Introducing AALEAD’s New Executive Director, Akil Vohra

The Board of Directors of Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Akil Vohra as our new Executive Director. In this role, Akil will work with the Board to advance education and mentorship support for low-income and underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander youth in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region.

“I’m extremely excited to be leading AALEAD during this critical time period. It’s now essential, more than ever, to ensure we are assisting our most marginalized communities, and working together to advance equity for all. I’m especially moved by working with existing partners and expanding our networks to facilitate real change in our communities.”

Akil’s many years of work in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, nonprofit leadership experience, and advocacy for AAPI youth make him incredibly well suited for AALEAD at this pivotal time for the organization and our community.

Most recently, Akil served as Director of Strategic Initiatives at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where he was responsible for coordinating the office’s work to advance opportunities for AAPI communities across the federal government, with community organizations, and in the private sector. At the Initiative, Akil focused on a range of areas including education, bullying and harassment, civil rights, the Census, and data collection.

In his work at Muslim Advocates, Akil led grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts to change federal policy impacting the civil rights of Muslim Americans. Through his extensive volunteer and board service, including with the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, Akil has honed invaluable knowledge of and appreciation for the power of strong management, governance, and leadership. Having spent the good part of the last twenty years in the DC area, Akil currently calls Takoma Park, MD, home with his family.

Akil’s commitment to racial equity, positive youth development, the social sector, and the DC region are deeply aligned with AALEAD’s work to provide resources and support to youth who are traditionally denied equitable access to personal, educational, and employment success. In his role as executive director, Akil will work with AALEAD Board, staff, youth, families, and partners to lead us into a third decade of organizational growth and evolution, ensuring that AAPI youth have the tools and opportunities they deserve to define themselves and their futures. 

The Board would like to thank Advisory Council and former Board members Smita Dutta and Ban Tran, who co-chaired the search committee. As we usher in this new, exciting chapter for AALEAD, we also express our intense gratitude to Siu Cheung, who stepped off the Board in February to serve as our interim executive director. Siu’s dedicated leadership through this transition has put us on strong footing, and we welcome her continued leadership as she rejoins the Board. “It  has been such an honor to serve as our interim this year,” said Siu, “and I look forward to partnering with Akil and the Board to ensure AALEAD’s ongoing success.” 

Please join our Board and staff in welcoming Akil to the AALEAD community! 

In solidarity.

Nina Un, AALEAD Board Co-Chair

Sharon Eliatamby, AALEAD Board Co-Chair

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