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Shahrzad Rafati – Thoughts on Winning Nerds On Site Business Woman of the Year Award 2019

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ShahrzadRafati is the Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV (BBTV), a media-tech company that is advancing the world through the creation, distribution, management, and monetization of content. 

Shahrzad actively pursues ways to encourage social change and is a champion for equality in all forms. She is passionate about job creation, education, and advancing opportunities for women and girls. In September 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed her to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leader’s task force, a global initiative to drive actionable, measurable, and results-driven solutions to impact women’s economic empowerment. In addition to building an incredibly successful company that has experienced phenomenal growth, Shahrzad has built a quadruple bottom-line business that measures success not only on financial performance but also on employee, culture, social, community and environmental KPIs. BBTV has a 0% pay gap between male and female employees, 43% of its employees are females and 46% of its managers are female managers.

In addition to Shahrzad’s exemplary contributions to G20, Shahrzad supports a number of influential Boards and Associations, spanning Canadian investment groups, leading media and technology businesses, global leaders in design and architecture, and not for profits. A selection of these include: Invest In Canada, Vice-Chairperson, Board of Directors 2019-present; FuturePLAY, Co-founder and Member of Chair Committee, 2018-present; Hootsuite Media Inc., Board of Directors, 2017-present; Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Board of Directors, 2016-present; Graduate of the Young Global Leader, Oxford Module: Transformational Leadership at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015; Forum of Women Entrepreneurs, Board Member, 2013-2015; World Economic Forum, Young Global Leader, 2014; Vancouver Economic Commission, Board of Directors, 2014-2018.

Shahrzad has been broadly recognized by industry and community groups for her contributions to the media industry and entrepreneurship. Recent awards include Shahrzad being named the 2018 Ernst and Young Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the technology category, awarded Person of the Year by the British Columbia Technology Association, named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, selected as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Women in Global Television, she won the AdAge Creativity Award 2019 Visionary/Founder of the Year and was named to TheWrap’s Innovators List. Earlier highlights include Shahrzad named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women, winner of the CEO World Awards Founder/Entrepreneur of the Year, and named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Shahrzad is a highly sought-after speaker for industry events. Speaking engagements to date include Dreamforce alongside Marc Benioff, Mark Cuban, Chris Sacca, will.i.am and Brian Moynihan, the CEO and Chairman of The Bank of America, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Cannes Lions, VidCon, Web Summit, Elevate, MIPCOM, CES, New fronts, Financial Times Digital Media, dmexco, Business Insider’s IGNITION, Collision, BCTECH Summit, and TEDx Vancouver.


BBTV

1. What does winning the CanadianSME National Business Award mean to you and your organization? 

This accolade is a true testament to the amazing work done by the whole BBTV team, as we continue to build one of the most successful media technology companies in the world. BBTV is an enabling platform for content owners, achieving tens of billions of monthly views across 587 million unique viewers, positioning us as the world’s second-largest video property in unique viewership after Google. In addition, we’re extremely proud that we have built a truly quadruple bottom line business with strong financial performance and a 0% gender pay gap. Despite all of this, we feel we’re just getting started.


2. What piece of advice would you give to entrepreneurs? 

There are a number of key pieces of advice I often pass along to other entrepreneurs. First, go after large pools of opportunity and don’t solve a small problem if you can solve a larger one, it can take the same amount of time and effort to get there.

Second, follow your passion, work hard, set a clear vision, and don’t be afraid to pivot as you will never get it right the first time.

Surround yourself with amazing people as you’ll need supporters to keep you on track. And, last but not least, keep a positive mental attitude and keep moving forward.

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