Vanessa Vakharia: Founder of The Math Guru

Republished with permission from Be The Next Her an Evio Community Partner

Vanessa Vakharia, Founder, The Math Guru.jpg

Vanessa is the founder of The Math Guru, a program that provides a space for students to look at math & science from a different perspective.

What is your morning routine?

My fave morning routine doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but when it does, I’m guaranteed to have the best day ever! I like to wake up at 6ish, sip a chaga, do a quick meditation and journal sesh, and then go for a run or spin class!

Tell us about your career path

Oh wow – where do I even start?! Technically speaking, I am the founder and CEO of a super cool boutique math & science tutoring studio called The Math Guru. My goal is to change the way education (especially math & science education!) is stigmatized for women, and to create a culture when women see math & science as fields that they can identify with, not fields that seem to be in total opposition with what they live and stand for! My career path? Well, it’s a winding road with many forks, each of them poking into something delicious and often surprising! I started in a marketing program which led to a graphic design diploma which led me to teacher’s college and then to a Masters in Math Education! Along the way I started a rock band (Goodnight, Sunrise) which is basically my second job, AND started The Math Guru! Most recently I opened Canada’s first ever pop-up study lounge called XAM! What’s next? Who knows! Bring it on!

What challenges do you or women face in your industry?

A ton! There have been so many initiatives lately that have shed light on the discrimination that women face in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) and that is so so awesome! Historically speaking, women have had to face so much adversity that it’s hard to even start to talk about it. My main focus is on how the media influences culture. Mass media really does tell us that women are ‘supposed’ to pick beauty over brains and that it’s ‘impossible’ to be both smart AND feminine. I mean, have you ever seen a movie where the cheerleader is ALSO smart? Doesn’t exist! Until popular media starts changing its messaging, women will continue to have an uphill battle when it comes to feeling like they CAN be both smart AND simply themselves! Thanks to initiatives like “Be the next her” though, I think we’re really starting to spread the word that intelligence and beauty and straight up badass-ness don’t have to be mutually exclusive!

What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?

Be the next me?! You should be the next YOU – no one has EVER done it before! Oh, and decide RIGHT now to make failure your greatest friend and wisest teacher – best decision I ever made!

How do you separate work life from your personal life?

It’s pretty hard, and actually, I don’t think that I do! My work truly is a part of me and a core aspect of my value system, so I don’t even try to separate them. I think that the two inform one another, and that’s what makes me passionate and gives me purpose!

What inspires you?

Happy people, oceans (any body of water, really!), music, reading, writing, running, flowers

When you’re off the clock, what are your indulgences?

Yummy food (esp. charcuterie – I’m obsessed!), rom coms, way-too-expensive cold pressed juices (WHY are they SO EXPENSIVE?!?!).