Meet Gates Millennium Scholar x Entrepreneur: Aroona Toor, GMS 2010

Meet Aroona Toor, Gates Millennium Scholar, Class of 2010

Muslim Women’s Professional Network


Aroona Toor is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of the Muslim Women’s Professional Network (MWPN) and an incoming Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health.


She completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Health and International Studies with a minor in Spanish, as well as a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Saint Louis University. Since graduating, Aroona has worked for the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health focusing on mental health and substance abuse prevention in North Saint Louis County Youth, as a Legal Assistant for CG Immigration Law, LLC and as the Project Manager for Health Equity at the American Cancer Society.

Additionally, Aroona is a member of the APIA Scholars, Scholar Advisory Committee and has previously served on the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Advisory Council and the American Cancer Society’s Global Young Professionals Council.

In her free time, Aroona enjoys mentoring younger members of her community, outdoor adventures, trying new food and spending time with family and friends.


GMS: Tell us about the Muslim Women’s Professional Network?

Aroona: The Muslim Women’s Professional Network (MWPN) is an award-winning national nonprofit organization with chapters in four major U.S. cities (St. Louis, MO., Atlanta, GA., Washington D.C., & Houston, Texas) and is governed by Muslim women professionals.

The organization was developed to build a community for aspiring and established Muslim women professionals and a mission to engage, empower and connect Muslim women with a focus on professional development and community service. Through our work, we aim to recreate the mainstream narrative of Muslim women to accurately reflect our diversity and bring awareness to our contributions to society.

Since its establishment, MWPN has held many large and small scale events including a Coffee and Conversation series, Fireside Chat series, Networking events, a Wellness Summit, several Mentorship programs, a Fashion Show, and other events that provide an opportunity to learn and act on social justice issues.

MWPN has presented at conferences, been invited to speak on panels and have even formally been recognized by other organizations for the work we have done in the community.

GMS:  What inspired you to create the Muslim Women’s Network?

Aroona: It started as a panel discussion and community conversation on the shared experiences of Muslim women. This uncovered a very evident need in our community but with no one to address it. A lot of things aligned in my personal and professional life and I was able to dedicate the time and effort needed to work towards addressing this need.  What I had originally envisioned to be a onetime local mentorship program eventually became a national nonprofit organization. I think it speaks to the need of these spaces and the value of having an organization like the Muslim Women’s Professional Network.

GMS: Please tell us (related to your business) how the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program directly or indirectly had a part in your path to being an entrepreneur:

Aroona: Indirectly, I wouldn’t have met my co-founders or had the platform I had to build out the organization. Without the Gates Millennium Scholarship, my alma matter, Saint Louis University (SLU) would not have been financially accessible to me, which is where I met the other co-founders of MWPN.

Additionally, graduating debt-free allowed me to prioritize high-impact work over needing a well-paying job. It allowed me the opportunity to intentionally understand the needs of my community while building a strong foundation to address these needs.

GMS: What advice would you give to other Gates Millennium Scholars who have aspirations to become an entrepreneur?

Aroona: As GMS Scholars, we have the grit, passion and lived experiences to solve many of society’s biggest problems.

If you see a need, figure out what your role is in addressing that need. Let it be your call to action. Remember you have your GMS family is here to support and guide you along the way.

This journey is a long one, extremely time consuming, exhausting and you will have good and bad days. What makes all of this worth it, for me, is knowing that I’m not on this journey alone, I have 30+ incredible team members who are all equally passionate about and dedicated to this work and collectively, we have and will continue to make a substantial impact.


To  connect with the Muslim Women’s Professional Network, visit their  Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, like their Facebook Page, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter.