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TOP ENTREPRENEURS
Go-getters making a mark with their own companies.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Zahra Al-Harazi
Creative Director/Co-Owner, Foundry Creative
“In Canada, you can go as far as you want. The opportunity is there, you just have to find it within yourself to go after it.” [copy] Zahra Al-Hazari, 40, was born in Yemen. She survived two civil wars, was married at 17 and had three kids by age 25. Then, in 1996, she came to Canada in search of a better life for her children but found herself in a rundown apartment in the dead of winter (she’d never seen snow) with a freight train running through her yard. Her children were five, four and six months, and they all, including Zahra, had chicken pox. It was a definite low point, she says. Determined to make her new life work, Zahra decided to get a job. With her lack of experience, her family was skeptical. “They said, ‘Who’s going to hire you?’ I got pissed off at that, so I went to the nearest mall and came home with a job at Danier Leather.” And she didn’t stop there. At 28, she went back to school and earned a degree in visual communications from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Now, she’s creative director and co-owner of Foundry Creative, a design studio in Calgary. “It’s about starting with raw materials to build something solid and strong,” she says. In addition to winning international awards, Foundry does pro-bono work for charitable organizations, including Immigrant Services Calgary. “I’m luckier than most who immigrate — I had the language, I was able to support myself and go back to school,” Zahra says. “It’s why I volunteer. In Canada, you can go as far as you want. The opportunity is there, you just have to find it within yourself to go after it.”
Finalists
Learn more about each of our Finalists. Read their stories.
2011 Women of the Year Winner Categories
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How the winners were selected:
Winners were chosen based on their work and accomplishments in combination with votes by Chatelaine readers and our Leadership Panel.