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Mama Buzz Interview

I was interviewed by Calgary Alberta's MamaBuzz and was featured for their Mother's Day 2021 post. If you're a fellow Mama, give them a visit!

1. Tell us about yourself (background, kids, family)

I am a mama of two. I am originally from Winnipeg Manitoba and have been living in Alberta since 2008.

2. Why Affinity Academy?

Affinity Academy was my husband's dream that I helped make into a reality. It was a lot of work, but we persevered and decided it was the right time to open a business on something we are both passionate about.

3. What brought you into teaching Ju-jitsu? Tell us about your journey.

Jiu Jitsu was not something that I grew up knowing about. My husband Andell introduced it to me and encouraged me to teach other people in order to learn more about my strengths. I started BJJ in 2013 after a very dramatic birthing experience four months prior. I used BJJ as my little escape from motherhood, and I say this without any guilt. It was what I needed to feel like myself again, although I quickly learned about a different side of me that I did not know I possessed.

4. What are some of the challenges that you typically face with a business model that is male-dominated and unique for women?

For the most part my experience has been positive. There were times that I can recall where a male preferred speaking to another male in charge rather than having me answer their questions. These instances are not very common, although they are hurtful when they do occur. Most people are a bit in awe when they learn that I have been training for quite some time and outrank them. It's always funny to see their reaction, however it can be a bit tiresome. I hope that diversity in BJJ community in Calgary can be normalized.

5. What specific strategies do you use to balance your schedule as a mom, a coach, and a business owner?

There are no strategies and there is no balance! I have learned this through experience that no matter how hard you try, you will never achieve the right amount of balance. My husband and I co-parent, and that makes it a hell of a lot easier. A lot of women are faced with the burden of doing it all alone, however one of the biggest lessons we learned from owning and running a business together is teamwork.

6. Leave us a message to all Moms who are searching for inspiration or simply those who struggle in finding their passion and balancing it with motherhood.

To all the mama's out there who are bombarded with diapers, 20, 000 snacks, and are holed up in the bathroom trying to eat a chocolate bar, I feel you. I. FEEL. YOU. I've been there and it's exhausting! Find a day and time for yourself (our Women's BJJ class is at 6:30 2x/week which is the PERFECT time to throw the kids at your partner and skip off to BJJ to choke another person out) that you will commit to. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of doing so, so as an alternative, always ask for help and reach out for support if it's not feasible.

This interview was originally intended for MamaBuzz of Calgary Alberta Canada. For more inspirational stories, please click HERE or visit



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Zenab! I hope you enjoy reading about my musings in the world of entrepreneurship as I navigate reaching my Jiu Jitsu goals while helping other women achieve theirs. 

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