AMCC 2014 Speakers

 Aamir A. Rehman

Aamir Abdul Rehman is Managing Director of Fajr Capital Advisors, a specialist advisory firm focused on key Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) markets. The firm advises governments, multi-lateral bodies, and private investors on matters pertaining to public policy, investment flows, and Islamic finance. Prior to joining Fajr Capital, Mr. Rehman was Global Head of Strategy at HSBC Amanah, where he oversaw strategy development across the full range of HSBC Amanah’s business lines and regions. Prior to HSBC, he was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, advising Fortune 500 and prominent global clients. He is author of Dubai & Co.: Global Strategies for Doing Business in the Gulf States (McGraw-Hill 2007) and Gulf Capital and Islamic Finance: The Rise of the New Global Players (McGraw-Hill 2009). He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Adnan Durrani

Mr. Durrani is the CEO and founder of American Halal Co, Inc. — which markets the Saffron Road brand line of all natural, Humanely Raised, Gluten-Free Certified, Non-GMO Verified, or antibiotic free halal cuisines. Saffron Road is the first halal product to be sold nationally in the USA, initially in all Whole Foods Markets stores, and is now sold in over 10,000 retail food stores nationally. According to A.C.Nielson/SPINS scantrak, Saffron Road is the fastest growing natural frozen entrée brand in USA and nationally ranked #4. In December 2013, at the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai, Sheikh Al-Maktoum gave American Halal an award as the Best Halal Company in The World. Mr. Durrani has been an entrepreneur and investment professional for almost 30 years, as President of Condor Ventures, Inc., a venture firm devoted to strategic investing in natural food companies. His entrepreneurial ventures have resulted in a successful track record of scaling and growing niche beverage and natural food product lines into mainstream branded companies. Mr. Durrani founded Vermont Pure in 1991. Today, Vermont Pure/Crystal Rock is the 2nd largest bottled water company in the Northeast. Mr. Durrani was also a principal investor and financial partner in Stonyfield Farms, Inc. which was sold to Groupe Danone in 2001. Stonyfield today generates almost $400 million in sales annually. He was also a principal of Delicious Brands, Inc., which he scaled, with the financial backing of Carl Icahn, to become the 5th largest cookie brand in the U.S. He also served on the Board, and was Finance Chairman, of Social Venture Network. Mr.Durrani has been recognized by BBMG and SVN as one of the entrepreneurs who engineered “20 Ideas That Changed The Way The World Does Business”. The select list of these inductees include: Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s), Gary Hirshberg (Stonyfield Farms), Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize, Grameen Bank), and Steve Case (AOL). Mr. Durrani Chairs the Board of the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Columbia University (“Board of Visitors”), where he is also Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board. Mr. Durrani received an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and economics from Columbia University. He is also a Charter Member of the American Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies. He often lectures on Islam and remains active in facilitating interfaith forums in New York City and Connecticut area synagogues, churches, and mosques. He has also been hosted by the Vatican and Ambassador to the Holy Sees ( as one of only two American Muslims to be a speaker on “Interfaith In Business” in October 2010, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy.

Ahmad Ashkar

Mr. Ashkar continues to lead the organization he himself founded in 2009 as CEO, named by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine as one of the top five ideas changing the world. Prior to Hult Prize, Mr. Ashkar held senior positions as a management consultant, banker and real estate executive. His experience in innovation, new market entry, and global expansion is backed by a total career deal book of a half-billion dollars. Mr. Ashkar is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Ahmad also serves as an adviser to both private and government sector entities across the Middle East where he consults on youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, innovation, crowdscience and social entrepreneurship. Ahmad is a recognized expert in his space and has been profiled as a social innovator by Harvard Business Review. He has regularly appeared as a coach and speaker on social impact, entrepreneurship and innovation at the Clinton Global Initiative, Abu Dhabi Entrepreneurs Summit, Silatech, United Nations, and other notable gatherings. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, FOX, Al-Jazeera, MBC and other major media outlets world-wide and has been profiled by leading publications in the US, Brazil, UAE and across Europe.

As a Palestinian-American, Ahmad also serves as an independent advisor to the municipality of his hometown of Tulkarm, West Bank, Palestine. He holds a MBA from the Hult International Business School and undergraduate degrees in Finance and Marketing from Avila University.

Dr. Hatem Bazian

Dr. Hatem Bazian is co-founder, senior faculty, and Academic Affairs Chair at Zaytuna College. He is also a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bazian is also a visiting Professor in Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California and adviser to the Religion, Politics, and Globalization Center at UC Berkeley. In 2009, he founded the Center for the Study of Documentation of Islamophobia at UC Berkeley. Dr. Bazian is on the board of several organizations, including the Islamic Scholarship Fund and Muslim Americans for Palestine, for which he is also the founding president.

 Dr. Jonathan A.J. Wilson

Dr. Jonathan A.J. Wilson is an academic, consultant, speaker, and journalist with industry experience spanning 20 years. His varied experiences, which include being a chemistry and life sciences graduate, alongside a career in advertising, have taken him throughout Europe, the Muslim world, and Asia. Jon is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Islamic Marketing; blogs for the Huffington Post; writes for Zawya Thomson Reuters, and Aquila Style magazine (Singapore); and is an Associate Member of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamic Finance and Diversity in Financial Markets. Over the last 5 years, Jon has spoken at conferences on over 85 occasions to academics and practitioners internationally; and has published over 140 pieces of work. He has received media coverage from amongst others: Amilin TV, Astro Awani, BBC, The Guardian (UK), Republika, Sky News Arabia, Thomson Reuters, and The Times (UK).

Errol Schweizer

Errol Schweizer has been with Whole Foods Market for over twelve years and has worked in Grocery leadership roles at store, regional and global levels. As Whole Foods Market’s Executive Global Grocery Coordinator, Errol has helped to bring more than 6,000 culinary finds to the U.S. marketplace. Errol and the Grocery team continue to lead the charge on ethical sourcing and product innovation by expanding their selection of Fair Trade, Organic, and Non GMO products. The Grocery team has also led market innovation on all natural Kosher and Halal foods, have popularized Pasture-raised dairy and egg products, as well as launched the first ever household cleaning products rating system with full ingredient labeling. Through their network of supplier partnerships, the Grocery team is also playing a critical role in meeting Whole Foods Market’s 2018 deadline for full GMO transparency. Errol is also on the Board of Directors for Farmshare Austin, a non-profit dedicated to training Organic farmers and enabling greater Organic food access.

Faisal Masood

Faisal Masood is the Founder and President of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium Inc. American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to develop the American Muslim Consumer market. The key objective of AMCC is to address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and empower companies that are developing products for this market.

Faisal has more than 20 years of management consulting, business management, entrepreneurship and sales management experience. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago with a M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1996. Faisal was one of the founders of, which was sold to in 2000. was primarily engaged in the sales of technology and electronics products to small businesses and consumers and had an annual sale of approximately $80 Million. Faisal has been a featured speaker at many international conferences and is a subject matter expert on the Muslim Consumer market. He has spoken at the World Halal Forum, Kuala Lumpur; Global Islamic Economy Summit, Dubai; Saudi Food Forum, Jeddah; Natural Food Expo, Los Angeles and the American Muslim Consumer Conference, New Jersey.

He is an active member in the community and has organized many fundraising events to support relief and humanitarian activities for Islamic Relief. Faisal was also an adjunct professor at the School of Business, Rutgers State University, New Jersey from 2002 to 2008. Currently he works for a major financial company in New York.

Farah Khan

Ms. Khan is a Principal at Catterton. Prior to joining Catterton, Ms. Khan was a Vice President at Sandler Capital Management where she focused on growth equity, leveraged buyouts and financings of middle market companies. Prior to Sandler, Ms. Khan worked at Apax Partners, a global private equity firm where she focused on growth capital and leveraged buyouts in the retail and consumer product sectors. Prior to Apax, she worked in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, where she focused on corporate finance and M&A coverage of retail, media and technology companies based in both New York and Menlo Park.

Ms. Khan is a Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. degree in Economics and Mathematics. She received an M.B.A from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is been a passionate voice for the planet and its people. Throughout his time in the public, private and civic sectors he has been at the intersection of innovation, sustainability, and civic engagement. Ibrahim is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and contributor to All-American: 45 American Men On Being Muslim. He is is a former sustainability policy advisor to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Outward Bound instructor. In 2002 he helped to found the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment and he blended youth organizing and technology while at the Movement Strategy Center. Ibrahim has blogged since 2004 as the Brooklyn Bedouin and has appeared on FOX News, ABC News’ “This Week,” and the Brian Lehrer Show and on WNYC’s nationally syndicated show The Takeaway and PRI’s Marketplace.

His writing has appeared in The Washington Post,, The Daily Beast, and GOOD Magazine. In In 2013 Ibrahim was honored by NBC’s as one of 100 African Americans Making history today. He is a regular contributor for and Thought Catalog.

Ibrahim has presented on Innovation in the Islamic World to the Chief Economist at the Islamic Development Bank, on Halal Green Business at the World Islamic Economic Forum, and on Principles of Islamic Environmentalism at the Green Middle East conference in Sharjah, UAE. Most recently he has advised corporate clients on the intersections between halal, kosher, vegan, non-gmo, and fair trade and opportunities for growth those areas.

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ibtihaj Muhammad is a member of the United States Fencing National Team. She is the first Muslim woman to represent the United States in international competition. Muhammad is currently ranked number 2 in the United States and number 10 in the world. Muhammad’s career highlights include 2014 World Champion and 3-time USA National Champion. Muhammad also serves as a sports ambassador for the U.S. Department of State’s council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports. As a sports ambassador, Muhammad engages audiences in the United States and overseas to elevate the global conversation on sports as a means of empowerment. She aims to inspire youth and increase the number of women and girls who are involved in sports. Muhammad hopes to become the first Muslim woman in hijab to represent the United States in the Olympics. Muhammad is the also the founder and CEO of Louella, a fashion brand catering to fashionable modest dressing women. The Los Angeles-based brand has sold nearly 4,000 pieces since its launch three months ago.

Iman Kouvalis

Iman Kouvalis is DinarStandard’s international strategy and business foresight consultant. Her recent work involved driving a comprehensive 15-year strategic road-map report for the American Muslim community. She has 14 years of experience in growth strategies, business foresight and sustainable competitive advantage in disruptive environments in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

She has developed business and marketing research plans for investments up to $2 billion, including for the royal family of a Gulf State and an organization funded by the Bill Gates Foundation. Previously, she worked as a project engineer for Ford Motor Company. Iman is a former national Board Director of Strategic Planning for the Muslim Association of Greece, where she collaborated with the government on national immigration, education and faith issues.

Iman holds an MBA with Strategic Planning specialization from Scotland, and a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from Canada. She is a United Nations volunteer and a Board Member of the Association of Strategy Professionals, DC chapter. She has taken professional courses from Stanford University and Wharton School of Business on topics such as innovation design and global trends.

Khalid Latif

Khalid Latif is Executive Director and Chaplain (Imam) for the Islamic Center at New York University (NYU).

In 2005, Imam Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at NYU. At NYU, Khalid initiated his vision for a pluralistic American Muslim community, rooted on campus and reaching out to the city. In 2006, Imam Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at Princeton University. In 2007, Imam Latif’s position was fully institutionalized at New York University, and so he committed himself to that institution and the building of a Muslim life institution. Today’s Islamic Center is a leader among American Muslim organizations, uniquely shaped to contribute to the future of Muslim practice in the West.

Imam Latif’s exceptional dedication and ability to cross faith and cultural boundaries on a daily basis brought him recognition throughout the city, so much so that in 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg nominated Imam Latif to become the youngest chaplain in history of the New York City Police Department. He was 24. Since then, Imam Latif has dedicated himself to America’s largest Police Department, and has developed tremendously valuable skills as a spokesperson for co-existence, mutual understanding and productive relationships between cultures, communities and religions.

At NYU, Imam Latif has not only managed to build a strong Muslim institution at NYU, but he has offered his experience and awareness to the U.S. State Department, various institutions, corporations, mosques and other communities in the United States, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Egypt. He is a highly sought-after speaker, offering to diverse audiences his unique blend of motivational speaking, leadership insights, spiritual development and religious awareness. He has been invited to speak at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, Princeton University and Harvard. Imam Latif has been quoted or otherwise featured on numerous media outlets including BBC, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, BET and GEO TV. Amongst many awards and distinctions for leadership and community service over the last few years, Imam Latif was most recently named one of 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2009 by Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talaal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Larry Richards

Larry Richards has over thirty-five years’ experience in executive management, business development, and technology.

He currently works as International Investment Development Officer for the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Employment. He also works closely with the Canadian (Federal Government) Technology Accelerator in Philadelphia. Within these roles he supports a number expanding of cross-border and international companies.

He began his career at Aetna where he held a series of management positions in the Group Health Insurance Division. After leaving Aetna and receiving his MBA he became a senior manager in the Financial Services Consulting Practice at Ernst & Young. He later held partnership positions in the Financial Services Consulting Practices at The Mac Group, Gemini Consulting (now part of Gap Gemini Ernst & Young), and KPMG.

From 2004-2005 Mr. Richards served as CEO of Diversified Information Technologies, a multi-line information management company serving financial services and healthcare companies in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From 2005-2008 he served as CEO of the Diversity Financial Network, a financial services distribution company focused on large affinity groups.

Mr. Richards’ expertise includes management, business development, market strategy, and the strategic use of technology. He helps individual organizations design innovative products; respond to evolving market trends; and improve their strategic, financial, and competitive performance. He currently focuses on efforts by the financial services industry to recover from the 2008/09 financial crisis and the efficient use of technology to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes in the healthcare industry.

During his career Mr. Richards has sold, managed, or supported projects for several large corporations including Guardian Insurance Company, Aetna, CIGNA, Alex Brown, McNeil Labs, Citibank, Prudential, Merrill Lynch, Travelers, AT&T, Mercy Hospitals, Lucent Technologies, and Wachovia. Mr. Richards also served as executive-in-residence during design and implementation of multi-year reengineering projects at New York Life and Standard Life/Bank of Scotland (Canadian operations).

Mr. Richards lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and four children. He is the author of several articles about strategy management and technology design. He has been a frequent speaker at trade association meetings and client-sponsored events. He holds a BA in History, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Maine and a MBA in Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Magatte Wade

Magatte Wade is passionate about entrepreneurship and about creating high-end retail brands, based on diverse African traditions, that change the perception of Africa. She was born in Senegal, educated in France, and launched her entrepreneurial career in San Francisco. She is fluent in, and conducts business in, Wolof, French, and English.

She is the founder and CEO of Tiossan, a high-end skin care products line based on indigenous Senegalese recipes and ingredients. At least ten percent of Tiossan profits are dedicated to the creation of innovative schools in Senegal, designed to developing the next generation of Senegalese genius.

Magatte writes for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Barron’s. She is a frequent speaker at business conferences and college campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, MIT, Wharton, Babson, etc. She was named a Young Global Leader by the Davos Global Economic Forum as well as one of the “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes in 2011. In 2014 she was featured on the cover of Forbes Afrique for being the person in Francophone Africa having the greatest positive impact on the future. In 2014 she received the award for the “leading Woman in Wellness” from the Global SPA and Wellness Summit, the premiere international organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively impact and shape the future of the global spa and wellness industries. She serves on the board of ASNAPP and the SEED Academy (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a private school in Senegal that prepares young people academically and athletically so that they can win NCAA basketball scholarships in the U.S.

Michael Looft

As Regional Director for Europe and Asia, Michael is responsible for setting strategy and managing both portfolio and field staff. He holds an undergraduate degree in International Business with a concentration in finance from San Francisco State University, and graduate degrees from both St. John’s College and Harvard. At Harvard, Michael focused on designing Shariah compliant microfinance products for Muslim communities, as well as researching the impacts of faith-based involvement in the microfinance industry. While at Kiva, Michael has been instrumental in creating and building out Islamic microfinance programs throughout the Middle East. Michael writes and speaks extensively on the topic of ethical and responsible finance, specifically on how to incorporate Sharia principles into mainstream finance in order to increase the risk burden on lenders and to ensure borrower protection. His book, entitled Inspired Finance: the Role of Faith in Microfinance and International Economic Development is due out in late October.

Michael Strong

Michael Strong is a co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, the premier organization integrating conscious behavior and capitalism.  He is the lead author of Be the Solution:  How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems, co-authored with Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammad Yunus, founder of Instituto de Libertad y Democrocia Hernando de Soto, and others.  For the past ten years Michael has worked with the leaders of some of the world’s leading purpose-driven companies to create a more effective integration of purpose and profit.  Michael is currently working on “Startup Cities,” a city-scale project designed to create jobs and prosperity in developing nations, based in part on the model piloted by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).  He serves on the board of his wife’s company, Tiossan, a high-end skin care products company based on indigenous Senegalese recipes.  Prior to his work on Conscious Capitalism, Michael spent fifteen years as an educational entrepreneur, creating several high performance schools across the U.S.

Mohamed Issa

Dr. Mohamed Issa started his career in pharmaceuticals at Genentech as a manager working on commercializing drugs for infectious diseases after receiving his doctorate in pharmacology from St. John’s University. In 2007 he joined Pfizer to lead their neuroscience team responsible for annual revenues in excess of $800 million dollars working in disease states such as bipolar, depression and schizophrenia. While at Pfizer Dr. Issa assumed roles of increasing responsibilities including leading US and global marketing teams as well as mergers and acquisitions for Pfizer’s specialty care portfolio. In 2012, Dr. Issa was recruited by Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to lead the launch of a cure for Hepatitis C which eventually became the second most successful launch in pharmaceutical history. During his tenure at Pfizer and J&J, Dr. Issa started and completed his MBA at NYU stern school of business with a focus on economics and finance and while at Stern he reunited with Muslim doctors to start Noor Pharmaceuticals, the first and only US based halal pharmaceutical company and makers of NoorVitamins™. As CEO, Dr. Issa led Noor to become the premier halal vitamin company in the world by leading the organization through seed and investor financing, launching NoorVitamins™ both in the US and select global markets and contract negotiations with major retailers. Today, NoorVitamins™ are found in several hundred pharmacies across the US including select Walgreen’s, Whole Foods, Duane Reade Stores. Noor’s goal in 2015 goal is to expand its footprint both in the US and across key international Muslim markets. Finally, Noor recently partnered with Vitamin Angels, the leading nonprofit vitamin distribution agency to develop and distribute Halal prenatal vitamins to countries in need. Today, Dr. Issa serves as chairman of the board for Noor Pharmaceuticals and Regional Business Directory at J&J.

Omar Woodard

Omar Woodard has a decade of experience working across the government, business, and nonprofit sectors.

He is president of the Girard College Foundation, which receives gifts on behalf of Girard College, a 166 year-old private boarding school for children from low-income, single parent families. Most recently, he was a principal at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), one of the nation’s earliest philanthropic investment firms, based in Washington D.C. He co-managed a $20M portfolio of charter school and other education-related investments and managed youthCONNECT – supported by President Obama’s Social Innovation Fund – focused on systems change, scale, and social impact. Prior to VPP, Omar was a consultant, and associate director of business development and marketing at the Advisory Board Company, where he closed $1.5M in new business and worked with over 200 senior executives to address pressing business challenges. For two years he was a federally registered lobbyist and consultant for the Whitaker Group, a premier strategic consulting firm focused on increasing economic prosperity through US-African trade and investment. He also worked in the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Services at George Washington University. He started his career as an education and urban policy intern for Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

Omar has over a decade of experience as a board member/adviser to numerous nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises, including the George Washington University Board of Trustees, the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the Elliott School of International Affairs Board of Advisors. He is a Fellow with the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and received the Toyota Presidential Fellowship from the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and the Hansjoerg Wyss Award for Social Enterprise from Harvard Business School.

Rafi-uddin Shikoh

Rafi-uddin is the Founder and CEO of DinarStandard–a specialized market research and advisory firm focused on the emerging Muslim markets of Halal/Tayyab food, Islamic/Ethical Finance, and OIC member countries. He is passionate about empowering organizations for profitable and responsible global impact. Since 2008, Rafi-uddin has been advising global multi-nationals, Islamic financial institutions, Halal market startups and NGOs on market expansion analysis, business/investment strategy, and innovative marketing strategies. Rafi-uddin has led various market studies on the Muslim markets globally including the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2013, DS100™ ranking of Top 100 Businesses in the Muslim World, Social Responsibility Survey of Islamic Financial Institution, State of Food Insecurity & Opportunities in OIC Countries, American Muslim Market, Productivity in Ramadan Survey, and various other such reports. He is a frequent speaker on innovation, marketing, social business, and Muslim customer strategies, and has presented at prestigious industry conferences at Oxford University, Harvard University, Jeddah Economic Forum, Dubai International Conference for Awqaf, International Food Conference Turkey, and IIUM Malaysia. Prior to DinarStandard, Rafi-uddin had been a Vice President with Marsh Inc, a global risk-brokerage firm, where he led and successfully delivered multi-million dollar knowledge management and marketing technology related initiatives. He had previously served as a Senior e-Business Consultant at a Boston a based firm. Rafi-uddin has an MBA from UNC-Charlotte, North Carolina, and a BSc. in Marketing from Southwest State, Minnesota, USA.

Rick Altizer

Rick Altizer is the CEO of Elevation Franchise Ventures based in Arlington, VA. Rick joined the Elevation Burger franchise as CEO on April 1, 2014 following the visionary founder Hans Hess who now serves as Chairman. Elevation Burger is growing by 30% this year and will have over 50 restaurants in seven countries by year-end 2014. Elevation is the world’s first and largest grass-fed organic hamburger chain and is committed to promoting healthy food for families through their elevated burger offering.

Prior to joining the organic burger franchise, Mr. Altizer served in executive leadership roles across three industries but has spent most of his career leading retail franchise organizations. Rick began his franchising journey with McDonald’s Corporation in 1989 and spent 14 years in various finance and operational leadership roles including VP and GM of two US regions. After McDonald’s, he served as VP of Operations and Training for Midas International and later as President of Jiffy Lube International until 2011. Before joining the Elevation Burger franchise in 2014, Rick served as the Marketing GM for Shell Retail Fuels, responsible for over 14,000 retail fueling sites across North America.

Shahed Amanullah

A serial entrepreneur who has founded several Silicon Valley new media startups, Shahed Amanullah currently serves as CEO & co-founder of LaunchPosse, a DC-based startup that helps people leverage their social networks to shape and launch ideas for entrepreneurship. Prior to starting LaunchPosse, Shahed served as Senior Advisor for Technology at the US Department of State, where he worked on digital diplomacy in the bureaus of Secretaries of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, and was responsible for building and launching the Generation Change and Viral Peace projects. Shahed also worked closely with the White House and other government agencies on social entrepreneurship, social media policy, combating online extremism, and fostering innovation.

Shahed also serves as CEO & founder of Halalfire, a producer of online content and market research for global Muslim communities. He founded, an online magazine with 2.5 million annual unique users, and served as its editor-in-chief for 10 years before its 2011 acquisition by Patheos. In 1998, he created, the world’s largest Halal restaurant guide, with 10 million annual users and 500,000 mobile app downloads. Shahed was also co-founder and CEO of Relatia, a venture-backed mobile software company acquired in 2001.

Shahed has written and/or been featured in pieces about technology, foreign policy, and media trends in venues such as CNN and Newsweek, has spoken at the Council on Foreign Relations and Center for American Progress, and has published essays in academic journals and newspapers such as the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. He has been named three times (2009, 2010, and 2011) as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by Georgetown University & the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan, one of the top 10 most visionary young Muslims by Islamica Magazine (2007), and the winner of the SXSW Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service (2007). He has also served on the boards of nearly a dozen national non-profit organizations focused on building stable Muslim-American identities. Shahed has a BS from UC Berkeley (where he served as Student Body Vice-President) and an MBA from Georgetown.

Shainoor Khoja

Shainoor Khoja operates Better Business Enterprise (BBE), a consultancy identifying new opportunities in emerging markets and the developed world for businesses to address the needs of base of the pyramid populations, to explore commercial opportunities using technology and to develop innovative business practices. Focusing on triple bottom line business models and social innovation to create maximum impact from mobilized funds. Since January 2012, BBE has secured projects in Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Zambia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Middle East and in the USA. Projects have involved market research, product development, platform selection, business modeling and execution. Sectors focused on include mobile money, telemedicine, and commodity prices for farmers, human resource development, leadership training and funding high impact infrastructure projects. The objective is to invest in communities with multiple stakeholders to build capacity, develop and grow business. Shainoor has developed relationships with organizations that are local as well as international businesses, NGO’s and civil society organizations. Examples include Regional Mobile Network Operators, Regional Emerging Market Banks, Mobile Application Solution Providers, Babson College, Bainbridge Graduate Institute and others and has since successfully closed a number of transactions.

Shainoor held the position of Managing Director Roshan Community, at Afghanistan’s #1 mobile operator, Roshan, an Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development Company, since 2004 and concluded her full-time role in 2012. Apart from her daily operational role, Shainoor has been an integral part of the fund raising cycles for Roshan that have raised in excess of US$180 million for the company. Shainoor’s contribution has been focused around innovative strategies that bring strategic value to the growth and development of the group companies. This has entailed incubating initiatives and evolving them into viable commercial products that go to market. Her focus has further been to address lenders requirements for social and economic development increasingly being termed impact investing.

In addition, Shainoor has used her contacts and experience in emerging market fund raising to further attract financing from developmental finance institutions, private donors and foundations for specific private and public sector projects. Shainoor holds several board positions: Social Venture Networks, Trustee Global Council for Compassion, Global Diversity and Leadership Exchange and MODiSE (telemedicine).

Shama Zehra

Shama Zehra is the CEO of Aligned Independent Advisors. Shama started her career as one of the youngest female entrepreneurs in the apparel industry in Pakistan in 1991 when she started a women apparel firm with her mother and sister. After building her family business to include a factory and three sales channels, she sold it and transitioned to financial services industry in 1995 where she has worked in Investment Banking, Consumer Credit Products and Private Wealth Management. Prior to forming Aligned, Shama worked with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank (top 20 FTSE company) and MCB Bank (the largest private sector bank in Pakistan in early nineties).

When Shama entered the financial services business in 1995, her first major assignment was with a team that pioneered the asset management business in Pakistan. In addition to supporting closed ended funds, Shama helped her team in launching the first private sector open-ended mutual fund in the country. Shama then moved to the investment & wealth management business where she built the largest personal wealth management business at Standard Chartered Pakistan in 1999 and then later progressed to the US markets where she worked at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley advising high net worth and institutional clients for their investments.

Shama holds two MBA degrees: One in International Business from IBA Karachi (one of the oldest business schools outside North America formed under affiliation with Wharton, University of Pennsylvania ) and a second MBA in Finance & Strategy from Michigan Ross School of Business. Shama holds series 7 and 66 licenses. Shama is also the founder and chairperson for Michigan Ross Entrepreneurs Club and a member of NYBSC which is a group of 30 global business school alumni clubs including Columbia, MIT, Chicago Booth, Michigan, LBS, Insead etc. Shama lives in Greenwich Village in New York City and enjoys travel, pilates and adventurous sports.

Sharif El-Gamal

Sharif El-Gamal is the founder & CEO of Soho Properties, a Manhattan‐based real estate company. Sharif is responsible for overseeing the complete operations of the company, including identification, evaluation and execution of investments and the formulation of polices and strategies for the ongoing asset management and disposition of investments.

With a 15-year career in New York City real estate, Sharif has a broad array of experience in investment, including the acquisition, disposition and management of office, retail and residential developments. Sharif founded Soho Properties in order to invest and develop residential and commercial real estate projects.

Currently, under Sharif’s leadership, Soho Properties is developing a museum of Islamic art in in lower Manhattan designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel. Sharif has engaged legendary Italian designer Piero Lissoni and legend in the making, Michel Abboud of SOMA, as part of his plan to develop the adjacent property, building a 690-foot tall residential tower as a neighbor to the museum.

Additionally, the company has partnered with Hampshire Hotels to bring their flag to Times Square. The transaction provided the opportunity to secure the future of the Garment Center Congregation, the property’s synagogue tenant, furthering Sharif’s commitment to preserving the rich multi-cultural fabric of New York City.

A charismatic and sought after public speaker, Sharif has appeared in national and international media such as NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NY1 and the BBC. He has been quoted in the New York Times, New York Post, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, The Real Deal, and the Financial Times.

Susan Labadi

Susan Labadi believes that education is the solution to many world challenges, and she develops teachers and administrators for schools. Recognized as a notable instructor, public speaker, coach, and administrator, she is a leader and team member serving accreditation agencies for AdvancEd, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, and the Illinois State Board of Education, the later for which she is also a certified Professional Development Provider through her company, Genius School, Inc. She has led teams orchestrating the ISNA Education Forum for which she has presented a number of topics since 2005, and has presented twice for the National Middle School Association on the topic of Diversity. As an entrepreneur and academician with an appreciation for international trade, Susan’s other company, Actionnet Trade, Inc., is a collaborative effort with her husband. She is project coordinator of the American Halal Association, managing their website, social media, editing and writing for HalalConnect magazine. Susan also writes for ISNA’s Islamic Horizons, and other publications. Currently, she is taking interest in the growth of Islamic Finance, developing curriculum, and consumer awareness of the Halal sectors.

Ziad Elkurjie

Ziad has been working in product development and operations leadership roles for e-commerce and technology startups since 1997- various venture backed internet startups in Silicon Valley like Excite,,,, etc.

Most recently, Ziad co-founded Patchi USA in 2008, where he led the build out of the online commerce and brand presence for the luxury 40-year old international retailer Patchi ( He executed on a grass roots, targeted branding strategy for the unique couture-gifting concept, product lines, and services.

Ziad’s extensive experience in building consumer software products was put in place at Patchi USA, where website design and features, information architecture, user experience, and corresponding backend operations were setup in a scalable unique boutique-style approach.

Prior to Patchi USA, Ziad was VP of Technology and Network Operations for over 5 years at Bargain Network/Vertrue Inc. Ziad was in charge of the product and technical operations for the $60MM B2C subscription services startup for online real estate and auto shopping information services.

Ziad also hired the team to expand the online business channel at Bargain Network. This included hiring web applications software and systems engineers, user experience designers, and online marketing experts. He also led the build out of data centers, call centers, and corresponding budget and vendor management.

Ziad is a graduate of the University of Toronto in Computer Science and Economics.

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American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the American Muslim consumer market. The objective of AMCC is to understand and address the needs of American Muslim consumers and to empower the companies developing products for this market.