Events - WIL

Women Leaders in STEM

The Muslim Awards for Excellence was established to recognize, reward, celebrate & motivate high achievement, along with positive and productive contributions to society by Muslims in Canada. In keeping with the overarching vision to elevate the brand of Canadian Muslims, MAX Women in Leadership was launched in 2019 with a mission to celebrate, inspire and cultivate leadership excellence in Canadian-Muslim women.

After the success of our MAX Women in Leadership events over the past years, we are thrilled to announce our latest one focused entirely on successful Canadian Muslim women leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Recognizing the historical gender gap in this space, our goal is to empower and inspire future female leaders of the potential and opportunities to be unlocked and pursued in STEM.

Join us on Thursday, July 22 from 6-8PM to hear from some incredible leaders on their respective paths in STEM – the challenges, the opportunities, representation and diversity, how to cultivate leadership and innovation and more. Details and Speaker bios below.


  • 6:00 – 6:05pm: Welcome and Opening Remarks from MAX WIL
  • 6:05 – 6:50pm: Panel: Women Leaders in STEM
  • 6:50 – 7:20pm: Keynote Interview: Women Founded Startups in STEM
  • 7:20 – 7:50pm: Networking Session
  • 7:50 – 8:00pm: Closing Remarks and Wrap Up

Speaker Bios:

Azadeh Dastmalchi | CEO and Co-Founder | VitalTracer

Azadeh Dastmalchi is the CEO of VitalTracer, a medical startup that designs smart wearable medical devices. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Ottawa University, obtaining her MSc from the same university in Mechanical Engineering. In the last twelve years, her main field of research has been designing and developing medical devices, particularly vital sign monitoring ones.

She is a Canadian G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, an experienced research assistant in the higher education industry, a skilled leader, entrepreneur, business Planner, and a successful project manager. Azadeh raised $1M non-dilutive grants since January 2020. VitalTracer has been awarded several regional and national awards under her leadership, including Mitacs national entrepreneur award, CANNIE regional award on innovation product, Startup Canada award, and AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award (COVID-19 Countermeasures).

Hind Al-Abadleh | University Research Professor | Wilfred Laurier University

Professor Hind Al-Abadleh started her academic career in 2005 in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, following a PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship in the United States. She is currently the 2020-2021 University Research Professor, a Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and was the 2019 Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, Air Quality, and Climate Change at the University of California Irvine. With funding exceeding $2 M, she runs the EPIC lab for Environmental, Physical and Interfacial Chemistry research in the fields of atmospheric chemistry, air quality, geochemistry, and environmental remediation.

Al-Abadleh mentored over 70 university students at undergraduate and graduate levels, published over 150 research papers and conference presentations, received many awards and seminar invitations, and conducted numerous interviews with the media (TV, radio, etc) on topics related to the environment. Al-Abadleh is the current Chair of the Environment Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada, Executive Board Member of Nano Ontario, and Vice Chair of the Special Interest Group on Atmosphere-Related Research in Canadian Universities (ARRCU) at the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS).

Asma Shahsamand | Head of Ventures Canada | Accenture

Asma Shahsamand is the Accenture Ventures Lead for Canada. Asma focuses on developing partnerships and engaging key stakeholders from the start-up and venture capital ecosystem, with the aim to accelerate the transformation of her clients. Prior to her current role, Asma was the Digital Transformation Manager within the Canada Innovation Hub. Asma is a strategic driver in the creation of customer-centric incubators with a core focus on moving startups to commercialization.

Over the last five years, Asma has worked with over 200 start-ups and supported promising startups to scale their business and create innovative technology that impacts human life. Through her work in strategic ideation and design thinking, she is a key activator for the start-up ecosystem.

Saima Malik | AVP, Messaging Platform, Digital | TD Bank

Saima is an experienced Digital and Transformation executive, who likes to solve big problems, thrives in complex and adaptive environments, invests in people and relationships to deliver real outcomes. Saima is a senior North American business leader with over 20+ years of demonstrated success in leading digital and transformation initiatives at TD, Microsoft and E&Y Consulting.

She has held various executive positions within TD in both platform and product management roles, most recently leading TD’s enterprise Customer Messaging platform. She is also a passionate D&I advocate and cultivating authentic leadership in tech and also founded TD’s strategic partnership with Move the Dial.

Noureen Syed | Director, Commercial Market Strategy Group | Microsoft

Noureen Syed is a Market Strategy Lead at Microsoft Canada. Noureen’s focus is working with Microsoft business leaders on impactful strategies that continue to provide the best value to customers and partners via adoption of Microsoft Cloud including solutions and platforms such as Azure, Microsoft 365 Collaboration/Productivity & Security, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

Previously, Noureen held various other roles at Microsoft Canada, such as Open Source Lead and spent over 10 years within Microsoft Enterprise Services pursuing her passion of customer service ranging from working with customers as a Technical Account Manager, to program management of consulting and support services and sales of datacenter migration solutions.

Noureen is a Computer Engineer with Management Sciences option graduate from the University of Waterloo. Outside of work Noureen is a mom, traveler and loves staying active.


Farzia Khan | Senior Manager, Cyber Security Experience | TD Bank

Farzia is an award-winning community builder, entrepreneur and a Senior Manager of Cybersecurity at TD where she’s dedicated to elevating cyber literacy of employees, customers and community members. Her career began at BMO after she got selected as one of the top 30 female students to advise the CEO on “Future of Work”. Farzia is passionate about making education accessible and is a strong advocate of Women in STEM.

As her commitment to helping others, Farzia uses her talent as a polyglot to offer free translating services and workshops to underprivileged immigrants, runs her own blog called TopStudentAdvice and mentorship program to educate and support students from under-represented backgrounds across the world and most recently established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion scholarship. Farzia has also founded her own subscription company and two Hackathons including the first all-women Hackathon in Canada, Ellehacks. She was recently also recognised as a Top 30 under 30 changemaker.

For questions or comments please contact:

  • Hena Awan | Managing Director, MAX Women in Leadership |
  • Manal Meer | Managing Director, MAX Business |