Abdikhadar Shire is a rising star in our community. His vision for and expertise in public health, effective follow-through as a leader, and zeal for collaborating across differences make him stand out in the crowded field of mission-based organizations. As founder and co-executive director of AK Health and Social Services, Abdi brings fresh leadership to LA, mobilizing a growing staff and volunteer base for dozens of interventions during COVID and beyond — testing and vaccine clinics, cancer screenings, super-creative PR campaigns including using city buses as giant canvases for public health messaging, and more. Recognizing that coalition work is necessary to truly address any social challenge, Abdi worked with four other local immigrant organizations to found the AK Collaborative, a network dedicated to serving LA’s immigrant and BIPOC communities, providing culturally sensitive services, and reducing public health and workforce disparities. He also joins other collaborations whenever possible, such as the Back to School event in Kennedy Park, among others. One thing that sets Abdi’s work apart is his deep commitment to data and evidence-based programs. He has worked intensively with Bates College faculty and students to conduct needs assessments and create data-informed interventions. For his outstanding efforts at cross-sector collaborative work, Abdi and his team were awarded last year’s Community Partner of the Year Award by the Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships. Abdi has also blazed a path in gender inclusivity in two important ways: (1) He encouraged a young local immigrant woman to found her own, now successful non-profit organization, including providing space and thought partnership for her fledgling organization; and (2) he recently hired a woman to serve as his full partner at AK Health and Social Services–moving from Executive Director to Co-Executive Director, in what is a locally unprecedented move of gender parity. Abdi’s ability to bring together partners across lines of race, religion, age, ability, and gender for shared work in pursuit of community well-being is truly remarkable and deserves to be recognized and celebrated. Thanks for your consideration.