Speakers and Entertainers

Nura Afia

Nura Afia is an American Muslim beauty blogger, social influencer, makeup artist and model. She garnered acclaim as one of the pioneers in the makeup genre for muslim hijabi women on social media. She received viral attention when she made history as the first hijabi CoverGirl. Nura has been featured in Allure, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour and Seventeen magazines as well as The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour and television ad campaigns for CoverGirl and Starbucks. She uses her platform to further the normalization of Muslims and especially Hijabis within the broader context of American and online culture.
Nura grew up in Denver, Colorado, but her family traces itself back to Morocco, Lebanon and Switzerland. She lived in Casablanca for a period but now resides in Denver with her husband and daughter.

Yvonne Maffei

Yvonne Maffei is a travel-obsessed food writer, cookbook author, e-commerce entrepreneur and Founder of MyHalalKitchen.com, a halal food and cooking website. Her book titles include: Clean Your Kitchen Green (2010), Summer Ramadan Cooking (2013) and My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, Lifestyle Inspiration (2016). She lives in Chicago and is working on her next book and eating her way around the world on global culinary adventures.
Maffei will perform live cooking demonstrations using halal certified products from Saffron Road and Organic Valley.

Koshal Azami

Khoshal Azami is the creator of "Body By Khoshal.” He is the most sought-after Personal Trainer in the Chicagoland and North Shore areas. His work encompasses structural and fitness assessments, nutrition counseling, interval & circuit training, cardiovascular/endurance training, and strength training. In addition, Khoshal highly specializes in weight loss and competition prep. Khoshal is a Certified Master Personal Trainer (CPT), Professional Bodybuilder, and certified Nutrition Consultant.

Zainab Ismail

With over 23 years of experience as a movement therapist, nutrition coach, personal trainer, and national speaker, Zainab Ismail has been helping clients achieve their goals in health and fitness for over two decades in New York City. She is a graduate Fellow of Applied Functional Science from The Gray Institute and Nutrition for life coach. Zainab has been a national facilitator for The National Academy of Sports Medicine and International Master Trainer for Free Motion Fitness. Zainab has lectured in several fitness centers here in the US as well as in Hong Kong and Malaysia. As a full-time therapist, she integrates an eclectic approach to soft-tissue therapy, movement conditioning and nutrition coaching in New York City.
Zainab has presented at the national conferences ICNA and ISNA, teaching exercise/nutrition for Muslim women. Zainab has also presented for various organizations and institutions like the University of Toronto’s Muslim Chaplaincy, The Al-Maqasid Annual Summer Retreat, Sakina Collective's Conscious Consumption, Safina Society's Convert Conference, and the Mecca Center in NYC as a regular teacher.

Amanda Saab

Amanda was born and raised in Dearborn Michigan, where she learned her love for cooking and baking from her mother and grandmother. Amanda earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University and began her food blog, amandasplate.com at the encouragement of friends and family.
Amanda’s passion for food and sharing led her to compete on MasterChef; the world’s largest food competition. She was the first woman in hijab to appear on the American version of the show. Amanda earned a MasterChef apron and continued to shine in the competition, impressing Gordon Ramsay not only with her creativity in food, but her positive attitude and teamwork as well.
Amanda and her spouse, Hussein began Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor in January 2016, after Amanda experienced hate speech online and saw the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the presidential campaign. She later partnered with Michael Hebb, founder of Death Over Dinner, to share Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor with the world.
Amanda’s recipes and food photography have been featured in The Detroit Free Press, HuffPost Religion, Seattle Met Magazine, Fox 2 Detroit, Q13 Fox Seattle, Eater.com, and Star Pulse.
Amanda received the 2016, Arab American Professional Network Rising Star Award.
Amanda wishes to share Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor globally to create a safe space for
conversation a strong sense of community, and for neighbors to share their love for food with
one another!

Sameer Sarmast

Sameer Sarmast is the Host and Executive Producer of “Sameer's Eats,” the popular Halal restaurant review show on YouTube. In 2013, Sameer and his team launched "The Halal Food Tour" in 5 U.S. cities across the country. The tour was a series of Halal Food Festivals highlighting local Halal restaurants while Sameer and Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen entertained the attendees by hosting cooking demos and “Iron Chef” style cooking challenges.
Sameer has been recognized for his efforts in promoting Halal cuisine through several media outlets and publications such as Fios1 News, Fusion, Al-Jazeera and the U.S. State Department. Although Sameer has had cameos on Food TV shows such as “Bizarre Foods” and “Restaurant Redemption,” he hopes to see a segment highlighting Halal cuisine on the Food Network one day!
Sameer graduated from Rutgers University's Business School with a B.S. Degree in Finance and an M.S. Degree in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University. Sameer currently resides and works full time in New Jersey as a Vice President in Wealth Management.

Muslim Travelers - Huda & Zain

Zain and Huda, an American Muslim couple, launched MuslimTravelers in 2012 to provide travel inspiration to Muslims worldwide and to reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream media. While juggling their full time jobs as engineers, the 29-year-olds have jetset to over 50 countries across the globe. Their goal is to shatter stereotypes about Muslims, build bridges of understanding, and create more empathy in the world through what they love most – travel! As travel bloggers and social media influencers, Zain and Huda promote halal travel by working with brands and tourism boards across the world, including Universal Studios and Wonderful Indonesia. They have spoken at various conferences, have been featured in a variety of media outlets, and are dedicated to providing authentic content that will open hearts and bring about a more peaceful world through travel.

Reem Sayes

Reem Sayes is a former Chicago Public Schools teacher turned mom- entrepreneur. Inspired by having witnessed Islamic holidays go unnoticed in public schools and becoming a mother unable to find quality Ramadan & Eid decorations. Reem decided to sketch out her own ideal Eid light decoration, built a team and, develop the first Eid Mubarak LED sign. Seeing her idea come to life made her believe that this was something every Muslim home in North America should have thus, the birth of Days of Eid™. Days of Eid™ was created to help Muslim mothers educate and inspire their children to celebrate and be celebrated and InshaAllah (God-willing) become the driving force into making Eid a nationally celebrated holiday.