Bushra is a Chicago nativeand activist. At the age of 19, she announced her candidacy for the Cook County Board of Commissioners to serve as a voice for her generation and marginalized communities. She was the youngest person and first Muslim woman to ever run for the seat. Bushra was named Glamour Magazine’s College Woman of the Year for 2018 and Seventeen Magazine’s Voice of the Year.

Biography

In the summer of 2016, Bushra served as a head intern for then-Senator Mark Kirk. Bushra is a Democrat but sought to build empathy with the Republican Party and to understand their stances on issues. Earnestly lending her skills to a Republican campaign showed Bushra that respect for differing opinions is the only way to preserve American ideals.

As the 2016 presidential election loomed, Bushra was surprised to learn that many of her peers would be casting a ballot for the candidate she felt was running a campaign on hateful rhetoric. A champion of change, Bushra sprang into action: she would run for office herself. We need fresh, diverse ideas at all levels of government and Bushra wants to spearhead this change.

In addition to her speaking and community work, Bushra holds an elected seat on the Skokie Board of Education, as its youngest member.

With her wide range of speaking topics, Bushra is making an impact for all audiences.

Speaking Topics

Diversity, Identity, and Inclusion

In this popular talk, Bushra shares her approach in unpacking the unconscious bias, microaggressions, tokenism, and how all of us can tackle these concepts in our daily lives. Coupled with a bit of humor, Bushra shares her personal experiences and brings it back with high level concepts and actionable lessons.

Empowering Youth Voices

When she chose to run for office at barely 19, empowering a youth voice was a foreign concept. Hear from Bushra about tangible ways one can become an “everyday leader” and influence their own networks. She shares lessons learned as a young person breaking into politics, rooted around mentorship, networking and not being afraid to ask for things.

Women in Politics

Running for office as a Muslim woman, Bushra found her messages – like those of many other women – to be lost and diminished to her clothing and apperance. She went above and beyond to ensure her platform was the core of her campaign, not her identity, and she shares how we can all continue to support women in politics in this regard.

Imposter Syndrome

Bushra ran for office, clearly seeing gap in her formal qualifications and age – and she did so in spite of her insecurities. Hear the deep impacts of insecurity and imposter syndrome – not just the ways it can show up in your life by how to identify it and overcome it. 

We Are All Leaders

We all hold within us the capacity to become involved and lead – and we do not have the time to wait to be asked to do so. In this talk, Bushra addresses the stigma that leadership is something thought of as larger than ourselves, helping participants find their own voice.

The 2018 elections saw unprecedented numbers of women joining the field to run for office. Among that esteemed group was Amiwala, now a junior in the Driehaus College of Business. She learned immeasurable lessons during her race for Cook County Board of Commissioners—a campaign that drew nationwide attention. She shares the most important lesson of them all in her talk: “Why you can’t afford to wait.”