Vicky Martins

Born in 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina; graduated  from the Faculty of Languages, National University of Córdoba in Argentina with a degree in English Language and Literature; Masters in International Education and Policy at Harvard University; immigrated to Ottawa, Canada in 2004; currently a Policy Analyst with the Canadian Federal Government at Employment and Social Development Canada

What experiences have shaped you as a woman?

I have been very fortunate to have excellent women role models in my life. Strong, loving, grounded and dedicated women whose life shaped the person I have become. At the centre of them all is my mother whose number one priority has always been her family. Today at 88 she remains a beacon to so many, starting with her six children, thirteen grandchildren and very large extended family and network of friends. I could easily add my grandmothers, my sister and several women who I have been very lucky to encounter throughout my life, during my schooling, university years and as a professional. My parents instilled in us very clear values that honoured respect, integrity and love for others. These were not only words, they were actions that they purposefully lived daily. When I encountered Schoenstatt early in my life, I was 8 years old, it was no surpise that so many aspects of what the Movement stands for and thrives to instill in its members resonated with me. There was no effort in recognizing Mary as my natural companion and allied for life. I had experienced her love in so many ways that the challenge of bringing her to the various environments I moved about seemed like the right and natural thing to do. I was raised with total freedom to choose and decide at each stage in my life. No doubt it helped being the youngest and having a ‘determined’ personality.

Where in your life have you experienced God?

I can fortunately say I have experienced a personal loving God at various stages in my life since I was young. I can also say I have experienced a God who at times chose to hide and seemed absent or distracted. Though I can’t deny His presence is constant, we sometimes play hide and seek. I also can’t deny I have always felt a favourite of His. That is just the way it was set up to be.

All major decisions in my life were thought through as well as reflected and prayed upon extensively. At these crossroads I felt heard and was often granted important signs that reassured me one way or another. Signs sometimes came in the form of conversations with important people in my life, things I read, or people I encountered ‘unexpectedly.’ It is also true that at these moments I wouldn’t let go of Him and pretty much demanded He acted. Well, that is the relationship we have always had.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

Women are asked to be so much, for so many, at all stages of their life. These demands are sometimes self-imposed in order to be accepted or respected; other times imposed by society or by their immediate surrounding. The truth is that when one covers too many bases, some will suffer. There is no way quality can be kept on all fronts. Something has to give. Often times, nowadays, it is the family, the children and women’s personal health. Many women are stretched thin between what society demands from them and what they themselves would like to do and accomplish.

What do you want to change through your life in this world?

The world needs more understanding, more compassion, more arms that embrace and less judgement. These qualities are inherent in women. Women are more capable of empathy. Decision-making tables in all sectors of society need more women contributing their uniqueness and approach to problem-solving. From an early stage in life I have taken this on. I have embraced every opportunity to bring the voice of women and the least heard to decision-making tables. As a university student, as a young professional in Argentina and now in Canada, in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors as well as in the political world. Today as a policy analyst in the Canadian Federal Government.