Josef Azam

Josef’s parents worked hard and tirelessly at building a life from nothing. Josef’s father was a factory worker throughout his life, mainly in the steel industry. His mother worked as an office clerk in different companies. Josef’s parents later had their only child. Growing up, Josef struggled in school and suffered from dyslexia, which was only diagnosed later in life. In addition to having a hard time academically, Josef lacked self-confidence and had developed a lot of insecurities from growing up poor in an affluent area. Everyone around Josef seemed happy, motivated, and financially stable, while his experience differed greatly.

At the young age of 10 years old, every weekend, Josef would go to the St-Eustache flea market and sell second-hand jeans to help support the family. Seeing as his father spoke very broken English and not a lick of French, Josef would do most of the sales. It was at this flea market that Josef first learned about sales. Despite the ongoing financial and educational struggles that he experienced, Josef was the first in his family to graduate from post-secondary education. It was then, after being on academic probation twice and almost getting kicked out of college, that he met his future wife, who gave him the foundation and encouragement that he always needed.

Josef graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Sociology in 2007. His main goal was to study at the John Molson School of Business, but he was not accepted in the marketing program because of his low grades. At 24 years old and with very little experience, Josef founded Design Shopp International, a web and digital marketing agency in Montreal. He first learnt online marketing through the “Digital Marketing for Dummies” book. Josef is notorious for learning everything on his own and doing whatever it takes to make things work. In the early stages of the business, he also worked at the airport part-time, cleaning toilets and loading luggage to make ends meet.

Design Shopp International now has over 40 employees in 4 different countries and generates over 150 million dollars per year in revenue for its marketing clients across the globe.

Josef also has investments in various restaurants and SAAS companies, and is the president of Imagination Holding Co.

Speaking to undeserved youth is an important part of Josef's speaker journey.