Speaker Profiles

Sara L. Austin

Sara L. Austin

Founder, President & CEO

Children First Canada

Sara L. Austin, Founder and President/CEO of Children First Canada is the passionate visionary behind this national organization dedicated to the protection and empowerment of Canada's children. With over 20 years leadership experience in the non-profit/charitable sector, she has helped to change the lives of the world's most vulnerable children. You'll find her name on several "most powerful" lists, including the prestigious Top 25 Women of Influence and as a three-time winner of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women, in recognition of her global and national leadership for children. She has learned multiple languages, and is fluent in the parlance of diplomacy. Her work has taken her into the top circles of power at the United Nations, government corridors and boardrooms around the world.

Her leadership of a global campaign to protect children resulted in the UN General Assembly adopting a ground breaking international law which allows children or their advocates to file complaints against their government 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. She has also shaped Canadian public policy efforts, including testifying before Senate and Parliamentary Committees on Canada's obligations under international law.

As a regular contributor to mainstream and social media, she also shapes public opinion on issues relating to the protection and empowerment of children. Sara's Opinion Editorials have been published in Canada's leading newspapers and she has been interviewed on major TV and radio networks such as CTV and CBC. Sara also has extensive board governance experience; she is currently a member of Dalhousie University's Board of Governors and the Alumni Association, Imagine Canada's Standards Council, and the Women's Executive Network (WXN) Advisory Council.

Our Sponsors