Leadership

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Zainab Zeb Khan: Co-founder, Executive Director, Chair 
Zainab Zeb Khan is Chair and Cofounder of the Muslim American Leadership Alliance. Born in the US to Pakistani-Afghan immigrants, she became an activist after eye-opening experiences counseling survivors of domestic violence and organizing exhibitions for artists facing repression. A former Senior Clinician holding a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, Zainab also co-curated the International Museum of Women’s exhibition “Muslimah: Muslim Women’s Arts and Voices”and has served as a United Nations Delegate on the Commission on the Status of Women since 2013. Most recently, she contributed a chapter to the book Can Art Aid in Resolving Conflicts(Amsterdam: FRAME Publishers, 2018). Zainab has been published in the Oral History Review on Muslim American oral histories, and also serves as an Advisory Impact Board of Director for Picture Motion.  She is also the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Silver Stevie Award for Women in Business, in the Non-Profit/Government sector.

Emil Aldaddah: Co-founder
Emil is a wealth management expert with experience in the financial industry as a private equity analyst and portfolio manager. An Iraqi-American with a diverse Muslim-Christian family, he is part of the Young Visions Leadership program for the Israel Cancer Research Fund. Immersed with multiple years’ of experience in the financial industry as a private equity analyst and portfolio manager, Emil is a DePaul University graduate and uses his enthusiasm for good in both a physical and symbolic sense. He received the Presidential Service Award in 2016 for his volunteerism and commitment to diversity and inclusion for community programs.  In 2016, Emil spoke at the UN CSW 60th Session, and will be moderating  a panel at UN CSW 61 for MALA with UNICEF USA, Princeton University, and The Malala Fund. He regularly likes to participate in physical activities such as running marathons, playing football, and basketball; in addition to his extraordinary work in his career in the financial industry. Emil has been able to transform his client-based expertise onto the public sphere with the advent of synergy that focuses on connecting people to enhance their businesses, and grow each-other’s networks. Read or listen to his personal story, Linking Diversity and Inclusivity, here.

Ahmad Zabi Rahat: Secretary
Ahmad Zabi Rahat serves as the Center for Theory of Change’s Organization Development Coordinator. The Center is a non-profit organization established to promote quality standards and best practice for the development and implementation of Theory of Change, with a particular focus on its use and application in the areas of international development, sustainability, education, human rights and social change. Zabi is is also a Research Associate for Act Knowledge. He has a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and a Graduate Certification in Non-Profit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. His role and expertise encompasses research, strategic planning, evaluation and the implementation of the Theory of Change process (ToC) across a range of areas including programs focused on early childhood development, education, youth development and international development. Zabi also served as a panelist in 2016 Sustainable Development Transition forum hosted by United Nations Office for Sustainable Development in Republic of Korea. The panel discussed strategies, tools and methods for mainstreaming the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Naeem Uddin: Co-Founder, Treasurer
A recipient of President Obama’s Presidential Service Award in November 2016, Naeem is a scientist and innovator. He is currently a Senior Analytical Chemist at Praxair, one of the largest industrial gases companies in the world. Naeem’s passion for heritage, the arts, and culture led him to facilitate MALA’s “Muslim American Journey’s” project. He also organizes MALA’s community engagement and outreach events. Naeem grew up in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where he saw firsthand the devastating impact of a crumbling public education system and the indoctrination of young boys into extremism. At age 16, Naeem immigrated to America and pursued a career in science. He has conducted research on early drug development projects in the healthcare field, including stem cell therapies for arthritis. His work is focused on instrumental analysis in the field of chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceuticals. An entrepreneur, he founded an IT based company to help businesses achieve their goals in multiple arenas of business analysis and solutions.

STAFF

Ahmed Flex Omar: Deputy Director, Co-Founder

About

Ahmed Flex Omar is a network builder. From humble beginnings working at the West Side Health Authority building computer labs for under resourced communities, to his current role as co-founder, Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer at the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA), Flex is committed to leveraging technology to build networks in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors.

As the Chief Experience Officer at MALA, Flex has worked to build a dynamic network of hundreds of professionals, civic leaders, and cultural icons who act as collaborators and mentors to expand and diversify the organization’s brand organically through community engagement.  Flex has used MALA’s platform to assert thought leadership in diversity and inclusion, focusing specifically on deconstructing structures of inequality and imbalances of diversity in corporate spaces.

Outside of his work with MALA, Flex also works to mentor students at Loyola University’s School of business school, and works extensively with other corporate partners to advise them on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  Flex has spoken at FUND Conference, Chicago Ideas Week, the UNCSW, the Oral History Association’s Annual Conference, and many others. He is a founding member of the Chicago Leadership Alliance and currently represents MALA at the UN Economic and social council (ECOSOC) and he’s an advisor on a number of other Chicago-area startups.

Andrew McDonald: Operations Manager
Originally from the New Hampshire Seacoast, Andrew began working with MALA as an intern in Spring 2017. He joined the team in September 2018 as a Program Associate. Andrew recently finished his B.A. at Hampshire College, where he designed his course of study in Political Islam and Geopolitical Identity in the Middle East and Northern Africa.  Andrew is passionate about the transformative art of storytelling, and the importance of community dialogue.  He works remotely to coordinate MALA’s “Muslim American Journeys” project, and provide support for other national MALA programming.

Khalil Ayed: Digital Media Associate

Originally from Kairouan, Tunisia, Khalil is an artist and activist who left his home to enrich his artistic career by learning about different histories, and cultural traditions.  Khalil grew up in a Muslim community before immigrating to New York as an adult. Passionate about Youth-Leadership and Human-Rights, Khalil has also witnessed firsthand the effects of extremism amongst adolescents and young adults. He strives for both equality and equity through working with different organizations, such as Search For Common Ground (SFCG), Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and We Love Kairouan.  Khalil works in the New York area to develop and create digital content and coordinate MALA’s web presence.