Words by Fatima Lee Garsi
Photography by James Ip
Meet Reema Rafay:
Reema Rafay is a business beast! I was first intrigued by Reema several years ago when she added me to an annoying FaceBook group about body transformations. I suppose I get annoyed with anyone who adds me to any group! Reema however, impressed me with her persistence, genuine personality, and beautiful energy. I wanted a piece of that lightness and joy that she carried with her…I know I definitely have a long way to go!
Reema’s passion is about making others feel good, look better, and do better. She’s the National Vice President and an Independent Consultant with Arbonne – a global nutrition and personal care product company.
I suppose I’m also an Independent Consultant for Arbonne…but the cult-like SUPER EXCITED and URGENT energy to sell and thrive is just not for me. But…I love their stuff. More on this later! 😉
It’s very clear that Reema draws immense inspiration from her late father who in her words, “loved me too much.” In her adolescent years, she was able to see herself through his lens of compassion and goodness, which helped her combat years of getting beaten up and bullied for being the “brown girl.”
What I learned:
Positive affirmations are life-changing.
Talking to Reema reminded me of the importance of positive affirmations, especially if you’re someone who has experienced bullying. When Reema was bullied, she immersed herself in positivity. She would stand in front of the mirror and list several positive affirmations, especially in relation to her physical appearance. Things like “you are beautiful. You are loved. You are pure.” She read positive books and surrounded herself with positive people to re-calibrate her psychological state and spirit.
Be persistent and respond with positivity.
As an entrepreneur, you must be persistent and know that people will say “no” to you on a regular basis. Don’t take it personally. Understand that it’s part of the process and always respond positively, professionally, and courteously. It will help build your reputation and foster good relationships.
Love yourself, connect with your identity, and develop a thick skin.
This one is definitely easier said than done but is the most important. When you accept yourself and your identity, you will attract the right people to you. Positive people attract positive people.
Why is Reema a leader?
Reema has been an active high-achiever from a young age. When she was just 23, she started a recruiting firm and grew it into a multi-million dollar company in just two years. She was featured in Maclean’s magazine when she was 25 as part of 100 young Canadians to watch under 30. She is goal and results oriented and knows how to lead a team.
She guides and leads. As National Vice President and Independant Consultant at Arbonne, she has a “nation” of other Independent Consultants. She serves as their mentor and guides them to achieve their own success.
Reema is very in-tune with her Muslim as well as South Asian identity. She accomplished a major feat within Arbonne by getting their products Halal certified! I consider this major because it shifts Arbonne’s identity away from the happy, jumping white lady and more towards an inclusive and diverse company. This initiative took a lot of persistence, education, and time…certainly not an easy feat.
Reema is unwavering in her belief in herself to do good. She is an excellent public speaker and speaks openly and candidly about her weight-loss journey, overcoming hardship and heartache (the loss of her father), and the challenges of working in the Muslim community. She’s very direct in her communication and motivates countless other Muslim and non-Muslim women to become financially independent and confident in their identity.
I simply love talking to Reema because she always makes me feel so good…and hey, she turned ME into an Arbonne Lady…more on this later :).
Watch FLG’s interview with Reema Rafay on YouTube or listen on-the-go on The Leadership Identity Podcast available on Spreaker, Spotify, and iTunes!