Children’s Hope India Board
Dina Pahlajani – President, Co-founder and Board Member
Dina Pahlajani, MD was the organization’s first President and served again in 2007. She is actively involved in overseeing the India projects, developing program plans, creating strategic partnerships, and coordinating the development of CHI’s initiatives. Dr. Pahlajani is a practicing Pediatrician on Long Island and a member of the Charity Committee of the Nassau Pediatric Society. She strongly believes that as a society it is incumbent upon us to be the voice of this very vulnerable segment of our society. It is the best investment we can make for our future.
Sagorica Rudra – Vice President and Board Member
Sagorica has been a board member of CHI since 1995 and previously served as Secretary. She has spearheaded the silent auction at the annual gala and golf charity events, and overseen CHI’s programs in Kolkata, India. Rudra entered the Financial Services industry in 1993, after earning an MBA in International Finance from St. John’s University.
Nisha Bharwani – Treasurer and Board Member
A graduate of the prestigious St. Mira’s College in Pune, Nisha has over twenty years small business accounting and administration experience, and her professionalism and leadership in managing CHI’s financial accounting has been productive. Nisha is passionate about providing educational and development opportunities to children who want to achieve. She is actively involved with CHI projects in India and commutes between the two countries to supervise projects and interact with the India chapter of CHI.
Lavina Melwani – Director of Innovation & Strategy, Co-founder and Board Member
A co-founder of CHI, Lavina is its past President and is involved in all aspects of CHI since its inception, including fund-raising, creative partnerships, publicity, and social media. Lavina majored in History Honors at the University of Delhi, and lived in Hong Kong, Africa and the US. An award-winning journalist who has written for several international publications including India Today, The Hindu and the Wall Street Journal, she also publishes the online lifestyle portal Lassi with Lavina and has blogged for the Smithsonian.
Kavita Gugnani – Board Member
Kavita Gugnani has served on the Board of Children’s Hope India since 1999. She works on the Project Committee to review proposals for new projects, monitors fund utilization, and serves as a liaison for CHI’s flagship project CH Prayas.
J.Nami Kaur – Board Member
Nami has led external communications for IBM with a focus on IT and industry analysts for the media & entertainment, consumer electronics, healthcare and life sciences industries. She serves as an advisor for the social media and website team of CHI. Nami holds an MBA in Marketing from NYU, and an MS in Computer Science & Mathematics & BA in Physics from the State University of New York.
Kavita Lund – Board Member
Kavita Lund is an active board member of Children’s Hope India. She has a strong background in the nonprofit space and has been on CHI’s board for the last 18 years. Kavita served as Vice President for three years, Treasurer for six years and was previously President for CHI.
Maya Rajani – Board Member
Maya Rajani is the owner and President of Infocache Corporation, a data management services company. Her presence on the board provides experience in strategic planning, corporate development, and marketing. Maya was the immediate past president of CHI.
Radha Vanjani – Co-founder and Board Member
Radha Vanjani is the President of Teachers Placement Group as well as a founding member of CHI. She has served as a treasurer of CH in past years and is currently the head of the Journal Committee for producing the Annual Gala and the CHI newsletter. Radha travels to India every year and visits CHI projects regularly. She has a Masters in Nutrition from MLB college in Bhopal, India.
Ravi Akhoury is a retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacKay Shields, a multi-product investment management firm with assets under management of fifty billion dollars. He has been in the investment management business since 1973. Mr. Akhoury is a member of the Executive Management Committee of New York Life Insurance Company and a former director of Max/New York Life India. He is a trustee of the American India Foundation, Putnam Mutual Funds, Eventwist, Rageframeworks, and English Helper as well as a former board member of the Bharti Telecom and Thompson Press in India. Mr. Akhoury graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a BS in Engineering and obtained an MS in Quantitative Methods from SUNY at Stony Brook.
Mohit Assomull is a Managing Director and Head of Global Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley, based in New York. Mo joined Morgan Stanley in 1996, and has spent time in a number of roles in Hong Kong, London and now NY. Prior to his current post he served as the Co-Chief Operating Officer of the Institutional Securities Group. Mo has worked with companies and investors across a range of industries and regions, with a focus on IPOs, private placements, and structured solutions for clients globally. Mo attended junior and high school in Hong Kong, and graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Economics.
Although Madhur Jaffrey is a renowned cookbook author today, she did not always seem destined to introduce Indian cuisine to the rest of the world. This “accidental cook” grew up in India, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and then moving to New York City to begin her career as an actress. She did not spend time in the kitchen as a child; it was only after moving to London for school that she began using her mother’s recipes to cook Indian dishes at home. In the 1960s, she was hired by BBC to work on a show on Indian cooking, and from there, her culinary career took off. She is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including the seminal An Invitation to Indian Cooking. In addition, she has worked on several BBC series, including “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery,” which made her a household name in England. Her books have won awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Foundation, and her writing has received recognition from The New York Times, Newsweek, Sunday Observer, Gourmet, Readers Digest, and Food & Wine.
Born in New Delhi, India, Tinku Jain is a prominent media personality in the South Asian community. She currently hosts a television program called “Namaste America” that airs in the U.S. Tinku has been a longstanding member of various charitable organizations that seek social improvement. She is also on the Advisory Committee of the Multicultural Development Initiative of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which brings awareness to the museum’s collections and programs by reaching out to diverse communities, Tinku is also dedicated in involving the community to fund the Capital Project for the New Galleries for the Art of Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia.
In 2005, Tinku and her husband founded the Jain Foundation, whose goal is to hasten every avenue that may lead towards the cure for LGMD2B/Miyoshi Muscular Dystrophy. As an orphan disease, LGMD2B/Miyoshi receives little or no funding from traditional sources. She is happily married with twin boys and lives with her husband Ajit in Rye, NY.
Dr. Bhushan Khashu
Dr. Bhushan Khashu is a prominent physician, urologist, in New York City and Long Island . He was born in Kashmir , India , having migrated to US over 40 years ago . In addition to practicing urology, he has served as medical director at North Shore University Hospital , Syosset, NY and Wyckoff Hospital Medical Center, Brooklyn ,NY . Dr. Khashu has been on the teaching faculty of SUNY, Stony Brook, Albert Einstein College Of Medicine , New York School of Osteopathic Medicine and has published widely in the field of urology. Dr Khashu is married to Dr. Santosh Khashu, a retired psychiatrist and is the father of two children, both involved in public service , and three grand children . Dr Khashu has recently retired from his medical practice and is devoting his time to various philanthropic endeavors.
Poonam Khubani is the Vice President of TeleBrands International (the “As Seen On TV” commercial giant) and President of International Edge. She has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of New Jersey according to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs Initiative (LWENJ). Additionally, Ms. Khubani has been awarded for her professional and cultural contributions including the Visual Media Award from the New India Times, the NRA Television and Film Award, and the Roshini (Light of Angel) Award. Poonam is also an actress and producer, known for Aryan: Unbreakable (2006) and Star of Jaipur (1998).
Prakash A. Melwani is a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone and is based in New York. He is Chief Investment Officer of the Private Equity Group and chairs each of its Investment Committees. Mr. Melwani received a First Class Honors degree in Economics from Cambridge University, England, and an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar and a Loeb Rhodes Fellow. Mr. Melwani serves as a Director of Crocs, Kosmos Energy, Performance Food Group, RGIS Inventory Specialists and Blackstone strategic partner, Patria. Mr. Melwani sits on the Board of St. Bernard’s School in New York City as well as the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School and the President’s Council on International Activities at Yale University.
Raju Mirchandani is the Founder and President of Ross International (founded in 1990) and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ross Group, a leader in the reverse supply chain and warehousing services industry. Under his leadership, the Ross Group has expanded its presence throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Mirchandani resides in New York City and is a Golden Alumnus of the HR College of Commerce (Mumbai), India. He has been involved with Children’s Hope and has been an avid supporter for over 20 years. Outside of the business world, he is a collector of Modern Indian art and enjoys playing golf.
Daryl Harrison Rand is the President of HarrisonRand Advertising, a Small and Women’s Business Enterprise Corporation, fully certified by the State of New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In 2009, her sons Jason and David Rand joined her in the family agency founded by her father, Harold Harrison, in 1941. Since then, the agency has won over 100 awards on behalf of a wide variety of clients in the NJ/NY region. Her work on behalf of the International Advertising Association (IAA) dates back to 1994. Since then, she has served four World Presidents, been a member of the World Board, held the position of Vice President/Internships, and subsequently Professional Development, and assumed the Presidency of the New York Chapter, one of the organization’s largest and most active.
In 2008, NJBIZ named Rand as one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business. Later that year, the NJ Ad Club inducted her into its Hall of Fame. She serves the organization as a member of the Board of Directors. She is the former Chairman of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, which honored her in 2009 as a Legend. At present, Rand is producing One World: Empowering Women for the Global Conversation, an inaugural conference to focus attention on gender empowerment and equality.
Sunil Sani is President at CGS Investments, Inc., a family-owned investment company and a Principal at Flying Ventures, LLC, a family-run, early-stage, Venture Capital fund. He serves as a trustee of the Sani Family Foundation, which focuses its attention on children’s issues and causes in India, sits on the Executive Committee of the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council, is a board member of the Great Neck Police Athletic League, and is a board member of the Harvard Schools Committee in Long Island.
Sunil is also a member of the Save the Children Board of Trustees and serves as the Chair of the Board Development Committee and is a member of the Executive and Communications & Branding Committees. Sunil received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1985 and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. Sunil is married and has two sons.
Sarat graduated magna cum laude from Lehigh University in 1992 where he was a Martindale Scholar, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics. After working at Coopers & Lybrand as a certified public accountant, Sarat attended Harvard Business School where he earned a Masters in Business Administration. Sarat worked for JP Morgan in the Mergers & Acquisition/Corporate Finance area focusing on domestic and cross-border transactions until joining DCLA® in 1999. Sarat serves on Lehigh University’s Board of Trustees, is the President of the Martindale Society and is Chair of the University’s Endowment Investment Committee. He was also President of the Lehigh University Alumni Association. Sarat serves on the Children’s Hope Advisory Board, a New York-based non-profit organization that provides assistance to numerous children’s initiatives in India and the United States. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, is a Chartered Investment Counselor and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Sarat is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). He appears regularly on CNBC as an on-air contributor providing market commentary and equity analysis. He became a partner of the firm in 2001, a Managing Director in 2013 and a Managing Partner in 2016.
Haresh Tharani is the Principal and Chairman of Tharanco Group, the parent company for various innovative fashion and textile related companies across the world. Mr. Tharani has also expanded into private holdings with brand building, real estate and private equity. Tharanco Group, formerly The Resource Club Ltd, was launched in 1988 by Mr. Tharani continues to evolve and grow the company’s portfolio reaching a variety of industries. In addition to Mr. Tharani’s dedication and support to CHI, Mr. Tharani is also a board member of the KIDS Fashion Delivers organization and The Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council.