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. We’re thrilled by the news from UNICEF that Zahra has recently been named their newest Canadian Ambassador:
UNICEF Canada is welcoming Zahra Al-Harazi its newest Canadian ambassador, to advocate for the rights of children in Canada and around the world. The award-winning Canadian entrepreneur is taking on this ambassadorship with UNICEF to engage with Canadians about issues affecting children.
“Zahra will be an exceptional champion for children, helping UNICEF ensure that all children have a chance to grown up healthy, educated and safe,” said Sharon Avery, UNICEF’s Chief Development Officer. “Her personal experience growing up in a war zone, being a refugee and then forging a path for herself, have led to her being a strong advocate for children and we’re thrilled to have her join the UNICEF Canada family.”
“The power and influence of Canadian women who are engaged, passionate and determined to make a positive change for girls and boys is palpable right now more than ever in our lifetime. Zahra is one of those women,” said Avery. “The tireless pursuit of justice for children and ensuring that collectively we’re building a better world for the children of today and tomorrow is at the heart of what we do. Zahra’s voice will allow us to continue to connect with Canadians who share this desire.”
Child of war and refugee becomes award-winning Canadian
Zahra was born in 1970 in Kampala, Uganda. After being forced to leave as a refugee with her whole family and just seven dollars that her father hid in his shoes, they landed in Yemen. Zahra was married at 17, and after surviving the Yemen civil war, she immigrated to Canada in 1996, the mother of three young children and without any formal education to help her navigate her newly adopted country.
After arriving in Canada, Zahra went to Alberta College Art Design, and three short years after graduating, she became Founder and Creative Director of hot-shop Foundry Communications. Zahra also provides her pro-bono work to a number of Canadian not-for-profit organizations. Zahra has achieved prestigious acclaim and countless awards such as Chatelaine Canadian Woman of the Year, Top 40 Under 40, RBC’s Canada’s Most Influential Immigrants, and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Currently Zahra is working as a consultant with the Royal Bank of Canada, helping to shape their corporate citizenship youth strategy and delivering immediate high impact results through the RBC Career Launch Program. A lifelong entrepreneur, Zahra is also pursuing several other entrepreneurial ventures.
Zahra is an internationally acclaimed Speaker who has had the privilege of speaking to audiences around the world. Zahra is also writing a book on her life experience in an exclusive publishing deal with Harper Collins, expected on bookshelves in 2017. Through it all, Zahra has raised a brilliant, accomplished and happy family, travelled to more than 100 countries around the world and can argue design in five languages.
Zahra’s life experiences, particularly during her childhood, have helped to shape her worldview, and in her most recent role as UNICEF Canada Ambassador, Zahra uses her voice to advocate for women and children in conflict. Zahra also shares a birthday with the United Nations and, along with her mother who worked for the UNDP, has a deep passion for UNICEF’s mission.