Board of Directors
Anju Bhargava is a Strategic Business Transformation and Risk Management senior professional and management consultant with over two decades of experience consulting/working for major companies globally. She has provided thought leadership in the public and private sectors, published papers and received many awards. Her distinctive research based approach leverages best practices from many spheres – education, government, civic, faith based, and corporate. Her pioneering initiatives include an internationally cited study on loan loss published by RMA Journal and recognized by OCC; a target marketing effort “Capitalizing Diversity in the Changing Financial Markets”; Chakravyuhu (labyrinth) education program to mentor corporate women. A change catalyst pioneer and social entrepreneur, she now volunteers with the Livingston Township, Interfaith Clergy Association and diverse residents to build healthy communities with cross-cultural inclusion. A Vedantic teacher/ordained pujarin, she strives to combine philosophy and practice from a contemporary view. She is the only Hindu woman to to lead the opening invocation prayer at Livington's Memorial Day Service and the NJ State Assembly on May 20,2010, observing Asian American month. She started the first professional networking forum in New York, South Asian in Corporate America. She was the only Indian-American to serve in the Community Builder Fellowship, President Clinton’s White House initiative. She is a member of President Obama’s Inaugural Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, founder of Hindu American Seva Charities, President of Asian Indian Women in America, and Trustee of Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Recently Ms. Bhargava was named one of 10 Inspiring Women Religious Leaders by Huffington Post.
Dr. Ved Chaudhary recently retired as an Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Management and Budget in the Department of Environmental Protection in New Jersey. Dr. Chaudhary has been instrumental in bringing diversity awareness at all management in DEP and received “Award of Excellence” by the Diversity Journal in 2008. Dr. Chaudhary has served as Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ NJ Advisory Committee and a Member of the Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Council in NJ. He is a fellow of “Leadership New Jersey” and co-founder/President of the Association for the Advancement of Asian Americans (4A), and the Asian American “80/20 Initiative” for Equality and Justice. He is elected to serve on the National Board of 80/20 Initiative. Dr. Chaudhary has served as a Member of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers University, NJ and President of Educators Society for the Heritage of India. He is currently serving as General Secretary of Hindu Collective Initiative of North America and on the boards of World Hindi Foundation and Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought. He is a co-founder of Hindu American Seva Charities.
Shekar Narasimhan is Managing Partner at Beekman Advisors which provides strategic advisory and investment banking services to real estate and financial services companies and CEO of Beekman Helix India Partners, a real estate merchant bank focused on providing capital solutions to developers and promoters of commercial projects in India. Shekar was Chairman & CEO of the WMF Group, a publicly traded, commercial mortgage financial services company. Shekar is on the Executive Committee of the National Housing Conference and on the boards of the Community Preservation Development Corp., Low Income Investment Fund and Broadstone Net Lease, Inc. A recipient of numerous awards, he was appointed a Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Shekar has been active in the Indian American community as Co-Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Indian American Leadership Council, Board member and former Chair of Upakar Foundation and former Treasurer of the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Lanham, MD. Shekar has received numerous awards and recognition.
Dr. Kumud Sane recently retired from Pediatric Endocrine Department, Minnesota University, is a co-founder of The Hindu Society of Minnesota, has worked to unite communities in Minneapolis/St. Paul and build the temple, which provides educational, cultural, charity and interfaith activities with religious services.
Dr. Siva Subramanian is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He is currently Professor of Pediatrics & Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Chief of Neonatology in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Georgetown University Hospital. An award winning teacher, he teaches at Georgetown University Medical Center about Pediatrics, Neonatology, Bioethics, Religious Traditions in Health Care, and Complimentary & Alternative Medicine. He is the Founder Chairman of Sri Siva Vishnu Temple (1976), Founder Co-Chair of the Association of Hindu Jain Temples of Metropolitan Washington DC (1990), and Founder Member of the Council on Hindu Temples of USA (1984). He helped to unite the temples in Metropolitan Washington D.C. and guided the group to join the Interfaith Conference (IFC). In 2006 he received the IFC "Inter Faith Bridge Builder Award" given by the Vatican Ambassador and Dr. Deepak Chopra and is one of the first Board of Directors of Upakar.
Desai, Khyati grew up Baton Rouge, LA and after graduating from LSU with her BA in Sociology, she moved to Arlington, VA to serve with AmeriCorps. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for two years at two different organizations in the Washington, DC area. In her first position at Youth Venture, she served for the purpose of recruiting and supporting youth social entrepreneurs in the Mid-Atlantic region. In her second year, at National Student Partnerships (now LIFT Inc.), she supported the work of 18 VISTAs around the country, who coordinated local resource centers for low income community members. Following Americorps, Khyati served as a Community Resource Manager at a domestic violence agency overseeing the volunteer, in-kind donation, and community outreach programs. She also served abroad in Peru working with street children and looks forward to serving in east Africa, South America, or India in the future. Before joining Points of Light Institute & Hands On Network, Khyati completed her graduate degree at George Mason University in Public Administration & Nonprofit Management. Currently, as part of the Mobilization & Impact department, she manages the Neighboring, MLK Day of Service, and EITC programs. Outside of her formal position, she shares yoga with homeless populations and K-2 children and is a member of Toastmasters: Talk for Change.
AmeriCorps VISTA Members (2010-2011):
Niki Shah has a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media and Economics and M.S. in Global Affairs and minor in International Business from Rutgers University. He volunteered with the UN Volunteers Program, UN Global Compact Group and worked on Capitol Hill.
Rema Venkatsubban has a B.Sc in Chemistry with a minor in French, Physics and Math with English Literature course work. She has built communities, living in France and US to raise her family with those from over 26 nationalities. Is an activist volunteer in the temple, interfaith and diverse communities in Wichita. KS.
Executive Advisory Council
Chaudhary, Ravi is the Commander, USAF 317th Recruiting Squadron, Maryland. As an AF pilot and engineer, he has completed a variety deployed flying and staff assignments in the Global War on Terror. He most recently served at the Pentagon as Chief of Strategy and Integration, and was responsible for preparing the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff for weekly strategy engagements with SECDEF, and key Congressional Testimony as a Speechwriter. He has completed a variety of deployed flying and staff assignments, and commanded a C-17 detachment and Personnel Recovery operations in Iraq and the Afghanistan AOR; He has served in two operational C-17 squadrons, two flight test squadrons, AMC’s operational test squadron and several engineering systems groups. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the USAF Academy and and M.S. in Industrial Engineering as a Graduate Fellow with NASA. He is also an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics, and a certified DOD Level III Acquisition Officer. Chaudhary is a Senior Pilot with over 3000 hours (700 combat), and also has experience as a Flight Test Engineer in numerous Fighter, Trainer and Airlift Aircraft.
Jain, Pankaj is the author of Sustenance and Sustainability: Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities (May 2011) and has also published articles in many journals and contributes to Washington Post and Patheos. His research and teaching interests include Hinduism, Jainism, environmental ethics, Indian films, Sanskrit, and Hindi/Urdu languages and literature. He has taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in the North Texas area. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project and as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith. He is also a Roving Professor at the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinary at UNT. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University (both in Religious Studies) and a B.S. in Computer Science from India.
Khanna, Vikas is an acclaimed Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker and humanitarian based in New York City. He launched the foundation SAKIV to focus on worldwide issues that demand urgent action. In collaboration with charitable institutions, the foundation has hosted many events worldwide -from The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the Taj Mahal in India. Vision of Palate is his award winning workshop developed to educate people with visual disabilities about the sense of taste, flavor and aromas.Vikas Khanna's Holy Kitchens film series explores the food sharing traditions in a spiritual context. The first film in the series True Business, is based on the Sikh community kitchens, known as Langars, Other films in the Holy Kitchens series are based upon the food traditions of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and including the World Peace Society. He was also honored with the prestigious "Access to Freedom Award" in 2005 from SATH, previously awarded to George W. Bush and HRH Prince Charles and He has also received a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York for his outstanding contribution to the city, and was chosen New Yorker of the Week by NY1. Judaism. He is the recipient of numerous National and International Awards and is also the honorary member of many foundations
Prasad, Dr. Marehalli G. (MG) is a professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, on the board of directors of Hindu University of America, Orlando, Florida, a member of the advisory board of the office of religious life at Princeton University, NJ and a member of the advisory board of Educator’s Society for Heritage of India, NJ. He has written four books on Hinduism and given lectures at several universities. He was the chairperson of the education committee and a former trustee of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Society, Bridgewater, New Jersey, coordinator of the Hindu group at the inter-faith prayer during the 50th anniversary celebrations of United Nations in New York, in 1995, delivered the inaugural prayer at the opening of New Jersey State General Assembly in 2008, and has received several awards including “Bharat Gaurav Award” by the India International Friendship Society, New Delhi, India in 2010.
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan is Chair and Professor or Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA, where he has been teaching since 1985. Prof. Rambachan has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years, as a Hindu participant and analyst. He is currently an advisor to the Pluralism Project (Harvard University), a member of the International Advisory Council for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and a member of the Theological Education Committee of the American Academy of Religion. Prof. Rambachan delivered the invocation address at the historic White House Celebration of the Hindu festival of Diwali in 2003 and also in 2004. He also delivered the Lambeth Interfaith Lecture at Lambeth Palace, London (2008).Rao, Srikumar S. is the author of Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful -- No Matter What (Published by McGraw-Hill). He conceived "Creativity and Personal Mastery," the pioneering course that was among the most popular and highest rated at many of the world’s top business schools. It remains the only such course to have its own alumni association. His work has been covered by major media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Time, Fortune, BusinessWeek, the London Times, theGuardian and the Daily Telegraph. CNN, PBS, and Voice of America, and dozens of radio and TV stations have interviewed him. Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in Marketing from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University and his M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. His undergraduate training was in Physics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.
Shivdasani, Aroon, is the Executive Director and Founding Member, Indo - American Arts Council, Inc, recipient of many awards, "for exemplary service to the community", she sits on many boards . A Masters Degree in English literature and drama, Aroon has worked in marketing, advertising, media research, taught both school and college, run a theatre company in Canada, been a docent at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, been Editor of the Junior League Newsletter, acted, danced, painted, thrown pots, worked in ceramics and stained glass. She left her position as Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing & English literature as well as VP of her husband's marketing company, to take on her current position in 1998.
Soni, Varun is the dean of religious life at the University of Southern California (USC). His is the first Hindu in American history to be the chief religious and spiritual leader of a research university. He holds degrees in religion from Tufts University, Harvard Divinity School, UCSB, and the University of Cape Town, as well as a law degree from UCLA School of Law.
Arumi, Ana Maria is a nationally recognized social and policy researcher, having conducted projects for many organizations over the past 20 years, including think tanks like Pew Research, The Kaiser Family Foundation and Public Agenda, as well as most major media organizations. Ms. Arumi has directed the exit poll desk for NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo since 1999. Additionally, her work as a social and public opinion analyst and editor has appeared on CBS News, the New York Times, the Washington Post and NPR. Ana Maria also dedicates most of her volunteer efforts to economic and community development efforts, both locally and abroad, and serves as a UN representative for the Indian-based NGO the M.A Math.
Dave, Minauti is a teacher and a journalist with a M.S from Northwestern University’s Medill Journalism School, M.S. Secondary Education, Pace University.. She has worked as a newspaper journalist for many publications in the U.S. covering issues on local and national levels. She now teaches high school English to pass on her journalism experience on to youths. She has received many honors including AmeriCorps, NJ Press Association, Stanford Teaching Studio.
Kuppa, Padma is a writer, an IT professional and mother working to build a more pluralistic society. Her seva includes serving her community by engaging its ethnic and religious diversity, as Outreach Chair for the Bharatiya Temple and co-founder of Troy Interfaith Group, an organization highlighted by Harvard’s Pluralism Project. Her commitment to social justice is embodied by her membership on the Boards of Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro-Detroit and Interfaith Leadership Council of Michigan. Her faith and her study of Hindu philosophy continue to inspire her daily activism.