About Samra

Samra advocates tirelessly for equity, human rights, women’s rights, diversity and inclusion through many channels. Her passion is to motivate and empower all people to believe in themselves, achieve their goals and reach their full potential, no matter what the circumstances might be.

Arriving in Canada as a child bride in a forced marriage, Samra faced over a decade of oppression and opposition against her dream of getting an education. Refusing to give up, she pursued her education as a single mother while working multiple jobs and raising her daughters. Samra proudly graduated with a Masters degree in Economics with the highest distinction, winning over a dozen awards and scholarships. She was the first mature student to win the most prestigious John Moss Award, a $17k scholarship awarded annually to the single most outstanding student across all three U of T campuses. Today, she is the youngest alumni serving as a Governor for the University of Toronto, along with pursuing a rewarding career in commercial banking.

Audiences around the globe are moved by Samra as she shares her journey from oppression to empowerment. Her impressive speaking portfolio includes platforms such as TEDx, Amnesty International, Yale Law School, Women in Leadership Canada, as well as major universities, banks and corporations.

Samra’s story is one of Brave Beginnings, the name of the non-profit organization she founded to support abuse survivors in their journey to build a life of respect and freedom. Samra’s story and work have been featured in prominent media, including Toronto Life, CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo, and many others, collectively reaching tens of millions of people worldwide.

Samra accredits her achievements and success to the support of her professors, mentors, and peers in this country, who saw her as a woman trying to build a better life, not as someone different due to gender, colour, race or religion. In fact, Samra was empowered to be the best version of herself, without judgement and negativity.

Her free time is dedicated to her two beautiful daughters and her passion for empowering others through her advocacy and non-profit work.

Speaking Topics include:

  • Gender Inequality
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Authentic Leadership
  • Human Connection
  • Women Empowerment
  • Youth Empowerment
  • Adversity and Motivation
  • Domestic Violence
  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Resilience and Perseverance
  • Emotional Intelligence

AWARDS

  • UTM Prestigious Award 2013
  • Faculty Choice Award 2012
  • U of T Scholar Award 2012, 2013
  • Dean’s Honour List – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • TA Excellence Award - 2013
  • U of T Excellence Award in Research - 2013
  • UTAA Scholar - 2013
  • John Moss Scholar - 2013
  • Richard Buchanan Scholarship - 2012
  • Agnes Ireland Award - 2013
  • Gordon Cressy Leadership Award - 2013
  • Top Student Award in Economics - 2013
  • Academic Excellence Award - 2013
  • CPPA Spotlight Award - 2013
  • Mother's Day Award - 2013
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship - 2013, 2014
  • Woman of Courage Award - 2015