Galya Westler is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur who was born in Montreal and raised in Israel. She returned to the West Coast a few years ago to focus on creating social mobile apps for companies, specifically private social networks for companies. Galya has since incorporated two companies since she arrived and currently serves as the owner and product director at 2Galvanize Ltd. and Plazus Technologies Inc.

One of Galya’s big dreams is to inspire women to become “sexy, smart and ambitious” in everything that they do. She sees many who are holding themselves back and not fulfilling their potential. Galya knows that women can – and should – lead the way for others to become leaders in different industries, including technology, which is a traditionally male-dominated industry where she has enjoyed much success. Speaking from her own experience, Galya knows that women can become strong and independent as a result of having flexible working hours and enjoying high pay.

This is what makes Galya such a passionate advocate for connecting and uplifting women: she wants them to be influential and inspiring examples to others. A big part of what drives Galya is her desire to bring peace, love and empowerment to people around the world via her work and also through her various charitable and volunteer activities, which includes being president of the Vancouver Entrepreneurs Toastmasters Club, which is regarded as the city’s premiere speaking club. Galya manages to squeeze this – and other speaking commitments in and around the world where she talks about technology and mobile product trends groups – into her hectic schedule.

Galya feels that the biggest problem of this generation is that “we’re suffering social media ‘obesity’ as we pig out on selfies of attention.” It’s true that people have become self-obsessed with creating these carefully curated lives for everyone else to witness and admire. And millennials themselves have acknowledged how they’ve become more superficial and cavalier with their relationships compared to previous generations. Social media has certainly caused what psychologists refer to as “Facebook envy”, which is the feeling of resentment that people experience when they are exposed to too many pictures of their friends going on exotic vacations, fancy new restaurants, wearing nice clothes and driving expensive cars. They feel that they can’t keep up with others and fear that they are missing out (or F.O.M.O. which is another name for Facebook envy) and thus ending up becoming miserable. It’s actually a well-documented mental health issue such that South Korea has opened a rehab centre to help youth who are addicted to the internet and social media.

Although people are growing their list of friends via social media, Galya says that “we’re also becoming more isolated and lonely in the process” – which is a paradox in itself given that people have surrounded themselves with thousands of virtual friends and followers online. Galya says that people are “in danger of being socially obese” in that we’ve joined so many social media platforms and become linked to so many people, except there is the absence of a true and intimate connection with others. We try and keep up with the Joneses and lose so much time following other people’s lives that we end up not living our own lives. Galya’s work at 2Galvanize *and Plazus * reflects her passion for creating platforms to connect people with one another so that they can “be genuinely there for each other” and not merely spectators to other people’s seemingly well-lived lives. It’s certainly a worthy objective from someone who walks their talk and sincerely wants to change the world.

Galya Westler is creating a movement to go back to times when we used to communicate more intimately and more humbly. The title of her talk is “Social Media Obesity and our Loneliness” at TEDxStanleyPark on May 28, 2016.

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