Dr. Madina Wasuge’s advice to aspiring fem-leaders: ‘choose sustainable careers’

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If anyone knows the recipe for fem-leadership success, it would be Dr. Madina Wasuge. Dr. Wasuge has successfully raised two daughters; one a medical doctor and another in her final year of law school, as well as an entrepreneurial son. Though Wasuge’s maternal legacy is admirable, it is only a part of her wholesome story of personal and professional success.

Dr. Madina Wasuge (Photo courtesy of Hamilton Spectator/Google images)

Dr. Madina Wasuge (Photo courtesy of Hamilton Spectator/Google images)

Dr. Wasuge’s legacy is a classic tale of triumph over adversity and depicts qualities of resilience, tenacity and courage. Born in Somalia, Wasuge, a trained medical doctor, came to Canada as a refugee, with her three children.

As a refugee, Wasuge faced the harsh realities and challenges of integrating into a new society.

Understanding the system and how flawed it is, increased my knowledge and level of integration,” she said.

The systemic barriers faced by Wasuge was the impetus for her alternative professional choice in Canada.

Dr. Madina Wasuge (Photo credit: Google images)

Dr. Madina Wasuge (Photo credit: Google images)

Unable to practice medicine in Canada due to stringent and costly accreditation bureaucracies, Wasuge carved a successful career in the settlement sector, first serving as Program Manager at the now defunct Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) for 14 years and later as Executive Director of Hamilton’s Center for Civic Inclusion for 4 years. Wasuge has also served as Part-Time Faculty at McMaster University for over 12 years while extending her services to several boards and committees of local organizations.

Dr. Madina Wasuge and daughter, Dr. Linda Suleiman at her graduation from medical school. (Photo supplied by Dr. Wasuge)

Dr. Madina Wasuge and daughter, Dr. Linda Suleiman at her graduation from medical school. (Photo supplied by Dr. Wasuge)

Currently, as Program Director of Pathways to Education, Rexdale division, Wasuge focuses on helping youth stay in high school and transition to post-secondary education, through tutoring and mentorship programs as well as financial aid.

“I’m a real believer that education can make a real difference in people’s lives,” says Wasuge.

Advice to aspiring young fem-leaders

Education is a must. Young women really need to focus on getting an education. Even an undergraduate degree is becoming something that’s very common. Always think of expanding your education.
Work and work hard. Think of a career that will last years from now, not just what’s popular now. As a young woman you need to be a part of society. Be a part of the social change.
Networking is key. That’s how jobs are obtained in this country. Get to know the movers and shakers and learn from them.
Volunteer. You can volunteer your time, efforts, talents and skills.

Advice to refugees or newcomers to Canada

Be an active part of it. In terms of social integration, we are on the fringe of society. Volunteer, choose a cause, whether its poverty or social justice, or education. You need to find your own niche, not only to receive but to give back to the community.

With files from Hilary Caton.

May-Marie is driven by passion and purpose to tirelessly promote social change, diversity, equity and women's empowerment in both her personal and professional endeavours.