WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rohini Lakshmi Kosoglu, who created history when on Dec. 10 she became the first South Asian American (as a Sri-Lankan American) to be appointed a chief of staff in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Kamala Harris, the first ever Indian American U.S. Senator. She also served as Chief of Staff for Sen Harris's Campaign and as a Policy Director for Michael Bennet.
Shana is the Director of Development of Sakhi. Shana graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in History and African and Afro-American Studies. At Brandeis, she participated in a wide variety of projects that addressed global development and international conflict, taking her everywhere from rural Maine to Western Kenya. Prior to joining Sakhi, Shana worked in development at Breakthrough and The Nature Conservancy.
Kavita Ramdas is a globally-recognized advocate for gender equity and justice. She currently serves as the Director of the Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations after completing her tenure as Strategy Advisor for MADRE, an international women’s rights organization. She founded KNR Sisters, an independent consulting venture. From 1996-2010 Kavita led and transformed the Global Fund for Women as its second President and CEO to be the largest public foundation for women’s rights.
Mini Timmaraju serves as an Executive Director on the Diversity and Inclusion team for Comcast NBCUniversal. Prior to joining Comcast, she served as Hillary for America’s National Women’s Vote Director. Previously, Mini was the National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Chief of Staff to Congressman Ami Bera M.D. (D, CA-7)), Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Office of the President.
Young Professionals Panel
Ruchita Gupta, a Yale alumni, has worked as Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman & Sachs and currently works as a Technology Investor at Warburg Pincus LLC
Akriti Vasudeva is a Research Associate with the South Asia program at the Stimson Center. She is the Managing Editor of South Asian Voices, an online magazine featuring strategic analysis and commentary from rising South Asian analysts and scholars.Previously, she worked as a print journalist in India, writing on environmental issues for The Indian Express in Mumbai, and on education policymaking for Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Rafia Afsar graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Masters in Global Politics. She used her education in a broad array of non profit and educational work, serving as the Program Coordinator of an orphanage in Bangladesh, Vice President of Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, a program coordinator for AIESEC India. She is currently a consultant with Ringle, a consulting EdTech startup based on outreach strategies, customer acquisition, and community development.
Media & Business Panel
Rajat Bahri is currently working as the chief financial officer at Wish. Prior to that, he has served as Jasper Technologies’s chief financial officer since 2013. Prior to Jasper, he served as Trimble Navigation’s chief financial officer. Rajat’s business experience includes 15 years within the financial organization of Kraft Foods, Inc. and General Foods Corporation, including service as the chief financial officer for Kraft Canada, Inc. and chief financial officer of Kraft Pizza Company.
She is the founder & CEO of The Juggernaut, a Y Combinator and Precursor Ventures-backed media company telling smart South Asian stories and news. She has worked at McKinsey New York, in Bollywood, in media-focused venture capital/PE, in product/marketing at an Indian video streaming company, and in launch strategy for Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine. She has also advised BuzzFeed, Quartz, and Scroll.in.
Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group
Rehan Rafay Jamil (a PhD candidate in the Political Science department studying comparative politics. His research interests research interests include political economy of development, social policy and citizenship in South Asia)
Omer Saad is the Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health; Associate Dean (Global Health Research), Yale School of Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Yale School of Medicine; and Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health
Muneer Ahmad is Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, Sol Goldman Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. He co-teaches the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC).
Sheraz is the new Assistant Director for the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC). In this role he provides strategic planning, financial management, program assessment, and departmental reporting for the Center. In addition, he provides day to day management of the center including the supervision, development and evaluation of center’s student staff (comprised of graduate and undergraduate assistants and Peer Liaisons).
Seder Sidiqee serves at the Assistant Director of Spiritual Life and Advisor for Muslim Affairs at the University of Chicago.
Kristy Kumar serves as the Assistant Director for Co-Curricular Initiatives, Brown Center for Students of Color. She leads collaborative initiatives with administrators, faculty, students, and alumni to provide education around topics on race, equity, and inclusion. She also serves as the Assistant Director of Educational Programming Company NameWomen and Gender Advocacy Center at Colorado State University.
Sangay Mishra specializes in immigrant political incorporation, global immigration and global immigration. He was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Lehigh University, PA. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Southern California. He served as the co-chair of Asian and Pacific American Caucus of the American Political Science Association from 2014-2016 and is currently a member of Committee on the Status of Asian Pacific Americans of the Western Political Science.
Anisha Singh is the Director of Judicial Nominations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also a senior organizing director for Generation Progress, the youth-engagement arm of the Center for American Progress, campaign manager for Legal Progress at American Progress, a policy attorney and program manager for United Sikhs. She founded United Sikhs’ national Anti-Bullying Campaign in partnership with the White House Anti-Bullying Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education.
Shobhana Verma currently serves as the Executive Director at South Asian American Policy & Research Institute. Most recently she has built and also leads one of the first and most effective South Asian Voter Engagement Programs at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Thanks to her untiring efforts since 2014, unprecedented numbers of South Asian Americans in the city have begun to exercise their right to vote and participate in local, state and federal level electoral process.