Zahra Al-Harazi

Zahra Al-Harazi

Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Transformative Leadership Expert

The road to real leadership is rarely a straight one. Among Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, few have faced more obstacles than Zahra Al-Harazi. With a no-holds-barred attitude, Al-Harazi helps people and organizations realize their potential for success through finding their purpose. She draws on her experience as a pioneering woman in the business world with a unique approach to attitude, leadership, and success, as well as her experience as a refugee, immigrant, entrepreneur, and community-builder.

A survivor of two civil wars, Al-Harazi immigrated to Canada with her three children in 1996. She had no higher education or connections and very little understanding of the business world, but her entrepreneurial spirit quickly led her to start her first company Foundry Communications, an internationally recognized Canadian creative powerhouse.

Al-Harazi is currently co-founder of the startup, Skillit, which is a marketplace for sharing knowledge and building skills. She is also a consultant who has worked with thousands of leaders on employee engagement, navigating disruption, leading change, shifting stakeholder values, corporate social responsibility, and brand transformations.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Al-Harazi has been named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by Chatelaine magazine, and one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women by WXN. She has also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canada, and the RBC Top 25 Immigrants to Canada Award.

As a speaker, Al-Harazi has spoken to audiences in more than 20 countries, inspiring leading institutions such as Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and professional organizations. Her clients have included The Royal Bank of Canada, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Ernst & Young, Young Presidents Organization, WXN, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Great West Life, Telus, University of Toronto, and the Government of Canada, among many others. Her specialty is in understanding the complexities required for building a smart, skilled multi-generational workforce.

Al-Harazi is a former Canadian Ambassador to UNICEF. She currently sits on the board of directors for The Walrus, and is the author of What it Takes, published January 2020.

What It Takes: A Story of Purpose, Strength, and Laughter

Today, Zahra Al-Harazi is a passionate entrepreneur and a loud crusader for women, youth, and equality. Her voice is clear, confident, and a powerful tool of commerce and philanthropy — but this was not always the case.

Al-Harazi was raised in a country where women didn’t have a voice. She moved to Canada in 1996 with her three young children with no higher education and no knowledge of the culture or business world. But, she persevered, channeled her frustration into defiance, and found her voice.

In this inspiring presentation, Al-Harazi shares her journey — how she channeled frustration into courage, the milestones that propelled her, and how a clear and powerful understanding of who you are can help anyone get what they want most in life.

Success By Design: A Workshop

Big brands make very deliberate moves when moving towards achieving their set goals. What happens when the same principles are applied to an individual? Zahra Al-Harazi knows, because that’s exactly what she did with her own personal and professional journey.

In this insightful talk, Al-Harazi demonstrates how adapting core business practices is just as valuable for individuals as it is for businesses. She takes audiences on a detailed journey to create their own personal “creative brief”, a process that is as essential to individuals as it is for businesses. She shows how the right questions, the right structure and the right methods can take us to the core of who we are, and, armed with that knowledge, achieve the lives we deserve to lead.

The Power of Purpose

Your brand is a reflection of your organization’s culture and that culture is the reflection of your purpose, daily habits, and values. It’s this that guides your employees and teams. In this presentation, Zahra Al-Harazi proves that the key to building great companies lies in how you enable learning, skills, opportunity, and connection. She shows audiences:

  • How to discover the reason your organization exists, and how you will survive in a world that is constantly changing.
  • How to understand the cultural DNA of all your diverse stakeholders, and how to uncover and maximize the powerful strengths of your people and their talent
  • How to empower people and foster connections within your organization that will incentivize and motivate your teams.
  • How to reverse engineer purpose into your DNA in an authentic and meaningful manner.
  • How to harness the power of purpose in order to create compelling brand propositions for a new generation of socially-aware employees, consumers, and clients.

Drawing on powerful stories of extraordinary organizations who have learned to build, shape, and unlock their purpose, Al-Harazi will leave you with practical strategies to effectively understand, lead, and motivate your team; move your business to the forefront; and lead by example.