SHAHILLA SHARIFF was born in Kenya and is Canadian. A fourth-generation East African, she spent her early childhood in a multi-generational Indian-Muslim household in Dar-es-Salaam. Her family later emigrated to Canada. She was educated at Harvard College, Harvard Law School and Cambridge University, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar. She has been a practising corporate lawyer for over twenty years. She has lived in Hong Kong since 1993.