Keynote

Raaheela Ahmed (UMD ‘15) is the elected representative for the Prince George’s County Board of Education, District 5, representing over 80,000 people in Maryland.  This lifelong Prince Georgian and product of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) was elected to office in November 2016 with 57% of the vote from 32,000 supporters without any political establishment support. She first ran for the position in 2012 as an 18-year old, and nearly won.

Over the course of her two campaigns, Raaheela went door-to-door to over 12,000 homes and attended dozens of community events to better understand the needs of her community. As a board member, Raaheela has been a vocal and active advocate for the community, fighting for issues like teacher pay, building maintenance, and systemic supports for marginalized communities. Her efforts have earned her speaking roles at several major, national conferences, as well as news outlets like CNN, FOX, VOA, and The Washington Post. Within the district, she’s zipped around to host or attend over 600 meetings and events in her first 2.5 years on the board, and doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon! Inherently, grassroots, service-based leadership is what she’s all about. 

Outside of the board, Raaheela serves as the Manager of Leadership Programs for New American Leaders, where she runs the national network of 500+ local and state level elected officials of immigrant background that are committed to building a more inclusive democracy.

Prior to the school board, Raaheela worked as a federal financial consultant with the Department of Homeland Security. She served as the Student Regent on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, representing over 150,000 students at 12 universities in Maryland. In Prince George’s County, Raaheela has served as an advocate for foster care youth, founded a financial literacy organization serving county students, and conducted literacy workshops in a dozen county elementary schools. She’s earned a BS in Finance and BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she’s also received numerous awards for her leadership and public service. 

As a young, first generation American, head-covering Muslim woman of Indian and Pakistani descent, Raaheela has broken stereotypes and expectations across the board of what it means to be a service leader. For more information, or to contact Raaheela, visit www.raaheela.com