Born and raised on the Westside of Vancouver, Zahra graduated from York House School in 1999.Following graduation, she attended Smith College in Northampton, MA, where she studied feminist philosophy. In 2006, Zahra earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in Society, Culture and Politics in Education and Women’s Studies.
Her PhD in Education and Gender Studies is a unique collaborative doctoral program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in Social Justice in Education and Women and Gender Studies, where she served as faculty in Women’s Studies at U of T and in Sociology at Ryerson. This educational path brought her back to Vancouver, where Zahra expanded Rasul Learning Group following the birth of her daughter in 2009.
The ethos of social responsibility in business and providing access to education is critical to RLG Inc. Zahra’s commitment to social justice principles has extended into the non-profit and professional sphere. Her community work includes activism with women’s organizations and Aboriginal communities in BC and Ontario. In 2005, she won the Bronze Star award from the YWCA for her work with teen mothers from the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver in the Tupper Young Parent program. She currently serves on the Aga Khan National Education Board for Canada in the post-secondary segment where she writes and delivers free workshops on Application to Graduate and Professional School programs and Preparing for Post-Secondary Studies. Zahra served on the selection committee of the Coast Mental Health Foundation awards, and as a member of the annual National Retreat for Women, the Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality, and the Admissions Committee for the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at OISE/ UT. Her speaking engagements, conference presentations, and media appearances are numerous, including the World Peace Forum in Vancouverand the UNIFEM conference to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls in Ottawa . She is the co-founder of M.A.R.K.E.D., a feminist organization specializing in delivering educational content to young women from racialized and working class backgrounds.
Currently, Zahra sits on the Board of Directors of the York House School Alumnae Association, and is an active parent and volunteer at the school. She also volunteers at St. John’s School, where she serves as a class parent in her son’s JK class. Zahra is a highly sought after speaker, delivering presentations to families on post-secondary admissions at independent schools, and volunteering her time to assist disadvantaged youth with admissions.
Zahra is thrilled to have joined the Board of the Minerva Foundation in 2015, an organization that promotes opportunities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in BC. She also serves on the 2016 Organizing Committee of the Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.
In 2015, Zahra extended her passion for education by co-founding novoSTEM Inc., a pioneering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program for kids aged 2-12.
Zahra believes that family provides the foundation for a well-rounded education, and has learned from example in her own family. Her parents, Firoz and Saida Rasul, modeled their values of academic excellence and giving back to the community for Zahra and her sisters through their involvement with education at all levels. They have served on the Board of Directors of York House School, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Science World, United Way, and Channel M, while also establishing a number of scholarships and offering opportunities for academic advancement for students who cannot afford to attend institutions of higher learning. They have been actively involved in the education, health and poverty reduction initiatives with the Aga Khan Development Network for decades, and most recently, have been serving as President of the Aga Khan University in a voluntary capacity. It is this Rasul family legacy that Zahra seeks to continue in her role as a mother of three young children, and in her position as Founder and Owner of Rasul Learning Group.
On her rare days off, Zahra can be found frequenting Vancouver’s playgrounds and beaches or hanging out at the Arbutus Club with her husband Josh and their three children, with whom she often coordinates matching Canucks vintage jerseys on game days!