Morning Panel Moderator:
Fareshta Ahmadi was born in Afghanistan and came to the US with her family in 1982, settling in Philadelphia. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning a BA in Communication (C’96) and went on to work in film and television as an Assistant Director. After five years of working on major studio features and several hit television shows in NYC, Fareshta switched gears and entered the corporate world by joining American Express. She went on to the University of Michigan where she earned an MBA (C’09) concentrating in Marketing and Corporate Strategy. Following business school, Fareshta joined Procter & Gamble as an Assistant Brand Manager working in its Beauty and Grooming division. Currently, Fareshta works at Sun Products Corporation based in Wilton, CT, as the Brand Manager on Sun and Surf Laundry.
Fatima Ahmed has worked in the fashion industry for seven years as is currently a Technical Designer at The Limited, the iconic fashion retailer that offers high quality, private label apparel designed for the modern woman. At The Limited Fatima has used her industry experience to work cross-functionally with several departments in order to help streamline and standardize the design to production process. Most recently, Fatima had the opportunity to work with CFDA winner Sophie Theallet on her private collection for The Limited.
Fatima also co-founded Eva Khurshid, a women’s advanced contemporary label with best friend Nyla Hasan in 2008. While at Eva Khurshid, Fatima and Nyla built the brand from the ground up filling every role from designer, to sales rep, to production coordinator. The ladies successfully grew the label from the being carried in a few stores in the tri-state area to distribution around the country and internationally before moving on to explore other creative outlets in 2012.
Rabia Ahmed is Director for MBA Admissions at New York University’s Stern School of Business. She has spent the past nine years at Stern, first in the Development Office and currently in MBA Admissions where she manages the marketing efforts for the Full-Time MBA program and serves on the Admissions Committee. Prior to Stern, she worked for three years as a Financial Analyst at Sony Electronics. Additionally, Rabia is a founding member of Youth Outreach, Development in Literacy (YOUR DIL) and served on its Executive Board, and as President in 2008. Rabia received a Master of Arts degree from NYU in International Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and International Business from Montclair State University. She was raised in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and currently lives in Jersey City with her husband.
Maria Ebrahimji is the Director and Executive Editorial Producer for Network Booking at CNN Worldwide. In this position, she oversees the on-air guest booking process across all CNN platforms and leads a core team of editorial producers in guest coverage, newsgathering, and story planning for CNN’s special events, breaking news, and multi-platform programming. She is based at CNN’s global headquarters in Atlanta.
In her fourteen years at CNN, Ebrahimji has helped produce or managed CNN’s guest programming on many important stories and events, including three Presidential elections, 9/11, the Iraq War, Madrid train bombing, Pakistan and Haiti earthquakes, the 2011 Arab uprisings, and the deaths of Yasser Arafat, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Benazir Bhutto, and Pope John Paul II. As a former producer for CNN International, Ebrahimji worked on high-profile programs such as Your World Today, Q&A, Diplomatic License, and Inside Africa. She began her career in interview producing with CNN U.S. weekend programming, eventually leading a small team that booked, researched and produced guest segments on current and feature domestic news stories.
Ebrahimji’s work on CNN Connects: The New South Africa won a 2007 NABJ Award of Excellence in the Television-Public Affairs Program category. She is also a recipient of a 2006 Myers Media Innovation and Creativity Award for her work on CNN’s Inspire Summit, content and business initiative featuring stories of inspiring women in America. In addition she shares several George Foster Peabody Awards with her colleagues for CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 Presidential Primary Campaigns and Debates, and the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill- as well as an Alfred Dupont-Columbia Award for CNN’s coverage of the Asian Tsunami.
At CNN and Turner Broadcasting, Ebrahimji is Vice Chair of the CNN Diversity Council, a board member of Turner Asia, a member of Turner Women Today, and is on the Turner Broadcasting Corporate Responsibility Council and Green Task Force. She was recently part of an executive committee that helped launch and execute CNN Dialogues, a three-year partnership between CNN, the National Center for Civil & Human Rights, and Emory University’s Johnson Institute for the Study of Race & Difference.
In her community, Ebrahimji is on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Press Club and the Atlanta chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. She serves as an advisor to Tau Chapter, Alpha Chi Omega, Inc. and is on the Advisory Board for the Emory Development Institute. She is a former Manfred Woerner, BMW Transatlantic, and Knight Digital fellow, and a former Aspen Young Professionals program graduate. Ebrahimji has also participated in the East-West Center’s Sr. Journalism Seminar in Southeast Asia and is a standing member of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
Last year, Ebrahimji co-edited and published, I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim (White Cloud Press, May 2011), a collection of essays written by 40 American-born Muslim women under 40. Since then, she co-founded I Speak for Myself, Inc., a book and multimedia enterprise that focuses on publishing self-narrative collections on interfaith and intercultural issues.
Ebrahimji holds a B.A. degree in Mass Communications from Brenau Women’s College and a Master’s of Arts degree in International Affairs from Georgia State University.
Aziz is the Director of Engagement Strategy at Say Media, a digital media publishing company. He joined Say Media in 2010, when it was a startup called Videoegg. While his role has varied and evolved during his time at Say Media, its focus has always centered around bringing creativity, design and creative strategy to the advertising side of the business. Working with a wide variety of brands he has spent a great deal of his time developing visual marketing pitches and art directing digital advertisements for Fortune 500+ brands.
In addition to his time at Say Media, Aziz was the Brand Director for women’s luxury fashion line, Eva Khurshid and continues to build brand identities for emerging companies like Vicaire NY, Crooked Letter Films and Heart and Soul Fitness.
While branding, marketing and graphic design consume much of Aziz’s professional time he is equally obsessed with the pursuit of the arts. Hours spent hovering over his sketch book, meticulously painting Munnys or perfecting his dance moves are always time well spent.
Mr. Islam is a graduate of LaSalle University with a dual degree in accounting and finance. Mr. Islam has more than 20 years experience in both marine and inland transportation, accounting and financial reporting and analysis, working with Sun Oil Company for approximately 17 years.
Mr. Islam is a founding member of Universal Companies and its subsidiaries, including Universal Community Homes its real estate division and Universal Education Management Company which currently manages six charter schools. Universal has been a major influence in the revitalization and education reform efforts in Philadelphia by Mr. Kenneth Gamble, Chairman of Universal Companies and has served as its President and CEO since its inception in 1993.
Under his direct leadership, Universal Companies has grown to exceed more than $15 million of real estate development annually with a staff of more than 150 professionals with a wide range of skills and expertise in diverse and specialty areas of real estate and community development.
In addition to becoming the one of the largest developers of affordable housing in the city of Philadelphia, Universal Companies has the distinct honor of being the largest community-based, private manager of public schools in the country providing education services close to 4000 children.
Mr. Islam also serves on numerous boards and civic organizations including Small Business Support Center, Center City District, First Union Regional Advisory Council, South Philadelphia Coalition, Point Breeze Collaborative, African American Chamber of Commerce, Local Initiative Support Corporation Advisory Council, and the Governor’s Task Force on early Childhood Care and Education to name a few.
ZEBA IQBAL was CAMP’s Executive Director from 2009 to 2011; and was Deputy Executive Director from 2007 to 2009. She was also the Conference Manager of CAMP’s 2008, 2009 and 2011 Summits. Zeba continues to be a strong supporter of and advisor to CAMP. Professionally, she has almost 15 years’ experience in real estate development and strategic consultingShe currently lives in New York City, and as the Program Manager of Real Estate Development for Princeton University she manages their off-campus residential real estate development projects. Zeba has an MBA from The George Washington University, and an undergraduate degree in architecture from Bangalore, India. Zeba is a 2009-10 Fellow of USC CRCC’s American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, AMCLI.
Zareen joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in February 2011, continuing her focus on commercial and literary young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as teen non-fiction. Zareen works with a number of New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed authors including Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, Kresley Cole, Claire Legrand, Hilary Duff, and Becca Fitzpatrick. Her upcoming projects include a debut middle grade series by Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer and a memoir by Shyima Hall, a former child slave. Zareen began her children’s publishing career at HarperCollins Children’s Books editing bestselling novelists Lauren Conrad, Jodi Lynn Anderson, LJ Smith, and Claudia Gray. Prior to working in children’s publishing, she was an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Hyperion, the book publishing arm of The Walt Disney Company, where she worked with notable authors Amy Goodman, Marshall Goldsmith, and Paulina Porizkova. Zareen is a graduate of New York University.
As co-founder and CEO of Kenexa (www.kenexa.com), an IBM company, Nooruddin (Rudy) Karsan built the company to its current standing as a leading global provider of business solutions for human resources. Kenexa’s unique combination of software solutions, content and services helps organizations improve business outcomes. Started in 1987, Kenexa boasts a global presence in more than 20 countries, over 2900 employees, and a stellar client list that includes four of the Fortune 5. Kenexa has received numerous awards in the HCM and HR technology space, including Forbes’ Fastest Growing Technology Companies, and Top HR Product of the Year by Human Resource Executive® magazine in 2008 and 2010. The company was acquired by IBM in December 2012 to provide a platform for their Smarter Workforce initiative.
In addition to his leadership, Karsan brings to the company his vision of serving humanity, which has become Kenexa’s mission. He has been lauded for his entrepreneurial and humanitarian achievements by the Kauffman Foundation, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program, the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board. In 2010, he co-authored a book, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement, which was a NY Times bestseller, and illustrates many of Karsan’s personal beliefs with respect to organizational and career success. Karsan attributes his personal success to the unconditional support of his family, which he considers his greatest achievement.
A Renaissance PR Strategist and Founder of The Make Agency, Mahdis Keshavarz is an empowering and dynamic voice for the Middle Eastern community. Her ability to create uniquely intelligent and culturally sensitive strategies has kept her clients at the forefront of an ever-shifting global media landscape.
As an accomplished advocate of groundbreaking issues, she has exhibited her capacity to positively shift dialogues and challenge the status-quo. Her ability to fuse East and West makes her the most sought after representative in understanding, creating and networking on behalf of her clientele. As a commentator, she has written for Billboard and Slate magazines and has been featured on the BBC and Democracy Now!
Since establishing The Make Agency, Ms. Keshavarz’s diverse client roster has included international dignitaries, Hollywood stars, global artists, numerous film festivals and events focusing on the Middle Eastern community. She has placed thousands of news stories and op-eds with leading media outlets around the world – including front page stories in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, NPR, The National and Al Jazeera. She serves on the boards of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) and tech startup Syria Central
Saleem S. Khatri is a member of the Office of Financial Stability at the United States Department of the Treasury. His primary leadership and investment responsibilities under the Troubled Asset Relief Program include Ally Financial, Citigroup and General Motors. Prior to joining Treasury, Mr. Khatri co-founded and subsequently sold his first start-up in Silicon Valley and also worked at Goldman Sachs, Oaktree Capital Management and Madison Dearborn Partners. Mr. Khatri earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.B.A. from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
Farhan Latif is Chief Operating Officer and Director of Policy Impact at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), providing focus to the Institute’s strategy, further strengthening its impact in policy circles, and expanding support and awareness of its research. Mr. Latif previously served as a director in the Office of Institutional Advancement at the University of Michigan, where he led efforts to build a culture
of philanthropy and engagement. As a social entrepreneur and non-profit strategist, he founded Strategic Inspirations, a consulting firm focused on building the capacity of non-profit organizations and scaling for greater social impact.
His engagement in the field has not only been as a practitioner, but as a leader and trainer helping to empower others to enter the arena of philanthropy as donors and fundraisers and life long volunteers. He has conducted training seminars on philanthropy and non-profit management for over 500 emerging non-profit leaders across the country.
Mr. Latif holds a BBA in Business Management and Marketing, and has completed graduate work in non-profit management at the University of Michigan. He received an M.A. from Harvard University, having completed a specialized interdisciplinary program focused on Social Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and Education.
Sabrina Qureshi is a Research Operations Specialist & Business Analyst for a financial research firm in Chicago and also serves as the Finance and Operations Director of CAMP. She joined CAMP in 2006 as an events planner for the Chicago chapter. Sabrina was active in helping plan the CAMP Summit in 2012, summit co-manager in 2011, assistant summit manager in 2009, and was the sponsorship manager for the 2008 summit. She has previously served as the president of the CAMP Chicago chapter and continues to be active with the chapter in an advisory role.Sabrina graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in finance. Sabrina strongly believes in giving back to the community, enjoys event planning and volunteering for various organizations as well as supporting humanitarian causes. She has organized multiple dinners to support Islamic Relief and is an active organizer for the UMMA Center’s Ramadan Adopt a Refugee Family Initiative for over 5 years.
Samira Rajan was named CEO of Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union in October 2008. She is also the Director of the credit union’s 501c3 affiliate, Grow Brooklyn. Samira has been with the credit union from its first year when she served as an Americorp*VISTA volunteer. After the year of service was complete, she joined as full-time staff in 2002 as Loan Officer and has taken on increasing levels of responsibility ever since. Samira has excelled in expanding the credit union’s capacity and in developing new products from scratch, often in direct response to member needs. Her attention and commitment to members has contributed immeasurably to the credit union’s credibility in the eyes of the community. More recently, Samira was recognized by Crain’s New York magazine as one of New York City’s top 40 business ‘rising stars’ under the age of 40, a testament to her leadership of the credit union during an extraordinarily difficult time for any financial institution. Her educational background includes a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She was raised in Queens, New York, and currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
Shahid Shah is an award-winning Government 2.0, Health IT, and Medical Device Integration software expert and internationally-recognized thought leader with over 23 years of technology strategy, software engineering, entrepreneurship, speaking, and writing experience. He’s a serial entrepreneur that has co-founded and led Netspective.com, Physia.com, InfluentialNetworks.com, and simplifyMD.com within the last few years and has another two stealth startup in the works. His primary responsibility is as CEO of Netspective Communications, a computer software architecture & engineering firm delivering custom software for in-house, outsourced, or offshore solutions. Shahid serves as a senior technology advisor to OMB’s Budget System Branch, the eGov Budget Formulation & Execution Line of Business (BFELoB), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef is currently the Director of the Newark Port Career and Business Development Center in the Department of Economic & Housing Development and Senior Advisor to Mayor Cory A. Booker in the City of Newark, New Jersey. He is responsible for business and workforce development in the areas of the airport and seaport focusing on the transportation, logistics and distribution industries. He retired after 25 years of serving as a Engineering Project Manager for Kraft/Nabisco Foods. In his position at Kraft/Nabisco he managed major capital equipment manufacturing project installations for processing and packing consumer food products. He is the President/CEO of his own consulting company Shareef Professional Services LLC providing Project, Program and Construction Management services, staff development, team building and project coordination from concept design through implementation.
In 1984 he co-founded Waris Associates Inc., which led to the establishment of the Waris Cultural Research and Development Center and Masjid Waarith ud Deen located in Irvington New Jersey. These organizations co-exist and cooperate to develop and implement spiritual, educational, recreational, cultural and social programs that address the challenges facing American families today. W. Deen Shareef is a student of Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa) and serves as the Director of Religious Affairs and Imam (Religious Leader). He also serves as the Executive Director of ComWealth Economic Development Corporation (EDC), a non-profit community development corporation. He is the Convener of the Council of Imams in New Jersey and co-founder of the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace.
Saad Siddiqui is a member of corporate development and venture investments team at Cisco, where he focuses on investing in, acquiring and partnering with companies in the cloud and virtualization space. Prior to this role Saad worked in investment banking, in the mergers & acquisitions group at RBC Capital Markets and prior to that was an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch. Saad was a co-founder and served on the Young Leadership Board of New York Needs You. He is currently a member of the Board of Engineers of Blue Engine and Muslim Urban Professionals (Muppies). Saad was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award by President Obama in 2011.
Saad received his B.S. in finance from Rutgers University.
Don Warkentin, Director of Training, has been affiliated with Dale Carnegie since 1997 and delivers customized training in Central and Southern NJ. He provides excellence and dependability for Dale Carnegie attendees and clients. Dale has trained for companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Schering Plough, General Electric, McGraw-Hill, Shiseido America, and Bristol Myers Squibb. By partnering with companies to focus on specific needs and deliverable results, Don has a direct impact on the organizations he trains. Examples of differences that Don has made at these companies can be exemplified with his recent work. Don worked for General Electric’s Healthcare division where he was Senior Trainer and achieved certifications in a range of GE professional skills and leadership programs. Don’s role at GE was nationwide and his ability to create a positive and inclusive learning environment resulted in averaging over 4.75 out of 5 on his feedback surveys at their various locations. At Shiseido America, Don was responsible for a wide range of training and development needs for designing the new employee orientation process to ensuring that the necessary regulatory training was completed and documented. As the key training professional, Don gained broad exposure to a manufacturing environment and helped Shiseido achieve certification to the ISO 14000 standards. His experience in non-profit involved working for Big Brothers/Big Sisters right after graduating from Trenton State College. There he ran several successful mentoring programs. This experience provided him with insight into how to motivate people of all ages and backgrounds.