VANCOUVER, October 30, 2023 – Atoussa Mahmoudpour, Cozen O’Connor’s Canadian chair of Life Sciences & Technology practice was recognized by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) as Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards in the Women of Courage category.
“Being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women is a true honor. I consider my contributions to the fight for gender equality in Iran to be only a small fraction of what brave men and women are fearlessly fighting for in the country and I dedicate this recognition to them. It is my dream that one day I’ll be able to freely share with my daughter the unrivaled beauty of my home country where life, freedom, and gender equality is no longer a battle.”
Born in Iran shortly after the revolution and the regime change, Atoussa encountered the challenges of living in a patriarchal society from early on. Her mother had built her career as a well-respected judge in Tehran and, as a result of the revolution, was no longer allowed to hold such a position of power. Despite the pressure on her mother, she did not back down. The Iran-Iraq War consumed most of Atoussa’s early childhood memories in which she was constantly in fear for her life. She moved to Switzerland when she was five years old and she lived the rest of her childhood and early adult life in Europe and Canada.
As a newly-called Canadian lawyer, Atoussa returned to Iran in 2011. Despite immediately facing challenges as a young, female lawyer, she persevered and was dedicated to making a significant impact in the country that was so close to her heart. Overcoming numerous roadblocks, Atoussa setup a thriving legal practice, where she assisted foreign brands and entities in Iran with their legal needs. She also founded a national mentorship program championing the rights of women. Both the success of her legal career and her work to support young women in the country made her a target for the Iranian regime. During her five years in Iran, Atoussa faced constant abuse but she remained devoted to continuing to support Iranian women and tirelessly worked to instill the value of life, integrity, and self-worth in those she mentored. Atoussa notes that “every obstacle became motivation and a challenge to overcome, and if I could overcome them, then I knew other women could too.”
In 2020 Atoussa, her husband, and their young daughter moved back to Canada where she continues to work hard to lead by example and support the many women she mentors around the world. Because of her commitment abroad, Atoussa has had to work extra hard to gain the respect and reputation she now embraces in Canada as the national chair of Life Sciences and Technology at Cozen O’Connor. Her leadership skills and commitment to thrive have led her to be recognized as one of WXN’s Top 100 award recipient in the Professionals category in 2021 and 2023. Atoussa has also been recognized by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners and was the winner of the Western Canada General Counsel, Tomorrow's Leader Award in 2022.
The complete list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards is available here.