Zahra Al-Harazi

Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Purpose-Driven Leadership Expert

Topic: What it Takes: A Story of Purpose, Strength, and Laughter

Afternoon Keynote at the WESK Summit

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.