Human Rights Activist | Social Entrepreneur | Bestselling Author
After escaping a decade of abuse living as a child bride in Canada, Samra Zafar has became a beacon of hope for many people facing exclusion, abuse, and gender-based violence. Now an award-winning international speaker, bestselling author, and social entrepreneur, she shares powerful messages and actionable takeaways on topics that include DEI, mental health, social justice, authentic leadership, and resilience.
In 2017, Zafar wrote an article about her personal experience with abuse for Toronto Life, which became one of the most-read articles in Canada. In that same year, she delivered a TEDx talk on gender-based violence, which was named an “all-time top 12” talk. Since then, she has given a total of three TEDx talks and delivered keynotes for several major organizations, including UNICEF, United Way, Yale University, Amnesty International, Art of Leadership, Quickbooks Canada, and many non-profits, corporations, and universities around the world.
A bestselling author, Zafar published her memoir, A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose, in 2019, which became an instant bestseller and was named one of CBC’s Best Books of 2019 for Canadian Non-fiction and a top 2019 read by The Washington Post. Zafar’s work has been featured in several national and international media outlets, including Huffington Post, Global Citizen, CTV, CBC, Global News, The Globe and Mail, the Canadian Press, and Toronto Star.
Recognized as one of Canada’s “Top 100 Most Powerful Women” by Women’s Executive Network, Zafar is the founder and executive director of Brave Beginnings, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring abuse survivors in their journey to build a life of freedom. She has mentored dozens of women helping them to pursue their dreams and goals. Zafar was also named among the “Top 25 Most Inspirational Women” by CanadianSME Magazine, a “Top 25 Canadian Immigrant” by RBC, and is a celebrated ambassador for Plan International Canada.
Zafar is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics. She earned the highest distinction and was the recipient of the prestigious John H Moss Award, a scholarship awarded to the single most outstanding student across the University’s three campuses. Previously an executive in financial services, Zafar is now attending medical school at McMaster University.