Esmahan Razavi is passionate about democratic engagement and political participation. In addition to working as Ministerial Advisor to the Hon. Danielle Larivee, Minister of Status of Women, Esmahan spends much of her free time working to seeing more women elected to public office. She is a steering committee member of Equal Voice Alberta South, an organization dedicated to electing more women to all orders of government. As part of this role, she co-leads the #Campaign101 initiative to provide women candidates and campaign staff with workshops designed to provide learning opportunities that address different aspects of the campaign process. In 2016, Esmahan co-founded Ask Her, an organization with the mandate to increase the number of women elected to Calgary’s City Council. She served as the organization’s first president until she resigned to run for council in the 2017 municipal elections, where she ran in Ward 6, placing second. For her role in founding Ask Her and then making the choice to run, Esmahan was selected by Chatelaine magazine as one of the top 33 women in Canada for 2017. Esmahan has held senior positions on multiple campaigns for women candidates at the federal and provincial orders of government and led a partisan initiative to support women candidates during the 2015 federal election. Esmahan also served as Chair of the Women in Politics committee for the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women from 2016-2018. Esmahan sits on the board of the Women’s March in Calgary, and co-led the 2018 march.
Esmahan volunteers for many different causes around Calgary and believes that community building and grassroots initiatives are the most important way to instill positive change. She currently serves on United Way Calgary’s Public Policy committee. In late 2015, Esmahan was moved by the stories of Syrian refugees moving to Calgary and drew upon her own experience as an immigrant to co-found an organization called Ahlain to use technology to assist Syrian refugees in adapting to their new homes in Calgary.
Prior to working in government, Esmahan practiced as a professional mediator specializing in the resolution of civil, corporate and family disputes. She understands the value of listening to all sides and creating solutions through collaboration – building trust in situations where tensions are high and trust is low. Esmahan studied Mediation at the University of Calgary. Prior to this, Esmahan studied Philosophy at the University of Toronto, focusing on political philosophy and applied ethics. During her time at the University of Toronto, she was an executive on the University of Toronto St. George Campus Red Cross Committee, a debater for the Hart House Debate Club, and a compliance analyst for the University of Toronto G8 research group.
Esmahan has an 8-year-old pomeranian named Mia. Esmahan is also an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction and is always looking for book and article recommendations.