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Khaled Shariff

Forty under 40 winner 2019: In-house counsel, Squamish Nation, Age 37
Chung Chow photo

It’s easy for many young professionals to get stuck in a routine. Getting lost in a large corporate environment toiling as a lawyer or an accountant can sometimes lead to lack of fulfilment. However, early in his career Khaled Shariff knew that he didn’t want to simply be a cog in the corporate machine.

Shariff had the opportunity to meet Gibby Jacob, chief of the Squamish Nation, who shared his vision for where he wanted his community to go – a vision that resonated with Shariff.

“What [Jacob] used to tell me early on in my career is ‘In order to achieve generational impact you need to have generational thinking,’” said Shariff. “I think that concept of looking at things beyond yourself and your horizon is profoundly valuable to advancing any conversation that revolves around growth and development.”

This perspective not only has helped Shariff prepare for his future but has also helped him to appreciate and reflect on his past and his family heritage. Shariff’s parents moved to Vancouver from Tanzania and Uganda, leaving behind everything they had, with the goal of creating a better life for their children.

Before he was even born, Shariff, said, his parents had adopted the kind of far-seeing sensibility, focused on the long term, that would later form the foundation of his work as in-house counsel for the Squamish Nation.

This concern with long-term consequences and the well-being of future generations  doesn’t begin and end with Shariff’s job. He has taken and applied this lesson to all aspects of his life by engaging in community work, including a stint with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and involvement with the Ismaili Council for British Columbia.

The philosophy of community and collaborative government has surfaced again in Shariff’s most recent challenge as legal counsel at Metro Vancouver.  Shariff is excited to have the chance to make a difference in the city and collaboratively strengthen his local community.

Birthplace: New Westminster

Where you live know: Vancouver

Highest level of education: JD and MBA

Currently reading: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Spiritual Fable about Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny by Robin Sharma

Currently listening to: “Omertà” and “Money in the Grave” by Drake

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Astronaut

Profession you would most like to try: College professor

Toughest business or professional decision: Returning to the practice of law after running a mid-sized business

Toughest business or professional decision: Don’t be afraid of change and put up your hand when opportunity arises

What’s left to do: Continuing to contribute on this path of impact from the lenses of collaborative government on the regional district level

Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit