Month: February 2014


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We are all looking for role models. Women – we need someone to inspire us, someone to show us that we can achieve our dreams, fight the good fight, and remind us every day the value of our worth as women.  More than ever, women are stepping out of their comfort zones and opening new businesses, taking risks and fighting for love in their personal relationships. They are being vocal about the media and its portrayal of women, about businesses that degrade them while still make money off them and finally realizing they have been and are the heart and soul of all our communities.

Women are everything and instead of downplaying any of their attributes, they are ready to tell the world about it. They are cooks, mothers, wives, daughters, domestic engineers, tear wipers, hand holders, motivators, teachers, businesswomen, professionals, athletes, leaders.

They are far more than what Real Housewives show the world, far more than what advertising agencies show us in Glamour or Cosmopolitan or even Redbook or Time.

They are the smartest consumer of multi- billion dollar industries around the globe. These ladies purchase dollars provide jobs, growth and sustainability to nations. Let us face it – women are ready to own their power.

In this reality, which women leaders are reminding us of this necessary truth?. Who are the real role models for us? Who are the ones that accept women for who they are and think higher of them in the media?

It seems the media is trying to figure it out as well. It’s the million dollar question. Every national television broadcasting channel is trying to find a perfect match for its over 20 million consumer base. They are offering exciting topics, new sets to persuade women consumers that they have what they need.

Oprah gave us a lifetime of conversations, a lifetime example of dreaming big and doing the work every day by coming into our living rooms. She recently launched OWN with her own vision and it seems believes what all women are slowly realizing – there is more to life. OWN has done an excellent job in elevating women’s vision of themselves.

Bravo wants to convince women that reality TV is what they need every day all the time and nationally syndicated channels are looking for a host to engage stay-at-home moms.

We saw Katie Couric, the intelligent professional connecting with women on topics that really matter. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to sustain her viewers and she will bid aideu in June.

Queen Latifah has also embraced television, as always she has broken barriers and brought her unique charm, power and wit to daytime and as a result we will see her on the air for another year.

This week, we found out the next casualty will be  Bethanny Frankel, a brilliant businesswoman who was hired for her frank, straight up talk but perhaps proved to be not a good model for the channels executives.

This week we also watched NBC’s next talk show host and tv personality Meredith Vieira embrace the Olympics as the first female head anchor for the Olympics. I applaud her as this is brilliant and long overdue.

Ellen has continued to be the voice of wit, sincere conversation and a great entertainer.

One thing is for sure, the media recognizes it needs women and that women need role models because women have A LOT on their plate. It is nice to have guidance to be able to balance it all.

But here is the truth, no marketing strategy can do an analysis and come up with the role model that is chosen based on demographics and market analysis. Surprising to television execs I am sure.

The reality is women are still not one dimensional. Even in 2014.

Do Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brokaw etc. Steve Harvey fit into a one-dimensional audience?

Contrary to many marketing experts in the media women are not sitting in front of televisions for hours wanting to hear gossip, conflict and subpar television.

Women are busy, they are thinkers, multi-taskers and doers.

So yes, they will love Katie, get elevated with Oprah, talk frank with Bethanny, laugh with Queen Latifah and root for on Meredith, dance with Ellen and occasionally indulge in guilty pleasure through reality television.

In a nutshell, women need role models that remind them of themselves, the real self. The sooner broadcast channels realize the jackpot – substantive content that speaks to the intelligence and diversity of interests of women – the sooner we will have a role model that represents the value of the audience.

Women want to make their life better, grow their families and learn more every day.  We need to see a face of honesty not market based content that devalues our worth.

We hope as television execs are going through their rolodex in order to find the new face of women, they look for a face that looks like our mirrors and a bio that reads like the ones on our laptops – diverse, bold, witty, creative, inspiring, honest and a mix of personal and professional and intelligence.

Most of all, we hope that the media thinks more of women and chooses to show them as they are and should be, elevated and powerful.




I am my Valentine

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by Maaria Mozaffar

Love –   “An intense feeling of deep affection”

Today is Valentine’s Day!  A Day of chocolates, flowers , kisses, hugs, I am sorry, I love you, I need you, I am crazy about you, I appreciate you!

Today is when restaurant reservation waiting lists are long and babysitters are called. It always amazes me that even in our busy life with work meetings and family obligations we as a people take the time to stop love and live.  Nothing warms the heart  more than a love that is reassured.

BUT I really want to change our focus a bit on Valentines Day .

You see, this year  has been a great year for me !  This year I learned about being brave in my personal life, professional life, I took risks, had difficult conversations, made some personal goals and am going towards them everyday.  I made a commitment in 2014 to make my relationships stronger, more honest and value the ones I love even more.

So, this Valentines Day I want to take the time to love myself, nurture myself and thank myself for nothing also warms the heart than a self assured love for yourself.

Not sure if everyone will be getting gifts this season of love so I want to encourage all of you to take the day for yourself with me and get to the real heart of the word LOVE .Trust me I enjoy chocolates and flowers, but I also know that these things do not translate into “an intense feeling of deep affection “. The LOVE you feel when you have your child, or the thumping of your heart when you pray for your loved one to get well, the butterflies in your stomach when your love is returning home from a long trip = these are all manifestations of love one feels for your beloved. What about the person whom has been with you the longest? Do they get to feel that appreciation too?

Let’s face it. In the journey of love search,  we  are looking for that one person who says

“You Complete Me” and that one person that ideally “Completes You”

But here is reality and in my observations of the ups and down of life an undeniable truth. One human cannot complete the other. Honestly  we are already a perfect package. We are  accompanied  with emotions, intellect  ;  all the tools to have  joy, inspiration and focus. The journey is finding all those tools within us and making them work. Nobody knows you or can learn about you fully other than yourself. Remember all the times you were nervous about a new job, new project or new relationship? Who calmed your heart and talked you through it spilling over with positive thoughts to help you face your fears?

 And in the journey of love search we are also looking for someone to make us happy.

But here is another reality, life throws curve balls. Yes, there are moments in which you just cannot be happy, simply because that is not the emotion called for in certain situations. This is not a bad thing, for those not so pleasant emotions are necessary for our growth. No person will come and replace that emotion with “happy”. But you will find the inner strength to strategize, plan and help you face pain. You probably already have opened the doors to joy so many times when you could have chosen fear.

And, of course we not only look for someone to not only complete us, make us happy, but also to make us feel safe.

Another reality, and unfortunately, one of the hardest lessons one has to learn. Would you not agree that  no human can protect another completely? Yes, curve balls again. There are situations that will come your way in which only your resolve will help you , safety is not guaranteed by your relationship with your beloved.

In my mediation practice, I have had the honor to meet women who have sometimes been betrayed by their lovers, husbands. Through the painful discussions and self discovery that these mediation sessions take you through the result is always the same : people realize that they shortchanged themselves when they convinced themselves that others loved them. But they also realize they shortchanged themselves by not valuing their heart. If you believe and know that YOU do love yourself, you will never allow your heart to be shortchanged. Its a good organ , pumping blood, beating for others and facing the unbearable – thank it sometimes.

 The truth is the most important person you CAN love , the person who CAN most protect you by caring for your health and life choices, the person that CAN make you the most happy by always having a limitless source of happy when required, the person who CAN complete you because he or she is so dedicated to your growth, your victories is YOU.

You, see not matter what, in the end its just your heart and you. People will come and go some by choice and some not. If you are able to lean on your own heart for growth and strength, its love is limitless. After all, we all want to give love. We cannot if we do not nurture the source first. I am lucky to have a husband I love. But I know I could not love him the way I do unless I love myself.

This Valentines Day I am celebrating my beloved but I am ALSO celebrating

my heart

my working body

my resolve

my  dedication

my courage

You have to believe me. Come what may, people may hurt you through their words and actions – but you will be alright.

My daughter who is four came home this week saying that a boy in the hallway called her “The ugliest girl he has ever seen.” She really did not know what it meant, and perhaps the other kid did not either. Apparently she was clowning around and the boy did not know how to respond so he chose the word UGLY.

Tempted to say a lot of things to protect her heart, I paused.

I simply told her that many people sometimes say things that are mean. This is not the first, and probably not the last. She just laughed and ran off.

Later she handed me a Valentines Day Card she made for me and her father. I embraced her. Then she showed me a third card – a Valentines Day for herself. In which she wrote her own name and her own message “ I love you”.

I realized at that moment – our hearts love us so naturally.I believe it comes from a undeniable source of our higher power, God given. This voice I feel has been the whispers in my heart all my life. So If I recognize myself I will recognize the source. Somehow we forget the sense and value of ourselves as we grow and let others define our worth either by their kindness or cruelty.

I carried her into my arms and kissed her so she knew how proud I was of her, but honestly I think she knew how proud she already was of herself – and this is all I hope she ever needs to know.