Sakhi’s Board of Directors helps to drive the organization’s strategic programming, growth, and mission fulfillment. Our board actively assists in Sakhi’s development through regular meetings, project-based support, brainstorming, and sharing resources. The current board members enhance Sakhi’s work by bringing forward a diversity of professional and life experiences. Each of Sakhi’s board members serves 1-year term, renewable up to 6 years.
Beesham A. Seecharan | Board Chair
Being thankful for the opportunities afforded him from his youth in New York City, Beesham has used his role as an international corporate lawyer to be a supporter of diverse communities and impactful entrepreneurship in the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors. He has been a consistent supporter of Sakhi and other impactful local, national and international organizations across a variety of fields since embarking on his legal career.
Beesham A. Seecharan is Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, and a Client Advisor at Matthews South. Previously, Beesham advised the equity derivatives and convertibles businesses of Goldman Sachs for over fifteen years as a Managing Director and Senior Counsel, where in addition he lead through a number of other committees including as co-chair of its Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit and Executive Office Asian Professionals Network. Beesham previously worked as a vice president and assistant general counsel at JPMorgan Chase and in the New York and London offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell. Prior legal experience includes work at Shearman & Sterling, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Education.
Beesham also serves on the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School, on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University and the Center for Leadership at Florida International University, on the Legal Advisory Committee for the New York City Urban Debate League, and on the Private Sector Steering Committee of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY). He previously served as secretary on the Board of Directors of SAYA! – South Asian Youth Action and on the Board of Directors of The Columbia Law School Association and of SABANY.
Beesham received a JD and the Parker School Certificate in Foreign and Comparative Law from Columbia Law School and earned at the same time an MS in Mathematics and an AB in International Relations from Stanford University. His passion for philanthropy and the law are complemented by his passion for partaking and supporting all forms of the arts and innovative small businesses.
Sabrin Chowdhury | Vice Board Co-Chair
Sabrin is an Executive Vice President and Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at PIMCO, where she focuses on driving the design and implementation of internal and external programs, policies, and strategies to foster greater inclusion and representation across PIMCO’s businesses globally. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2021, Sabrin was an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Co., leading the firm’s performance management research and designing organizational health and talent strategies and capability-building programs for clients.
Sabrin holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, and an undergraduate degree in Business Honors and Finance from the University of Texas. Sabrin has 14+ years of investment and financial services experience and also gained experience in international economic development while serving as a project economist on the U.S. Treasury’s International Affairs desk.
Sabrin also has extensive research and activism experience in gender violence – she founded and ran Out Against Abuse, a nonprofit focused on educating young men and women on gender violence and bystander interventions.
Sabrin lives in New York with her husband and her two young children.
Radhika Nayar | Vice Board Co-Chair
Bushra Mannan | Treasurer
Bushra is a Certified Public Accountant and an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase, where she leads the Privacy Office for Asset Management across the North America and Latin America regions. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Bushra worked at KPMG, providing Audit and Advisory services to large financial conglomerates. With more than 15 years of experience in Program Management, Audit, and Accounting in the financial services industry, Bushra is eager to contribute her technical expertise to Sakhi’s vital mission in our community. Bushra is a strong advocate for women’s rights and empowerment and understands the importance of addressing these social issues in the South Asian diaspora. Bushra is a NYC local and graduated with honors from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. She was nominated for Ernst & Young’s South Asia Women’s Forum in 2019 and is a member of Armstrong Wolfe Women in the COO Community.
Nilufer R. Shaikh | Secretary
Nilufer R. Shaikh is Assistant General Counsel for Business and Corporate Development at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she supports U.S. and global product and facility divestitures, mergers and acquisitions, corporate venture investments and licensing and collaboration transactions. Prior to her role at Bristol Myers Squibb, Nilufer was a New York-based partner at Troutman Pepper, a national law firm, where she represented companies, private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in buy and sell-side mergers & acquisition transactions, joint ventures, minority investments and other complex commercial arrangements. Nilufer began her legal career at two international law firms in New York. She is passionate about supporting women’s economic empowerment and advises non-profits supporting such missions. Nilufer is Co-Chair of Corporate Transactions Group at the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and previously served on the Women of Leadership at the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG-NY). She has taught corporate contract drafting as Adjunct Professor at American University School of Law. She is a 2017 Fellow of the Legal Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD).
Nilufer received a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, a M.A. degree from Harvard University in Middle Eastern Studies and a B.A. degree from Rutgers University. A long-time resident of New York, she now resides in New Jersey with her partner and two children where she enjoys gardening, furniture making and adventure travel. Nilufer is multilingual with varying degrees of written and spoken proficiency in Hindi/Urdu and Arabic.
Kavita Mehra | Executive Director
Kavita first joined Sakhi as an intern in 2002 while in her third year of university. After her experience, she hoped to come back to Sakhi, specifically to lead the organization, and in June 2017 was named its sixth executive director.
Under Kavita’s leadership, Sakhi has grown 375% and has launched a trauma-informed mental health program, a housing program, and a food justice program for survivors in the community. Her deep commitment to building a survivor-centered movement, positioned Sakhi to open its second office in Queens, NY in March of 2020 and its third office in Brooklyn, NY in 2023. Most notably, Kavita has successfully stewarded Sakhi through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing critical, life-saving services to survivors across New York City, while also ensuring its financial stability and growth.
While in her role at Sakhi, Kavita was instrumental in convening her fellow co-founders of South Asian SOAR and securing the $1million in seed funding for its launch. She is now a proud board member of the organization that represents 40+ South Asian member organizations across the United States.
Kavita has written opinion pieces for Inside Philanthropy, City Limits, Ms. Magazine, the Huffington Post, Brown Girl Magazine, and Act To Change. She has also presented at the Women’s Economic Forum in Delhi, Harvard University and Columbia University and has been quoted in leading media outlets, including The Associated Press, The Takeaway with Tanzina Vega, NowThis, CNN, The New York Times, and Vice.
Through her over two decades in the non-profit sector, Kavita has served in leadership positions at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, GlamourGals Foundation, and South Asian Youth Action. She has been featured in “Roshni: Emerging Indian Global Leaders and is the recipient of the 2021 Changemaker Award from Institute for Nonprofit Practice, 2022 Social Impact Women to Watch by Nonprofit HR and in 2023 received the Epic Women’s Award from the New York Bar Association.
Kavita completed her Bachelor of Arts from New York University with a double major in History and Gender Studies. She also holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in South Asian Studies, from Columbia University, as well as a certificate in Business Excellence from The Columbia Business School. She is currently part of the Allstate Foundation’s Nonprofit Leadership Center Executive Leadership Program’s Class of 2023 at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. In 2016, Kavita completed the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Advanced Leadership Program and in 2014, she was a Lead New Jersey Fellow and an Athena Mastermind at Barnard. In 2013, Kavita was a New Leaders Council-New Jersey Fellow.
A proud New Jersey native, she lives in Jersey City with her life partner and son.
Rupal Patel is a Senior Manager for the Global Reverse Logistics team in Bloomberg’s Supply Chain department in New York. An industrial engineer by training, she has 20+ years of experience working across multiple industries in both the public and private sectors. Her skills in management, supply chain disciplines, engineering, and overall people development — combined with her experience in the U.S. and overseas — has made her an adept cross-cultural communicator and a nimble problem-solver. She has led companies from concept to implementation, including developing new products, implementing of new systems, and forming new functional teams.
Rupal is a team builder and mentor for women in the workplace. She is committed to improving the financial literacy of young women and teaching them the steps towards attaining financial independence. Rupal completed her MBA from Rider University while working full time and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering from Penn State. She was born in Toronto, where she spent her early youth before moving to the U.S. She is multilingual, with spoken proficiency in Hindi/Gujarati, and she is currently learning Spanish. Rupal has volunteered for multiple organizations in New York City before joining Sakhi’s Board. She is keen to leverage her professional skills and personal experiences to contribute to Sakhi’s mission and advance the cause.
Shaheen (she/her) is a dedicated community organizer and activist involved in numerous causes and organizations fighting Islamophobia, ensuring education equity, and protecting the rights of women and immigrants. She also supports progressive local and national candidates as a grass-roots organizer and was an elected member of the Kings County Democratic County Committee. Shaheen served on the Board of New York Appleseed and was on the Advisory Committee of Muslims in Brooklyn Project for the Brooklyn Historical Society. She was a judge in the inaugural awards of the Spark Prize by the Brooklyn Community Foundation to “the most pioneering nonprofits advancing equity in Brooklyn.” For almost thirty years—twenty years as a partner—Shaheen was with Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross (now Pomerantz LLC), where she successfully litigated complex class and individual actions for consumers and shareholders victimized by securities fraud and corporate breaches of fiduciary duties that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars recovered for plaintiffs.
Born in Bangladesh, Shaheen has yet to be defeated by a hot pepper. She is a graduate of Kalamazoo College (magna cum laude), for which she served as a trustee from 1996–2002, and holds a JD from New York Law School (summa cum laude, first in class). Shaheen is bilingual (English and Bengali).
Dr. Meera Shah
Dr. Meera Shah is a family medicine physician, currently serving as the Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic in New York. Most recently, she published a book about abortion access called, “You’re the Only One I’ve Told: The Stories Behind Abortion.” She completed medical school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and then family medicine residency at Mount Sinai/Beth Israel Medical Center and the Institute for Family Health in New York City. She has an MS in Nutrition as well as an MPH, both from Columbia University. Meera has been a contributing writer for Bedsider and Jezebel. She has been interviewed for her expertise by The Washington Post, MSNBC, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, Think Progress, Elle, NPR, Refinery29 and Self to name a few. She is a fellow with the Physicians for Reproductive Health and serves on the board of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.
Dr. Dina M. Siddiqi
Dr. Dina M. Siddiqi is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at New York University. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a BA from Wellesley College. She has published extensively on women in the global garment industry, non-state gender justice systems, and forms of cultural nationalism in Bangladesh. Professor Siddiqi is on the advisory board of Dialectical Anthropology, and serves on the editorial board of Routledge’s Women in Asia Publication Series. She sits on the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS), the Advisory Committee of the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the Advisory Group of Sangat, a South Asian feminist network. She has frequently collaborated with Bangladeshi human rights organizations including Ain o Salish Kendra, Nagorik Uddyog, and Bangladesh Legal and Services Trust (BLAST). Through her scholarship and activism, Professor Siddiqi seeks to bring into conversation feminist theory and practice.
Nalini Tiwari Greenan
Nalini Tiwari Greenan was born and spent most of her youth in Guyana. She finished out her secondary education at Richmond Hill High School in Queens, NY and began a whole new adventure at 16 years old, studying a range of disciplines and majoring in Psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University, while exploring the vastness of New York City.
Her background in psychology, her immersion into the diverse cultural offerings of NYC, and her continued thirst for knowledge and desire to engage in new experiences lead her to the wild world of advertising, starting out her career at Young and Rubicam and then, needing to incorporate her passion for social change, moved to Partnership For A Drug Free America. In 1996, Nalini had the unique opportunity to work on Art, Architecture, Ballet and Opera based tours to the newly opened markets in Eastern Europe. This experience solidified her passion and commitment to working in community based specialized tourism based on the heritage of a destination. This led to Nalini starting her own Marketing Company, Adya Communications LLC, in 2002, and Adya Global LLC in 2018.
Nalini’s driving force in her work seeks to bring beauty to all of us in ways we can not only see, but also feel, touch, taste, smell, and experience even beyond our sensory perceptions. Nalini hopes to bring her knowledge and experience to fellow adventurers and travelers, though never losing sight of the need to remember our histories, and to face the uglier parts of those histories, as well. Nalini is a member on several non-profit boards such as the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Friends of RPCV’s of Guyana, and We are GUTSY and her ongoing support of other non-profits that work tirelessly to help marginalized communities. Through and beyond her work, Nalini is committed to advocating for equal rights for all, and to share some of the beauty in this world with others.
Vasanta Bhairavi Pundarika