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The Hive Collective Podcast

Hive Collective Podcast

Latest Podcast Episode

The Feminist Leadership Series of this podcast continues as we feature the remarkable Sana Mustafa, CEO of Asylum Access. This discussion delves into how feminist leadership shapes governance and the conscious effort to share power within organizations. Sana shares her advocacy for leaders to empower their teams by exercising the right to decline demands that clash with their values, stressing that ‘No’ can be a powerful response to donors and partners. We also uncover how opening up discussions about these conflicts leads to positive outcomes and stronger partnerships built on mutual values. Sana addresses organizational dynamics, with a focus on how including refugee leadership and varied lived experiences within board structures can revolutionize traditional governance. Cutting through the façade of performative board practices, Sana emphasizes the limitations of traditional metrics of qualifications and the profound impact of inclusivity in hiring. By equipping underrepresented individuals with power rather than mere representation, real change takes place. The podcast explores the intersecting forms of oppression, such as racism, sexism, and classism, and the pursuit of liberation informed by feminist principles. Sana criticizes select feminist theories that fail to account for class and capitalism and calls for internal change in organizations to dismantle patriarchal and capitalistic power structures. We get a glimpse into the practical steps Asylum Access is taking to manifest this change, from board support to expert guidance.

Sana Mustafa bio:

Sana Ali Mustafa is a movement leader in the forced displacement sector and a feminist human rights activist fighting against systems of oppression in Syria and around the world. Sana’s work has been informed by her experiences as a brown, queer, Arab, and forcibly displaced woman. After being forcibly displaced by the Assad regime, Sana led the establishment of global efforts for the representation and inclusion of forcibly displaced persons, such as the Global Refugee-led Network. Sana is currently Chief Executive Officer of Asylum Access, where she leads the organization’s work to dismantle decades of colonialism, fight for self-representation, and build intersectional coalitions to demand human rights for all forcibly displaced people.


Prior to joining Asylum Access, Sana managed her own consulting business where she helped over a dozen public and private sector organizations such as Oxfam International, Open Society Foundations, United Nations, WeWork, and others to establish strategies to operate more equitably in support of refugee rights and refugee leadership.

Sana is also an active public speaker. She has delivered a TED talk and spoken at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C, the Carnegie Endowment, the White House, Harvard Law School, Stanford, and numerous other venues.

Sana is a board member of Karam Foundation, which helps Syrian refugee youth in Turkey harness their ambition and creativity. Sana is also a member of Syria’s first Syrian Women’s Political Movement, a coalition with the aim of uniting women from across professional fields and ethnic lines to create a vision for women’s inclusion in a future Syria.

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Beth Ellen Holimon - The Hive Collective Podcast

Host – Beth Ellen Holimon

About Beth Ellen Holimon

Advisor to Nonprofit Leaders | Podcast Host | Board Governance | Strategic Planning | Coach and Consultant for Nonprofit Leaders

Beth Ellen Holimon is a consultant and executive coach who has spent most of her 25 year career in the executive director chair and knows the joys and tribulations of the nonprofit leader. With her expertise as a Certified Governance Consultant at BoardSource, a specialist in Human Systems Dynamics, a CFRE, and a trained executive coach, Beth Ellen will help you in creating adaptive planning systems, help you realize values-based governance, and create fundraising plans that fit in your ecosystem. She is a beekeeper who loves gardening and birds.