2018 Speakers

Samra Zafar

International speaker, human rights activist, scholar, author and social entrepreneur

Arriving in Canada as a teenage bride in a forced marriage, Samra Zafar faced over a decade of oppression and opposition against her dream of getting an education. Refusing to give up, Samra pursued her education as a single mother while working multiple jobs and raising her daughters. She proudly graduated with a Master’s 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. 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.

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. Her story and work have been featured in prominent media platforms, including Toronto Life, CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo Canada, and many others.

WEBSITE: www.samrazafar.com

TWITTER: @iamsamrazafar

Linda Silver Dranoff

Lawyer, author and activist

Linda Silver Dranoff just published Fairly Equal – Lawyering the Feminist Revolution, an eyewitness account of the revolution in women’s rights under the law. As a lawyer, she has appeared at every level of court in a precedent-setting 38-year career, helping countless individuals to navigate the legal system. Linda had a 25-year stint as a columnist at Chatelaine and is the author of the books Women in Canadian Law, Every Woman’s Guide to the Law and Every Canadian’s Guide to the Law. She successfully pressed for family law and other reforms, and was the founding chair of the Feminist Legal Analysis Section of the Ontario Bar Association (now the Women Lawyers Forum).

Linda has been recognized many times for her legal work and activism by the women’s community, the legal community, and beyond. In 2001 she received a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, and in 2012 she was appointed to the Order of Canada.

WEBSITE: www.lindasilverdranoff.com

Judy Croon

Comedian, motivational speaker, radio host, Second City standup coach and author

Judy Croon has worked with many celebrities including Jon Stewart, Lewis Black, Robert Klein and Joan Rivers, and her specials have appeared on NBC, CBS, CTV and The Comedy Network. Judy is a co-author of From the Stage to the Page: Life Lessons from Four Funny Ladies!

Judy draws from her standup performance experience to entertain, inform and inspire in her dynamic keynote entitled, Relieving Work Related Stress with Humour.

Judy is the creator and host of Laughlines and Stand Up For The Girls which have both helped raise over $650,000 for breast cancer research.

WEBSITE: www.judycroon.com

TWITTER: @judycroon