Ali Shafaee, director, DNA Presents

Ali Shafaee
Editor's Note

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade choose 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs and business executives and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.


In these profiles, OBJ highlights some of this year’s recipients – their impressive accomplishments, what drives them and how they like to spend their downtime away from the business world.
See the full list of recipient profiles here and be sure to check out photos of the 2019 gala here.


Business: A full-service event and concert production company

Education: Algonquin College, 2001

Biggest business achievement: Reaching the 10-year milestone with Escapade Music Festival. What started out as a one-day parking lot concert with a few hundred attendees has turned into a nationally recognized festival with more than 30,000 attendees. 

Biggest obstacle overcome: In 2016, Escapade suffered a big blow during the festival when adverse weather caused us to close down our main stage with more than 12,000 people already on site. With the help of city officials, local partners and a strong team, we managed to relocate festival-goers into the TD Place arena and continue the event with minimal impact to performing artists and fans. 

First job: Working as a cook at a fast-food restaurant. 

Advice I’d give the younger me: Trust the process. It always works out. Be supportive and dedicated to my family and friends even in the busiest of times. 

Favourite pastime: I’ve played football since I was six and still play on a weekly basis.

Favourite movie: Napoleon Dynamite