We recognize and celebrate brave female leaders. The women featured in our Brave Women Leaders blog demonstrate resiliency, bravery, and the ability to radiate their light brightly. They have gifts, experience, and strengths to share with the world and they do so bravely. 

I had been hearing about Fereshteh Zeineddin through mutual friends for years before I had the opportunity to hear her speak at a WNORTH event. The engaging, open, and transparent way she spoke created an instant connection to her, both as a person and as a leader. I was incredibly impressed by her Harvard Business School MBA, but probably more inspired by who she was and how she has grown her career and her family, while still remaining true to her values. Fereshteh leads Business Development for TESLA in Canada (imagine conference calls with Elon Musk?!) and is a mother to three young children. Last year, before the Pandemic hit (and while on her third maternity leave), her family embarked on an around-the-world trip and months off (that was cut short) with three kids under five *can you say BRAVE?!*

What does bravery mean to you?

It means being faced with a decision, recognizing that failure is a potential outcome, and still taking the leap. It’s the same feeling you got as a kid when you finally leaped off the 10m diving board at the local pool. And ultimately, it means growth.

What is one of the bravest things you have ever done?

At the age of 11, and only a few weeks after arriving in Canada with my family from Sweden, I made the decision to run for Student Council President at my elementary school. I made posters, prepared and presented a speech (in broken English), and campaigned on my own behalf at my new school. While I didn’t win the election, I did learn a ton along the way. And it is one of the experiences that built a foundation of courage and resilience in me.

What benefits have come from leaning into bravery? 

If you succeed, the benefit is a deep sense of accomplishment and confidence to take bigger risks in the future. If you fail, the benefit is reaffirming the notion that “when I fall I can get back up”, the many lessons learned throughout the process, and the resilience to take the leap over and over again. So whether you win or lose, the end result is growth.