South Asian Mother and Daughter Duo Recognized as Two of Canada’s Most Powerful Women

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SURREY – For the first time, a South Asian mother and daughter have been recognized as Canada’s most powerful women.

Surrey Hospitals Foundation Chief Operating Officer Azra Hussain and her daughter Hebah Hussaina, have both been recognized in the 2021 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, presented by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) recognizing 105 outstanding women across Canada, who advocate for workforce diversity and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.

For the first time in Canadian history, a mother and daughter team has won their respective WXN categories. Surrey-based Azra Hussain and Hebah Hussaina were presented with the KPMG C-Suite Executives and the RBC Future Launch Future Leaders awards respectively. The Top 100 Awards span the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, with the winners selected by WXN’s Diversity Council of Canada.

“Azra is a committed and visionary leader, whose strategic mindset and professional business acumen has been integral to Surrey Hospital Foundation’s growth. Her original, innovative research has propelled our relationships with our donors, partners and communities to ensure every dollar the Foundation receives has the greatest impact on the betterment of community health,” says Jane Adams, President and CEO of Surrey Hospitals Foundation.

“We are so incredibly proud of Azra and her daughter’s achievements. It is such a great female empowerment story to have a winning mother-daughter team who show strength, resilience and fearlessness to inspire more women in the generations to come.”

Azra is a gifted leader, bringing more than 20 years of executive experience to her role as Chief Operating Officer at the Foundation. With her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) professional designations, Azra brings a unique skill set to her responsibilities of financial oversight, fundraising, talent management and operations to the Foundation. She also believes in lifelong learning and advancing the power of collaboration that allows for innovation and advancement at both an individual and team level.

She sits on the Board of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), volunteers with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) International Conference Committee and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Task Force, Surrey Board of Trade’s Women In Business team and the local Tax Clinic to assist low-income groups with their annual personal tax filing.

Born in India, Azra’s story spans from immigration, integration to an inclusion journey. Her unwavering courage to overachieve and excel, give back to the community, and become a role model for young future leaders continues to inspire many including her two children, both of whom are already experienced TEDx speakers. Her life’s story has built the base for her commitment to being a role model in resilience.

“My father instilled in me the importance of charity and giving back to our communities, and it’s a virtue that I’ve taken with me throughout my career including my work at the Foundation,” says Azra Hussain, Chief Operating Officer at Surrey Hospitals Foundation. “It is an honour, privilege and incredibly proud mom moment to be part of the same awards as my daughter; to see her make her own successes and achievements by being a positive influence and making a difference in the path she takes.”

In 2015 at the age of 15, Azra’s daughter Hebah Hussaina started the Youth for Care initiative, a not-for-profit youth group that organizes fundraisers and raises awareness for Surrey Memorial Hospital, and fosters connections between youth and the hospital.

Now, at the age of 22 with a BSc Integrated Science degree from UBC, Hebah is already a TEDx and BC Tech Summit speaker, community leader and advocate, who is passionate about supporting youth STEAM education. She is the Surrey coordinator of the Science World Future Science Leaders program, an after-school STEAM enrichment program for teens designed to unleash creative potential and build a life-long network of like-minded peers.