Fort McMurray, AB (July 18, 2022) — Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Bouchier are excited to announce the second Woman of Inspiration of the 2022-2023 series.
Entrepreneur and advocate for our region, Surekha Kanzig has been selected by the Women of Inspiration Committee for her leadership and initiative to take bold risks.
Kanzig is known as the owner of Surekha’s on the Snye. Before taking the leap into the restaurant business, she was known as a mother and a mentor.
While working for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in the 1980s and 2000s, Kanzig was raising her four children on her own while studying at the University of Alberta. She would work late into the evening, come home to her children, and once they went to sleep she would study.
As one of the only women of colour in municipal government, Kanzig took the challenges she faced with stride and used them to learn and prove to herself and others that she could do anything she put her mind to. She believes in standing up for what is right, even when it is not easy.
“It’s up to everyone individually to learn how to learn. To be a continuous learner and to teach yourself what you need to know to get ahead in life. Ahead is everyone’s own definition of what that is. You can expect other people to do things for you all the time and you can’t expect other people to teach you all the time,” says Kanzig, second Woman of Inspiration of the 2022-2023 series.
Kanzig truly believes in the potential of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, which is why she opened Surekha’s on the Snye. She made the decision without much support and without any significant experience in the restaurant industry, all because she wanted to take the chance to show the world the potential of our community while also providing something to enjoy and be proud of.
“It’s land where Indigenous people in the past have had ceremonies and important gatherings. If you’re in tune to that you can feel the energy in the land. You can feel the positive energy in the restaurant. I decorated the place, but that’s just stuff. I can’t take credit for how the energy feels in the place”
She took the bold risk to create a space where the community could make memories and celebrate, all before Clearwater Drive was even complete. She says the decision wasn’t made just to prove to herself and her family that she could do it, but because she believes in herself and that the universe only has good intentions for us and to trust that everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to.
Through the restaurant, Kanzig has been able to support our community in many ways. While in-person dining was restricted due to COVID-19 health guidelines, she offered the space to local businesses free of charge. Dozens of businesses were able to showcase their products and build connections and clientele. This initiative created a domino effect, as businesses who used the restaurant space and have since opened up their own storefronts now support other local businesses by doing the same thing.
She also supports local non-profit organizations like Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta, partnering with other businesses/entrepreneurs and hosting fundraisers like the recent Salsa Fundraiser for Ukraine.
Kanzig will join four other Women of Inspiration to be honoured in March 2023.
The application deadline for the third Woman of Inspiration of 2022-2023 is August 30, 2022. The nomination form can be found on our website.
About Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta (Girls Inc.) inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Our comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Since 2004, Girls Inc. has been operating on the lands of Treaty 8 territory, the traditional meeting ground, gathering place, travelling route and home of the Cree, Dene and Métis people for thousands of years. In 2021, Girls Inc. was able to connect with over 1,566 girls from Conklin to Fort Chipewyan. The girls-only, physically and emotionally safe environment where girls discover their strengths, find their voice and become agents of change.