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Keynote Speakers

 


Plenary Panel Sessions

Being Muslim in America
What does it mean to be Muslim in America today? What do we want it to mean ten years from now? This panel will discuss the evolving and complex identity of Muslims in America especially in light of today's volatile and sensitive political climate.

Can our American and Muslim values coexist harmoniously or will there be perpetual friction? How can American Muslims proactively better American society and citizenry with their religious values? Looking back to the history of previous Muslim American generations, what can we learn from both their strength and weaknesses? What are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the current generation? Should we aim for a "big tent American Islam" that encompasses the full range of our diversity? Is this even possible?

 

 


Faith at Work
Faith atWork will focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by Muslim professionals in the workplace. Religion is an important aspect of diversity, and some Muslim professionals are leveraging the growing opportunity to develop faith-based affinity groups, or employee resource groups, at their workplace. These groups can promote a better understanding of Islam, while also creating access points for organizations like Muslim Advocates, CAMP and others. Muslim Advocates' recent campaigns addressing the challenges Muslim professionals face while traveling and while giving charitable donations to Muslim charities, as well as CAMP's efforts to promote the development of Muslim professional networks, can both greatly benefit from the presence of faith-based affinity groups at the workplace.

 

 

 

Parallel Panel Sessions - A

Power and Leadership
Along with mastering the everyday challenges of rapid organizational change, leaders also face the realities of navigating the new and emerging power circuits of their organizations. Top leaders need to be grounded in the nature of power and understand its rules to successfully manage the organization and their careers. By exploring the concepts of power and leadership, managers will gain a new understanding of the core dynamics of organizational life and develop strategies for making their strengths work for them -- not against them.

Bossing Yourself – Run Your Career Like A Business
Great bosses have some special qualities. They seek advice from insightful advisors, have great goals for their organizations, are supremely confident, are resourceful and scrappy, and believe that preparation leads to success. Here's what you may not know: everyone is their own boss. Even if you are not an entrepreneur -- you manage yourself -- your career, your schedule, your education, your dreams, your hopes, and how you make those dreams and hopes a reality. We've assembled a panel of leaders who have bossed their own career and found success in doing so. Come learn how they have used mentorship, goal setting, confidence, creativity, preparation, and faith values to find success in their careers.

 

 

 

Living Entrepreneurship - From Inception to Success
Entrepreneurs come across challenging pathways starting from inceptions to growth and scale-up.  Our panel of experts  (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, seasoned executives and attorneys)  will provide a detailed dialog on topics including opinions on refining a concept, structuring a company, building a management team, demystifying the financing process and leading the company through transitions. Our in depth discussion is intended for entrepreneurs, business owners, current executives, or students to gain meaningful insight into “living the entrepreneurs life” and helping make the right decisions at key decision points.

 

   

 

Beyond The Basics: Fostering Effective Muslim American Political Participation
When Tunisian street vendor Bouazizi set himself on fire, he sparked sweeping change throughout the Middle East. Young professionals, students, labor, men and women are risking everything, many giving their lives, to demand change. They want what we take too often for granted: the freedoms to organize, to protest, to hold accountable and to shape our future.

Here at home, how can we foster effective political participation? What strategies do we have to maximize our political engagement? As busy professionals, how can we get involved and make a difference? This discussion will move beyond Civic Action 101 to an in-depth exploration of these questions.

 

   

Parallel Panel Sessions - B

Power and Leadership
Along with mastering the everyday challenges of rapid organizational change, leaders also face the realities of navigating the new and emerging power circuits of their organizations. Top leaders need to be grounded in the nature of power and understand its rules to successfully manage the organization and their careers. By exploring the concepts of power and leadership, managers will gain a new understanding of the core dynamics of organizational life and develop strategies for making their strengths work for them -- not against them.



The Chief Storytelling Officer
Leaders in any organization or setting have tactical responsibilities. Strategically, the most important role they play is that of a chief storytelling officer. Simply put, leaders need to be great communicators, and great storytellers to get their message across in a compelling and understandable way. This is important because leaders need to change hearts and minds. They need to inspire others and convince them that the potential rewards of certain actions are worth the required risks. During critical times, instilling confidence through good storytelling is particularly important because fear can paralyze an organization or situation. If leaders can make fear an ally instead of a foe through storytelling, they can motivate and move an organization or a situation forward through uncertain times.


Building a Brand
Brand is an overused and often misused buzzword.  In this session, we will define the true meaning of brand and learn how it can best be leveraged within organizations to help achieve business objectives. We will explore the principles behind building a strong brand, whether for a product or an organization, or in this case even for a religion.  The session will include interactive exercises that will illustrate these principles and how they might apply to Islam as a brand.

 

 

Reputation management and crisis communications
We live in a crises-driven environment where the digital news cycle can make or break a person or an issue in a matter of minutes or days. Often these crises are driven by detractors’ agendas. Whether you are running for office, working your way up to the C-suite or pounding the pavement for social justice - once in the public eye - you are vulnerable and your reputation is at risk. How can you protect your reputation? Always be prepared and make sure you understand the potential threats that exist. But what if something happens that you could not have anticipated? Defend yourself, but do it so that you own your narrative. This session will focus on a discussion of strategies for reputation management and crisis communications.

   

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Panelist Biographies

Omar Ahmad
Mayor, San Carlos, CA

Omar Ahmad proudly serves as the Mayor of the City of San Carlos where his primary policy focus is centered on budget reform and fiscal sustainability. He is also active on several boards and commissions, and in 2009 was elected by the Council of Cities to serve as a director for SamTrans and the Joint Powers Board (CalTrain) where he serves as the Vice-Chairman.

Prior to his election to the City Council in 2007, Mr. Ahmad served on the San Carlos Economic Development Advisory Commission.

Mr. Ahmad is a respected Silicon Valley technology visionary and seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio of successful startups. He most recently served as co-founder and CEO of SynCH Energy Corporation, a renewable energy startup.

Prior to founding SynCH Energy, Mr. Ahmad founded two startups,TrustedID and Logictier, and served in key leadership positions for companies including Grand Central Communications, Napster, Netscape, @Home Network, and Discovery Channel Online.

He is frequently called upon to speak on topics including leadership, innovation in relation to startups, copyright/IP issues, and internet infrastructure and security. He is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Webmonsters, serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Youth Science Camp Alumni Association, an advisor for Pacific Community Ventures, and member of the UF College of Engineering Dean’s West Coast Advisory Board (Go Gators!).

Mr. Ahmad resides in San Carlos, California and is a strong proponent of and actively involved in community service for his city. He is also an avid photographer, pilot and mountaineer with successful summits of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus. >> Top

Assad Akhter
Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)

Assad R. Akhter was recently named as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) where he will be directly responsible for managing the local district offices and staff for the 8th Congressional District of New Jersey.  Previously Assad served as Legislative Director where he oversaw the Congressman’s legislative agenda and his legislative staff as he was tasked with coordinating the Congressman’s position on the House Ways & Means Committee as well as staffing his assignment on the House Homeland Security Committee. 

Assad previously worked for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) where he helped create the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and was the lead staffer for the House Science Committee.  Assad has also spent a substantive amount of time working on political campaigns throughout America.  Assad provided material assistance to and campaigned with both Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN) as they became the first and second Muslim Members of Congress in 2006 and 2008, respectively. 

In 2005, Assad worked directly with the NJ AFL-CIO to help organize and mobilize over one million labor workers which led to the election of Jon Corzine (D-NJ) as Governor in New Jersey and an increase in the majority for Democrats in the State Legislature.  Apart from his official legislative duties, Assad serves as the President of the Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA). >> Top

Wajahat Ali
Playwright, journalist, humorist, blogger, short story writer and Attorney at Law

Wajahat Ali is an American Muslim of Pakistani descent. Wajahat’s play, "The Domestic Crusaders” (www.domesticcrusaders.com) is the first major play about the American Muslim experience originally premiering at the Thrust Stage of the Tony award winning Berkeley Repertory Theater to universal acclaim in 2005 and making its New York premiere on 9-11-09 at the world famous Nuyorican Theater.
  
Wajahat has been honored as an "An Influential Muslim American Artist" by the State Department, as a "Muslim Leader of Tomorrow” and is the recipient of Muslim Public Affairs Council's prestigious "Emerging Muslim American Artist" recognition of 2009. In 2010, he won the prestigious Otto Award for Political Theater.
   
Wajahat is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Counterpunch and Chowk. Wajahat’s first short story, "Ramadan Blues," was published in January 2009 in the anthology "Pow Wow" published by Perseus/De Capo Press. In 2008, his first movie, "Ms. Judgments," was a finalist for the prestigious LinkTV Muslim American Film Contest.

Wajahat’s blog, "Goatmilk: An Intellectual Playground" (http://www.goatmilk.com), is ranked in the top 7% of all political blogs and recently rated "Great" by blogged.com. Wajahat is an Associate Editor of Altmuslim.com; and a contributing editor to the award winning Illume Magazine (http://www.illumemagazine.org).
   
Wajahat is currently an HBO pilot with Dave Eggers. >> Top

Fatima Anwar
Founder, US Accenture Muslim Interfaith Network

Fatima Anwar has been with Accenture since 2004. She has held several positions internally, and is currently a North America Retain Talent & Inclusion/Diversity Program Manager for Accenture’s Human Capital & Diversity Organization. In this capacity, Fatima is responsible for analyzing the diversity mix of Accenture’s largest Client projects and providing coaching and best practices on opportunities for improvement. She also manages rewards and recognition programs and other initiatives geared towards the advancement of minorities at Accenture.

Fatima has a unique dual role at Accenture where in addition to the roles described above she also serves as the Engagement Sourcing Manager (ESM) for many of Accenture’s Communications & High Tech (C&HT) industry clients in the Atlantic region. In this role she oversees and manages all HR matters and deployment/staffing activities for these clients. Prior to C&HT she served as the ESM within the Resources/Utilities & Energy industry.

She is most passionate about coaching others in areas such as performance excellence, career advancement/development, diversity/inclusion, and employee engagement. Her experience in handling sensitive employee relations/HR issues and her passion for networking and bringing people together is part of what led her to start a “faith based” network at Accenture.

Fatima was born in Lahore and raised in Miami, where she attended Florida International University, earning her BBA in MIS. She currently lives in Chicago along with her two biggest accomplishments in life, her daughters Zaynab (5) and Aliyah (3).  >> Top

Mazen Asbahi
Principal of Asbahi Law Group, Ltd.

Mazen Asbahi is the principal of Asbahi Law Group, Ltd. and brings considerable experience and focus in providing quality and affordable legal services to businesses, physicians and other healthcare providers and nonprofits.

Mazen received his primary legal training at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the nation's premiere law firms.  He received his bachelors degree with highest honors from the University of Michigan, and his Juris Doctorate with cum laude honors from the Northwestern University School of Law.

Mazen writes and speaks on a variety of legal issues. He is a member of the American Bar Association's Business Law, Health Law and Nonprofit Law committees.  He is also a member of the American Health Lawyers Association.
Mazen is passionate about community service and is active with a number of educational, charitable and civic organizations.

Mazen serves as general counsel to a number of companies and nonprofit institutions. He is a 2007 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, and currently serves as a director of its Fellows Association. He has served as the president of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago and on the auxiliary board of the Chicago Legal Clinic.  

Mazen also serves as general counsel and a board member of the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding. 

More recently, Mazen served as the National Coordinator of Muslim American and Arab American Outreach for the Obama presidential campaign.
  
In addition to his work with ALG, Mazen currently publishes and edits the Nonprofit Legal Blog and the Healthcare Legal Blog. >> Top

Zaid Ashai
Partner, Point Judith Capital

Zaid Ashai leads the firm's Cleantech investing efforts with a focus on Energy IT. He represents Point Judith on the board of Nexamp and Power Assure. He joined Point Judith Capital from Good Energies, a leading multi-stage Cleantech venture firm where he led investments in Nexamp (the leading provider of renewable energy solutions in New England, which was co-led by Point Judith Capital), 3Tier (leading provider of renewable energy forecasting and assessment software), Emergence Bioengineering (a developer of alternative energy solutions for low-income and developing countries) Everpower (leading wind power producer) and Kalpan (an independent hydro producer in India). While at Good Energies, Zaid was elected a Kauffman Fellow.

He joined Good Energies from HarbourVest Partners, a global private equity firm based in Boston, MA. As an associate at HarbourVest, Zaid completed early stage and growth equity investments in the technology sector. He had board level responsibilities on Intertrade Systems, Trellix Networks, Moai Technologies, and Network Engines. Before joining HarbourVest Partners, he was an investment banking analyst in Credit Suisse’s Technology Group.

Zaid holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MPA from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. At Harvard University, Zaid Ashai was selected as a Zuckerman Fellow. He has an AB in International Relations and Economics, with honors and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University. >> Top

Reza Aslan
Acclaimed Writer and Scholar of Religions
Founder, AslanMedia; Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Boomgen; Co-founder and President, AppOvation Labs
Dr. Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American activist, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. He is on the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, and is a contributing editor for the Daily Beast. His books include the international bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age.

He is also editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, published by W.W. Norton, and co-editor with Aaron Hahn-Tapper of Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Aslan is Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the first ever motion picture studio entirely focused on entertainment content about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. He is also Co-Founder and President of AppOvation Labs, which builds mobile applications for the global Muslim market. His non-profit organization Aslan Media Initiatives (AslanMedia.com) utilizes social media technology to provide news and information about the Middle East to young people all over the world. 

Mohammed badi
Principal, The Boston Consulting Group, New York

Dr. Mohammed Badi is a Principal in The Boston Consulting Group's New York office. His areas of specialty are Financial Services and Technology. In addition to working in North America, he has executed work for firms across Europe, the MENA region, the Indian Sub-Continent and South East Asia. From 2006 to 2009 he lived and worked in the Middle East, where he was one of the co-founders of the firm's Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices.

Prior to joining BCG, Mohammed worked as a research scientist with NASA, served as the co-founder and Vice President of Engineering for a wireless medical device company in Silicon Valley, and was on the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Mohammed holds (with distinction) PhD, MS, and BS degrees in Electrical Engineering, and a BA in French, all from Stanford University. >> Top

Ronald B. Brown
President, Banks Brown

Ronald B. Brown, Ph.D., is a leading expert and innovator in the fields of Leadership Development, Diversity And Organizational Change. He is the founder and President of Banks Brown, a management consulting firm that specializes in providing leading-edge skills to optimize the performance of leaders and organizations.

As a consultant, Ron assists executives, senior managers, and planning groups in developing strategies to manage changing organizational cultures. He is a recognized authority in helping clients in building comprehensive strategies to mobilize various dimensions of business diversity, employee diversity, and global diversity. Working, throughout his career to expand personal and
organizational capabilities, he has provided leadership development services and seminars for over 85,000 managers.

He has served as a prime consultant to major Fortune 100 corporations, such as The Procter & Gamble Company, Avon Products, Inc., McDonald's Corporation, Coca Cola USA, General Electric Plastics, Kaiser Permanente, Shell Oil Company, Eastman Kodak Company, General Mills Inc., Motorola, Inc., ExxonMobil, The Associated Press, Ernst & Young, Arthur Anderson, Pfizer Inc, Darden Restaurants, People Magazine, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and
Reebok International, Ltd.

Earlier in his career, Ron was founder and Senior Partner of Pacific Management Systems, a management development and training firm that was a vanguard in addressing the organizational issues of the multicultural workforce and career development strategies for Women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian Americans. This was the seminal work for the conceptualization of
Diversity as a major business priority.

Ron serves as an advisor to many civic organizations and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Development Council. He has traveled extensively to over 45 countries around the world, covering Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Ron holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.A. and B.S. from Michigan State University. >> Top

Imran Eba
Deputy Director, CAMP
Manager, Transactions – Worldwide Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline

Imran Eba assumed the position of Deputy Director of CAMP on January 1, 2010 and is a member of the Board of the Directors. Imran has been with CAMP since 2008 when he joined as an officer in the Philadelphia Chapter and went on to become the President of the Chapter in 2009. Imran was also a member of the 2009 CAMP conference organizing committee.

Professionally, Imran has 10 years experience working in the life sciences/pharmaceutical industry in Toronto, London and Philadelphia, working in the areas of business development, acquisitions, financial valuations, risk management and assurance.

He currently lives in the Philadelphia area and works in the business development group of a major pharmaceutical company where he is responsible for negotiating global deals (in-licensing, collaborations and acquisitions) with other pharmaceutical and biotech companies with the goal of finding the medicines of the future. Imran has trained as a Canadian Chartered Accountant and has an undergraduate degree from the John Molson School of Business in Montreal, Canada.

Imran spends his free time attending tea parties with princesses, fairies and his two young daughters. >> Top

Mohammed Hameeduddin
Mayor, Teaneck, NJ

The first Muslim Councilman in Bergen County, a young entrepreneur and a community activist, Mohammed Hameeduddin, believes in supporting the community in every way possible.

Mohammed decided to get involved in his hometown when his own mosque was seeking an approval for an expansion. Through his involvement with the zoning process he realized how much he could help to streamline the process and decided to get involved in local government. While serving on the planning board from 2006 to 2008, he was part of the development of the town’s master plan, which helped to keep the integrity of the small town, while moving its business community forward.

Now with the bug for local government, he then decided to get more involved and run for Teaneck Township Council. As the first Muslim elected to the board, Mohammed has already made great strides in town. His first order of business was establishing the unity day committee which now holds an annual event in the town, bringing residents of all ethnicities and faiths together.

After the attacks on September 11, Mohammed was disheartened by the treatment of his community. He was one of the first activists to speak out on behalf of his culture and explain the true meaning of his religion. He not only spoke out locally but was seen nationally on Forrest Sawyer.

Professionally Mohammed is a life-long entrepreneur. He left college to begin a computer consulting firm which was at the forefront of cutting edge wireless technology, and has been published in various trade magazines. After the internet boom was over, Mohammed moved on to the restaurant business,
finally settling in title insurance where he and his partner, Gary Wengel, currently manage H & W Title.

Mohammed also serves on the Bergen County Economic Developemement Corporation and is a trustee for the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce. In 2008 he received the NAACP Bergen County Chapter award for community service.

Mohammed is an active member of the congregation of Darulislah and Nidaulislam Mosques, both in Teaneck. He is married to Faiza Poshni . In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf, although admittedly not well. >> Top

Henna Inam
CEO, Transformational Leadership Inc.

Henna Inam is the CEO of Transformational Leadership Inc., a company that is focused on developing women’s leadership talent.

As a C-Suite Coach to women leaders, Henna brings the General Management and Marketing expertise she gained from her 20 years running P&L’s, and working in companies like Procter & Gamble and Novartis. What sets her apart is that she has walked in the shoes of the C-suite women she coaches, and has outstanding global experience, having lived/worked in 7 countries across the globe. She is a frequent speaker, moderator, and panelist on topics that include women’s leadership and is writing a book focused on this topic.

In her corporate career, Henna has built strong businesses and teams at Novartis and Procter & Gamble. Prior to starting Transformational Leadership, Henna had several C-Suite roles including Chief Marketing Officer and President of the Americas for Ciba Vision. Her accomplishments over 13 years at Novartis include running over $500MM P&L, and launching a record number of new products. AsGeneral Manager for Gerber Products in Mexico, she turned around the business from 2% to a 15% growth and quadrupled the rate of innovation. Prior to joining Novartis, Henna worked for 7 years at Procter & Gamble where she helped drive multi-billion dollar global brands like Pampers, Always, and Charmin.

Henna is committed to several non-profits. She is on the Board of Counselors for Carter Center, the Board of Culture Connect (an organization which provides help for immigrants in Atlanta), and the Advisory Board of DIL (an organization educating 16,000 girls in Pakistan). She is also on the Board of Georgia Women’s Forum.
Henna got her MBA from the Wharton School and also attended Executive Education programs at the Harvard Business School. >> Top

Uzma Kaleem
President, CAMP – NY
Global Account Manager, Mimeo.com

Uzma Kaleem is President of the CAMP - New York chapter after previously serving as Secretary. Uzma has over 10 years of work experience and is currently a Strategic Account Manager for the on demand print solution, Mimeo.com.  Her previous work experience includes managing radio advertising sales at ABC Radio, a division of Disney, working in the strategic alliances group at eustar, and conducting field marketing in the technology practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, focusing on national business development to local markets.

She contributes to CAMP - New York by working with board members to coordinate events including the CAMP’s Eid Dinner, professional networking events, movie screenings, cultural programs and the Annual Leadership Conference.

Outside of her CAMP responsibilities and work with Mimeo, Uzma enjoys being involved with the community whether it is attending a Turning Point charity event or volunteering with NY Cares. Uzma is one of the founding committee members of the Jewish Muslim Volunteer Alliance.
Uzma earned a B.S. in both Marketing and Management Information Systems from George Mason University.
>> Top

Asif Khan
Research Strategist, Siegel+Gale

Asif Khan doesn’t think quite like other people.  Proof: ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he says, tongue firmly in cheek—we think—“Research Strategist.”  But even though his sense of humor never fails him, he might have been serious, after all. 

His voracious appetite for understanding the world around him spurred his grade school librarian to set new books aside for him even before they hit the shelves; as a research strategist at Siegel+Gale, he puts that hunger for knowledge to work for our clients’ projects. His self-sufficiency, and his ability to present complex information in simple terms have allowed Asif to build and implement robust research programs, designed to inform strategic branding solutions.

Asif has created research programs for many S+G clients including Bank of America, the IRS, Motorola, American Express, Comcast/Xfinity, LexisNexis, Dow Jones, ConocoPhillips, and a wide variety of B2B brands. Prior to joining Siegel+Gale, Asif worked as an account manager for Hall & Partners in New York, where he formulated and ran complex brand health and communications tracking studies – both domestically and internationally – for many of the firm’s largest accounts, such as Macy’s, the Wharton School of Business, Volkswagen, and JetBlue.

Asif was also a research associate at Research International in Stamford, CT, where he created a custom, user-friendly data presentation format for PepsiCo that proved so successful, the soft drink manufacturer implemented it for internal use across their organization.

Asif received a BA in economics from the University of Chicago. >> Top

Ruhi Khan
Vice President, Business Development, Acorda Therapeutics

Ruhi Khan is an experienced Corporate Development/Business Development and Finance professional focused on the Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals industries with over 14 years of experience in sourcing, structuring, negotiating and managing licensing, financing and strategic alliance transactions. Ruhi joined Acorda in February 2009 and is responsible for business development, alliance management, competitive intelligence and business strategy.

Before Acorda, Ruhi was at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for initiating and executing business development transactions licensing technologies and products. Ruhi has a varied background in the healthcare industry through venture capital, investment banking, marketing research and strategy consulting. Prior to joining Lexicon, Ruhi was a Director at Fidelity Biosciences, the healthcare venture capital arm of Fidelity Investments, concurrently serving as Director of Business Development and Finance for EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, a Fidelity Biosciences portfolio company.

Previous to Fidelity Biosciences, she was an analyst at MPM Capital Advisors, the largest life sciences dedicated venture investor with over $2B in investments; and a healthcare consultant with the Axon Group. Ruhi is also the founder of Koshish, a non-profit organization in India, aimed at improving the economic status of women from underprivileged backgrounds. Ruhi holds a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. >> Top

Suhail Khan
Chairman, Conservative Inclusion Coalition

Suhail Khan serves as Chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition (CIC), an organization dedicated to promoting the conservative message to Americans of all ethnic, racial and faith backgrounds. and has experience serving on Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch including the White House, political campaigns, and on the boards of various advocacy organizations.     

Suhail served as Policy Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA). Suhail served in both terms of the Bush Administration serving in the White House Office of Public Liaison and at the U.S. Department of Transportation in various capacities. For his leadership in the passage of the Administration’s $284 Billion Surface Reauthorization Legislation, Suhail was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award in 2005. He was awarded the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007. 

Suhail serves on the Board of the American Conservative Union, the Indian American Republican Council, the Muslim Public Service Network and the Buxton (interfaith) Initiative. Suhail is a Senior Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement, an organization dedicated to promoting religious freedom.  Suhail has been instrumental in organizing educational forums, seminars, receptions and conferences on issues ranging from political participation, national defense, faith, and religious freedom.

At the 2010 annual CPAC convention, Suhail was awarded the Young Conservative Coalition's Buckley Award for his grassroots leadership in establishing the CIC. In August, 2010, Suhail joined led a delegation of major Muslim American faith and community leaders to Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. Upon returning to the U.S., the delegation issued a statement and testified before Congress condemning Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism.

The delegation included U.S. Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) andWhite House Counsel Rashad Hussain, and Rabbi Jack Bemporad of the Center for Interreligious Understanding (CIU) of New Jersey. >> Top

Farhana Khera
President and Executive Director, Muslim Advocates

Farhana Khera is the president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization dedicated to promoting freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates in 2005, Farhana was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution.

She worked for six years for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, where she advised the Senator on civil rights and civil liberties, including the USA PATRIOT Act, racial and religious profiling, and other issues raised by the government’s anti-terrorism policies since September 11, 2001. She was the Senator's lead staff member in developing anti-racial profiling legislation and organizing subcommittee hearings on racial profiling.

Prior to the Senate, Farhana was an associate with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson and prior to that, with the law firm of Ross, Dixon & Masback, where her work as the lead associate on several pro bono employment discrimination cases resulted in the firm being honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

In 2008, Farhana was honored by the Auburn Theological Seminary with its Lives of Commitment Award, along with former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Barbara Friedman. The Minority Bar Coalition of San Francisco awarded Farhana with its Unity Award in 2008. She has also been recognized by Islamica Magazine as one of “10 Young Muslim Visionaries,” for leadership, innovative approaches and “a level of success that bodes well for America.” She has been quoted or profiled by The New York Times, Associated Press, Austin American-Statesman, and San Jose Mercury News, as well as various legal, ethnic and religious media.

Farhana received her B.A. with honors in political science and economics from Wellesley College in 1991 and her J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1994. At Wellesley, she served as president of the student body and co-founded the first Muslim students organization, al-Muslimat ("The Muslim Women"). At Cornell, Farhana was a finalist in the law school's annual Cuccia Cup Moot Court Competition and was an editor with the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. >> Top

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad
Founder and President, Journal of Islam in America Press
Program Associate, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad—author, lecturer, researcher, poet, and publisher—is not only nationally known for her ability to educate and inspire audiences of diverse faiths and backgrounds about America’s unique Islamic heritage, but also for her ability to empower them with the tools to build community through a deeper understanding of history.

She brings more than a decade of experience and commitment to interfaith work including chaplaincy at a 770-bed hospital, and a significant role in planning the historic 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions—the largest interfaith gathering in the world—held in Melbourne, Australia.  For her continuous efforts to build
community across religious and cultural divides, Coe College recognized her with an honorary doctorate in 2010.

A Harvard-trained researcher, Precious’s diverse work has been featured on television, National Public Radio, leading Internet sites such as Beliefnet.Com, at the Smithsonian Museum, and in several published works, including the award-winning book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith.

Publishers Weekly describes Precious’s chapter, “To Be Young, Gifted, Black, American, Muslim, and Woman,” in the book Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak, as one of the “best” and “most absorbing essays” in an anthology that “opens the door for other writers to explore the important and understudied topic of Muslim American women.”
Precious lives in Virginia with her husband and two young daughters. >> Top

Brian Rafferty
Global Director, Customer Insights, Leadership and Research, Siegel+Gale – New York

Brian holds a baccalaureate in math and physics, but ask him which teacher influenced his life most and he’ll mention the comp lit instructor who changed the way he thought about language. It’s that appetite for information across all arenas—as a child, his broad intellectual curiosity made him want to be an inventor—that makes Brian the ideal leader of our Customer Insight practice. His team digs into the facts and figures of our clients’ industries to mine powerful insights that build world-class brands. They translate complex data into clear, simple, purposeful ideas with the precision of—well, of physicists.

Brian has worked extensively for over a decade in marketing strategy, brand positioning, and quantitative and qualitative research, serving clients big and small across a variety of industries: financial services, professional services, high technology, retail, consumer goods, non-profit, health care and biotechnology.

Before joining Siegel+Gale, he spent four years as managing director of research and strategy at The Brand Union overseeing research and strategy projects for BlackRock, Pernod Ricard, Johnson & Johnson, Cadbury, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, HP, Coca-Cola, Alcatel-Lucent and others. Before that, he served as co-principal and managing director of boutique research and consulting firm Plaid, where he led business and product growth strategies for the United States Postal Service, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Voss Artesian Water.

He also worked as a research and planning manager for New York ad agency Ferrell Calvillo, and as a senior executive for research consultancy Summus. Brian was born and raised in France. In addition to his baccalaureate in math and physics from France’s Lycée Pasteur, he’s a graduate of Princeton University. >> Top

Michael Rashid
President & Chief Executive Officer
AmeriHealth Mercy
As President and Chief Executive Officer of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, Michael A. Rashid is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, business development and operations of the organization. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Ameri­Health Mercy Family of Companies is the largest organization of Medicaid managed care plans and affiliated businesses in the United States, touching the lives of more than 6.5 mil­lion individuals. With more than 25 years of experience exclusively serving the Medicaid popu­lation, AmeriHealth Mercy’s core products include full-risk HMOs, management, administra­tive, pharmacy benefit, and care management services, and behavioral health care services.

Prior to his current position, for 14 years Mr. Rashid was Executive Vice President of Ameri­Health Mercy, and had primary oversight of the company’s growth and operations. Before joining AmeriHealth Mercy, Mr. Rashid was President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Health Plan of New Jersey (now Horizon NJ Health), where he led the provision of comprehen­sive managed health care services to Medicaid clients in New Jersey. Prior to that, Mr. Rashid served as Director of Medicaid Operations for Prudential Health Plan’s Atlantic Region, which included operations in Baltimore, Maryland, and start-ups in Washington, DC and Virginia. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of Total Health Care, a Medicaid managed care plan in Baltimore. In addition, Mr. Rashid has several years of experience in health care manage­ment consulting and managing health care provision in a city health corporation.

Mr. Rashid serves on the boards of many organizations including Medicaid Health Plans of America, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, the Philadelphia Zoo and Vision of Hope (Philadelphia Coalition Against Rape).
His contributions to the community have resulted in a variety of honors and awards. Mr. Rashid was honored by the Philadelphia Tribune as one of Philadelphia’s Leaders in 2009. He has also received the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award from the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Signature Award from the West Philadelphia YMCA, the Trailblazer Award from Representative Ronald G. Waters, the Envisioning the Dream Award from Radio One, and, most recently, the YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity John Wanamaker Award.

Mr. Rashid earned a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Southern California. >> Top

Hussein Rashid
Professor and Blogger

Hussein Rashid is a native New Yorker and proud Muslim. Hussein received his PhD from Harvard University, and specializes in the study of Muslims in America. Hussein’s dissertation focused on music and he has published papers and given talks on Muslims in graphic novels, the Muslim-American blogistan, and the effects of 9/11 on Muslim adolescents.

Hussein has taught at Harvard University, Hofstra University, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and Virginia Theological Seminary. Hussein has advised various political figures, including two former US Presidential candidates. Hussein is currently a term-member on the Council of Foreign Relations. Hussein regularly offers courses on Islam at Park Avenue Christian Church and Central Synagogue.

As an avid blogger, Hussein achieved some success with islamicate.com and is now Associate Editor for Religion Dispatches (http://www.religiondispatches.org/). Hussein has appeared on various local and national media outlets, including CNN, CBS, ABC, NPR, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Hussein’s website is http://www.husseinrashid.com/. >> Top

Fahd Riaz
Partner, Business and Finance Practice and a member of the Life Sciences Transactions Practice, Morgan Lewis LLP

Fahd M.T. Riaz is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Business and Finance Practice and a member of the Life Sciences Transactions Practice. He has served as lead counsel for pharmaceutical, biotech, and device companies in a number of large life sciences industry transactions. In addition to providing general corporate and transactional advice, His practice focuses particularly on fulfilling the special business and legal needs of public and private life sciences companies as they seek to form joint ventures, partnerships, and other complex collaborations; acquire venture capital financing; and execute mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and licensing agreements.

Fahd’s clients range from early-stage biotechnology startups to global pharmaceutical companies, as well as medical device and other technology companies. Drawing upon his technical background as a molecular biologist, he advises and provides an assortment of services for these clients in support of a variety of mission-critical undertakings, including the negotiation and structuring of both development and commercial transactions, the facilitation of equity investments, and the navigation of other matters that often accompany such transactions.

Related matters include the negotiation and drafting of technical contractual arrangements related to the conducting and outsourcing of drug discovery, development, manufacturing and supply, and marketing. He serves as outside general counsel for clients and advises boards of directors on disclosure issues, corporate communications policies, and fiduciary duty matters.
Fahd is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and Massachusetts and before the U.S. Supreme Court. >> Top

Linda Sarsour
Acting Director, Arab American Association of New York
Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” Currently she is the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and ACCESS and locally serving as the Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC. Linda was a 2005 COROS New American Leaders Fellow, named Extraordinary Woman by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and received the 2010 Brooklyn Do-Gooder Award from the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Linda is also a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition, a coalition of over 250 nonprofit agencies serving the diverse immigrant communities of New York State. In the 2008 elections, Linda coordinated the largest and most successful get out the vote effort in the Arab American community in Brooklyn, with over 130 canvassers and 8000 doors knocked.

She has been featured in local, national, and international media speaking on topics ranging from women’s issues, Islam, domestic policy and political discussions on the Middle East conflict. Linda’s strengths are in the areas of community development, youth empowerment, community organizing, civic engagement and immigrants’ rights advocacy. >> Top

Imran Sayeed
Senior Vice President - Global Application Development & Management, Keane Inc.
Senior Lecturer - MIT Sloan School of Management and Chairman, OPEN

Imran Sayeed leads a 7,000 person team of technology professionals across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia at Keane, a global $1 Billion technology company. Imran came to Keane through its acquisition of netNumina, a boutique technology strategy and consulting form that he founded and grew from a 15 person startup to one of Computerwold’s Top 100 emerging companies and Inc 500’s fastest growing businesses. Previously, as a founder of Open Environment, Imran grew the company from a 10-person startup to an IPO.

Imran is currently a Sr Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he teaches in the MBA program on starting and running software companies. He is also chairman of OPEN, the Organization of Pakistan Entrepreneurs, which has over 3000 executives and entrepreneurs as members and chapters in 6 cities across the US. He also holds a patent on Internet technology he jointly developed with Citibank.

Imran attended Brown University where he majored in Engineering, and Harvard University, where he did post-graduate work in business, marketing and product development. >> Top

Samir Shaikh
Scientist, Global Vaccine Commercialization
Founder and current Global President of the Merck Interfaith Organization
Merck & Co., Inc.
Samir Shaikh is a Scientist in Global Vaccine Commercialization at Merck & Co., Inc. He has not only contributed significantly to enhancing Merck’s Global Vaccine Sciences but Merck's Global Culture during his three-year tenure at Merck. A graduate of the University of Chicago, his work at Merck centers mainly on expanding Merck's Vaccines to International Markets.

In addition to his daily role in Vaccines, Samir is the Founder and current Global President of the Merck Interfaith Organization. In 2010, he successfully designed a diversity organization fully funded and supported by Merck, which enhances workplace culture and Merck's global business strategy. It is true that the U.S workforce is becoming increasingly more diverse, incorporating people from various cultural and religious backgrounds with many U.S companies tapping into international markets.

As a result, the need for religious inclusion has never been more paramount. The Merck Interfaith Organization seeks to integrate faith understanding into business strategy while allowing employees to bring their entire selves to work. The resulting success of such incorporating strategies provides a distinct advantage over competitors. Since its inception, Samir and his Global Executive Board have established chapters of the Organization across six U.S cities and have garnered the support of over six hundred members. As a result of his efforts, Samir received the prestigious Global Diversity Leadership Award from Merck's CEO Dick Clark in 2010.

Samir is also an active member within his local Muslim community. He is a Co-Founder and Board Member of the American Muslim Association of Lansdale (AMAL), a social service organization aimed at putting the principles of Islam into practical application in the greater Philadelphia area. AMAL strives to unite the Muslim community against social challenges through education, youth activities, and counseling.

Samir is also a teacher of Quran and Islamic studies at a local Sunday school and participates in various basketball, soccer, and tennis leagues. >> Top

Fatima Shama
Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
Fatima A. Shama was appointed Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in August 2009. Prior to her appointment she served as a Senior Education Policy Advisor in the Mayor’s Office where she worked on the renewal of the City’s school governance legislation. Fatima helped design the Service in Schools initiative that is part of the Mayor’s NYC Service agenda, collaborated on the development of the eighth grade promotion policy, worked closely with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies to improve safety in our schools, and was instrumental in increasing parent engagement efforts. Fatima joined the Mayor’s Office in 2006 to serve as the City’s Health Literacy and Language Access Coordinator.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg Administration, Fatima served for four years as Executive Director of the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition, a group of over 100 multi-service organizations that managed public health programs. The programs addressed the needs of residents in north, central and south Brooklyn, particularly immigrant and underserved populations. Before that she managed the Urban Horizons program at the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation in The Bronx; served as a program officer for
Research, Action, Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women, an international health and human rights NGO; and was the Program Development and Public Relations Manager for the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn.

Fatima earned a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University, attended Temple University School of Law, and completed her Masters of Public Administration from Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs Executive Program. She also completed a management program at the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

Commissioner Shama was born in the Bronx to immigrant parents, her mother is
Brazilian and her late father was Palestinian. She speaks Arabic, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish and lives on the east side of Manhattan with her husband and three sons. >> Top

Raiyan Syed
Campaign Manager

Raiyan Syed is a seasoned campaign operative with over 10 years of diverse political experience, winning tough, competitive races. Raiyan has managed multi-million dollar campaigns, served as a campaign spokesperson, directed new media operations, provided strategic communications advice, and organized get-out-the-vote efforts for candidates running for office ranging from local town council to U.S. President.

During the 2010 cycle, Raiyan managed District Attorney William Keating’s successful campaign for Congress in Massachusetts’ 10th district, an open-seat race considered one of the most competitive House races in the country. Prior to managing Rep. Keating’s campaign, Raiyan managed, consulted and oversaw dozens of highly competitive campaigns around the country including Boston Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca’s primary campaign for U.S. Senate. In 2007, PolitickerNJ.com named Mr. Syed its “Operative of the Year” for successfully managing Jim Whelan’s State Senate race; one of the most expensive legislative races in New Jersey’s history. Raiyan was also named the runner-up “Operative of the Year” in 2008 for his efforts on John Adler’s Congressional campaign in NJ’s 3rd district. Raiyan graduated from Union College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. >> Top

Shazi Visram
Founder & CEO
HAPPYBABY
Shazi first created her vision for convenient, healthy meals for babies and children as she listened with a compassionate ear to a friend's anguish about the difficulty of finding the time to make her own baby food between caring for her baby, keeping up with her work, and all of the other demands of her very full life. In that instant, HAPPYBABY was born.

A passionate supporter of health, wellness and sustainability, she was saddened to see the choices for parents when it came to store-bought baby food and understood the importance of starting babies on the tastes of fresh whole foods. She saw the opportunity to create a business that could positively impact the health of our children from the very start, offer parents peace of mind, support sustainable agriculture, while simultaneously giving back to those in need.

In a past life, Shazi founded and ran a marketing and media buying consultancy to help small businesses grow their brands. Her desire to utilize her talents to make a difference in the world coupled with her entrepreneurial nature took her to business school where she began developing HAPPYBABY in 2003. Shazi holds a BA from Columbia University in History and Visual Arts and an MBA from Columbia Business School in Management and Entrepreneurship. She lives in Jersey City, NJ with her husband Joe and welcomed their first HAPPYBABY, Zane, in January. >> Top

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