WASHINGTON – American entrepreneur, philanthropist, founder and ChairMom of Happy Family Brands Shazi Visram has joined the Environmental Working Group’s board of directors.
Visram’s experience and commitment to the health and well-being of children has inspired millions of people, including former President Obama, and now she will help raise EWG’s profile as the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to protecting the environmental health of children, said EWG Board Chair and President Ken Cook.
“The story of Shazi’s life, and how and what she has accomplished, is truly inspiring. She will undoubtedly bring that same drive and innovative thinking to EWG’s board,” said Cook. “Shazi’s commitment to helping others has been at the cornerstone of her work – in business and philanthropy, and as a parent and mentor. We couldn’t ask for a better mix of talent and passion for EWG’s board.”
“EWG’s leading role advocating on behalf of children’s health aligns perfectly with the mission that drives both my business and philanthropy,” said Visram. “I owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm for first introducing me to the amazing work at EWG. After watching from a distance for many years, I am thrilled to be working with such a talented group of board members to help EWG expand its influence and reach in improving the well-being of our most vulnerable population.”
Visram was born in Toronto to immigrants from Pakistan and Tanzania. When she was 3, the family moved to Birmingham, Ala., where they lived in a room at the motel they owned and operated.
Visram credits her parents’ entrepreneurial drive for her own trailblazing path, which led her to Columbia University for both college and graduate school.
It was during her time at Columbia Business School that she drafted her business plan for what would become Happy Family Brands – a pioneer in shaping the organic baby food category into what it has become today. By 2011, Happy Family was the second-fastest growing company in the food industry and the 17th fastest growing company overall in the United States. Today, Happy Family is the #1 organic baby food brand in the country.
Providing parents, infants and toddlers with healthy and affordable foods free from toxic pesticides and other chemicals – while also protecting the environmental health of all children – took on an even greater role in Visram’s life when her son Zane was diagnosed with a regressive case of autism at just 2 ½ years old.
“When my son was diagnosed with autism, it became clear to me and my husband that it would be up to us to be his voice. I realized how it was also my duty to do everything I could to protect the health of all babies in as proactive a manner as possible,” Visram said. “I’m honored to join EWG to help shape and support the organization’s incredible efforts to protect the environmental health of mothers, babies and children.”
Visram joins the board as EWG celebrates its 25th year working to safeguard the public from toxic chemicals and pesticides.
In addition to her work with Happy Family, Visram serves on the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School and works with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship as a mentor to young entrepreneurs from low-income communities. She is also an avid supporter of Talk About Curing Autism.
Visram’s business acumen and influence have been recognized by a number of news outlets and organizations, including:
- Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs (Inc. Magazine, 2011)
- Moms Who Are Changing the World (Babble, 2011)
- 3 Rockstars of the New Economy (Fast Company, 2012)
- Young Global Leader Class Member (World Economic Forum, 2013)
- Distinguished Early Achievement Award (Columbia Business School, 2016)
- 20 Most Influential Moms of the Year (FamilyCircle, 2017)