Ms. Samra Zafar

Samra Zafar is an award-winning internationally renowned speaker, bestselling author, and educator for equity, mental health, and human rights. She is currently an MD student at McMaster University.

Samra has been recognized twice among the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She is also named among the Top 25 Most Inspirational Women in Canada, and Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. She is the 2021 recipient of the Desmond Parker Outstanding Young Alumni Award at University of Toronto, in recognition of her work to advance human rights.

After arriving in Canada as a child bride and escaping a decade of abuse, Samra pursued her education at the University of Toronto as a single mother working multiple jobs and graduated as a top student with several awards and scholarships. She began sharing her story to raise awareness about gender inequality and has since become a globally recognized expert, speaker and consultant on equity and inclusion, violence against women, and mental health.

Samra’s 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, was published by HarperCollins Canada and major publishers around the world. It is an international bestseller and has been translated into several languages. She is currently working with HarperCollins on her second book, Unconditional, an inspirational self-help memoir to help women break free from limiting beliefs and trauma to live their most authentic, unconditional lives.

Samra is the founder and executive director of Brave Beginnings, a national charity supporting women in building lives of freedom after escaping abuse and oppression. She was one of the youngest alumni to be elected as Governor for the University of Toronto, and most recently served as Chair of the U of T Mississauga Campus Council. She currently serves as a board member for Women’s College Hospital Foundation, and a Celebrated Ambassador for Plan International Canada.

Samra’s speaking portfolio includes four TEDx talks, and universities, corporations and non-profit organizations around the world. Her work has impacted millions and has been extensively featured in national and global media.