Move to another country. Master the language. Earn a bachelor's, earn a master’s. Start your own company. Create 1400 jobs. And be praised, not for your achievements but for being an immigrant woman who “broke the mold”. This is the life of Shori Zand.
Coming to Sweden from Iran in the late 1980’s, Shori embarked on a path that is commonplace for many Swedes; she received degrees in general nursing and midwifery, worked for many years in Swedish and Norwegian hospitals, identified a problem in the market in terms of personalized healthcare, and started her own company in order to find a solution to this gap. But would you have been as surprised if this was a story about a Swede, a Dane, or even a German? Judged for being a female immigrant in a sector she describes as “a place for men and Swedish people,” Shori’s story exemplifies that it is important to challenge the system even when the odds are against you.
Shori’s fresh perspective as a non-Swede made a useful, entrepreneurial mark on Sweden, and who is to say that there are not more untapped resources hiding in our midst. Shori’s talk comes to us at an important time when there is too much hatred and negative judgement for those that are different. She believes that everyone deserves a chance, no matter where you come from. But of course, one must work hard for such opportunities. In Shori’s talk, she will highlight the importance of how society must change its negative attitude towards those with a different ethnicity, religion or even gender from our own and embrace the potential they hold. As a female immigrant from the Middle East, Shori Zand challenged both herself and the system and came out on top. Imagine the great things we could accomplish if we stopped being so surprised when someone breaks the mold we impose on them.