She-EO 6.0 Stage

SpotLight Guest - Council Woman Zulfat Suara

Zulfat became the State of Tennessee’s first Muslim lawmaker, and the first Nigerian-American elected to public office when she was sworn in as an Large Member of the Metro Nashville Davidson council in September 2019. Originally from Nigeria, Zulfat relocated to the U.S. in 1993 and chose to make Tennessee her home when the opportunity for her husband to do a fellowship at Vanderbilt presented itself. She has been active in community service and leadership since she moved there in 1998, all while working full-time as a CPA. Zulfat founded an accounting firm that has worked with county governments in Hardeman, Haywood, Lake, and McNairy counties. She was the Assistant Controller of a local university in Nashville prior to her election. Always active in her community, she started the Hardeman County Chapter of Junior Achievement in 2004 and continues to advocate for children and young people as a board member of the PENCIL Foundation. Zulfat has served in a number of leadership positions, including the chair of the American Muslim Advisory Council. She has supported women, serving two terms as State President of the Business and Professional Women, a century-old organization promoting equity for all women in the workplace, from 2009-2011. She is active politically as treasurer of the National Women’s Political Caucus and chair of Day on the Hill, a joint legislative day for several women’s organizations on issues affecting Tennessee women and children. She has also been a speaker at the Nashville Women’s March each year since 2017.

Zulfat Suara has been recognized with the FBI Directors’ Community Leadership Award and featured in the Jackson Sun’s Twenty Most Influential Women in West Tennessee. She was named the 2018 Muslim Policy Advocate of the Year by Islamic Society of North America, and The Tennessee Economic Council on Women inducted her into its Tennessee Women Hall of Fame in 2015. Zulfat recently received an award for Outstanding Service to Human Rights from the TN Human Rights Commission and currently serves as a board member of the Nashville Metro Action Commission.

Zulfat is married to her wonderful husband of 27 years, Dr. Rahaman Suara and they are blessed with five amazing children. 

Segment Anchors (Interviewers)

Dr. Adeola Chukwumah PharmD, MPH, Integrative Health Coach (in progress)

Adeola enjoys helping professional women feel healthier, have better relationships and focus on all the good already in their lives. This is especially important as women continue to support themselves, their children, partners and loved ones in this journey of life. If you are trying to get clarity and have peace of mind and you feel empowered to help yourself, Adeola’s expertise can support your goals. Her credentials include a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Master’s in Public Health. She is also currently pursuing certification as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – She is a World Learner. 

Dr Chukwumah has practiced in the pharmacy industry for over 17 years in various roles in community pharmacy, managed care and pharmacy consulting. She is currently a Senior Portfolio Executive for Apexus, 340B Prime Vendor Program where she manages relationships and contractual requirements with key pharmaceutical manufacturers. Her numerous roles have enabled practical experience in understanding problems, connecting personally with clients and developing solutions that achieve their desired results and more. Adeola learned hard lessons while developing a tech company for 5 years. She understands the challenges that her clients go through and is equipped to support them to success.

As a former Mom blogger with a highly engaged audience, Adeola will be sharing stories of motherhood in a publication, coming soon. Adeola loves to dance competitively and travel extensively. She volunteers in her community and is a life-long member of the Junior League of Collin County. Adeola is married with two children.

Bunmi Emenanjo

An attorney with a biotechnology background, Bunmi Emenanjo has a career that spans 17 years moving fluidly between the legal and biotechnology world. While her current profession is as an ethics attorney, she continues to pursue her various passions. A strong believer in nourishing your creative spirit, she enjoys writing, cooking, baking, and refurbishing used furniture; hiking the great outdoors is her self-care of choice. A mother to three Nigerian-American children, she created the children's book club, Atlas Kids Book Club, as part of her efforts to ensure that her children remain connected with their African heritage and continue to develop a global awareness through literature.

A student of authenticity and vulnerability, Bunmi studies the teachings of experts such as Brene Brown and Pema Chodron, incorporating these lessons into daily life. An avid reader and culture seeker, she believes that a curious mind, a yearning for constant learning, a fearless pursuit of your purpose, and an active practice of giving and gratitude are key to living your best life.

 

Tope Fajingbesi Balogun

Tope is the creator and host of She-EO by Ganiyah, the author of the amazon.com best-selling novel, Love in CancunSoulful Whispersand What Color is Your Money?Your personalized road map to business success. She is also the coordinating trustee of United for Kids Foundation.  Prior to launching She-EO, Tope hosted Impact Africa, a radio program that inspired listeners to participate actively in African development.Tope speaks to global audiences with a mission to inspire. She delivered a powerful addressat Hillary Clinton’s final presidential campaign rally in Grand Rapids Michiganon November 7, 2016. She was also the keynote speakerat the Grand Rapids City High School 2017 graduation ceremony on June 6, 2017. Tope merges her hobbies (traveling and writing) with a deep love for, and commitment to her faith and home country – Nigeria, by visiting regularly, speaking to various audiences and blogging about living on purpose at www.ganiyah.com. Tope is an alumnus of the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Emory University in Atlanta and the University of Oxford in the UK. She is also an internationally chartered accountant and a United States of America certified public accountant. Tope is currently an Agribusiness lecturer and advisor in the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Lydia Nylander

Ms. Nylander is a Senior Policy Advisor Analyst in USAID’s Government to Government Risk Management Team providing technical advice and policy guidance on projects with national, sub-national and sector-level impact related to sustainability and country ownership. Prior to her tenure at USAID, Ms. Nylander assumed senior community engagement roles at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and program development at the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) at the US Department of Justice. Ms. Nylander is the former Director of Grants and Resource Development at the National Association of Consumer Advocates – the nation’s leading consumer advocacy organization. In this capacity, she oversaw the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance, $15 million dollar foreclosure defense project which provided legal representation to families facing foreclosure due to abusive subprime mortgages. She gained her Bachelors of Law at the University of London, and has a Masters in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School.

Dr. Aminata Sillah PhD

Aminata Sillah (Amina) is an educator, entrepreneur, international development analyst, an experienced nonprofit manager and urban policy analyst who helps leaders and passionate entrepreneurs ensure positive impact around the world. She combines her expertise and experience in non-profit management, education, youth development, public management and international development to help nonprofits, local governments and private institutions from a variety of vantage points improve service quality and strengthen institutional capacities through training, education, and strategic planning. 

She is the current CEO of Global Youth Innovation Network a network for youth entrepreneurs and rural micro-enterprises who are committed to act as hunger fighters, change agents, and innovators globally.Amina is the Co-founder of Krysalis Global Solutions(KGS) a capacity building organization that assist organizations transform into high producing, high impact organizations by focusing on their needs.  Dr. Sillah is an avid promoter of Youth development and a Mentor for entrepreneurs at the Tony Elumelu Foundation. She has served as a Grader for the Mandela Washington Fellowship – Youth African Leadership Initiative (YALI) and as a subject matter expert for the World Bank Youth Summit. She is co-founder of the Section on African Public Administration (SAPA) at the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA), which brings global scholars and practitioners together with a passion and commitment to advance public administration on the African continent. Amina holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Urban Government and a PhD in Public Administration and Management. 

Hot Seat Guests (Speakers)

Raheemah Abdulaleem

Raheemah is currently employed as acareerSenior Associate General Counsel in the Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration. Previously, she advanced the cause of civil rights as Senior Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she prosecuted complex employment discrimination cases. Raheemah advanced President Obama’s criminal justice reform efforts through her service on DOJ’s Clemency Initiative announced in 2014. She reviewed federal inmate petitions, the majority from inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses, and made recommendations to the President. Her work contributed to President Obama granting a record number of commutations - more than the previous seven Presidents combined. Prior to entering government, Raheemah worked at two nationally recognized law firms where she represented public and private sector employers in various labor and employment related matters.

Raheemah is a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and worked at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. She received her B.A. from Yale University. In 2016, Raheemah was featured in a White House blog profiling Muslim Americans in the White House and she received a Nation’s Best Advocate: Top 40 Lawyers nationwide award from the National Bar Association. She served as the featured speaker for the 2017 Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute’s Trailblazer Lecture. She also joined a faculty of experienced lawyers and judges to teach the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop during September2017, September2018and September 2019. Raheemah currently serves on the Board of Directors of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. 

Dr. Lola Adeyemi, MPH, MLA

Dr. Lola is a "multipreneur” - a physician by profession, an entrepreneur by design, and a coach by choice. As an ICF certified professional coach, she helps clients achieve unparalleled growth, introduces them to exciting opportunities, and drives people to success. Her perspectives on entrepreneurship, mentorship, and leadership can be found in Forbes, Medium, Thrive Global and LinkedIn. When she is not coaching or mentoring, or building her businesses - Mentoring Her, and Magna Carta Health, which she bootstrapped to success, and which currently services approximately 15k patients a year and counting, she spends her time speaking at events. Mentoring Her is projected to be the Facebook for mentoring women. Dr. Lola is an alumnus of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University. She resides in Baltimore, MD area with her husband and two children, and is always open to connecting with fellow entrepreneurs.

Dr. Janice Gassam 

Dr. Gassam is a TEDx Speaker, Forbes Senior Contributor, and Consultant, helping businesses foster a culture of Diversity & Inclusion. She is the founder of BWG Business Solutions LLC, a company focused on creating strategies to foster an equitable workplace. Gassam is also a professor at Sacred Heart University, teaching courses in diversity and inclusion, performance management, data analytics and employee engagement.  Her Ph.D. focused on hiring and selection bias and she strives to use her knowledge and research expertise to strengthen organizations, increase cultural competency and help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace.

 

Dr. Lisa Johnson Pratt

Dr. Johnson describes herself as “a MAD Woman on Purpose.”

MAD:

Mom: High EQ, Compassionate, Pushing Purpose over “Things”

Activist: Striving to End Violence Against Women 

Doctor: Using Medical and Scientific Knowledge to Educate the Public

On Purpose:

Blogger/Podcaster: Lifeafterabusepod.com

Coach/Mentor: Helping individuals, teams and evolving talent discover their purpose 

Businesswoman: Founder, Ananias Ventures; Former Fortune 500 Executive

Developing: Squashing the desire to control the uncontrollable

 

Chrissy Li 

Chrissy is a part of Cordia Resources' management team and specializes in connecting accounting, finance, and business systems professionals to employers in the Washington, DC metro area.  She works with clients in a wide array of industries including not-for-profit, government contracting, real estate, professional services, financial services, and others. Internally, Chrissy works closely with other members of the management team to develop best practices and establish efficient processes that will improve overall customer service experience for our clients and candidates.

Prior to joining Cordia Resources, Chrissy worked with an international recruiting firm and focused on senior-level accounting and finance placements. In her 5+ years tenure, she successfully placed nearly 750 professionals and was recognized as a top 3% performer in the practice’s North America region. Chrissy takes pride in her profession and her overall approach is to develop and maintain long-lasting relationships based on honesty, transparency, and empathy.  In an international and multicultural city, Chrissy enjoys working with people of diverse backgrounds and treats all with care and respect.

Chrissy holds a B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance from The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She spent nearly nine years with a Big Four public accounting firm and has experience in financial statement audits and forensic accounting. Chrissy focused on litigation support and white-collar crime investigations and provided domestic and international forensic accounting, regulatory compliance, and mergers and acquisitions due diligence services to clients in various industries.  Chrissy is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has used her language skills extensively in business settings.
 

Sabrina N'Diaye, Ph.D. (Psychotherapist)

Over the past 25 years, Sabrina N’Diaye, Ph.D. has been blessed with the opportunity to assist hundreds of clients transform their lives and live their dreams. In 2007, she founded the Heart Nest Wellness Center, in Catonsville, where she specializes in her “calling” – healing work for women, couples, and trauma survivors. She has since changed the name of her center to the Heart Nest Center for Peace and Healing, a space that welcomes community engagement and spiritual growth. In addition to traditional psychotherapy, she practices mind-body medicine and Sufi healing into her work. 

Sabrina received her doctorate in Mind-Body Medicine from Saybrook University, where she studied the use of complementary and alternative interventions for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Her dissertation explored the use of healing rituals for African-American women with sexual and health-related trauma. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Maryland University of Integrative Health and Saybrook University. She is a frequent lecturer for the Ferentz Institute, where she teaches courses in private practice success, oppression, and the art of healing. She is also a proud faculty member of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, where she teaches the art of self-care to healthcare professionals around the globe. Her work has led her in guiding healing rituals with the Baltimore City Police, at Pine Ridge Reservation, and multiple spiritual communities.  She is now a part of a healing team that is serving Jordanian healthcare professionals that work with refugees. 

 

Omobonike Odegbami

Omobonike Odegbami serves as the Vice Chancellor of International Programs and Global partnerships at Wayne County Community College District. She has been a community college educator for 16 years. She leads efforts to enhance the internationalization of the District and promotes numerous student-success programs on campus. Prior to her position as Vice Chancellor, Odegbami served as a campus president of Wayne County Community College District - Eastern Campus. She has a background in Psychology, School Psychology, Business Administration, Higher Education Administration and Community College Leadership. Her current interests include dual enrollment as a bridge to higher education, and the effects of U.S. policies on international student mobility. Odegbami serves as the Community College Knowledge Chair for the Michigan Association of International Educators. She was one of the 2014 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence awardees. In 2017 she was awarded the best Educator by Kola Lounge, and in 2013, the Nigerian Reunion Committee awarded her the Nigerian Image Award for Education. 

Mary Olushoga

Olushoga is a multiple award winning entrepreneur making positive impact globally. She has featured on BBC World News, Black Enterprise, YNaija, Sahara Reporters, BusinessDay Nigeria, The Guardian Nigeria, The Nation Nigeria, ARISE TV, BET Networks, and presented her work on women entrepreneurs at the UK House of Lords, Duke University, Yale University, Union College, the Columbia University Africa Economic Forum, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, the United States Department of Labor Strategy Meeting on Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, and Disability, W!se Institute, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations ECOSOC Youth Employment Forum, and the Rockefeller Foundation Tech Salon. In addition to this, Olushoga writes for GE Ideas Lab,SciDev.net, The Guardian Nigeria and the Huffington Post. 

Olushoga is the founder ofawpnetwork.com, a platform powering small business success for African entrepreneurs. The AWP Network is widely recognized as one of the leading organizations supporting African Women in Technology. A multi-talented networker, mentor, speaker, writer, small business advocate and change agent - Olushoga holds a bachelor's degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York, a Master of Science Degree from Baruch College and has served as a public policy fellow at the University at Albany, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society.

Marshal Sulayman 

Marshal Sulayman is a Tax Partner and nationally recognized indirect tax professional. Marshal is the national leader of Deloitte’s Excise Tax practice with 19 years of federal, state, and local excise tax experience. Marshal has worked on fuel tax matters for clients in other countries including Canada, Mexico and Australia. Marshal is responsible for managing client relationships and delivering high quality and high value fuel tax compliance, consulting and recovery opportunities to our clients. 

Marshal has experience serving clients who produce, distribute, sell and/or use regular and alternative fuels in both public and private sectors. Marshal’s experience includes: tax accounting, tax planning, tax controversy, fleet management, compliance management, cash flow management, risk assessment, tax credits and audit defense. He has identified and recovered fuel tax savings of over $1B for his clients. Marshal has experience working with the decision makers at federal and state taxing jurisdictions and is nationally recognized as a leading fuel tax practitioner. 

 

Edith Umole

Edith is the Global Lead, Talent and Succession Management for World Bank Group. She has led the transformation of the Talent Review program and developed a succession framework for identifying and deploying senior leaders within the organization. Prior to the World Bank Group, she worked at Mercer in the UK, where she led various initiatives, including the design of the first Global Energy Trading Survey.

 

LashandaWhaley

LaShanda is an attorney, a mother, and a suicide loss survivor.  LaShanda’s began her journey with mental health shortly after one of her children was diagnosed with a mental health disease.  Shortly thereafter, she lost her youngest child, Sincere Melvin to suicide in July 2018.  Since that time she has become an outspoken advocate for suicide awareness and prevention.  Most recently her family’s story was featured as part of Howard County’s “It’s OK To Ask” Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign.  She is a volunteer for the national non-profit organization, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). She is also a member of the 2019 Walk Committee for AFSP’s annual Out of the Darkness Walk for Howard County. 

Amina Zaid