Making a Difference, with Karina Hayat – TPW228
Published February 6, 2019
43 min
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    Karina Hayat shares how she makes time for making a difference through focusing on her professional and personal priorities.

    Making a difference at work and in the world

    Karina Hayat is based in Vancouver, BC, where she is the president of a healthcare firm and a philanthropist dedicated to important causes and organizations such as 100 Meals a Week, and SHeAccelerates, a mentoring initiative focused on aspiring and early female entrepreneurs. She’s also a wife and a mom of 3.

    Karina met her husband when they were kids. They started a business together in college. They initially started out as an e-commerce platform for natural products which evolved into a health media firm that caters to pharmacies and medical equipment providers across North America. Their goal is to help those with chronic conditions by connecting them to health care services at the point of need, thereby reducing the time it takes to get access to medication or healthcare services.

    Karina and her husband are committed to the pursuit of purpose, so they do everything with the intention of helping someone else and leave a positive mark in another's life, whether that's through business or personal relationships.

    Running a business with her husband

    Karina says working with her husband works for three reasons:

    * They are best friends. They have a pact of honesty in their relationship and in their business that states each person will let the other know if one is not carrying their weight. This has worked for them well because they are able to give each other constructive criticism, and they make sure to act upon these observations.
    * They have a very strict boundary between work and home. It is a huge rule in the Hayat household to separate time in the office and in the home and to be present when they are with the kids. This doesn't happen all the time, but their children will act as referees and tell them when they start to talk about work-related topics.
    * They work off of each other's strengths. Karina's strengths are in the written and verbal parts of the business and her husband's strength is strategy, so they collaborate with one another. When neither has a strength in a certain aspect, that's where they will hire it out.

    Giving back

    Outside of work, Karina and her husband are passionate about supporting certain causes and initiatives, such as the 100 meals a Week program. In 2006, they were invited to come out to one of the local malls during Ramadan to distribute food in Skid Row, and they saw how impactful it was. When they asked how often this event took place, they were told once a year. Knowing that people are hungry every day, she and her husband decided to do it every weekend and committed to doing this for their entire lifetime. In the winter months, they also drive around looking for people who are in need and distribute blankets and clothing. The two of them started this initiative, but they also invited family members and staff to participate. They also bring their kids along often so they can see the impact this effort has on other people.

    Starting in early 2018, Karina was able to block off Fridays to be dedicated to volunteer activities. She uses that time to prepare for 100 Meals a Week and other volunteer efforts, including a mentoring initiative called SHeAccelerates.  Through SHeAccelerates, Karina helps women who are new or aspiring entrepreneurs by coaching and mentoring them. Karina takes on about two mentees on a yearly basis. It can be a meeting over a cup of coffee, a request to look over their business plan, or even an inquiry to invest in their business. It was done informally until recently, but for the past few months she's been collaborating with another woman ...
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