Kamal was born on July 29, 1962 at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. He attended Shepherd Elementary School, Georgetown Day School and the University of Pennsylvania.
He grew up working at his family’s business, Ben’s Chili Bowl, as a teenager. He has been married 22 years to Sonya Jamil Ali.
Nizam AliVice President
A Washington, DC native, Nizam has been working in his family’s historic restaurant, Ben’s Chili Bowl, since he was a child. Opened in 1958 on U Street by his parents Ben and Virginia Ali, it was there that he learned basic fundamental business principles including customer service, business and work ethics, and giving back to the community.
Sonya Ali is a family member and Co-Owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl, Ben’s Next Door and Ben’s Upstairs Restaurants where she oversees the company’s human resources department, menu development, and numerous day to day operations. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mrs. Ali spent over 10 years as a curriculum developer and certified master trainer for the Department of the Navy and DC Public Schools; conducting trainings nationally and internationally.
Joye Shepperd has two jobs, for love and for labor. She is the senior features editor of the Washington Independent Review of Books and as such enjoys writing, editing and planning content for the daily online book review site which is devoted to writers and book lovers.
By day, she is special assistant to the President and CEO of AACOM, a membership organization for the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
Dr. Bernard Demczuk
Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D. is a 40-year+ DC resident living in the Shaw community where he has been active in community, corporate, academic, labor and government relations. He is currently the Assistant VP for DC government relations at the George Washington University where he has represented the university for 18 years. He is the university’s chief government liaison on all things DC.
As a young girl, my own family spent many weekends working with visually impaired adults and
the homeless in the DC community. Many weeknights were spent reading with those not able to
read at literacy levels. The benefits of volunteering were made very clear to me: to spend time
with people unlike myself and my closest of friends gave me a window into the larger world, how
it worked, how it didn’t work, and how I could become a better person to help bridge many gaps.