SUZANNE AKHRAS SAHLOUL
President and Executive Director
Suzanne Akhras Sahloul is the founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Community Network (SCN). Under her leadership, SCN has grown exponentially to become a strong voice for refugee and immigrant rights and a national community-based resettlement organization working in partnership with local and national refugee, immigrant rights, and faith-based organizations. She has led several community-based foundations and raised funds for many causes in Chicago and her homeland. Suzanne is passionate about community service, advocacy and human rights. She received UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian award and Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights annual humanitarian award. She is educated in Nonprofit management and leadership from Lewis University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Suzanne has also served as a PTA president and a board member at Universal Islamic School. She is married with three children.
Hadia Zarzour is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who came to the US in 2009 on a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue her Masters in Community Counseling. She has a Bachelor degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Education from Damascus University, Syria. She enjoyed her eight year teaching experience in her home country where she taught English as a second language to school students and Introduction to Psychology to university students. Since receiving her Masters in 2011 from Loyola University Chicago, Hadia has been working with refugees, immigrants and the underserved from different parts of the globe. Hadia is a co-founder of Insan; an international non profit organization which was founded in 2012 and is dedicated to providing psychosocial support to Syrian refugee children and adults in Syria’s neighboring countries; Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Hadia is also a co-founder of Syrian Community Network; a non profit organization that focuses on supporting Syrian refugees in their resettlement in the Chicagoland area. She has recently been certified in Global Refugee Trauma from Harvard University.
Suehaila Nabulsi is a native Chicagoan descending from strong Syrian and Palestinian roots. She currently works in the field of Software Engineering focusing in the areas of Business Analysis and Project Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and a Master’s in Business Administration from DePaul University—Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago. A loving wife and mother of two, Suehaila’s love for people among all other things is what drives her special interests in career coaching, leadership development, teambuilding, and organization development.
Feras Nabulsi, a proud Syrian-American, was raised in Kuwait and Syria. He immigrated to the United States in 1995 to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems. Within his career, Feras brings value to his clients every day through his expertise in human-centered design and user experience for the development of innovative web and mobile applications. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University of Chicago.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Manal Mashal is the owner and CEO of Noor Travel. She has an associate degree in travel with over 20 years of experience in the travel industry between the Middle East and the United States. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and 3 children.
DR. LENA SHAHBANDAR
Member at Large
Dr. Lena Shahbandar grew up in Northeast Wisconsin and moved to the Chicagoland area for her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University. She also received her medical degree at Northwestern University, and she is currently the chairperson of the physiatry department at DuPage Medical Group. Lena and her husband have settled into life in the western suburbs of Chicago with their three children.
DR. BANA MASHNOUK AHDAB
Member at Large
Dr. Bana Mashnouk Ahdab was born and raised in Hama, Syria. Having received her DDS degree from Al Ba’ath University in Homs, Syria, she immigrated to the United States in 1994 to further expand her dental education. She later graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry. After completing 1 year of residency at Illinois Masonic Hospital, she founded her own dental practice in 2006 in Westmont, Illinois. Still managing that office today, she continues to practice what she loves most—treating her patients. Dr. Ahdab is a member of the Chicago Dental Society, Chicago Muslims Dental Society, and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Bana calls Burr Ridge home, where she is a very busy and proud mother of two beautiful daughters. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading.
Member at Large
Audrey Barsella is a communications professional and community builder. She has helped first-time candidates run for local office, and works towards building up progressive institutions on Chicago’s north side. The granddaughter of immigrants, she strongly believes that everyone deserves a chance at the American Dream and has volunteered with refugees through both RefugeeOne and Girl Forward. Audrey is honored to join the Syrian Community Network, where she hopes to use her passion for civic engagement to further SCN’s mission in Chicago and beyond.
AHMAD SULAIMAN, ESQ.
Member at Large
Mr. Ahmad T. Sulaiman is a first generation Palestinian American who with his family arrived in the United States in 1978 by way of Jerusalem. Mr. Sulaiman was raised in and around Chicago and completed his undergraduate studies at Loyola University Chicago and earned his Juris Doctor Degree at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Through Atlas Consumer Law, he pursues his passion for Consumer Protection Law by representing victims throughout the United States on an individual basis and through nationwide Consumer Class Actions brought against national and multinational financial institutions, debt collectors, telemarketers, service providers and manufacturers who have harmed consumers. As an elected Board Member he humbly serves as the Secretary of the Butler School District 53 Board of Education. He is married to writer and journalist, Mrs. Lara Suleiman from Latakia, Syria. They reside with their three lovely daughters in Oak Brook, Illinois.