Proven Leadership Delivering Results for Our Community
Abena is a leader, visionary, engaged citizen, and a life-long community advocate, driven by a deep-rooted passion to deliver permanent, meaningful results for underserved communities. A galvanizing force in Maryland politics and a resident of Charles County, Abena uses her background in communications and media to engage, empower, and mobilize local residents and leaders to push for social change and collective political action throughout the state.
Currently, Abena brings her extensive experience in community engagement and advocacy to her role as director of stakeholder engagement on the Pyxis Partners All of Us Research Program team. Here, she focuses on developing and nurturing relationships built on transparency and trust with stakeholders from communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research.
In addition to her role at Pyxis, Abena is the founder and executive director of Women of Action Maryland - Charles County, a diverse network of local women dedicated to empowering and supporting women and all people through mentoring, community service, and educational opportunities. She also serves as a board member of Emerge Maryland – a political training program that prepares women leaders from diverse backgrounds to run for office. As an active council member of the Planned Parenthood Advocates for DC, Maryland, & Nova (PPADMV), Abena continuously fights alongside her fellow council members to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and build local power to influence and promote accountability among state and local policymakers.
Abena is the elected Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Democratic Party, making her the first person from Charles County to hold one of the seven executive officer positions. She was also appointed to the Charles County Democratic Central Committee and not long after joining, was elected chairwoman for two consecutive terms – becoming the second African American woman, and the youngest individual, in the county to lead the committee. From hosting Charles County’s first candidate training and campaign finance workshop to helping increase the county’s voter turnout by more than 49% with the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) initiative, Abena’s contributions as a leader on the committee cannot be understated.
Over the years, Abena has played a critical role in numerous initiatives designed to improve the health and wellbeing of underrepresented communities. One major instance of this was her drafting and lobbying of the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator Requirements Act of 2013, which initiated a CPR and AED program across public schools in the District of Columbia and established procedures for responding to medical emergencies.
Demonstrated by her extensive civic involvement, Abena has never been one to sit on the sidelines. She has been elected and appointed to several local and statewide boards, committees, and advocacy groups committed to civic engagement, women’s empowerment, and public service. Recently, she worked with the Health Equity Resource Communities Coalition, a Maryland Citizens’ Health initiative advocating for the state of Maryland to create and fund health equity resources that help reduce health inequities.
Collaboration is at the core of Abena’s civic engagement philosophy, which is why in the wake of growing discontentment with law enforcement in our nation, she organized a countywide panel discussion in December of 2014 with several community leaders, local politicians, and the newly elected Sheriff to discuss community relations, racial tension, policing practices, accountability issues, and solutions to build a stronger relationship between the Charles County Sheriff’s Department and its citizens.
Aligned with her mission to encourage collective political action, Abena has supported several Democratic campaigns at the local, state, and national level, including Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign, Congressman Anthony Brown’s 2014 Maryland gubernatorial campaign, and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Most recently, Abena served as a delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention. She was selected by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and was later chosen by the Biden campaign to represent the state of Maryland as an At-Large Delegate to the 2020 DNC. Right now, she serves on the Maryland Democratic Party’s Ethics and Sexual Harassment Committee.
Abena is a dedicated servant leader with an authentic passion for serving the public in a meaningful way. She attributes her strength and love of service to her faith and family. She completed her bachelor’s degree with cum laude honors from Nyack College, a Christian missionary alliance school, and earned her Juris Doctorate from the David A. Clarke School of Law. Abena currently resides in Waldorf, Maryland with her husband Willie, their 5-year-old and 2-year-old daughters, and two dogs, Manny, and Charlie Brown.