Samra Zafar

Samra Zafar is an Award-Winning International Speaker, Community Leader, Scholar, Author and Entrepreneur. After escaping a decade of abuse as a child bride in a forced marriage in Canada, Samra pursued her education while working multiple jobs and raising her two daughters as a single parent. She became the top graduate at the University of Toronto, winning several prestigious awards, including the John H Moss Award, a $17,000 scholarship awarded to the most outstanding student across all three University of Toronto campuses. She now serves as an Alumni Governor for the University of Toronto, while pursuing a rewarding career in commercial banking at Royal Bank of Canada.

Samra speaks on a wide variety of topics including authentic leadership, resilience, women empowerment, diversity and inclusion, gender inequality and violence, youth empowerment, and mental health. Her speaking portfolio includes two TED Talks, Amnesty International, WE, Women’s Business Network and many major corporations, associations and non-profits across North America and beyond. Her 2017 TED Talk was named an all-time top 10 talk on gender-based violence. Her Toronto Life article was named as the top long-form article of 2017, and was nominated for the National Magazine Awards in the personal journalism category.

Samra has been a guest lecturer in many major universities including Yale Law School and was recently nominated to serve as a Canadian delegate to the United Nations Status of Women Commission. She is also the official national spokesperson for Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade.

Samra is frequently featured in many major national and international media, impacting tens of millions of people worldwide. Samra’s book, being published by HarperCollins, arrives in bookstores across Canada in March 2019, and international rights are currently being sold.

Any combination of the below topics can be used to craft a customized message

• Authentic Leadership
• Education for Empowerment
• Mentorship
• Power of Giving Back
• Gift of Adversity
• Resilience
• Poverty
• The Power of Connection
• Women Empowerment
• Youth Empowerment
• Find Your Inner Strength
• Abuse (types of abuse; what we can do as individuals and communities)
• The Culture of Honour
• Mental Health
• Creating a More Inclusive Workplace
• Bringing Inspiration to Workplace
• Overcoming Our Own Hidden Biases
• Gender-Based Violence
• Gender Equality
• Cultural Sensitivities around Human Rights Issues
• Leaning Into Authenticity
• How Vulnerability Inspires Authenticity and Resilience

• National Family Violence Conference keynote “The Power of Mentorship” (Edmonton)
• Manulife Leadership Event Keynote
• Schulich Business School career event keynote
• Ivey Business School – Women in Management Leadership Conference keynote
• Brilliant Minded Women Gala – receiving Self Development Award (Toronto)
• Presidents Circle featured speaker “Education for Empowerment” (University of Toronto)
• Edmonton Public School Board, keynote speech “Resilience and Mental Health”
• Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (Chatham)
• Enbridge and Union Gas executive leadership conference keynote “How Authenticity Inspires Resilience”
• The Citizen’s Foundation keynote “Education for Empowerment” (Montreal)
• Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society keynote “Bringing Inspiration to the Workplace” (Montreal)
• Family Transition Place Shelter keynote “The Gift of Hope” (Orangeville)
• Rexdale Women’s Centre 40th anniversary keynote
• Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade – official national spokesperson and winner of Malala Yousafzai Women Empowerment Award
• Harper Collins National Sales Conference keynote
• United Nations Status of Women Commission (finalist nominee as Canadian delegate)
• Two TED Talks (selected as top 10 talks in gender equality)
• National Magazine Awards (nominated for Toronto Life article)
• TVO International Women’s Day keynote (Ottawa)
• Women in Leadership and Business (Halifax)
• Women’s Presidents Organization (Halifax)
• Universities: Yale, U of T, York, Ryerson, Schulich, Queen’s, Western, Florida, Humber, Sheridan, and many other colleges and schools
• Toronto and Peel District School boards
• Harper Collins Publishers sales leadership conference
• National Family Violence Conference (Edmonton)
• NorthEast Support Services (Saskatchewan)
• Circles of Hope Shelter (Calgary)

RBC and related events
• RBC Private Banking National Office International Women’s Day keynote (Toronto)
• University of Toronto Presidents’ Circle “Building a Better Tomorrow” featured speaker
• RBC Future Launch event Edmonton
• Leadership conference by RBC Commercial client keynote (Edmonton)
• Lean In Roundtable with Francine Dyksterhuis, Regional President SWO (Waterloo)
• WE Day Atlantic Canada (Halifax) sponsored by RBC & follow-up event with Roger Howard, Regional President Atlantic Provinces
• RBC Women’s Forum ERG event organized by Tasha Giroux, RVP Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta)
• Client Appreciation event (for high-valued commercial clients) organized by Tasha Giroux, RVP Alberta (Edmonton)
• Private Banking Diversity Roundtable with Luis Lopez, VP Private Banking
• Peel Children’s Aid Foundation keynote and award recipient (sponsored by RBC Insurance)
• Ascend Canada “Mentor Of The Year” Award (nominated by RBC)
• Women’s Business Network International Women’s Day Keynote – sponsored by RBC (Peterborough)
• Dominion Securities women in business client event (Peterborough)
• WE in Kenya (special event arranged with Kisaruni school)
• Gifts of Hope Gala organized by high-valued RBC commercial client (Edmonton)
• Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs IWD keynote sponsored by RBC (Toronto)
• RBC iWomen Committee special event with RBC Insurance and Mark Beckles, Sr. Director Youth Strategy and Innovation
• Humans of RBC (Toronto)
• Mentor with RBC Career Launch (and informally to many others within RBC)

• Being published by Harper Collins in Canada, to be released in March 2019 to mark International Women’s Day
• International rights currently being sold in USA, UK, Europe, Australia, India

• RBC Global Citizen Award 2017
• Ascend Canada Mentor Of The Year Award 2018
• Malala Yousafzai Women Empowerment Award – Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade 2018
• Woman of Courage Awards – several organizations
• Spotlight Award – Canada Pakistan Professionals Association
• Brilliant Minded Woman Award 2018
• Pink Attitude Award 2018
• Proclamation by Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio 2017
• Several other community leadership awards
Academic Awards:
• John H Moss Scholarship – University of Toronto top student Award
• Gold Medalist in Economics
• Ontario Graduate Scholarship
• 13 other awards at U of T including TA Excellence, Faculty Choice, Research Excellence, Community Leadership

Collectively impacting over 10 million people in Canada and 15 million globally
Toronto Life:
Global News:
The Suburban: Thesuburban.comsamra-zafar-new-cpact-spokesperson
TEDx Mississauga:
Towards Freedom:
Moss Scholarship Win:
Samra’s website:
WE Day:
Kenya Speech (WE):