A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty


Samira Kashem, Age 37

Project Manager, Cullinan Properties

Samira Kashem

As project manager, Kashem provides day-to-day project management and tenant coordination duties for properties and projects such as The Levee District in East Peoria, East Court Village in Pekin, and Grand Prairie Developments in Pekin. She also provides oversight and implementation of necessary CAD/Graphics exhibits and documentation to support the portfolio. Coordination of landlord improvement work and redevelopment or build-to-suit efforts are also part of her long list of contributions to the team.

“Samira embodies the ambition and attitude that a true emerging leader should possess. She’s always quick to help a colleague or mentor an intern,” said her nominator.

Outside of work, Kashem is an active member of both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Project Management Institute (PMI). As a member of the Bangladeshi community of Peoria, she lends her time and talents to organize community events. She also is a regular volunteer at Daarul Uloom Islamic School. Earlier this year, she graduated from the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership School, where she worked on a strategic plan to move the Joint Commission on Racial Equity and Justice forward.

Samira Kashem family

Kashem and her husband, Mohammad, became United States citizens in 2022.

Advice to 20-year-old self: “You will be alright; everything works out in the end.”

Unknown to colleagues: “It took five attempts for me to pass my driving test in the U.S. I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dhaka has a very high population density, and owning a car is a great luxury. … We always used public transportation … After relocating to the U.S., my husband Mohammad was a graduate student and was extremely busy,” so he could not “take me to practice for driving. … It did not help that you drive on the right side of the road here.” 

Bucket list priorities: “Someday, I would like to visit these places with my family (in no particular order): the Villa Savoye in France, Banff National Park in Canada, Rome in Italy, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London in London, the Kyoto city in Japan when the cherry blossoms are blooming, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, U.S., and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, U.S.”

Best advice: “You have only one life. Live it meaningfully in a way that keeps you happy without hurting or harming anyone.”

Personal inspiration: “Lydia Moss Bradley.”