There are so many women at Pherform who inspire us outside the gym who we can’t keep their story to ourself. We want to shout at the top of our lungs for everyone to hear!
This month we gladly introduce you to Alia, our first Member Spotlight interview. Maria initially chose Alia as she had noticed an article written on her and her work at MothersChoice and was inspired to hear more….
What is your Career background?
I started my career as a corporate lawyer in New York and Hong Kong. I left my career in corporate law over five and a half years ago to work full time at Mother’s Choice as the CEO. Mother’s Choice is a local grassroots charity that cares for the many babies and children without families and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong. I am passionate about the mission and vision of Mother’s Choice, it is my dream to see this city with every child in a loving family. I truly believe in the power of the community – when we join hands together we can give hope and change life stories!
If you could quit my job, where would you live?
My six siblings and I were all born and raised in Hong Kong – so this is actually my home town. I am definitely in my dream job right now – it is the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done, so I can’t imagine quitting and moving somewhere else right now. But if I had a chance, I would spend more time in Montrose, Colorado. It’s a small town in the mountains of southwestern Colorado – my family has a home there and I have spent every summer there for the past 30 years. It isn’t just beautiful, it is a place where we connect with family and friends. I am so grateful to be able to travel there and host family and friends from Hong Kong and around the world. It is a magical place for relationships!
Do you believe in fate?
I don’t know about fate, but I am definitely a person with a strong faith. I believe that every life is special and that God has a plan for each one of us. Part of my job is seeing that incredible potential in every girl and baby who comes to us.
Do you have any 2018 goals?
I love being a mom to my four boys, and I really hope that I can have another baby! We are also emergency foster parents through Mother’s Choice’s Project Bridge, and I have loved that experience of having more children in my home that way too.
What is your best asset?
I am a really hopeful person. I see miracles happen every day at Mother’s Choice, and I truly believe that nothing is impossible!
I think part of my hopefulness has come from intentionally fostering gratitude in my home and at work. My favourite moment of each day is when I put my children to bed. Every night I ask my children what they are most thankful for today. I love hearing their answers. I am passionate about gratitude and hearing the simple things that they are grateful for brings me great joy and helps me to be more grateful too!
What brought you to Pherform?
In 2015 I set myself a goal that I wanted to be able to start exercising again after taking off seven years with no exercise (and three of my four babies), I was intimidated and not sure where to start. Being part of the rowing team in college had such a profound impact on me, that I knew I wanted to do something in community and with other women. My sisters-in-law had met each other through BikiniFit and were Pherform members, so I decided to give it a try.
What inspires you?
It’s probably more WHO inspires me. The founders and volunteers at Mother’s Choice. They have shown me that small acts of kindness can have big impact. If I had to pick one person, then without a doubt, the most impactful woman in my life is my mother, Phyllis Marwah. She was the very opposite of your typical Hong Kong Tiger Mother. She never signed us up for activities or tutoring unless we asked, she rarely went to our parent teacher conferences, and when she did make it, she only ever had one question for our teachers: is my child kind to others? She has lived her life being kind to others, and it is how she defines success for herself and her children. I think it’s that passion for kindness that helped her and the other co-founders start Mother’s Choice with no money, no experience, and no idea what they were getting into! They just wanted to respond with kindness to girls and babies in Hong Kong who had nowhere else to turn and were desperate for kindness. Watching her has proved to me that even a little bit of kindness can change life stories.
What can people do to get involved/how can they volunteer with their children?
The amazing women at Pherform actually help me all the time, even though they are busy working mamas too! Pherform ladies have volunteered their professional skills pro bono to Mother’s Choice, donated their old baby goods when we’ve needed them, come out to our volunteering days, and supported me with my own children when I’ve had a hard time or needed help.
We actually had a family-friendly volunteer day with our territory-wide Flag Day on Saturday, February 24th! There was something so powerful about standing in the streets of Hong Kong in solidarity with our vision of every child in a loving family.