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Blog - Green Card Voices

Ruhel Isam

Occupation: Chef, Restaurateur, and Owner of Gandhi Manahl and Curry in a Hurry

Country of Birth: Bangladesh

Current: Minneapolis, MN


Ruhel is the owner and Executive Chef of Gandhi Mahal, an award-winning Bangladeshi/Indian restaurant dedicated to embodying environmental sustainability and the peaceful principles of Gandhi. Ruhel has served as the President of Lake Street Council, Board of Directors of Green Card Voices and currently serves on the Board of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light & Longfellow Rising. He has also appeared on the Food Networks Diner’s, Drive-In’s & Dives as well as Guy’s Grocery Games. His newest business venture is Curry in a Hurry located on 31st & Franklin in Minneapolis.

Naima Dhore

Occupation: Program Director at Somali American Farmers Association and owner of Naima’s Farm LLC

Country of Birth: Somalia

Current: Minneapolis, MN


Naima is a first-generation farmer, activist and educator committed to look after mother earth and community building. She is the Program Director at Somali American Farmers Association and owner of Naima’s Farm LLC, where she supports the next Somali American farmers. Naima is passionate about organic farming and inspiring young people to become future farmers, specifically people from immigrant communities in Minnesota. As director, Naima’s vision comes from the lack of access disadvantaged communities have to Farmers’ Market. This hinders their ability to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. By addressing this disparity, Naima is able to help those facing food insecurity while continuing to educate immigrant communities providing nutrition workshops at public forums about sustainable agricultural practices, organic farming techniques, and spreading awareness on healthy eating habits as well as the environmental, health impact in the community across the state of Minnesota.

Belén Rodríguez

Occupation: Founder & CEO at Quebracho Empanadas

Country of Birth: Argentina

Current: Minneapolis, MN


Originally from Argentina, Belén moved to Minneapolis in 2012 after meeting her husband in Colorado and moving with him back home for four years.

She comes from the Argentine Pampas and like most families in the region, hers has a business in the beef industry. Growing up in this environment and seeing her dad grill almost every weekend since she could remember meant her career in Scientific Translation would at some point come to an end, as her heart was truly in the kitchen. She first started cooking for friends and family in the U.S. as a way to reconnect with her roots and to cope with homesickness, but the hobby quickly turned into a desire to switch careers and after a few years working at restaurants she decided to take a step back from the restaurant world to open something of her own.

Her first concept was Quebracho Charcuterie & Pies—a small-scale pop-up and catering company that specialized in the art of charcuterie and savory pies, with her grandmother’s empanadas as one of her menu items. But in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to shut down her business and she was faced with the decision of either closing the business for good or pivoting and finding a way to continue sharing her family’s recipes during such unprecedented times, and so Quebracho Empanadas was born. Her new concept allowed her to keep the essence of the company alive, while still doing what she loved and, most importantly, accompanied by the same team—the same family, it all started with.

Quebracho Empanadas is now a wholesale manufacturer of frozen empanadas that people can take home and finish cooking in just under 20 minutes for an authentic, homemade family meal.

Quynh Giang

Occupation: Financial Analyst

Country of Birth: Vietnam 

Current: Stockton, CA

Diana M Soto

Occupation: Business and Systems Integration Analyst

Country of Birth: Colombia 

Current: Sacramento, CA

Madhavi Vogeti Akella

Occupation: IT Recruiter

Country of Birth: India 

Current: San Francisco, CA

Charlene Noveras

Occupation: Development Coordinator

Country of Birth: Philippines 

Current: Daly City, CA

Jana Lannen

Occupation: Business analyst

Country of Birth: Slovakia 

Current: Fremont, CA

Jeniffer Conrad

Occupation: (Not Listed) Country of Birth: Nicaragua  Current: San Francisco, CA

Maria Radoslavova

Occupation: College Professor

Country of Birth: Bulgaria 

Current: San Francisco, CA