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Ep. 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Ophthalmologist

By August 7, 2019July 26th, 2023No Comments

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Episode #125 with Kay Peacy from Slick Business

Episode #124 with Marc Toews from Gateway Web AR

Episode #123 with Sherry Pratt from Sherry Pratt Health Coaching

Episode #122 with Aaron Strauss from Cache Tactical Supply

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Episode #110 with Quinn Nikulak from Kustom Kitties Canada

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Episode #106 with Ann Corcoran

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

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Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

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Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

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Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

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Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

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Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

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Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

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Dr. Renatta Varma, our guest today for Women in Leadership on the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, is the first and only woman vitreo-retinal surgeon in Saskatchewan and one of only four female vitreo-retinal surgeons in Canada.

Her episode will be anything but dry-eye’d; you will be amazed by her passion for building community and learning where she invests her time.


Barb McGrath 0:00
Welcome to another episode in our series women in leadership on the Secret Life of entrepreneurs. You’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner, marketing guru and founder of the get found on Google program. I’m talking again to a leader in the business community who’s making a positive impact on our community, on our citizens in the workplace and on her stakeholders. So we’re going to hear from Dr. Renatta Varma. Today, she’s going to tell us her secrets about what makes her tick. What keeps her going, because this woman works constantly, and what helped her become successful. So let’s get started. Renatta, welcome.

Dr. Renatta Varma 0:46
Thank you for being here for having me.

Barb McGrath 0:47
Congratulations on your award with the YWCA of Regina health advocacy, correct? Yes, yeah. So tell me a little bit about that award. What? What is that award all about? What does that mean to you?

Dr. Renatta Varma 1:01
Well, it’s the Regina YWCA women of distinction award. And my category, as you mentioned, was health advocacy. So I’m a ophthalmologist here in Regina, the only female Medina and I’m what’s called a vitreoretinal. Surgeon

Barb McGrath 1:19
There, she said, for me, I did not just say it now.

Dr. Renatta Varma 1:23
That’s a mouthful.

So what that means is I repair retinal diseases like retinal detachments from diabetic retinal problems. So wide range of retinal disorders. So I’m one of at the time that I completed my fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery, I think they were about 130 male vitreoretinal surgeons in Canada, and at the time, there was two other practicing females. Okay. I think there are two more now, one or two more now. So four of us maybe, wow, so it’s a heavily male dominated field.

Barb McGrath 2:01
Why do you think that is any ideas?

Dr. Renatta Varma 2:03
Um, you know, my opinion on that has changed drastically over the years. So I think when I started medicine, and I started going to the mall, Jay would have said it was surgical specialties that are still very much, some of them are very much boys clubs. Okay, so there’s males, male dominated, and males are controlling the entrance process. Now that I am a retinal surgeon, I think there’s a little bit of that and there’s a maybe women are smarter than me. And they knew why not to do this special because it’s a very difficult lifestyle specialty. And it’s a very difficult specialty to maintain a balanced life with and a family with. So I think probably part of it is that it’s traditionally male dominated and remains that way. But a large part of it is that

Barb McGrath 2:57
Okay, so tell me a little bit about the lifestyle because when I think of ophthalmology and family doctor, I mean, it tends to be in the office, Monday to Friday, nine to five, and of course, there’s hospital and things like that. Tell us a little bit about what puts the demand on you.

Dr. Renatta Varma 3:15
Well, um, so I think ophthalmology in general is a much busier specialty than people recognize, I think, I’m sure it is or eye diseases are extremely common. There’s a, there’s a very few ophthalmologists compared to the number of patients that need care. Perhaps I think that’s one issue. The other issue is eyes are something that everybody fears of losing their vision. Yes, after losing their life, I think that’s the scariest thing for people possibility of losing their vision. So from a patient perspective, every little thing that goes wrong with an emergency so it makes our days very busy and it’s hard to decipher from somebody symptoms of blurred vision, whether that’s urgent or not urgent. So I think a lot of it is the panic that is associated with the potential for vision loss, okay. In terms of mice specialty in particular, I deal with retinal detachments and they come unpredictably and they come in quite quickly and they need surgical repair, usually within 48 hours, so, evenings are very busy and our days are very interrupted and very long. So we see a lot of patients in the day. A lot of what we do we treat macular degeneration and patients are treated with monthly injections, whether there’s room for them or not, they need to be seen as Okay, no matter how many patients you’re seeing that date, you have to make it work. Yeah, so it’s the days are very, very heavy very long and and evenings can be busy.

Barb McGrath 4:49
So and just from our conversation earlier, you have children as well. So how many children do you have?

Dr. Renatta Varma 4:56
I have three children and how old are they No. five year old girl and I have many, eight and 10 year olds It’s okay. To wrap in bunches. I was a Well, yes, very busy household and they’re involved in a lot of activities. Mm hmm.

Barb McGrath 5:09
Sports music culture, what what direction? Do they leave all of all of it? And all in different directions. Right.

Dr. Renatta Varma 5:16
You know, they all are in all directions. Yeah, yeah. So I was very active as a child. My mom is a very different person and but it signed us up for absolutely every everything Ukrainian dance Hawaiian dance, like you name it. We did it was appropriate or not?

Barb McGrath 5:33
Yeah, you got a chance to try everything.

Dr. Renatta Varma 5:35
Yeah. So sports, music, everything. So I’ve taken a bit of her personality and my kids are in way too much. If you ask my husband,

Barb McGrath 5:43
That’s exactly. So do you guys share that then when the kids have to go in multiple directions?

Dr. Renatta Varma 5:48
Yeah, we, I tend to do the morning stuff, though. Okay early and do everything in the morning because he gets a certain time. I my end of my day is very unpredictable. So he’s the one who has to leave work at a certain time and catch up to that activity.

Barb McGrath 6:03
Yeah, we used to do almost that exact same thing. I would look after mornings he would look after afternoons kind of thing. Yeah. And it worked. My husband very seldom traveled. But a few weeks ago, he had to, and I kid you not. We have two kids. They had four activities in one night, and in completely different directions. So I looked at the calendar, and I was like, how can I like you most birds with one stone because there’s like one parent, I can’t get them in two different places. So I said, Well, if we all go to baseball, at least you’ll be in the same Park, two different diamonds, both doing an activity. There you go. Just go back and forth. Right?

Dr. Renatta Varma 6:42
We do a lot of that wise and figure out where to go and what to give up. Mm hmm. They’re still young enough that we can miss things. And

Barb McGrath 6:49
Yes, exactly has has, have any of your kids sort of started to gravitate to a specific activity or

Dr. Renatta Varma 6:56
Yet my oldest is in is a very good soccer player. So okay, he’s kind of leaning that way. And they actually have their royal conservatory violin exam today. Ah, one is the musician, artist kind of cake. And the little one is just crazy.

Barb McGrath 7:13
So five, it’s allowed, right? Yeah.

Dr. Renatta Varma 7:16
He’s all over the place. They will see with two older brothers. She’s just trying to survive.

Barb McGrath 7:20
Yeah, yeah. But she’s gonna have two brothers to kind of look out for so you know, that’s a good thing. Yeah.

Dr. Renatta Varma 7:27
They’re making her tough. That’s for sure.

Barb McGrath 7:30
Right now they get to pick on her and as soon as someone else does in a few years, right, they’ll be they’ll be right in there to defend her for sure. Good. All right. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the women of distinction and the YWCA award. Did you know that you had been nominated?

Dr. Renatta Varma 7:47
Yes, the nominee has to tell the purse. Oh, they do? Yeah. Okay. You have to be a part of the process. Okay. I didn’t know I was nominated. Yes. I was surprised that I was nominated and pleasantly surprised by that. Yeah.

Barb McGrath 8:01
Okay. And so tell me like, how can you now use that award to help you further some of the things that you’re doing in the community? Because I know you’re very active between your culture involvement and the street film festival? Was it? Yes. So tell me a little bit about you know, how you can put those pieces together?

Dr. Renatta Varma 8:22
Well, I think the the whole experience was great with the YWCA and the event. And I think for one thing, it was a real eye opener as to what other people are doing and the amazing things other women in Region. Yes, certainly learned a lot from the evening and was lucky the story’s very inspiring. So yeah, I think it’s sometimes it gets a little bit discouraging doing all these things, and wondering, what am I doing all this for? And was it really benefiting? And I think it was, it’s a good reassurance to know that people do appreciate these things, and they are necessary in the community and just people who are doing more hands, no matter how much you do. There’s lots of people doing more than it’s kind of gives you the inspiration to keep going to keep throwing things in different areas. And it also brought up a lot of awareness of how much need there is for you know, I think it’ll be useful to me personally that way and just increasing my awareness. You meet a lot of other people who are interested in difference and
have bored, expensive experiences. Gives you other contacts and other ideas.

Barb McGrath 9:40
One of the things that I found most interesting when I was preparing for our series on women in leadership was reading each of the biographies and really getting to know you know a little bit about each of the first it was nominees and then the award winners and honestly, I was dumbfounded by the work that some of these winners are doing. like yourself, I don’t know where you sleep. Or when usually nevermind, where but when you sleep. Right, right, and I suppose it goes back to medical school, right? He didn’t need sleep then. So I hack What do we need sleep for now?

Dr. Renatta Varma 10:15
Yeah, it’s a I know, there’s there’s a lot of things in life that I want to do is pick your priorities and sometimes sleep.

Barb McGrath 10:24
As long as coffee. Yes, we’re all good Tim Hortons to actually go? Yes. So let’s talk a little bit about that. What keeps you going? What, what motivates you to continue to do more? That’s a tough question. Um, or is it really just we’ve become, you know, bigger and slipped.

Dr. Renatta Varma 10:41
My mind was this way to be very, okay. I don’t really know any minute I was very little i. So I never had a we had a nanny briefly. But I actually went to work with my mom, and my mom was a family. Okay, I don’t know if I should be saying this publicly. But all her patients you I used to hide under the desk. Well, my mom saw. Oh, wow.

Barb McGrath 11:03
Okay. I’ve heard stories like that before. So that’s not the first but

Dr. Renatta Varma 11:06
I even have patients that I see now. And they’ll ask me, Was I the one who is under the desk? 

Barb McGrath 11:13
Oh, yeah, I suppose because your mom’s patients could be? Wow.

Dr. Renatta Varma 11:17
So I mean, we used to go to house calls with her. And my mom was an extremely community involved persons who’s very involved with her patients, and they had problems they would often come to our house and in our lives, stay with us. Oh, yeah. So she just, she kind of gets right into everything that she does. He was like that with us with, with our East Indian community. We were, I was very involved with the depths, and all the cultural programs, which there are a lot of, yes. Ambassador for mosaic. Just just very involved since I was a kid. So to be honest, I really didn’t even know any different. I just thought that’s right.

Barb McGrath 12:01
This is what everyone does.

Dr. Renatta Varma 12:02
Every Yeah, you did this. My family did this. I didn’t. When I had kids, they were signed up and everything. And until my husband pointed out that this was abnormal. Yeah, it’s just second nature. And I think my life would be empty. I’m not a person.

Barb McGrath 12:27
Right, exactly. You know, and it’s unfortunate, because there are so often we see kids sports teams, they’re just crying for parent volunteers. And I don’t know if we’ve all put ourselves in a situation where we just feel busier now, or are we genuinely busier? Or are we just less likely to, you know, put our hand up and volunteer in the community? And it’s, it’s tough because a lot of those kids activities really rely on parent volunteers. Right. So yeah, that makes it much more difficult. Okay, so one of the questions I asked all of my guests is, you know, tell me about that typical day, how do you manage the kids manage the appointments and then possibly in emergency surgery? it tell me like, how do you make all these pieces come together?

Dr. Renatta Varma 13:14
Well, I think for me, the key to my success has been very, very good. group of support staff and family, friends, everything I have, in my office, I have a lot more staff than most physicians, okay, who work for me, most of them full time, some of them part time. But I have an office manager who is basically an extension of me. So she reads all my emails, she goes through all my messages on my phone, she organizes my day, she texts my husband on my behalf, stuff that would pick up my children, so so she’s the one who kind of keeps track of everything I do, and make sure that I go to the right place at the right time. Right.

Barb McGrath 13:59
So she got you here today, here, thank you to her.

Dr. Renatta Varma 14:04
So and I have many people in my life that I rely on might not be able to do all the things.

Barb McGrath 14:12
One of the things that you said to me when we were just chatting ahead of time was you never saw yourself as a leader. It was just something that that happened. hearing you talk about surrounding yourself with good people and hard workers, that is leadership. That is the ultimate definition of leadership is surrounding you with those people that you’re trying to build them up. It’s not about leading them or getting to a destination, but it’s about building people so that they can become the best their best selves. Right. And that’s when I hear you saying, especially thinking about your office manager, I mean, like she is somebody who you know, she is in 110%. And so often we don’t see that in the workplace. Yeah, right. There’s somebody coming in doing the job, right and then leaving again the end of the day. So kudos to you that is absolute leadership. Yes. So what’s next? What’s what? What projects come next?

Dr. Renatta Varma 15:09
You know, I, to be honest, I just tried to survive day to day. I don’t think very far. I have a lot on my plate. I don’t know, if there is a next for me, I’m involved in some things that I want to be involved in forever. So I’m very actively involved with region International Film Festival, which is something that’s been around for about three years, and I’m a board member and the principal sponsor of it. So, okay. It’s something I’m very passionate about. A little out in left field from

Barb McGrath 15:39
Yeah, so how did that how did that relationship evolve?

Dr. Renatta Varma 15:43
I have to be honest with you It probably I like the whole idea of Oscars and you know, dressing up, okay, hold that side of film and the Cannes Film Festival and that sort of thing. And when I heard there was a film festival in Regina, I heard about this gala that they were having. So I said, I want to be a part of that. Can I sponsor it? And my friend was on the board. And she said, Of course you can.

Barb McGrath 16:05
Nonprofit, you don’t say no to sponsorship. I didn’t know that that.

Dr. Renatta Varma 16:09
So I went to it with no intention of getting involved in it in any way. I had no interest in film other than everybody watches movies, right. And when I actually went to it, it was such an amazing experience. And then I met with the person who created it, john, Timothy, and then I was all in. Yeah. He’s an incredible person. And he’s got it. Yeah. He deserves to be sitting here talking about himself more than me.

Barb McGrath 16:38
So excellent. I’m always looking for more guests.

Dr. Renatta Varma 16:41
So he’s a phenomenal individual. So when I heard his story, I just, I wanted to stop everything else I was doing it. An I think it’s neat to something unique.

Barb McGrath 16:54
In Saskatchewan has not been great over the last several years. No, they’ve had a much more difficult time these last few years. It’s unfortunate.

Dr. Renatta Varma 17:02
Yeah, it is. And I mean, I didn’t know about any of that film industry until the film festival. But I mean, so the first year that I was involved, I thought it was incredible. I felt like I was at the Oscars. The real Wow. So well done. I didn’t think it could get any better. And then the second year was 10 times better so Oh, wow. It was it was a really well done. Gala. And the film, the quality of films was amazing. 70 different countries submitted and they showcase over 100 Films over three days and it’s cheap, it’s fun, it’s just amazing experience the the just the whole experience of it was very exciting. So yeah, I bet that’s really gonna be my focus for the next few years helping build

Barb McGrath 17:50
Okay, and when was the gala or when is the gala gala Film Festival goes from August 13 to the 18th

Dr. Renatta Varma 17:56
Oh, so it’s actually coming up fairly soon. So it’s at the Cineplex Odeon Southland. Okay, it’s for three days. I’m not sure about this year, but last year for $80 you got the 44 days of movie passes. He says he wanted plus the opening gala plus the closing gala so Wow. And where’s the gala held? The gala is incredible. It was held it casino so the whole red carpet if there was red on all the glass, like the logo. And the outside road was spread carpeted. Oh, how did I miss? Yeah, it was it was only red carpet for the one night.

Okay, it was removed in the morning. So it’s pretty impressive if you don’t bring it in any other film festivals. Mm hmm.

So we had film producers from actually all over North America who came in from Iran and so world people came from all

Barb McGrath 18:47
Wow, okay, so this isn’t just Regina, we’re still okay.

Dr. Renatta Varma 18:50
So is interesting. There was a producer that was there. I forget if he’s from the US or if he was from Halifax, but he had been to about 40 film festivals. And he said that ours was the most organized. No, other than the fact that we didn’t have the celebrities that it was that it was a good one too attractive. Right. any of the other. Oh, wow, that was a pretty big camera organized.

Barb McGrath 19:18
Uh huh. Okay. And then you’re culturally involved as well with the Hindu or East Indian?

Dr. Renatta Varma 19:23
Yeah, I was the president of the Hindu temple for years this year. Okay. very involved with the events both through the religious side of the canvas with each mosaic.

Barb McGrath 19:40
But yes. How did mosaic go for you? It was it was good.

Dr. Renatta Varma 19:43
I dance 27 times in three days. It’s a mistake. I could barely stand by the end. Yeah. That’s the Yeah, that’s fun.

Barb McGrath 19:53
Where is some? Where’s your pavilion?

Dr. Renatta Varma 19:56
Our pavilion was at the Kelly grilling

Barb McGrath 19:58
Or your colleagues. Okay. Trying to think, um, this is terrible is Kelly the one where the Irish pavilion also was? No, because they were there this year lay in that Chilean land was their cake. I can’t even make it out of my I know. I know. It’s terrible. So this is actually the first year in many years that we haven’t gone. We always get on our bikes. So we live down in the south, and we get on our bikes for the kids. And we go all over the place, get a little bit of exercise. And that way, if mom and dad have a couple of drinks along the way, we’re still setting a good example. Right? So and it just didn’t fit into the calendar this weekend with baseball and tournaments. Ball hockey is a busy weekend, right? Yeah, it is. And it’s one of typically one of the first nice weekends of summer because that long weekend, you know, most of the time, it’s still cold.

Dr. Renatta Varma 20:47
We had violin recital, piano recital and mosaico phones all on the same weekend.

Barb McGrath 20:50
Do you have like a third person to help dry? You know, and I have a nanny

Dr. Renatta Varma 20:57
You okay in school? So she she actually drives them to school in the morning? At the end of the day, so she does some of the drop offs. And then her and my husband’s pick up?

Yeah. Oh, good direction.

Barb McGrath 21:08
Exactly. Going different directions after school, knowing crazy.

Dr. Renatta Varma 21:13
I think it’s impossible. My my work hours are far more than full time. So yes. So it would be impossible to do.

Barb McGrath 21:20
Exactly. Well. And I think at the medical profession, it’s more than a typical work week be owning a business. That’s way more than, you know, a typical work week. So you combine those two together, and you’re asking an awful lot of yourself or of anyone else, right? Absolutely. And so much of that is just understanding and awareness, right? Because we all tend to fear what we can’t understand. And my daughter and I were walking the dog a few weeks ago and found herself literally walking in the middle of a, I believe it was Sikh parade. Oh, yeah. And it was one of those things where I’m like, looking around me, and I looked at my daughter and like, we’re in a parade, no. Dog and just happen. So I said to the gentleman beside me, I’m like, I’m really sorry. We’ll get out of your race, like, no, you’re fine. I’m like, Where are you going? Like, I felt terrible. Like they’re chatting, and we’re chatting, and there’s guys in cars and motors. And I’m like, I have no idea what we just walked into, they gave us some information. I’m like, Okay, well, we can figure it out later. In the meantime, all these people are standing with their cell phones recording the front of everyone’s Facebook page, because we like it just kind of merged together like this, right? And I’m like, looking beside me. And I’m thinking, Oh, how am I gonna?

Dr. Renatta Varma 22:47
Was learn something?

Barb McGrath 22:48
Well, exactly. But it’s just so I ask questions. I mean, I’m all of a sudden in the middle of your event. So I Mazal ask questions. Right. And so it’s just acceptance and understanding. And we are saying no, get dressed the same way. All right. So we might eat a little different food and celebrate a different religion. But, you know, at the end of the day, we are all just the same, right? So and I’m sure it’s a message that you have with your kids all the time and conversations that you have, and that’s the more open we are about our differences, the more they become accepted.

Dr. Renatta Varma 23:27
And my my husband is Canadian, so is he Yes. Okay, Britain, kind of learning everything guessing.

Barb McGrath 23:32
Is he Christian?

Dr. Renatta Varma 23:34
Ah, no, I would say he’s, he’s not religious. Okay. His family would live in Christian.

Barb McGrath 23:40
Okay. So do you do the Hindu celebrations as well as the Christian celebrations like Christmas and Easter and things like that?

Dr. Renatta Varma 23:48
Yeah, I mean, for us Christmas and Easter would just be getting together with them. Okay, go to church. Right? Actually, I grew up going to church. Oh, you did? My mom was a very open spiritual person. So I’ve behaved church. I’ve been to synagogue. I’ve been to the Gurdwara, which is the Sikh temple. I went there for years not knowing that I wasn’t Sikh. So she would just plug me in anywhere. To the Apostolic Church on a city boy for 10 years. Yes. Did all their pioneer girls and all their extra promo

Barb McGrath 24:21
Isn’t that interesting? Never.

Dr. Renatta Varma 24:22
They didn’t raise this as one. Okay,

Barb McGrath 24:26
They let you find what you were naturally drawn to

Dr. Renatta Varma 24:28
My mom is more My parents are more spiritual than religious. Okay, so they don’t care where I go as long as I

Barb McGrath 24:36
Yeah, for something as long as you have something like I do. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s very interesting. Excellent. Um, so let’s, let’s profile the Hindu community and the film festival for just a moment. I think we only have a few minutes left. I haven’t been watching the clock very close, which is usual in these episodes. But tell everyone how can they learn more about the film Film Festival and if they do want to learn more About the Hindu community, where would they start?

Dr. Renatta Varma 25:02
Um, well, the Hindu community is easy. So we have our Sunday service every Sunday morning.

Barb McGrath 25:09
And the film festival. So that happens in Oh, yeah.

Dr. Renatta Varma 25:11
Look forward to seeing lots of people come out this year. Yes, absolutely. This is a fourth year, and hopefully it’ll start picking up more momentum. I think it’s a very successful film festival, but it’s not, not a lot known about it. So in terms of the film side of it, we have tons of filmmakers submitting their work from all over the world and that Sagittarius tablets, but the rejina community being aware of it or interested, or that we’re still trying to build it’s, it starts on the Tuesday, I believe it’s I should know this the 12th of August until the 17th of August. Okay. So it was an opening gala, and a closing Gala. And then the four days of shows on tape.

Barb McGrath 25:52
And then again, public is welcome to everything, everything. Obviously sponsorship opportunities are available.

Dr. Renatta Varma 26:00
Yeah. We’re always looking for sponsors and a big sponsor. Other people consider it so

Barb McGrath 26:06
Is there a website? Do you know? Yeah, it’s riffa. All right. Oh, okay. See? Yeah. And if you just Google refund,

Dr. Renatta Varma 26:15

Barb McGrath 26:17
Yeah. And then it will pop up. Yeah. Okay. And so tickets can be purchased probably anytime now or I think they’re available now online.

Dr. Renatta Varma 26:23
Yeah. Okay. Purchased up the door. So or if you are a filmmaker, and one made a film, actually. Next Gen that makes sense that submissions would be closed by now. Is there a screening process yet? So we actually have an international jury who screens mall and our jury consists of people who are all Oscar winners, BAFTA winners, Emmy winner, so these very high level jurors. So john Timothy is an amazing individual. And when he wants something done, he goes to the top. Exactly. He we have some very big names people who, in the film industry who do they do it remotely, but they’ve agreed to come on as part of their nonprofit work. And so they judge all the films and they pick the award. So it’s not done locally, ah, local submissions in Australia, England, India, they’re everywhere.

Barb McGrath 27:17
I had no idea like I’m, I’m not a Regina native, so Michelle’s home for me. But I’ve been here for 20 years, I had no idea we had something like this, if I have heard of riff off, but I didn’t know what it stood for, to be honest. Yeah.

Dr. Renatta Varma 27:29
So I think the 2015 was the first year and then there was a break in 16 1718. So this will be our fourth.

Barb McGrath 27:40
Wow, okay. So we think, yes, China International Film Festival. Okay, and Renata is not responsible for marketing.

Dr. Renatta Varma 27:56
But she mobilized the team behind.

Barb McGrath 28:00
Awesome. We’re not Is there anything else that you’d like to say? We’re just about to wrap up?

Dr. Renatta Varma 28:04
No, thank you for having me. Great opportunity and chatting with you.

Barb McGrath 28:08
Yes. Thank you for being here. And thank you to everyone for listening and watching today. The Secret Life of entrepreneurs and our series now on women in leadership is absolutely at the core of what I love to do. So I’m very happy to have the opportunity to bring this to you. If you’d like to be a guest, you can email me at Or you can reach out to our Facebook and Instagram pages at Above the Fold Canada. So just a reminder that you can also submit a question in advance of our live shows. And I always like to surprise our guests with those live questions. So if you’ve got something that’s burning, and you see a guest that’s coming up, you can ask those questions. I am your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you work hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.