Discovering Identity Through Vocation

Discovering Identity Through Vocation

The journey to professional confidence with attorney Dena Givari.

by Alexia Paul

Dena Givari was only nine months old when her mother relocated her and her sisters to France, leaving her dad to work as an attorney in Iran. For the next seven years, the family traveled back and forth between two worlds—both of which were fixated on the female form, though from utterly opposing perspectives.  Driving to the airport as a child, Dena recalls billboards featuring beautiful, sexy, semi-clad women selling French lingerie. Hours later in Tehran, female flesh on public display was an abomination, punishable under law. Being exposed to various forms of these fixations, Dena remembers, “My mom worked really hard to make us understand that whatever attributes a society associates with our gender, those do not limit our inherent potential for success.” 

Holding these two realities simultaneously in her young mind was confusing and unsettling.  For Dena, early childhood was a bewildering cultural whiplash. “The struggle for me was the constant shifting and trying to make sense of the world around me and trying to find my place in it. It wasn’t until my teens that I started to feel like I identified with a society. I feel more Canadian than anything else.”  

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