Samra Zafar


Speaking, writing, and advocating for authentic human connections.


 Samra Zafar is an award-winning international speaker, author, scholar, and social entrepreneur who advocates for equity, inclusion, human rights, youth, and life after trauma.


After escaping a decade of abuse living as a child bride in a forced marriage in Canada, and sharing her story, Samra became a beacon of hope for many people facing exclusion, abuse, and gender-based violence. She now engages audiences around the world, speaking about collective resilience, authentic leadership, inclusive workplaces, youth, human rights, mental health and more.

In 2017, Samra wrote an article about her personal experience with abuse for Toronto Life, which became the most-read article in Canada that year. In the same year, she delivered a TEDx talk on the topic, which was named an all-time top 10 talk on gender-based violence. Samra’s work has since been featured on CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, and more, and she’s delivered talks for Yale University, Amnesty International, ME to WE, Women’s Business Network, and others. Her book, A Good Wife, published by HarperCollins Canada, will be available in March 2019, and has already been highlighted as a top read by The Washington Post.


Samra graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s in Economics, earning herself the highest distinction and over a dozen awards and scholarships. Today, she is one of the youngest alumni serving as a Governor for the University of Toronto.

Samra is also the founder of Brave Beginnings, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting abuse survivors in their journey to build a life of freedom. Her passion is to motivate and empower all people to believe in themselves – no matter their circumstances.

She lives in Toronto, Canada with her two daughters and enjoys a rewarding corporate career.

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Awards and Recognition

Ascend Canada Mentor of The Year Award, 2018

CPACT Malala Yousafzai Women Empowerment Award, 2018

RBC Global Citizen Award, 2017

Woman of Courage Awards (several organizations)

Spotlight Award (Canada Pakistan Professionals Association)

Brilliant Minded Woman Award, 2018

Pink Attitude Award, 2018

John H Moss Scholarship (University of Toronto)

Top Student in Economics (University of Toronto

CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow, 2019

 Brave Beginnings

Founded by Samra, Brave Beginnings is a non-profit in the GTA that matches women who have escaped oppression with mentors who are empathetic and caring. Working together, women receive personal support, motivation, and friendship from their mentor to help rebuild their lives, reach their goals, and live with the respect, dignity, freedom, and happiness they deserve.

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