Azra Khalfan


Azra Khalfan is the CEO of Plaques by Azra. The company was started by her father 43 years ago after her family immigrated to New York from Tanzania. The company specializes in engraving, digital printing, and laser cutting. Her clients range from government offices to schools, nonprofit organizations to corporations. Her products have been sent internationally to prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners. “We have seen more rough times then better times,” Khalfan says, speaking of difficulties the company faced during recessions and after Hurricane Sandy. “But there has always been determination. I say a lot of it is because I saw what my parents did and how much it means to them. For me, it wasn’t what I was doing, but why I am doing it, and that is what kept me going.” Khalfan highlights the importance of mentorship for women in business, citing how mentorship programs through the Tory Burch Foundation helped her to become a more effective saleswoman. “They [the Tory Burch Foundation] also provide financial support, mentoring, education, peer-to-peer support. It’s an interesting [thing] when you’re around other women business owners who face same challenges as you do. To know that you’re not alone, and if they can do it, you can do it.”