Read Sharifa Khan's feature in the
October 2016 issue of Canadian Immigrant
Sharifa has more than 30 years’ experience as a multicultural marketing professional, and can truly be called a pioneer in the field of multicultural marketing before the term was even invented. Today, it is largely thanks to her efforts that ethnic markets are in the mix of target groups by mainstream corporations. She started the ethnic marketing division of a mainstream marketing and public relations firm in the early 1980s before it was sophisticated to do so. She started as a marketing assistant and transitioned to being a shareholder and consultant at this firm. She moved on to establish Balmoral Marketing, in 1989, where she is presently President and CEO.
At Balmoral Marketing, Sharifa leads a team of seasoned ethnic specialists to service corporate, government and non-profit organizations — guiding them to connect with new markets in Canada. In 1999, she received federal government recognition from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for entrepreneurial success.
As part of her voluntary contributions, Sharifa has been the female president of the Toronto Chinese Business Association and first minority group female vice-president of the Canadian Club. She sat on the board of the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Toronto Board of Trade and Canada Post. Currently, she is on the boards of the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, OCAD University as well as the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
Sharifa has received numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Award in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 for her contributions to society as well as the Alumni Achievement Award from Ryerson University in 2004.
She co-founded of the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival and positioned it strongly as an important event on the Canadian sports calendar. She has been the chairwoman of the 2006 Toronto Club Crew Dragon Boat World Championships, an accomplishment in which she successfully lobbied internationally for this competition to be in Toronto. She also lobbied three levels of government for $23 million to build a new water course at Toronto’s waterfront to host this event.