Chatelaine's Top Entrepreneur of the Year (2011)
The road to real leadership is rarely a straight one, and among Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, few have traveled a route with more obstacles overcome than Zahra Al-Harazi. Sharing her no-holds-barred attitude and passion for success, Zahra discusses her unique approach to entrepreneurship and leadership, as well as her personal experience as a pioneering woman and immigrant in the business world.
A mere 18 years ago, Zahra was a new immigrant to Canada. She was a young mother with three children. A survivor of two civil wars. She had no higher education or connections to the business community. Today, Zahra is the CEO and creative director of Foundry Communications. In just eight years, the company she founded has been recognized as Canada’s seventh-most awarded agency for international design awards, one of Profit magazine’s Top 10 up-and-coming entrepreneurial companies in 2010, and one of their W100 companies in 2011.
Zahra has received multiple accolades. She was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (2009); Business in Calgary’s “Leader of Tomorrow” (2010); Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year from Chatelaine magazine (2011); one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women by WXN (2012); and she has also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to Canada (2012) and the RBC Top 25 Immigrants to Canada Award (2013).
Zahra’s talks have influenced audiences at leading institutions such as RBC, London Life Financial, Women of Influence, Freedom 55, Ace Nationals, Ernest and Young, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Board of Trade, Mount Royal University, Women’s Executive Network, and the Entrepreneurs Organization. She has spoken throughout North America, India, Germany, Turkey, and has also completed a seven-city speaking tour across Australia and New Zealand.
She sits on the Board of Directors for Entrepreneurs Organization as the Communications Chair, and on the EO Global Communications Committee, The National Make-a-Wish Foundation Board and The OGM Editorial Advisory Board. Zahra is also Chair of the Fund Development Committee for the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She has also recently signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish a book in early 2016, and was also recently named as a Canadian Ambassador to UNICEF.