Staff & Board

SAN’s staff, volunteers, and board include: a majority of women, who are persons of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepali origin from Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist traditions; first-generation immigrants and American-born; speakers of Hindi, Nepali, Gujarati, Urdu, Bangla, Punjabi and Sinhala; and queer and heterosexual members.

SAN’s diversity reflects the multiple identities within the community, as well as multiple issue areas and methodologies for community building.  Staff come with extensive experience and knowledge of public health, civil rights/ immigrant rights, intimate partner violence and community education.

Staff Members

Shikha Bhatnagar
Executive Director
Shikha@southasiannetwork.org
Shikha Bhatnagar has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, focusing on community organizing, fundraising and communication, program management, and strategic planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin, and a Masters degree in International Affairs with a concentration on Economic and Political Development from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, New York, NY. Shikha has served as Executive Director for Akshaya Patra Foundation USA, and Teach for India; and Associate Director, South Asia Center for the Atlantic Council. Additionally, she has experience as an independent consultant providing services to nonprofit organizations and emerging and established leaders. Prior to accepting the role as Executive Director for the South Asian Network, Shikha served as Director of Development for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association in Washington, DC.

Asha Gandhi
Community Advocate – AWAZ – Voices Against Violence
Asha@southasiannetwork.org
Asha has a Bachelor Degree in Arts from Bombay University, India. Asha has been working with non-profit organizations for 10 years. She worked in SAN’s Health Unit from 2008-2013 as Health Coordinator. Asha also worked as the Resident Care Coordinator at a domestic violence shelter. Asha is currently a Community Advocate in SAN’s AWAZ – Voices Against Violence Unit. Asha’s focus is working with survivors of gender-based violence. Asha speaks, reads and writes Hindi and Gujarati.

Saima Husain
Deputy Director
Saima@southasiannetwork.org
Saima was born in Pakistan, raised in four countries, and speaks five languages. With a Ph.D in Human Rights, Saima started at SAN in 2007 as community advocate with AWAZ, she later coordinated the AWAZ unit, and is now SAN’s Deputy Director. In 2009, Saima was selected as a Fellow for the Women’s Foundation of California’s Women’s Policy Institute, a project that trains women to take on leadership roles in state policy advocacy. She has previously worked on police violence, disability rights, and governance.

Nutan Kafle
Program Assistant
Nutan@southasiannetwork.org
Nutan is a Health Care Graduate from Nepal. Upon graduation she worked as faculty for the National Open College for 4 years and as a Program Manager at Vinayak Hospital and Maternity Home Pvt. Ltd. During her work at the hospital she realized her interest in community health. Upon moving to the United States she volunteered at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital. Due to her interest in Community Health and Well-Being she joined the degree program in Community Health Education at California State University, Long Beach and graduated with a degree in Master’s in Public Health. She is working with SAN for the past year as an Office Administrator and now Program Assistant. She speaks Nepali and Hindi.

Bilal H. Kazmi
Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Bilal@southasiannetwork.org
Bilal H. Kazmi was born in Chicago, Illinois to South Asian immigrants. He moved to Southern California in pursuit of his undergraduate degree in Business from California State University, Fullerton. After graduating from college, Bilal worked with various local nonprofit organizations. He then went on to serve as a volunteer for two years in the Kyrgyz Republic for the United States Peace Corps. Upon completion of his volunteer service, Bilal worked as a program manager for Save the Children in Central Asia and as an income generation consultant in Uttar Pradesh, India. After returning to the United States, he became involved in activism for the LGBTQ community. Bilal now coordinates outreach and volunteers at SAN. He speaks Urdu.

Tami Shaikh
Civil Rights Advocate
Tami@southasiannetwork.org
Tami Shaikh was born in Santa Monica and moved to Lahore at the age of 9. She moved back to Orange County at 19 and has lived here ever since.Tami also lived in Dubai for 9 years and worked with people from all socio-economic and racial backgrounds. She has a Masters degree in Education and years of experience working with under privileged kids around the world. Tami has always had a passion for Social Justice and Civil Rights. Her work has included organizing fundraisers for UNICEF , making weekly visits to the local prisons and organizing events in the community to raise awareness on issues impacting our communities. She is fluent in spoken and written Urdu. She is also a blogger for the Huffington Post and an author of two books.

Nina Sharmin
Community Advocate
Nina@southasiannetwork.org
Nina has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Dhaka University, Bangladesh. She worked in SAN’s Health Unit from 2002-2008. Nina also worked as the Resident Care Coordinator and a Cal-Works Case Manager at a domestic violence shelter. Nina is currently a Community Advocate in SAN’s CHAI and AWAZ programs. Nina mostly works with the Bangladeshi community in Koreatown and various other places. Nina can speak Bangla and Hindi.

Consultants

Deanna Cherry, Executive Coaching

Katherine Kubarski, Grant Writing

Danyaal Mashedy, Technology

Purvi Shahpatel, Mental Health

Janis Weir, Fundraising

Holly Witham, Accounting

Board Members

Smita Bagla, Managing Partner, Amritt Ventures, Inc.

Sanjay Chhugani, Director-Support Services, Santa Barbara Applied Research

Monisha Coelho, Partner, Kalara Law

Ashim Kumar, Physician, Western Fertility Institute

Meena Makhijani, Physician, Motion Picture & Television Fund/UCLA

Vidhya Ragunathan, Pro Bono Coordinator, Inner City Law Center

Sonia Shah (Board Chair), Lead Improvement Advisor, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

Rohit Shendrikar, Senior Legal Director, Yahoo! Inc.

Brinda Vasisht (Board Secretary), Mobile QA Engineer, Whisper