Munira Premji

Munira with Isabelle Aubin
Munira with Isabelle Aubin

Toronto – Friday, October 30th, 2015.

Today my consulting assignment with Sanofi ends, and it is my last day of work.

There is a part of me that’s sad because I love the work I do and find fulfillment in it.  I will miss the work.  I will miss the people.  I will miss not having somewhere to go when I wake up each morning.  Sanofi has been my lifeline. First, for making Mozobil available to me that enabled me to get a stem cell transplant.  And then for taking the chance to hire me again once I got better.  I have worked with Sanofi as a consultant three different times over the past 10 years and it is an organization that i am so proud to be affiliated with.

As I look back, I realize what a miracle it is that I ever went back to work at all.  One full year of chemo treatment had rendered my brain useless.  I could not process information or make sense of things.  Everything was a blur and a struggle.  Six months after my stem cell transplant, my oncologist gave me the okay to work one day a week.  I was ecstatic!  The very next day, my friend Jo Anne – – who also happens to be the Head of HR from Sanofi – came to visit me at home.   Once Jo Anne heard I could come to work, she moved fast and made it happen!  And just like that, I was back at work – – a little bruised, a little battered, and mostly hopeful…

The first six months of returning to work were tough.  I was weak.  I was fatigued.  I had no hair. Walking from the parking lot to the office was tough.  I often had to hold someone’s arm to keep steady.  I learnt to trade my high heels with flats because it was now all about comfort, rather than looking good  Slowly, over time, I got stronger.  Things started to make more sense.  I got my bearings.  One day of work per week, turned to three, and then five days.  Travelling to the U.S. for work got easier. And today I am at full strength, with my brain firing on all cylinders!  And sadly,  it’s time to leave.

I see this as a message from the universe.  I’m not quite sure what this message is yet and will need to figure this out.  Is it taking on another role?  Is it focusing on health and vitality?  Is it trying  to find that elusive balance which I lost this past year because work took up so much of my time?  Is it to write a book?  Is it doing something entirely different?  Is it time to focus on giving back to the community?  The fact that I have so many choices is a blessing in itself.  Shayne, my son, often asks me, “what is your big game?”  I don’t know the answer to this yet.  I am beginning to explore this by asking myself another question, “what would I do if I knew I wouldn’t fail?”  And there is excitement about sitting in this place of “not knowing” and being open to the possibilities of what lies ahead.

For the next week or so, I plan to play, to sleep-in, to meet friends, to watch movies, to totally take a break and do absolutely no work.  After that, look out world!


  • Anonymous , November 15, 2015

    Hi Parin – – Yes I am beginning to enjoy this time to enjoy life! As always it is wonderful to see you!

  • Parin Sunderji , November 11, 2015

    Hi Munira. So glad I ran into you this afternoon. You are doing exactly what you say in your blog. Everything to enjoy life – except work.

    From reading your blog I can sense how challenging it must have been to return to work. You are not one to shrink from challenges for sure, but to a casual observer, it would not be obvious exactly how you were feeling. You did one heck of a job there!

    I look forward to reading your book whenever it happens. Good luck.

  • Marissa Fontana , November 11, 2015

    Dear Munira, You have made such an impact on Sanofi and your colleagues and I am so grateful for the short time we worked together because I learned so much from you. You and your many talents will be missed. I loved seeing your picture with Isabelle! You both look beautiful as always. I can’t wait to read your blog about whatever adventure you have next. You will do great things regardless of where the universe leads you.

    • Anonymous , December 11, 2015

      Dearest, dearest Marissa! I am so grateful that i met you through the Sanofi journey. You are one talented woman and i wish you love and joy everyday of your life! It was so

  • Lynda & Dave Cavanagh , November 11, 2015

    Congratulations! Think of it as a mini retirement. Sit back and watch the world go by for awhile. You deserve that. Whatever will be will be. Find a weekend in January and come down and visit. We would love to see you. Just enjoy being well everyday.

    • Anonymous , November 15, 2015

      Dearest Lynda and Dave – – I can’t wait to spend so much time with you. We have lots of catching up to do! Yes to getting together in January. If your travels bring you to Toronto earlier, please come and visit. I can’t wait to hear about your adventure and travels.

  • Anonymous , November 11, 2015


    You are so brave and full of life. You make everybody so comfortable and realize what life is all about. You give strength to others. You are beautiful, charming, loving, caring. I wish every one of just like you. I am so proud of you that you took such a great step and I am sure you will do a lots of other things. Love you so dearly

  • Anonymous , November 11, 2015

    WE miss you… Enjoy this time for YOU..

    • Anonymous , December 11, 2015

      I love you Isa!

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