Shadhika Shadhika

Our Team

A passionate team dedicated to expanding gender equality in India and around the world

Ankita Jhaveri, Interim Executive Director

Ankita (she/her) is: a mom, wife, aunty, sister, and daughter; a peer, colleague, friend, leader, learner, and neighbor; an aspiring writer; a yoga enthusiast; a (reluctant) runner; a reader; a lover of laughter; and a daydreamer. Born and raised in India, Ankita is the younger daughter of immigrant parents. She was raised to thrive across boundaries – age, gender, language, race, socioeconomic status, and culture among others. Her passion for driving change that supports young people to lead meaningful lives, especially those who are underrepresented, underserved, and overlooked in our communities, threads through her professional journey.

Kendra Nicolai, Director of Operations

With a MA in International Development, Kendra has twelve years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, both locally and internationally, with a focus on youth development. Outside of work, she enjoys coaching volleyball, spending time outside, and reading.

Upasana Saha, Director of Programs, India Consultant

Upasana holds an MA in Human Rights and a BA in Political Science from Presidency College, Calcutta University. She is an enthusiastic social development practitioner and a striving feminist with a rich professional experience of designing, scaling gender justice, and community-centric programs with marginalized and at-risk populations in India especially adolescents and young women and men. Prior to Shadhika, Upasana worked with nonprofit organizations such as Raleigh International (Karnataka), Child in Need Institute ( Jharkhand), CREA (Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh), and Equal Community Foundation (Maharashtra).

Sabah Siddiqui, Scholars and Alum Liaison, India Consultant

Sabah has been a student of Vacha, Shadhika's grantee partner in Mumbai, for over 14 years. With a Bachelor's of Accounting & Finance from Mumbai University and an extensive experience in social work through her participation at Vacha, Sabah brings both practical and experiential expertise to her work at Shadhika. In her academic career she was a Joint Secretary of the Rotaract Club and the Head of the Women Development Cell's Department in her college. She loves to write poems, articles & "Gazal" in Hindi, Urdu and English. She wants to make changes in her community related to discrimination and girl's education. Her favorite lines from one of her poems is: "She is a Dreamer... She has uncounted dreams".

Sunil Gangavane, Program Officer, India Consultant

Sunil is a facilitator and development practitioner with a rich experience in working with grassroots organisations and marginalised communities, especially girls, Dalit and LGBT youth. He has extensive experience in facilitating youth-led participatory action research projects. Sunil has a postgraduate diploma in development education from Maynooth University as well as an MA in Psychology from the University of Mumbai. He enjoys gardening and travelling in his spare time.

Jenna Sweig, Development Officer

Jenna has extensive experience working with organizations in the international development sector, and particularly enjoys building partnerships between value-aligned organizations to catalyze sustainable change. In 2023 she completed her MS in Nonprofit Management, Fundraising, and Development from Northeastern University. In her spare time Jenna enjoys aerial arts, skiing, climbing, arts and crafts, and spending time with her pup outdoors in Colorado.

Urmila Reghunath, Communications Manager, India Consultant

Urmila works at the intersection of communications and development practice and strives to deliver ethical and meaningful ways of communicating the scope of social work. With an academic background in Development Studies and Media Practice for Social Change, Urmila has experience of supporting governmental and nonprofit entities working towards equity in access to education in Tamil Nadu. In her free time, she enjoys painting and creating comic strips.


Chandre Sarkar Singhal, Board Member

Chandre is a passionate and dedicated professional who brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, fueled by a genuine dedication to community service. Her journey has been defined by a steadfast commitment to ensuring a legacy of empowerment, growth, and positive transformation. Chandre brings with her a proven track record in strategic planning, fundraising, and governance to Shadhika. She was born in Kolkata and grew up in the SF Bay Area where she currently resides with her husband, two kids and two dogs.

Diane Sigel, Board Emeritus

For 30+ years, Diane served as CEO for the family business, Duffle Bag, Inc., and knows the challenges of a woman working in a man’s world and has succeeded in establishing herself as a leader in a male-dominated field. Diane is dedicated to sharing her skills and her knowledge as a mentor, advisor, and sounding board for local, regional and national nonprofits from Hadassah to arts organizations and academic councils.

Katharine Len Yee Mitchell, Board Member

As a biracial explorer of this world, with roots in the US and Malaysia, Katharine centers her work on individual and community stories and the connection to place and others, accessibility, community development as freedom, and healing. Katharine has lived in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona since 2011. She most recently provided strategic leadership for an organization serving women and girls statewide as it more than doubled in budget and staff and transitioned from regional to statewide in focus. With two decades of experience working with organizations in Southeast Asia, California, New York, District of Columbia, Virginia and Arizona, Katharine leads with generosity, abundance and a curious mind. Her strengths are in project management, outreach and stakeholder engagement, research, grantmaking and program evaluation. Katharine currently works in community as a project manager with Borderlands Theater and the City of Tucson’s Housing and Community Development.

Lekha Masoudi, Board Member

Lekha is currently enrolled as a student at Columbia University in New York City. She is the co-founder the Shadhika club at her high school to educate her peers about child marriage and women's rights in India. She is also involved in refugee advocacy and is committed to social justice for marginalized groups around the globe. Head to the Shadhika blog to read the two When She Leads interviews Lekha authored for Shadhika.

Shaheen Lokhandwala, Board Co-Chair

Shaheen currently works in the nonprofit space building programs and opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to build wealth and create jobs in their community. Shaheen comes from the world of higher education, having spent 10 years working at universities helping researchers and students turn their ideas into successful startup companies. Her passion for generating equality in entrepreneurship is unmatched, creating access to resources and opportunities for traditionally underserved populations. Shaheen's family is originally from India and she is a Houston native currently residing in Northwest Arkansas with her two dogs.

Tara Risser, Board Member

Tara Risser is a senior executive in the technology sector who for nearly 20 years has led teams and spearheaded transformations to deliver a simpler, better way to do business. Currently President, Americas, Tara is responsible for management, strategy and growth in the Americas region, including operations in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and the U.S. at Equinix, the world’s digital infrastructure company. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Tara is deeply engaged in efforts both within her company and externally. Tara holds an M.S. in business from University of Colorado, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Golden, Colorado with her husband, their two sons and an energetic dog.

Thresia "Teena" Sebastian, Board Co-Chair

Thresia (Teena) Sebastian is a pediatrician with a specialization in public health. Currently she practices clinical medicine in an urgent care while also overseeing pediatric research studies in infectious diseases. Prior to this current position, Teena and her family lived in southern Africa (Mozambique and Eswatini) for 9 years focusing on HIV care, treatment and prevention for children and their families. Originally from Kerala, India, Teena has lived in many places throughout the US and the world. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her family.

Vivek Sharma, Board Member

Vivek has spent more than two decades in the tech industry, most recently as Business Lead: Revenue and Finance Automation at Stripe. He has a long history of working with technology giants to create new platforms and products that help people build communities as well as achieve their professional ambitions. Vivek spent his childhood in India and travels there extensively to gain insight and experience working with communities on the ground to increase access. Vivek lives in Seattle with his partner Katy and twin daughters.

Board members

Dipta Bhog

Dipta has worked on gender and education for close to three decades. She has worked as a journalist and women’s rights activist. She co-founded Nirantar, a centre for gender and education in Delhi, and has extensive experience working on women’s literacy, adult and girls education and rural journalism in areas of program design, implementation, policy, and impact.

Japleen Pasricha

She is the founder-director & editor-in-chief of Feminism in India (FII), an award-winning digital feminist media platform. She has been felicitated by Indian Ministry of Women & Child Development, GoI as Web Wonder Woman. She has also been recognized by the Swedish Foreign Minister for her work on the gender gap on Wikipedia.

Manjula Pradeep

Manjula brings experience and perspective on community work and advocacy within the Dalit community and other marginalized populations. This knowledge base and resource will be a fresh and new asset for Shadhika from a programming and networking standpoint.

Priya Chotalal

Priya currently works in the health care sector as a dietician. She is looking forward to working with the members and sharing opinions to help make better decisions and to using her voice to help other girls and build a community that encourages girls to become self-dependent.


Razia is currently an intern under Shadhika’s Girls Write Program. Razia is looking forward to helping make plans, with the fundraising efforts, and to help achieve our equality goal. She is also looking to grow under the guidance and care of this experience and also become a good leader.

Ritambhara Mehta

Ritambhara is an accomplished queer feminist professional with over a decade of experience in gender, sexuality, and education. She is the co-founder of Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group. Presently serving the board of Nazairya with a deep interest to build linkages between health, violence, livelihoods, education and queer issues through trainings, research, evaluations and advocacy.

Saba Rehmani

Saba is a Shadhika Scholar graduate and a climate change intern. Being associated with many NGOs, Saba’s contribution to the Advisory Council will be through her experience, her work, ideas, and thoughts. Saba also hopes to learn new things through this advisory group and get a chance to share her thoughts.

Sagar Gangurde

Sagar’s background in education and professional career prior to and post his pivot to work in the non-profit sector speaks to the quality of engagement in programming that he brings to the Council. Additionally, his current organization Seeds for Peace and its global network would create new opportunities for Shadhika.

Shipra Jha

Shipra was most recently the Head of Asia Engagement at Girls Not Brides, with decades of experience in program design and coalition building to advance gender equity in India.

Advisory Council

Click here to read updates from the Executive Director’s Desk.