On November 18th Mercuri International will be hosting The Sales Conference 2021, the Nordic region’s largest event for B2B executives, offering guidance and insights for sales and marketing leaders as we all assess this most ‘eventful’ of times and look to the future. With 7 great keynote speakers and thought-provoking presentations, the event promises to be truly unmissable – and will also be available via live broadcast.

In 1989 Shahrzad arrived in Sweden from Iran as a 5 year old refugee. Attending high school in Borås, she ultimately graduated from KTH in 2012. Her future looked bright indeed, until a rare form of blood poisoning (meningococcal sepsis) led to the ultimate amputation of both legs below the knee.

An event that could have ended her life – or certainly limited her physical activity – instead became the start of an extraordinary athletic career. In August 2015 she completed her first triathlon and just one year later was racing at the Paralympics in Rio.

Her story is one of sheer will and determination and speaks to what can be achieved when we refuse to accept the status quo.

Your keynote speech is titled “I had two choices – and I chose to live” at the sales conference – how do you think this topic resonates with sales and marketing today?
My talk won’t be directed specifically to people working with sales and marketing, my focus will be to appeal and speak to the human part of them. Because at the end of the day, I believe that everything begins there.

Do you think leaders in sales and marketing devote enough time to learning and professional development? If not – why not?
Does anyone really? While being bombarded with information and new impressions practically all the time, I believe that it is more important than ever to wisely choose your source and where and what you put your mind and energy into. Time is precious and you should treat it that way!

What are you most proud of in your career?
I have been fortunate enough to have many answers to this question, but I am of the belief that the best is yet to come. Up, up and away!

What’s been the most challenging moment so far – and how did you deal with it?
Losing both of my lower legs at the age of 28, nothing and no one prepares you for that. I still find it incomprehensible, but I put one (prosthetic) foot in front of the other. Few things astonish me as the human spirit does.

What is the best thing about The Sales Conference?
This is my first one, but the keynote lineup is impressive. I can’t wait to feel the energy in the room!

Recent events have had a major effect on the way we all communicate – what would be your biggest tip to staying connected in an increasingly virtual world?
The virtual world enables us in many ways to stay connected and that is positive. But the pandemic taught me and made me realize that nothing can replace “real” interaction.

Tell us something that can’t be learned from reading about you…
I love french fries. End of message.