1

The decision to launch into a career as an author, life coach and entrepreneur didn’t come easy. During her reflection, she asked herself why she became a lawyer. Yeung came to Canada with her family from Hong Kong when she was nearly seven years old. Her career choices were laid out by her parents: doctor, accountant or lawyer – professional careers which Chinese highly esteemed.

“It really was the health crisis that allowed me to rethink what became my self-limiting beliefs, really, in terms of culture. And partly, I think it was for me, my fear of what would my family think?” says Yeung.

Initially, it was difficult for her parents to understand why she would quit a seemingly good job.

“At the same time, so much of who I am and my life, obviously being Chinese, is about honouring my family as well,” she says.

She has dedicated her book to her late grandfather on her mother’s side. She and her family lived with her maternal grandparents when she moved from Hong Kong.

Now, her parents are supportive. They were quite excited about her book launch, even giving copies of her books to her friends.

“Once they realized that it was about me finding my voice and finding my purpose in the world, that allowed them to let go some of their beliefs that we thought you should have continued to be a lawyer,” says Yeung. “My mother’s very excited and proud of that fact that I figured it out in terms of this is what I’m meant to do in terms of my life.”

Advice for women

Yeung says it’s important for women to carve out time for themselves first, but it is a very difficult shift for most women –
one that won’t happen overnight. She says it takes two to three months for women to make that shift by making one small change at a time.

“If you think you can, within a week, make this monumental shift, in my perspective and in my life, that just won’t happen,” she says.

She encourages women to start small: 10 minutes to have a quiet, peaceful space.

Inaugural women’s fair hosted by Canadian Migrant magazine

Women of all ages, cultures and immigration backgrounds are welcome. Husbands and children are welcome too, as there will be a small activity area. Women are encouraged to pre-register for this free event.

“While there are many common information needs between men and women, I think women have a subset of questions or areas of information that they are seeking that might be different from men, such as issues around work life balance, being a mom and a professional, doing that juggling act is a bigger issue for women than men in many cases,” says one of the organizers, Margaret Jetelina.

For more information or to pre-register, visit www.canadianimmigrant.ca/womensfair.