Akanksha Education Fund

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Shankar Iyer, President

Over the past 30 years, Shankar has had an exciting career in founding and building a financial services company. In 2019 he sold it to Intertrust and eventually sold Intertrust to CSC. Since 2016, Shankar and his family have been avid supporters and donors to the  Akanksha Foundation. His belief is that good quality education is the single largest solution to lift people out of poverty. The Akanksha model of providing quality education to the underprivileged has resonated with him and his family.

Recently Shankar announced his transition from an Executive role at his company to a Board Advisor position. This allows him to dedicate more time to this cause and has accepted the position of Board President of Akanksha Education Fund.

Ramesh Srinavasan, Past President
Ramesh serves as President of Akanksha Education Fund’s Board of Directors and brings a clear focus and vision to this leadership role. In addition, Ramesh also serves on the board of the Akanksha Foundation in an advisory capacity, connecting the two distinct but mission-aligned organizations enabling them to work closely together. He currently lives in New York and is a Director at McKinsey and Company. Ramesh and his wife Charuta Joshi are deeply invested in improving access to education and the quality of education in India and are strong advocates for Akanksha bringing individuals and corporations to the Akanksha family in the U.S. and in India. Ramesh and Charuta personally support Akanksha’s work as Ambassadors.
Bharti Malkani, Vice President

Bharti believes in the transformative power of education and has been an Akanksha supporter for many years drawn by its impressive track record of educating underprivileged children and championing systemic education reform in her native India. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and began her career as a professional in the field of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications representing small-cap, publicly-traded technology companies to Wall Street investors. Bharti is a serial entrepreneur having established and managed small businesses in disparate industries. She supports other entrepreneurs as an angel investor in several women-led start-ups and through private equity investments. Additionally, Bharti is a NYC licensed real estate salesperson and advisor with Manhattan Boutique Real Estate.

Kate Shoemaker, Secretary

Kate is currently the VP of Public Policy and University Partnerships Strategy for Braven, a non-profit that focuses on the college to career transition for first-generation and low-income college students. She has also served as Chief Operating Officer at the South Ward Children’s Alliance in Newark, and led public policy and special projects for Geoffrey Canada at the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) for 16 years. A highlight of her tenure at the HCZ, was advising the Obama Administration and others on the federal Promise Neighborhoods program, which was inspired by HCZ. Kate and her husband Anand live in Irvine, CA with their two children.

Fally Malkani, Treasurer
Fally has been a supporter of Akanksha for many years, believing in the opportunity of education . She graduated with a degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Bombay and then went on to complete a two-year course in Design and Typography from the London College of Communication.
Amir Mirza

Amir is the CFO of Datalot since 2018 and has
served as the CFO of an ed-tech startup before then. Prior to his CFO role, he spent almost two decades as an investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch advising technology, media, and telecom clients on M&A and financing. Amir completed his post-graduate studies in management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and received his MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. He lives in New York with his wife Anitha and two children. Anitha and Amir strongly support Akanksha’s mission of changing children’s lives through a great education.

Anjali Melwani
Madhura Kulkarni

Maddy Kulkarni has been a leader in sustainability & marketing at PepsiCo for over 12 years. She has also recently authored a textbook, Social Impact Marketing: The Essential Guide for Changemakers, for how marketing can be used to drive both business and social impact. Maddy serves on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Brands, a global industry organization that seeks to advance sustainability in business. She is also PepsiCo’s liaison to the World Federation of Advertisers and has spoken on behalf of the organization at the United Nations Global Compact’s Leaders Summit. Maddy has served on numerous non-profit boards and has been awarded a 40 Under 40 designation by Dallas Business Journal.

Medha Vedaprakash

Medha Vedaprakash is the Director of Core Ads Product Partnerships at Facebook. Prior to that he was Head of Global News partnerships at Google. Previously, Medha worked at the private equity firm, McAndrews & Forbes where she advised portfolio companies on their digital transformation and innovation strategies. During her career, she was a venture capitalist for several years and held several board positions at high growth technology startups. She is a passionate supporter of women entrepreneurs and is an angel investor in several women-founded and led companies. Medha is a deep believer in the power of education to change lives and that drives her support of Akanksha’s work.

Nathalie Joseph

Nathalie’s philanthropic mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education. She was introduced to Akanksha in 2014 and has been a supporter since then. Nathalie and her daughters volunteered at an Akanksha school in 2015. After helping teachers in the classroom, sitting through parent meetings and visiting student homes with social workers, Nathalie is a firm believer in Akanksha’s approach in educating kids and entire communities. Nathalie and her family are based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nymrata Advani

Nymrata Advani earned her B.A from Mount Holyoke College and her MBA from Columbia University and London Business School, and spent 12 years at Citigroup in Strategy and M&A. She currently invests in women-led startups through 37 Angels and other women-focused investor networks, and serves as an advisor to companies in the Building and Real Estate sector. She has served on the Board of various India-focused non-profits such as the Pure Water Project and has been involved with Akanksha since 2016. Having grown up in Mumbai, Nymrata is passionate about affecting change to the plight of women and children in India. She lives in New York City, with her husband Yunus and children, Anysa and Arman.

Pulkeshi Jape

Pulkeshi came across Akanksha a few years ago through his corporate giving program at PepsiCo where he works as a Senior Director within the PepsiCo Foods North America business driving digital transformation. He has been at PepsiCo for 18 years across multiple roles in the US and Canada. Pulkeshi been an active supporter of Akanksha over the years and joined the Board in April 2023. He lives in Plano, TX with his wife Sharmila, their two boys and their Goldendoodle. Pulkeshi grew up in Pune and is eager to give back to the community and to support the incredibly meaningful work done by Akanksha.

Reena Batra

Ms. Batra has more than 35 years of experience in technology and services solutions. She has a Master’s degree in Computer Science. Upon graduation, she joined IBM where she held a wide range of technical, management, and sales executive positions. As a Founder and CEO of Software Professionals Inc. she has been a leader and visionary for strategic growth of the company, collaborating on successful business partnerships, creating business models and developing new products.  Under her leadership, SPI has won a number of prestigious regional and national growth awards. 

Ruyintan (Ron) Mehta

Ron is a 1970 alumni of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay with a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering. He received advanced engineering degrees in Chemical Engineering and Engineering Administration from University of Connecticut and University of Utah respectively.

Ron is now fully retired and is passionate in giving back to several educational and social
causes in India. Mehta was the immediate Past President of IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation and currently serves as President of IIT Gandhinagar Foundation. He is the Executive Director of Wheels India Niswarth (WIN) Foundation – a non profit that works in the field of Water & Sanitation and Maternal & Child Health issues in India. Mehta is also a Board Member and Co-Chair of Water with an NGO called Wheels Global Foundation founded by alumni of IITs in the US to provide technology based philanthropic solutions in Water (W), Health (H), Education (E), Energy (E), Livelihoods (L) and Sustainability (S) in India.

Sachin Jindal

Sachin is a partner at Tower Research Capital, a leading quantitative trading company in the financial markets. He runs an algorithmic trading desk at Tower that trades global equities using machine learning based models. Sachin is an alumnus of IIT Delhi and Columbia University. Education has had a transformative impact on his own life and he firmly believes in the power of education to harness the potential of an individual. Sachin and his family are based in New Jersey.

Sarah Roberts, Board Member Emeritus

Sarah lived in Bombay/Mumbai from late 1985 to 1989. Having met Shaheen Mistri in the early 1980s, she and several friends of India began The Akanksha Fund Inc. in 1997, to support Shaheen’s work with after school education in India. Focused on the mission of providing readiness and entry of the youngest of the underserved into the educational system, Akanksha gradually grew to creating charter-like schools in cooperation with the municipal school authorities of Maharashtra. At this point, the US based Fund changed its name to The Akanksha Education Fund.

Srividya “Vidya” Prakash

Vidya is CEO of Antara International, working to catalyze the delivery of public health solutions to improve maternal and child health outcomes. She previously worked in management consulting and public health with McKinsey & Company and with their Global Public Health Practice, and in commercial asset management in renewable energy with sPower-AES. Vidya is based in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is an active volunteer in the areas of education, domestic violence, gender equity, homelessness and food security, including with Maitri, Dining for Women, Abode Services and local food banks.

Vipin Shri, Young Professionals Representative

Vipin is a founding member of the Akanksha Education Fund’s Young Professionals Board and is a former American India Foundation Clinton Fellow. He finds education to be the most vital development area for underserved children in India. Through Akanksha Education Fund’s Young Professionals program, he has helped plan and implement fundraising and event campaigns to raise awareness across the greater NYC area. Vipin currently works in New York City at Kiddom, a K-12 EdTech company, where he heads the demand generation function to promote digital curricula usage across the public education system in America.