At veza, we honour the work of inspiring leaders every single day. Not just the known and notable but rather, everyday women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.

These are truly women to watch and veza community is so pleased to share their brilliance.

May their stories inspire YOU to rise.

Meet Sonia Andhi.

A Surrey resident with three adult children who attended local schools, Sonia has been actively engaged in community initiatives for the last 30 years. She is a firm believer that education is the foundation of society and every child deserves the opportunity to grow and learn in a safe and healthy environment.

As a social worker and family counsellor, Sonia has worked tirelessly with the most vulnerable populations from children to teenagers and parents. She has a good understanding of the needs of Surrey students because she sees children as young as five up to high school graduates who are struggling with academic challenges, poverty, depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and gang involvement. She also works with parents, teachers and other school staff to support them in the challenges that they face in their jobs.

Working from a community centred approach, Sonia has founded the Shakti Society and Shakti Awards to address the issues of family violence and empowerment of women. She has honoured over 120 women since 2000 for their accomplishments to highlight the positive female role models among us.

Sonia has sat on the board of Surrey Women’s Centre and currently chairs the media sub-committee of the Network for Eliminating Violence in Relationships which is comprised of over 50 stakeholders, such as teachers, police officers, non-profit organizations and media from Surrey and Delta.

Sonia holds three degrees – BA in Public Administration, Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work. She plans to bring positive and meaningful change to the Surrey School Board by reviewing and updating policies to keep them current with the emerging needs of our students. Schools can be the bedrock of child development and family enhancement where communities can come together to build a vast support network. Fluent in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu, Sonia brings the lived experience of an immigrant to the school district which is essential in a diverse city like Surrey.

Tell me in 100 words who you are? How would you describe yourself.

So tell us, Sonia: What inspires you most? What motivates you to get up every morning?

My children and my clients. I work with 4-8 clients a day and the thought that I might be able to make a small difference in someone’s life is truly motivating.

What is it that you feel that you teach others through how you act/show up each day?

I feel that I teach others to live their lives truthfully and fearlessly. People may not like you all the time but if they respect you, you are doing a decent job. Being a person of your word is also something I hope I teach others.

What is one change you’d like to see in the world?

Less greed.

Which of your contributions to date have given you the greatest sense of pride?

If you know a leader we should feature please invite her to share her story with us here.