Making a Difference: Meet a Non-profit Leader with Global Clout
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Sara L. Austin, Champion for Women and Children
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Our Women of Influence Evening Series is designed to motivate and inspire the next generation of emerging leaders and provide a platform for them to meet their peers and role models who have had early success and high-profile careers. Keynote speakers share tactical advice on negotiating, leadership, entrepreneurship, communication and personal branding and a structured “Connecting Activity” enables our guests to make career-defining connections.
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm Registration and Cocktail Reception
6:00 pm – 6:45 pm Keynote Presentation and Q&A
6:45 pm – 7:20 pm Connecting Activity
7:20 pm – 7:30 pm Closing Remarks & Grand Door Prize
Your ticket includes complimentary CHLOE Wine & Canapés
Need Complimentary Childcare for the Event? Click here.
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Sara L. Austin is passionate champion for women and children and an established senior leader with more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit and charitable sector. She speaks multiple languages and is fluent in the parlance of international diplomacy, where her work has taken her into the top circles of power at the United Nations and in government corridors around the world.
In 2014, Sara was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence and Top 100 Most Powerful Women. These prestigious rankings celebrate the accomplishments of senior women executives who have achieved the highest levels of professional success and have made a significant difference in their field.
Sara is currently a member of Mount Royal University’s Centre for Child Well-Being and a Lecturer in the Child and Youth Studies Program. She is also consulting for non-profit organizations, and leading a new advocacy initiative for the protection and empowerment of children in Canada.
In her previous role as the Director of the President’s Office of World Vision Canada, Sara was the chief advisor to the President and Board of Directors and led the executive team; she also led strategic initiatives for the wellbeing of children and advanced workplace equity, diversity and inclusion.
As an expert in international human rights law, Sara has led global advocacy efforts that have changed the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. Her leadership of a global campaign to strengthen international laws resulted in the UN General Assembly adopting the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a Communications Procedure. This groundbreaking legislation allows children or their advocates to file complaints with the UN and hold governments accountable for violations of their rights. She drafted the protocol during her graduate studies at the University of Oxford, and her efforts culminated in April 2014, when Sara delivered a speech at the UN Headquarters in New York as the law went into effect.
In 2015, Sara broke new ground by launching Strong Women, Strong World, a campaign to empower women and girls. By inspiring Canadians to give big, bold gifts, and to use their time and talents, Sara is influencing global philanthropy and advocacy that will help millions of women and girls to achieve their full potential.
As a regular contributor to mainstream and social media, Sara shapes public opinion on issues relating to the protection of human rights. Sara’s Opinion Editorials have been published in Canada’s leading newpapers and she has been interviewed on major TV and radio networks such as CTV and CBC.
Sara has shaped major public policy efforts, including testifying before Senate and Parliamentary Committees on Canada’s obligations under international law. She has also implemented innovative programs on birth registration for children in Latin America and led cutting edge research in Africa on girls’ vulnerability to AIDS.
As an expert in good governance practices, Sara has served on numerous non-profit boards. She is currently a member of Imagine Canada’s Standards Council and the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Advisory Council for Alberta. She has previously served on the UN Advisory Council on Violence Against Children and as Vice Chair on the Boards of Directors of York Region Children’s Aid Society, amongst others.
She was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship by the British Council during her studies at the University of Oxford, leading towards an MSt/LLM with Distinction in International Human Rights Law. She holds a First Class Honours BA in International Development and Women’s Studies from Dalhousie University. Sara has completed the Governance Essentials Program for Non-Profits with the Institute of Corporate Directors.
On a personal level, Sara is married, has a son, and she is cancer survivor. She is an avid skier and sailor, and has travelled to over 40 countries. Sara’s quiet determination to empower and equip others to achieve their full potential and be a force for good in this world is an inspiration to those around her.