Emerge CA Announces New Executive Director Maimuna Syed

Oakland, CA – Emerge California has announced today that Maimuna Syed will become the organization’s new Executive Director effective February 1st. Founded 15 years ago, Emerge CA recruits and trains Democratic women across the state to run for office.

Maimuna Syed has worked for statewide and national unions for eight years. Most recently, as Northern California Field Director at California Labor Federation, she directed the political, organizing, and legislative priorities of the organization, its unions, 17 central labor councils, and 1.2 million union members in Northern California. Among her achievements, Maimuna created and managed a ground-breaking training program for union members to promote engagement and leadership development, which has become a model across the labor community. Previously, Maimuna worked as New Mexico State Affiliate Political Organizer for the American Federation of Teachers and as Pennsylvania Political and Legislative Coordinator for AFSCME.

Prior to coming to Emerge CA, Maimuna worked for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Pennsylvania Training Director, she developed and implemented training programs for organizing, leadership development, mobilization and voter contact for over 3,000 staff and volunteers.

“I am handing the reins to Maimuna with overwhelming confidence,” said outgoing Executive Director Kimberly Ellis. “She has a proven track record recruiting and developing leaders within the political arena. Maimuna’s experience and skills make her ideally suited to implement Emerge California’s 2020 Plan – a strategic plan to quadruple our training capacity over the next few years to substantially increase the number of women we prepare to run for office.”

Maimuna will be the first Muslim-American to serve as Executive Director in Emerge America’s network of 17 state affiliates.

“Now more than ever, California must lead the way in our country,” said Kimberly. “I am proud that, under my leadership, Emerge CA’s alumnae pool has become truly reflective of the state’s electorate. Fifty-six percent of our alumnae are women of color. Maimuna is uniquely qualified to take the helm and continue building a bench of women candidates who represent the diversity of our great state.”

Kimberly Ellis is stepping down as Executive Director to run for California Democratic Party Chair. During her seven-year tenure, Kimberly greatly expanded Emerge CA’s reach, effectiveness, and visibility. More than half of Emerge CA’s 400 alumnae currently serve in elected or appointed office.

“Kimberly has made the Emerge CA brand synonymous with Democratic victory at the polls,” said Emerge CA Board Chair Amber Maltbie. “We are thrilled that under Kimberly’s tireless leadership, Emerge CA now has alumnae holding elective office in every region of the state. Although we are sad to lose Kimberly as Executive Director, we know that her fierce commitment to gender equality and diversity will continue to improve California politics.”


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