Speaker Profiles

Sara L. Austin

Sara L. Austin

Founder, President & CEO

Children First Canada

Sara is a world class champion for children, with more than 20 years of global and Canadian experience. As the Founder and CEO of Children First Canada, she leads a national movement to make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up.
You’ll find her name on several “most powerful” lists, and for good reason. She has led highly successful advocacy, public awareness and philanthropic campaigns and shaped major public policy efforts. She has learned multiple languages and is fluent in the parlance of diplomacy. Her work has taken her into the top circles of power in the UN, national governments, and boardrooms around the world. In recognition of her efforts, she has twice been awarded the Top 25 Women of Influence, and in 2017 she was the youngest person to be inducted into the Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame.
Sara has a proven track record of leading high achieving teams with local and global impact. Most recently she served as the CEO of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, where she led Canada’s most advanced frontline agency responding to child abuse. Previously she served as Director of the President’s Office of World Vision Canada, supporting the CEO and Board of Directors and leading strategic initiatives for children and workplace diversity and inclusion.
Her leadership has impacted the lives of millions of children. Most notably, she led a global campaign that resulted in the adoption of the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a Communications Procedure (OP3). This ground-breaking law allows kids or their advocates to hold governments accountable for violations of children’s rights.
On a personal level, Sara is married and has a son, and she is a cancer survivor. She is an avid downhill skier, water sports enthusiast and international traveler.

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