2021 Inductees

Sharifa Khan
2021 Inductee
Sharifa Khan

Milestones behind. Miles ahead. Sharifa Khan has been in the marketing and corporate communications industry for 40 years. The first chapter in her success story began with her envisioning and establishing an industry that is known as multicultural today. In doing so, she just didn’t author her success story, but paved the future for every multicultural professional. 40 years later this story continues with her at the helm of one of Canada’s oldest, most well-known and largest multicultural advertising agency.


Sharifa Khan is the President and CEO of Balmoral Multicultural Marketing, which celebrated its 30thanniversary last year. It is the oldest multicultural marketing agency in Canada, where she leads a team of seasoned ethnic marketing professionals to service corporate, government and non‐profit organizations. She has helped brands connect and engage with Canada’s diverse ethnic communities. 

Her motto is “Building Bridges of Understanding”. She is a maestro in putting a cultural lens to strategy and brands, to drive considerations and solidify relationships between mainstream and these ever-growing market segments.

She has led her agencies in winning numerous metals at the Cassie, the Strategy Marketing Awards and the Summit International Awards for Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG), BMW, Canada Life, Ottawa Tourism, Britta and Clorox. 


Balmoral’s clients have included Government of Ontario, OLG, BMW, Chatr, Fido, Rogers, Canada Life, Ottawa Tourism, Clorox, Metrolinx, Brita, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Burt’s Bees, Campbell’s Canada, Rémy Martin, BMO Financial Group, Canadian Cancer Society, just to name a few. And it has offices in China, India and Hong Kong.

In 1999, Sharifa was awarded a federal recognition from then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for her entrepreneurial success. In 2002, she was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award and in 2012, the Diamond Jubilee Award. In 2004, she received the Alumni Achievement Award from Ryerson University. She is also a recipient of the 2013 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for her achievements. And in 2018, Sharifa was named one of eighteen Women of Influence in Canada.


Community Involvement/ Volunteerism 


  • Over the years, Ms. Khan has been dedicated to promoting the goodwill and image of Canada’s diverse multicultural communities to mainstream Canadian communities, corporation and government – Building Bridges of Understanding


  • She co-founded the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival in 1988 and was instrumental in the success and popularity of this multicultural event in Canada for 17 years. 


  • She was the Chairwoman of the 2006 Toronto Club Crew Dragon Boat World Championships where she successfully lobbied three levels of government for $23 million to build a new watercourse at Toronto’s waterfront. This was the first waterfront project in fifty years in Toronto. This project had a significant economic impact and was instrumental in bringing in $24 million GDP into the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto.


  • She was the first female President of the Toronto Chinese Business Association, and the first minority group female Vice President of the Canadian Club. She sat on many boards such as Toronto Board of Trade and United Way of Greater Toronto.


  • Sharifa was also the Vice-Chair of OCAD University as well as a Director of Ontario Creates. She still sits on the Board of Governors of the Mount Sinai Hospital and Toronto General Hospital. 


  • She is an Honorary Advisor of Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto and the Canadian Ethnic Media Association