Today’s Young Professional: Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ at Ryerson

Abdullah Snobar is the Executive Director of the DMZ at Ryerson, the number one university-based incubator in North America and third in the world. He is responsible for the strategic direction and continued growth of the DMZ in Toronto, nationally and internationally.

Do you know where you got your drive from?

My drive comes from never forgetting my beginnings, having a purposeful passion that keeps me truly motivated and surrounding myself in an environment with great people who love what they do.

How do you stay self-motivated?

I always remind myself that it was never meant to be easy. In life you’re faced with a lot of obstacles and it’s not always permanent. It’s all about how you get through or around it.

What would you say is your preferred way to network?

Nothing beats in-person communication. Social environments that are casual and easygoing tend to create the most organic conversations.

How would you describe your process for deepening relationships?

A number of ways. One would be to always give, give and give and never ask to take. People will typically help you.

What are your preferred tools for keeping organized?

My Google calendar, iPhone notes, white boards and the DMZ’s executive coordinator Weronika Gruszczynska.

What is your favourite way to market your product or services?

Through storytelling. It’s a way to learn something, to feel something and to connect with strangers.

Who has been your mentor in helping you find success?

I’ve been very fortunate to have many mentors in my life. Two of my biggest mentors would have to be Sheldon Levy and Mohamed Lachemi, the former and current Ryerson University President. I highly respect both individuals for their wisdom, knowledge and skills.

What social issue does your organization raise funds and/or awareness for?

The DMZ at Ryerson is a major advocate for providing resources and opportunities to women and youth, creating inclusiveness in the tech and startup community and supporting indigenous organizations like Miziwe Biik, an employment and training organization for indigenous youth.

Related: #NotableWomeninTech: Krysten Connely, Marketing Communications Manager at DMZ

How and where do you continue to learn?

I learn the most when I travel. Whether it’s the people I meet or the things I see, traveling provides valuable life lessons.

DMZ-Ryerson-Paul-Steward-Photography--19Next, we want to get to know you personally! We know that being a successful professional has lots to do with your personality and also your behaviours. We are excited to learn about what decisions you make to keep balanced and have fun.

Do you have a fitness ritual that you live by?

I don’t necessarily have a fitness ritual, but I enjoy waking up early and hitting the gym or a muay thai class.

How do you feed your soul?

Music, food and following the ‘pura vida’ mantra.

How would you describe the eating ritual that makes you feel most powerful?

Life is a balance. Eat what you love. Savour every bite you have. And ultimately, be grateful for what’s on your plate.

Who is your favourite personality to follow on YouTube?

Although not a YouTube personality in a traditional sense, a cultural icon I enjoy keeping up with is Barack Obama. He has a great character that is always fun to watch.

What type of content do you find most compelling on Instagram?

I love knowing the story behind a photo, so I enjoy reading a good caption. Accounts like @HumansofNY and @NatGeo are great storytellers.

What lifestyle brand would you say shares your values most?

A Cohiba. It’s an elegant yet accessible cigar that comes from humble beginnings.

Who is your favourite artist?

Dead: Tupac and Michael Jackson
Alive: Drake (because he’s proud to represent the best city in the world)
Actor: Denzel Washington

What is your favourite meal?

Top three in no particular order would be ceviche, saganaki, and steak (chicago style- medium rare or new york cut).

What is your favourite sport to watch?


Where is your favourite place to unwind?

Park Central Hotel in Havana Cuba.