Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, the multi-talented human resources professional, Tierra Madani, HR Manager for Vancouver Island Brewing. Originally from the beautiful island of Molokai in Hawaii, Tierra is proudly instilled with the personable spirit of ‘aloha’. Essentially raised within the Tourism & Hospitality Industry, she is naturally outgoing and service-oriented with a strong work ethic and a ‘can do’ personality. Tierra is currently pursuing her professional designation to be a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR). With 10+ years of experience in providing excellent service to customers, clients and stakeholders, she truly enjoys finding innovative ways to create a positive and engaging work environment for coworkers at all levels within an organization. Tierra moved to BC to attend UBC when she was 18 and knew absolutely no one (no family or friends) and spent the course of 6 years in school and building a vibrant community in multiple aspects of her life (work, extracurricular, fitness and volunteership). When Vancouver grew too big for this Island Girl, she moved to Victoria, the place she has called home since January 2014. Highly career focused, Tierra was eager to learn as much as she could about the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as, hone and develop her expertise within the HR field. In less than 3 years she found her dream job as HR Manager for Vancouver Island Brewing. Tierra recently won the 2018 HR Rising Star award for CPHR BC & Yukon and has welcomed opportunities to share and inspire others while giving back to the community that has supported her career growth over the years. If all that isn’t enough, she is also a Zumba Dance Fitness instructor and leads 3 classes a week outside of her full time job!
What makes you a Girl Warrior?
My initial thought of what makes a true warrior comes from my upbringings in Hawaii, where a warrior is seen as disciplined, respectful, and powerful. The ancient Hawaiian warriors were masters of the ancient art of Lua, which was not only a martial art, but a way of thinking, being and also healing. I see a Girl Warrior as just that; a powerful entity built by life’s challenges (big and small) and a catalyst for using that power for good by making a difference. I believe my life experiences and the way I’ve translated them thus far to share and support others makes me a budding Girl Warrior.
What’s your fondest memory of growing up on the Hawaiian island of Molokai?
There is no better moment than being blissfully in the sand sitting by crystal clear waters after accomplishing something great! My fondest memory is one of the most beautiful Hawaiian summer days I’ve ever experienced, and it was after I graduated high school. My best friends and I raced straight to the beach on our last day and were sun kissed for weeks.
You moved to BC when you were 18 to study at UBC. That must have been a big adjustment. How did you tackle life in the big city?
It helps being an extrovert and socialite! During my first 2 weeks of school, I added 200 contacts to my phone and have stayed good friends with many of my first year comrades even 10 years later. New city, new cultures, and new places to explore…I was in heaven and took it all in stride. The move did of course come with its challenges, but I leaned on my new and existing support group to help me through!
What brought you back to “the island” and Victoria?
After the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, I noticed Vancouver started to change and people stopped looking each other in the eye. It was a signal and a sense of what the ‘new’ Vancouver was becoming, and it had me craving my island lifestyle once again. Hawaii is a great place to grow up and grow old, but in between you have to get out and explore the world, so naturally going back so soon was not a priority for me. I wanted to continue exploring and so this sense of adventure lead me to Vancouver Island where I’ve lived in Victoria for 4 years. I’ve since built a community surrounding my work, volunteership, and fitness groups which have made me feel absolutely at home.
How did it feel to land your “dream job”? What’s the best thing about working at VIB?
Simply put, I went for it! At the time, I was finding myself in jobs that were slowly getting me to where I wanted to be but I continued to outgrow my roles very quickly. When the job at the brewery was posted, I thought the posting was made for me and so I took a leap of faith even though my confidence was not quite there yet.
Most would think the best part of working at a brewery is all the free beer – and I will admit this is an excellent perk! But my favorite part about working at Vancouver Island Brewing is the team I’m part of. Us Islanders are a mix of beer nerds, community ambassadors, creatives, and visionaries. I am blessed to work with this incredible team!
You recently won the 2018 HR Rising Star award for CPHR BC & Yukon. Congratulations! How has winning this award changed your life – personally and professionally?
It has been an absolute honor to be recognized along with the incredibly inspiring past award winners. I am more motivated than ever to share and inspire others with my story and have embraced and sought out opportunities to give back to my community. I am blessed to be given this opportunity and I want to continue to encourage others to recognize superstars in their professional or personal life. We learn from each other and the best way to do that is to be given (and to give) the opportunity to share stories, lessons, and ideas.
What has Zumba taught you about yourself?
I’ve always been told I have a bright and positive personality and energy, but I never truly valued this about myself as a means of sharing positivity with others until I decided to be a Zumba instructor. We all have challenges in our life, especially in regards to finding balance with our health and wellness, and there are numerous ways to de-stress and find your balance again. Zumba Dance Fitness was my outlet and when I was encouraged to become an instructor and to share that passion with others, well simply put I was hooked!
Your younger sister suffered a spontaneous stroke that almost took her life. Tell us about your special bond and your role as caregiver. What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles that you’ve overcome?
You never realize how resilient we are as human beings until you’ve been faced with something that could potentially change your life or the life of a loved one forever. I think it’s that reminder of how fragile and short life is that really puts things into perspective, and that’s exactly what happened when my family and I were called to support one another during our biggest challenge yet. Not being physically there with my family on a day to day basis as my sister recovers has been difficult, but I am proud for all that she has accomplished to overcome physical and emotional challenges to get to where she is today. I’ve always assumed the natural caregiver role as a big sister to my 2 younger sisters and as a daughter and great friend to my mom. This challenge has proven that our family unit of 4 Girl Warriors can fight through anything together!
What do we need to know “for sure” about resilience and thriving through difficult times?
2018 was the most challenging and obstacle-filled year of my life thus far, and I can honestly say if it weren’t for the advice of my friends, family, and community, I would be in a very different state of mind today. I was told many times to remember to take care of myself. As a natural caregiver, I have a tendency to forget that very important piece. So if there is one thing we need to know ‘for sure’ is to ensure we are caring for ourselves (if not more than) as much as we are caring for others. That is the only way we can truly rise above our challenges is to allow ourselves time to heal and recover while practicing self-care and self-love.
What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?
We don’t have all the answers and sometimes we never will. There is no rulebook and this is something I wish I heard more when I was younger, but life has an interesting way of teaching you this as you get older.
What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?
Stay true to yourself by always being authentic. People and experiences will try to take things away from you and alter your perception for the negative, but you need to always remember that your journey is just that, YOURS. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow in stride.
Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?
My best girlfriends who I call family are my biggest heroes. I have made the strongest connections with the most independent women that I could only aspire to be, but together we continue to motivate and give confidence to each other when times are tough. I love surrounding myself with different perspectives but we all share the confidence to persevere and always stay positive through life’s ups and downs. Here’s to my girls…you know who you are!
I’m hoping for some more yin to my yang in 2019. It has been a rough 2018 so beyond having an exceptional New Years party to ring in a new and exciting year, I’m hoping to take the lessons I’ve learned from 2018 and create resolutions that continue to promote positivity for myself and those around me. Champagne anyone?!
Blue sky it. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m a mother and a loving partner with an unchecked list of places to travel and explore.
What makes you laugh uncontrollably? Cry out all the tears?
Sarcasm; because I may be one of the most gullible people you’ve ever met. Our brewers sure have fun with this little known fact. Even bad dad jokes get me cracking up!
What has been your biggest disappointment/triumph?
Losing myself in bad relationships. Whether its with a partner or a close friend, I’ve made choices to be in relationships that have not brought out the best in me. I’m learning how to be more honest with myself and how to see the warning signs when I’m heading off track.
If a Bioflick were written about your life, what would it be called?
My mom put a lot of effort into choosing the right name for me, and so I would call it my first and middle name “Tierra Felicia” which translated in Spanish means ‘happy earth’.
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