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.


Bushra Amiwala is a media icon, activist, dynamic speaker, and the youngest Muslim elected official in the United States.

At the age of 19, she announced her candidacy for the Cook County Board of Commissioners, with the goal to serve  as a voice for her underrepresented generation and other marginalized communities. Her campaign has been covered nationally by outlets such as Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times,Teen Vogue, and landing her on the cover of TIME magazine. Bushra recently went down in the Chicago History Museum as the Youngest Muslim Elected in the United States.

Her leadership has extended far beyond her campaign as she’s inspired countless others to increase their civic participation. As a result, she’s been named Glamour magazine’s College Woman of the Year, Seventeen magazine’s Voice of the Year, and internationally as CosmoGirl’s Change Maker of the Year. Bushra was awarded the Public Peace Ambassador award sponsored by the United Nations, and has been named as one of the 18 people to remember from 2018.

In addition to these awards, Bushra is the subject of an original PBS documentary called And She Could be Next, the female candidate on Amazon’s RUN the Series, has just debuted in a Hulu documentary called Our America: Women Forward, and she has made hundreds of TV and radio appearances, including outlets such as Fox, CBS, NPR, ABC, and PBS.

Bushra has spoken at countless colleges and universities, organizations and international companies, with live audiences ranging from 25 to 15,000 people. She is recent graduate from DePaul University and serves on the Board of Directors of the Indo-American Democratic Organization (IADO), GenerationVote, Women Empowering Women in Illinois Legislation (WeWill) and SheVotesIL. She holds her elected seat on the Skokie Board of Education, as its youngest member.

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.”

The Hustle Mentality is a formula for how to emulate grit and drive success for oneself. Supported by anecdotal life experiences, it enables people to make positive changes for themselves and the world around them.