Samra Zafar is an award-winning, internationally renowned speaker, bestselling author, and educator for equity, mental health, and human rights. She has been recognized among the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, Top 25 Inspirational Women in Canada, and Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. Her book, A Good Wife: Escaping The Life I Never Chose, based on her journey of escaping an abusive child marriage to pursue her education and shed light on gender-based oppression, is a national bestseller, was one of CBC’s Best Books of 2019, and is being adapted to a premium TV series. She serves as a Governor at the University of Toronto, a Celebrated Ambassador for Plan International, and a board member for Women’s College Hospital Foundation. Her work has impacted millions and has been extensively featured in global media. Samra’s speaking portfolio includes three successful TED Talks, and many leading corporations, universities, and nonprofits around the world.

To find out more, please visit


How Vulnerability Inspires Collective Resilience, Authentic Leadership and Human Connections

Do you feel you’re hiding your true self in order to fit in? Do you find yourself stressing to present a perfect self? Do you suffer from impostor syndrome—discounting your accomplishments and focusing on your weaknesses? If so, what can you do to lessen the grip of perfectionism and other-centred focus in your life, to lean in to your authentic self, and to simply be? People often walk around in self-made prisons of judgment, with the key held by others from whom they seek validation and approval. However, by embracing our authenticity and allowing ourselves to be seen, we foster genuine trust, real connection, and collective resilience that enables us to unlock our true potential and to become leaders in our communities and our lives. Join Samra on a journey of resilience, leadership and personal discovery of the power of vulnerability.

Education for Empowerment

Education is a right – yet for many around the world, it is a privilege that is often denied. Join Samra as she shares her own heartbreaking and empowering story of being trapped in a forced, abusive marriage as a child bride, using education to escape and build a new life, and now advocating for change so that others don’t face the same obstacles to building a fulfilling, enriching life. Samra’s experiences illustrate how the power of continuous learning allows us to expand our minds, connect through mutual purpose and values, and unlock our individual and collective potential.

The Gift of Adversity

As a child forced into a marriage and being subjected to years of abuse, Samra moved forward from a place of no hope to creating a happy new life for herself and her daughters. As she shares her story of pain, despair, hopelessness, and subsequently freedom, happiness, and self-love, Samra talks about the gift of adversity and how it helps us cultivate a deep gratitude for life. “We have the power to let our experiences shape us into ‘bitter’ or ‘better’. The choice is ours to make.

The Culture of Honour

Breaking the silence around honour-based, structural abuse – a hidden reality that creates a vicious and complex cycle of mental, emotional, psychological, sexual, physical and societal violence. What can we do as leaders, individuals and community members to make a difference? Related Topics: Intersectionality of abuse and culture; Generational cycle of abuse; Family Violence and Children; Educating youth on Gender-based Violence.

Violence Against Women – What Can Workplaces Do to Make a Difference?

One in three women in North America are affected by intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. Every day, around the world, 137 women are killed by an intimate partner. Factoring in “invisible” violence, such as stalking and emotional and mental abuse, the number is much higher. Recent movements like “MeToo” and “Time’s Up” have demonstrated how women from all walks of life, educational backgrounds, professional achievements and financial status are affected by violence. Change starts with our surroundings – families, communities, schools, and workplaces. Often times, the workplace is the only place that a woman feels safe. However, fear of judgment, of being perceived as a “victim”, or of diminished career prospects makes a woman feel unsafe to come forward. With recent policy reforms like paid “off” days for a woman affected by violence and greater funding for this sector, it is more important than ever before for workplaces to play a role in supporting women affected by violence by building inclusive, non-judgmental work environments, so women feel safe to ask for that help. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do – because safe and supported employees mean productive employees.

(various topics including types of abuse, gaps in support mechanisms, importance of awareness, and how workplaces can play a role)

Samra’s talks can also cover themes of Authentic Leadership and Mentorship, as well as issues surrounding Gender Equality, Poverty and Community.

Previous keynotes and workshops:

• National Family Violence Conference keynote, “The Power of Mentorship” (Edmonton)
• Manulife Leadership Event keynote
• Schulich Business School career event keynote
• Ivey Business School – Women in Management Leadership Conference keynote
• Brilliant Minded Women Gala – receiving Self Development Award (Toronto)
• Presidents’ Circle featured speaker, “Education for Empowerment” (University of Toronto)
• Edmonton Public School Board keynote speech, “Resilience and Mental Health”
• Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (Chatham)
• Enbridge and Union Gas executive leadership conference keynote, “How Authenticity Inspires
• The Citizen’s Foundation keynote, “Education for Empowerment” (Montreal)
• Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society keynote, “Bringing Inspiration to the Workplace” (Montreal)
• Family Transition Place Shelter keynote, “The Gift of Hope” (Orangeville)
• Rexdale Women’s Centre 40th anniversary keynote
• Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade – official national spokesperson and winner of Malala
Yousafzai Women Empowerment Award
• Harper Collins National Sales Conference keynote
• United Nations Status of Women Commission (finalist nominee as Canadian delegate)
• Two TED Talks (selected as top 10 talks on gender equality)
• National Magazine Awards (nominated for Toronto Life article, “A Good Wife”)
• TVO International Women’s Day keynote (Ottawa)
• Women in Leadership and Business (Halifax)
• Women’s Presidents Organization (Halifax)
• Keynotes at universities: Yale, U of T, York, Ryerson, Schulich, Queen’s, Western, Florida, Humber,
Sheridan, and many other colleges and schools
• Toronto and Peel District school boards (keynotes)
• National Family Violence Conference (Edmonton)
• Northeast Support Services (Saskatchewan)
• Circles of Hope Shelter (Calgary)
• RBC Private Banking National Office International Women’s Day keynote (Toronto)
• University of Toronto Presidents’ Circle “Building a Better Tomorrow” featured speaker
• WE Day Atlantic Canada (Halifax)
• RBC Women’s Forum ERG event
• Peel Children’s Aid Foundation keynote and award recipient
• Women’s Business Network International Women’s Day Keynote
• WE Kenya (with Kisaruni school)
• Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs IWD keynote (Toronto)


• A Good Wife, to be published by Harper Collins in Canada in March 2019 to mark International Women’s Day
• International rights currently being sold in USA, UK, Europe, Australia, India


• RBC Global Citizen Award 2017
• Ascend Canada Mentor Of The Year Award 2018
• Malala Yousafzai Women Empowerment Award – Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade 2018
• Woman of Courage Awards – several organizations
• Spotlight Award – Canada Pakistan Professionals Association
• Brilliant Minded Woman Award 2018
• Pink Attitude Award 2018
• Proclamation by Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio 2017
• John H Moss Scholarship (University of Toronto)
• Gold Medalist in Economics (University of Toronto)


Toronto Life
Global News
CTV News
CBC Radio One, As It Happens 
TEDx Mississauga
WE Day

To book Samra Zafar, contact Rob Firing at