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“We didn’t know anybody or the cultural codes,” Zahra Al- Harazi says. “The idea of committing a faux pas petrified me”

second among the world’s top 25 tables by Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards in 2015. A fiercely ambitious chef, Ferrer continually makes adjust-

ments to his business, which he manages with a seasoned accounting team that provides him with a detailed balance sheet each month to make changes as needed. Given the slim profit margins in the restaurant industry (ranging from 3% to 5%), close monitoring is crucial to optimizing profitability for Europea — which today includes several restaurants, snack-bar franchises, cafés, an online shop, a catering business, a vine- yard, a line of prepared foods, a new-generation agrifood pro- cessing centre and, more recently, a fleet of food trucks. Ferrer even finds time to write cookbooks and is a consultant to four breweries in São Paolo, Brazil, which he visits several times a year.

Why the appetite for hard work? A passion for his trade, to

be sure, but there’s more. “I clung to my work after my wife died of cancer,” he says. “Life ripped from me the most pre- cious thing in my heart, so I focused on the happiness I felt bringing joy to my customers. And when I was granted Can- adian citizenship, I felt lucky and indebted to the country that welcomed me with open arms and gave me a chance to succeed in business. The place of my rebirth is where I belong.”

Zahra Al-Harazi: entrepreneur Nothing in her early life suggested that Zahra Al-Harazi would have such a bright future. But thanks to her remarkable deter- mination, Al-Harazi, who was born in Uganda and moved to Yemen as a refugee at age two with her family, became a promi- nent businesswoman. Surviving two civil wars, Al-Harazi arrived in Calgary in 1996 at 26 with her three children to give them a better future. “We didn’t know anybody or the cultural codes,” she says. “The idea of saying the wrong thing or com- mitting a faux pas in public petrified me.” And yet, this stay-at- home mother didn’t despair. Overcoming her shyness, she landed a job as a sales clerk in a clothing store. “I quickly became the top salesperson, despite never having sold any- thing in my life. I learned then that I had a knack for under- standing people’s needs. It boosted my self-esteem and enhanced my business sense.” Determined to go to university, she obtained a bachelor of

design and visual communications at 32, rose through the ranks of an advertising agency, and then cofounded Foundry Communications, a marketing and design studio. Thanks to her drive and overall vision, the studio earned $1 million in its first year, and continues to grow due to a bold approach based on giving back. “I always believed in the importance of giving back to the community,” she says, adding, “I always encouraged my employees to do so by accepting pro bono work, for example. [First], they can fully express their creative side. And second, this


helps establish the studio’s credibility, gives us publicity and attracts new clients and fresh talent. It’s a win-win situation.” In its second year of operation, the agency made the Profit/ Chatelaine 100 list of female entrepreneurs as one of the 10 com- panies to watch in Canada, in addition to earning numerous awards and accolades on the international stage. Besides her role as consulting partner at Foundry, Al-Harazi

is currently pursuing other business opportunities. “I’m about to start a new company in another area altogether,” she says. An influential businesswoman, Al-Harazi also serves on the board of several major organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, EO Global Communications Committee and Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Al-Harazi was named Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the

Year for 2011 by Chatelaine for her determination, entrepreneur- ial vision and commitment to the community, and in 2012 was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her philanthropic contributions to Canada. For all these reasons, she was among the recipients of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award in 2013. Recently appointed as a UNICEF Canada Ambassador, this

true citizen of the world is looking to do her part in conflict- ridden countries, specifically to help women and children. “Their fate deeply resonates with me,” she says. “It’s also a way to give back part of what Canada gave me to make me a full- fledged citizen.”

Yoshua Bengio: artificial intelligence leader When Yoshua Bengio moved from Paris to Montreal with his family at the age of 12, becoming an international pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) was the furthest thing from his mind. He dreamed of being a physicist and then a mathematician, but became a stellar student in computer engineering. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of AI, due to his work in deep learning, which he has been engaged in since 2006. It is mostly thanks to Bengio that we have access to apps such as Google Now, as well as voice and image recognition on Facebook. And this is just the beginning, according to Bengio, who

turned down lucrative offers from new technology industry giants to devote himself to university research. “Within 10 years, many areas of human activity will be transformed and driven by artificial intelligence,” he says. At 52, the research professor at Université de Montréal’s IT

and research department and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms supervises more than 25 graduate stu- dents and is building a vast global collaboration network. When he talks about his arrival in Quebec, he does so with warmth and gratitude. “I received a wonderful welcome, from both franco- phones and anglophones,” he says. “My integration was gradual,

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