Who We Are

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OUR TEAM

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER

Habon has over 25 years of experience in gender and politics. She is a respected voice on building a platform that celebrates women’s civic leadership efforts and successes. Her research on minority women and political participation, as well as the cultural and structural barriers women face in each stage of leadership careers, gives her a unique understanding of the importance of adopting woman-centered approach. Her perspective allows New American women to act from their innate strengths, and build an identity that helps them develop and practice civic leadership skills - this is the key impact that progressive networks have on getting women elected, and shaping their policies and effectiveness once in office. 

Habon holds a Ph.D from the University of Sussex, UK, an M.A. from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota , and a M.A. and B.A. from the University of Padua, IT. Habon is also a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellow.

HABON ABDULLE
HABON ABDULLE
PROGRAM COORDINATOR AND SUPPORT INTERN

Sagal is a proud first generation Somali-American immigrant and who has had the honor and privilege to grow up in the Minneapolis community for most of her life.

In her professional career, she manages program initiatives that advance health equity efforts across the country, working towards building a health care system that works for everyone. 

She loves learning about ways we can continuously improve a system that supports all communities of color. More particularly, she seeks to equip women with the tools they need to become contributing members of society and leaders in our communities.

Her passion for community leadership and enabling women to drive change through their lived experience is the very reason why she is so happy to be part of Ayada Leads.

SAGAL ALI
SAGAL ALI
EDUCATION & DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
COMING SOON...
TRAINING & PROGRAM SPECIALIST INTERN

Zaynab grew up in the heart of south Minneapolis, particularly in the Powderhorn neighborhood.  In her professional career, she is a Human resources recruiter and facilitates training on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She is passionate about creating more equitable workspaces specifically for women of color. She understands the lack of representation in professional spaces and helps provide seats at the table for their voices to be heard.

Zaynab is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota earning a degree in Human Resources. She is hoping to continue her education by obtaining a master’s in public policy. She understands the importance elected officials have in changes that are made in communities. Zaynab spends her free time working as a grassroot organizer and helping with local campaigns. Her passion lies with providing resources to political candidates whose ultimate goal is to benefit the communities they will be serving.

ZAYNAB MOHAMED
ZAYNAB MOHAMED
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COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Kin’s work involves working with refugees, people with mental disabilities. She plans to further her education by getting a Masters in Psychology and obtaining a PhD in the hopes to be able to help young women of color who need resources and help when it comes to mental health and wants to help get rid of the stigma behind mental health in African communities. In her free time, she is a writer and has a passion for learning more about story-telling.   

KIN AHMED
KIN AHMED
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CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND ADVOCACY MANAGER

Antonette comes to us with a lot of experience and she enjoys being able to participate in affairs that help her get more educated on politics. She's a Journalism student. She has a passion for being able to express herself creatively. She finds joy in being able to help people and do meaningful work.

ANTONETTE KAMARA
ANTONETTE KAMARA

OUR BOARD

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BOARD CHAIR

Huda is a wife, mother, and public health visionary. Her life’s work  is transforming systems so that every community has a sustainable ecosystem  that provide it the opportunity for safety, health and well-being. She is the Founder and Principal at Transformational Solutions, a strategy consultant firm that supports local and national clients in the public, non-profit and philanthropic sectors achieve transformational change by providing comprehensive strategic support. She specializes in the process of community-institution co-creation to transform systems, with a focus on building co-ownership and power-sharing. 

HUDA AHMED
HUDA AHMED
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BOARD MEMBER

Khadija is a successful entrepreneur in the language services, staffing and cultural competence industries, and she has become a leader in creating opportunities for immigrant communities.

Born in Somalia, Khadija immigrated with her family to the United States in 1996, via the refugee camp in Kenya. After high school and learning English in school, she began serving as an interpreter for her family members. An experience within her own family, where language became a life-threatening barrier to health, led her to pursue a career in health care.

Khadija represents Minnesota and The Itasca Project as a member of Harvard Business School’s 2017 Young American Leaders Program. The program is based at Harvard’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness to develop leaders who understand cross-sector collaborations for shared prosperity. She serves on the board of AEON, Affordable Housing, Minneapolis Reginal Chamber of Commerce, and the Final Four Impact Advisory Council. Khadija attended St. Paul Community College, University of Minnesota, and Harvard Business School.

She has been recognized for her professional accomplishments and community service:

  • International Immigrant Achievement Award from International Leadership Institute

  • Immigrant Achievement Award by the City of Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak and Governor Dayton

  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio for job creation in the Latino community

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2017 Women in Business Award

  • UNESCO, Center for Peace Cross Cultural Ambassador 2018 Nelson Mandela Award

KHADIJA ALI
KHADIJA ALI
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BOARD MEMBER

Tharangi Cumaranatunge has been with ALIGHT (formerly American Refugee Committee) since 2012. Tharangi grew up in Sri Lanka and came to Minnesota for her studies as a Fulbright scholar. She first joined the private sector and later the nonprofit sector.  She works to build connections to global community everywhere she goes - at Ecolab she helped found an employee resource group to connect employees on global awareness. More recently she helped with the creation of the first Rotaract Club inside a refugee camp. She also led and continues to participate in Stretch Expeditions with Prouty Project to serve and learn about diverse societies around the globe.

THARANGI CUMARANATUNGE
THARANGI CUMARANATUNGE
BOARD MEMBER

Coming Soon...  

HODAN MOHAMED
HODAN MOHAMED