Born in Pakistan, Shaista Mahmood moved to the United States in 1976. She graduated from Punjab University in Pakistan. She is the wife of Rafat Mahmood (Ray), the proud mother of four children, and grandmother of three. Shaista Mahmood has always been active in helping people and more specifically children in need. She and her husband try to help in any way they can and they believe that the way to make a difference in today’s world is by taking an active role in bringing people together and working on the issues collaboratively.
Shaista is passionate about women's empowerment, especially through vocational training programs and micro-finance for women in Pakistan. Shaista and Ray are on the advisory of the United States Institute of Peace. Long known for their generosity Shaista and Ray Mahmood have raised money for a long time to build schools and help children in Pakistan and other countries. Shaista Mahmood serves on the board of Children’s National Hospital, Developments in Literacy (DIL) Schools in Pakistan, the Aschiana Foundation (Street Children in Afghanistan), the World Affairs Council, and the International Center For Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD).