NSB Logo

Farah Mohamed

Social Entrepreneur, Former CEO of the Malala Fund, Founder & Advisor to G(irls)20

A social profit entrepreneur, Farah Mohamed knows how to grab hold of a challenging current issue and ensure action and momentum for results towards a better world. She most recently served as the CEO of the Malala Fund, inspired by Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for going to school and became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  She’s also founder of G(irls)20, which galvanizes the world’s greatest resource – girls and women – and cultivates a new generation of leaders through education, entrepreneurship and global experiences. 

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Leadership at the International Level
Farah Mohamed knows the power of making an impact at a national and international level.   She shares how to start a movement on a global scale;  change the narrative, ensure you have the skills, then  drive change in terms of real actions and impact.  Her success in developing and leading organizations like The Belinda Stronach Foundation and it’s One Laptop Per Child, and in leading G(irls)20, had her tapped to become the current leader of the international Malala Fund.  Farah’s international roles include work as co-anchor, The Clinton Global Initiative’s Network on Investing in Girls & Women, and Advisor, Virgin Unite Canada (Richard Branson’s foundation).

Diversity and Opportunity
Farah notes that in an increasingly globalized, interconnected world, it’s a competitive edge for any organization or country to have a variety of opinions around the table. If you are not firing on all cylinders with your human resources, you will not grow, you cannot sustain, you cannot compete. If the people involved are all from similar backgrounds, you can’t understand what’s really going on outside the room. We do a good job of celebrating diversity; now we have to figure out how to leverage it. She recommends having more diversity – of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, people with disabilities – in governments, and changing the curriculum in schools.  She also notes that 1 billion women will enter the workforce over the next decade.  World Bank stats show that women put 90 per cent of their earnings into their family or community. Farah encourages companies to find out how to engage these women. And, if a woman is part of the labour force, your GDP will increase. For organizations, your percentage, your growth, your profit margin will go up if a woman is sitting at a table making a decision. A diverse organization ensures you’re thinking about things differently and pursuing opportunities in your own way.  

The Future in Canada & Competitiveness
The diverse make-up of our country is one of our competitive advantages.We have the opportunity to assert ourselves – to rebrand ourselves – as a bigger power in light of what’s happening in the world. Farah notes ‘There will be nine billion people to feed by 2050, and we’ve got some of the strongest agricultural policies. During the 2008 world financial crisis, we showed our financial prowess, and we continue to be a leader in our taxation and banking systems, our stability and our relatively low unemployment rate when compared to other nations. We are seen as a country you can look to for a good moral compass. But do we export enough of that knowledge? No. Do we showcase enough just how awesome we are? No. It’s called the tall poppy syndrome – we don’t want to stand out by being the tallest poppy in the field, so when Canadians do amazing things, we won’t take credit for them. I’d like to see us be more patriotic, but until the world applauds us, we don’t applaud ourselves. Humility is nice, but not when it holds you back.’

Social Entrepreneurship
In this presentation, Farah challenges audiences to make a paradigm shift. Social Entrepreneurship is shoving the traditional philanthropic and association approach to the side. No longer seen as a ‘third sector’ Farah will shed light on what it is, the different models organizations use, as well as taking a look at how it changes what businesses are currently doing. Her innovative approach had her Girls(20) ‘stock’ launched on the TSX gaining the attention and support of the Prime Minister’s office. She encourages audience to avoid ‘not-for-profit’ language and speak about what they stand ‘for’ (instead of what they are not), and to focus on ‘investments in your cause’, rather than charity. 

Investing in Girls & Women
Why do we do it? How do we do it? Pulling examples from her new work with the Malala Fund and her work with G(irls)20, she shows the economic imperative for organizations to cultivate a new generation of leaders through entrepreneurship and education with opportunity. 

Platform Plus

Panelist/In Conversation

Farah brings fascinating insights to discussions around topics such as youth empowerment, inspiring girls, leadership, social enterprise & entrepreneurship and more.


Salt | The World's 100 Most Inspiring Women

BBC’s 100 Women
Canada’s Top 25 Immigrant
Women of Influence | Top 25 Most Influential Women in Canada

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Women of Influence | Top 25 Most Influential Women in Canada
Canadian Diversity Champion

  • I'm very proud to announce that Farah Mohamed, a refugee who fled Uganda and came to Canada as a child, is Malala Fund's new CEO. A Canadian will now lead the fight for girls' education around the world. - Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize Laureate and Founder, Malala Fund
  • Amazing to listen to your candid, honest approach to business and life. You were a standout speaker in a brilliant day. I am raising and empowering 2 beautiful daughters everyday and thank you for the opportunities you are creating for young girls and women worldwide.

    - We Day Winnipeg Attendee
  • Farah Mohamed delivers her remarkable journey to her audience with enthusiasm, humour and insight. Her audience is energized and encouraged by her presentation which is well researched, well delivered and well received. She connects the dots in a convincing manner.

    - Honourable Paddy Torsney, Permanent Observer, IPU to the United Nations
  • Farah is a renowned leader and global advocate for women and girls. She is a compelling storyteller and presenter with powerful stories of humanity and change from around the world. Farah is one of Canada's most prized exports!

    - CEO, Foundation for Young Australians

Summary Profile

Farah is a compelling storyteller and presenter who shares powerful stories of humanity and change from around the world. She has a relaxed presentation style which puts audiences instantly at ease with her down-to-earth pragmatism and relatable storytelling style. Through compelling personal experience and lessons-learned, Farah inspires audiences to cultivate a better future by showing passionate leadership, empowering young people, and seeing the value of a social profit entrepreneurship mindset. Her well-researched presentations frame data in a way that brings numbers to life as she connects the dots in a convincing manner and get your audience excited for the possibilities of change.

In her role as Malala Fund CEO,  inspired by Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for going to school and became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, she’s involved in advocating for resources and policy change needed to give all girls a secondary education, investing in developing country educators and activists, and amplifying the voices of girls fighting for change. Her fund invests in the future of girls and women with more than $8.6 million towards girls’ education programmes.

Previously, as Founder of G(irls)20, Farah Mohamed designed the organization G20 style; a cool take on the G20, which puts girls and women at the very heart of the issues.  This internationally active organization brings together one delegate girl from each G20 country concluding in a global Summit that generates ideas that are presented to the G20 Leaders, global mentorships and the creation of delegate led initiatives.  G(irls)20 is a globally active social enterprise that cultivates a new generation of female leaders through education, entrepreneurship and global experiences and provides advice to G20 Leaders on how to increase female labour force participation as it is key to economic growth.  The program involves skills building (entrepreneurship, business planning, communications, technology navigation, leadership, and more).  G(irls)20 also provides advice to G20 Leaders on how to economically engage girls and women to reach growth targets. 

Magna heiress and former Cabinet Minister, Belinda Stronach recruited Farah to establish The Belinda Stronach Foundation (TBSF). Under Farah’s leadership, TBSF created and launched the Foundation’s flagship programs including One Laptop Per Child for Aboriginal Youth. She also oversaw the Foundation’s work in Liberia with President Johnson Sirleaf and a $1M humanitarian relief effort in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Farah is passionate about working with young people to empower them at a crucial time in their development. She saw the need to change the way we engage both women and men and acted on it. She works tirelessly to engage the private sector and government leaders in a way that makes economic sense: to place girls and women at the heart of the economic decision making and yield the benefits in doing so.

Of Indian heritage, Farah was born and raised in Uganda before her family was uprooted and sought refuge in Canada. Her upbringing instilled her with a strong work ethic and keen sense of curiosity, which eventually culminated in her working in politics. For 10 years, Farah worked closely with some of Canada’s most senior politicians including Paddy Torsney and Anne McLellan. Post politics, Farah served as Vice President, Public Affairs and Community Engagement for VON Canada where she was successful in building government and private sector partnerships.

(1970-01-01 12:00:00)