Sharmila Rathinam, Chair

Board member since 2016

Board member since 2016

Sharmila Rathinam is a business leader focused on business and financial management. She has over 20 years of experiences on project and budget management, streamlining business processes, setting goals and helping achieve them. She specializes in driving efficiencies, optimizing cost and scaling operations of businesses. In the last 20 years she has worked with Microsoft, Axa Financial Advisors, Ernst & Young and Anderson Consulting. Her last role was with Microsoft where she was managing business operations in the Microsoft Partner Group. She is also an entrepreneur managing several real estate development projects.

Over the past 10 years she has been involved with non-profits like Pratham, See Your Impact and Indian Association of Western Washington volunteering her time and helping raise awareness and funds for these causes.

Sharmila has her Bachelors in Commerce from the University of Madras and has her Chartered Accountancy Degree from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Chennai. 

anurag chandra, treasurer

Board member since 2016

Board member since 2016

Anurag Chandra has been an active member of the Silicon Valley technology and venture capital community for over 15 years. Prior to joining NXT, he was Managing Partner of Gresham Partners, where he advised early-stage to mid-market technology companies seeking operational scale and several VC/PE funds on fundraising, fund management and deal flow.

Prior to that, Anurag served as a Managing Director at the Galleon Crossover Fund, where he focused on late-state equity investments in pre-IPO companies, and at Lighthouse Capital Partners, where he led investments in more than 40 companies and played a key role in managing a $366 million early and late-stage venture debt fund. Some of Anurag’s successful exits include Responsys (IPO), Airespace ($450 million sale to Cisco), Ironport ($830 million sale to Cisco), Vontu ($350 million sale to Symantec) and Modulus Video (sale to Motorola).

Before becoming an investor, Anurag held several leadership and operating roles in startups. In 2007, he cofounded De-Fi Mobile Ltd. and was an early board member. He also served as Vice President of Business and Corporate Development for Intraspect Software, Inc., which was acquired by Vignette Corporation, and as Vice President of Finance and Operations for NetDialog, Inc., which was acquired by Kana Communications. He was also an early advisor to Solazyme, Inc., a microbial photosynthesis company with renewable energy and biomaterials applications, which went public in 2011.

Anurag was recognized in The Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “40 under 40” feature in 2005. He is a graduate of Loyola Law School, where he was a St. Thomas More scholar, and earned a B.A. with honors in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University.

Among other activities, Anurag has been a lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and an academic advisor to several freshmen at Stanford. He is involved with social impact investing funds, serves on the board of directors for the Menlo-Atherton Little League and coaches an AAA team. Anurag lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and two children. His hobbies include reading and playing golf.

Asawari RaoRane Agrawal

Board member since 2017

Board member since 2017

Asawari's passion for the fight against Global Poverty stems from her personal experiences growing up in Kenya, India and Oman.

She has worked at organizations like Kiva, where she was responsible for growing and managing Kiva's network of Microfinance partners in Asia, as well as Unitus, a Microfinance Accelerator. At Unitus she held a variety of roles including building a peer learning network between the various Unitus partner organizations, managing donor initiatives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and expanding Unitus' Indian portfolio.

Prior to Unitus, Asawari worked at McKinsey & Company in New York and San Francisco. Asawari holds a B.S. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

CAROLINE BRESSAN

Board member since 2019

Board member since 2019

Caroline Bressan is the Director of Social Investments at Open Road Alliance, which she joined in 2015. She leads Open Road’s Social Investment team where she manages both the grant and the Open Road Ventures loan portfolios, funding unexpected roadblocks for non-profits and social enterprises.

Prior to Open Road, Caroline was an Investment Principal at Dalberg Capital, the investment advisory wing of Dalberg. There she focused on D. Capital’s impact investment advisory offerings, building a pipeline of investment opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa, specifically in energy and agriculture. Caroline also worked on the design and structuring of innovative financing mechanisms, including impact bonds and social impact insurance.

Previously, Caroline was an Investment Officer at Calvert Impact Capital (formerly Calvert Foundation) where she managed its $20 million portfolio mainly focused on Latin America. At Calvert, she originated and managed a pipeline of lending and investment deals focused on the sustainable trade, social enterprise, and financial inclusion sectors. Caroline received her MBA from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. She speaks English and Spanish. Caroline is also the chair of the board of the social enterprise, InspiraFarms.

NATHAN BYRD

Board member Since 2017

Board member Since 2017

As Head of Global Programs of Opportunity International, Nathan Byrd leads the organization’s global efforts in a diverse range of program areas aimed at reducing poverty by finding innovative ways to ensure solutions and products get into the hands of people in poor countries who need them most.

Nathan previously served as Head of Education Finance for Opportunity International, where he developed education-related financial tools for schools and families, forming strategic partnerships in the education sector, and expanding Opportunity’s four-country pilot program. 

Nathan was also Deputy Director of Operations for the International Rescue Committee in Kabul, Afghanistan, and previously served as vice president of Strategic Development at Covenant House where he started his career as director of their Latin America operations.

Nathan holds a master’s in global management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, an MBA from Indiana University and a bachelor’s in Spanish and English from Saint Louis University. He currently resides in London.

Kate Cochran

kate-headshot

Kate serves as Upaya's Chief Executive Officer. You can read more about her work and background here. 

Bulbul Gupta

Board member since 2014

Bulbul Gupta is the Founding Advisor of Socos Labs, a think tank designing Augmented Intelligence to maximize human potential through "mad science research," advance ethical AI, human-centered policy, advise startups, companies, governments on using ethical AI. She is the former head of Entrepreneurship & Market-Based Approaches at the Clinton Global Initiative; and Global Entrepreneurship Policy Advisor, Clinton Campaign ‘16. She serves as a family office advisor; and Board Member & Investment Committees for Upaya Social Ventures, and Pacific Community Ventures. Bulbul is an Adjunct Lecturer at Hult International Business School, NYU Wagner School Corporate Social Innovation programs; and a Speaker & Coach at Singularity Ventures, 500 Startups, Village Capital, Women’s Startup Lab. She is on MacArthur Foundation’s Place-Based Investing, and the Global Social Good/G8 Impact Investing task forces. She has a Masters in Public Policy & Economics from the University of Michigan, is a "conscious capitalist," an immigrant daughter of Indian tech entrepreneurs, and lives in Palo Alto w/her Jedi daughters.

Bulbul has spent her career at the intersection of responsible investing, technology & venture, and public policy, working with globally-minded entrepreneurs & conscious CEOs, to maximize for people & social impact. She is passionate about helping founders realize their visions for a better world, advancing technology innovation & investment in under-estimated people & places, ensuring inclusion & human-centered design. She has helped launch and operationalize a number of innovation strategies, in large and startup organizations, including change management, talent development, learning, aligning resources strategically.

Kusi Hornberger

Board member since 2019

Board member since 2019

Kusi Hornberger is an Associate Partner in the Washington, DC office of Dalberg Advisors. Kusi co-leads Dalberg’s impact investing practice area and is particularly passionate about the use of innovative finance and technology to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kusi’s recent work includes various projects at the intersection of impact investing/blended finance and agriculture, global health and financial services sectors. For example, in the agriculture sector, Kusi led a financial benchmarking of social lenders providing loans to agricultural small and medium enterprises. In the health sector, Kusi created an estimate funding need for Community Health Workers globally. In the financial services sector, he developed case studies on how data analytics and partnerships can be used to improve the sustainability of financial services to smallholder farmers

Prior to joining Dalberg, Kusi was Vice-President of Investment Research at Global Partnerships, an impact-first investor with investments across Central/South America and East Africa. He also has experience working as a management consultant at Bain & Company in South America and as an Investment Officer with the International Finance Corporation.

Kusi holds a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD Business School in Singapore, a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

KIM RACHMELER

Board member since 2019

Board member since 2019

Kim Rachmeler is currently retired but was most recently the Director of Engineering for The New Data Project where she led the team responsible for VoteWithMe, a relational organizing app to get out the progressive vote. When Kim started her career, she worked as a software developer for some large Silicon Valley firms including Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics. Kim also co-founded (and crashed) her own start-up company before landing a job as Group Program Manager for Amazon in mid-1997. During her ten years at Amazon, she was the CIO for International, VP Retail Systems, VP WorldWide Customer Service, and VP Global Supply Chain, and the VP of Worldwide Discovery and a member of the s-team.

After retiring in 2007, she became deeply involved with Vittana, a non-profit dedicated to getting disadvantaged students in the developing world access to the financing they need to earn the degrees that will land them the steady jobs they need to leave poverty behind for good, eventually becoming co-chair of their board. In mid-2015, Kim joined the US Digital Service to help the federal government get better at developing and delivering software services. After returning to Seattle she joined The New Data Project to help preserve democracy. Her two French bulldogs are fully supportive of all her efforts as long as those efforts involve treats and scratchies. Kim holds two degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford.

Nainesh Shah

Board member since 2019

Board member since 2019

Nainesh Shah grew up in Mumbai, India. He holds a degree in engineering from MS University and an MBA in finance from Dalhousie University, Canada.

A keen interest in money management led him to take a position in New York City in 1994 with Sheer Asset Management, which merged with Roosevelt Investments in 2002. As a portfolio manager and senior investment committee member at the new company, he has acted as liaison between the investment, marketing, and sales teams, and communicated portfolio designs and options to outside advisors and investors. His contributions helped grow the AUM from $1B to $6B at its peak.

As a technology thought leader, he has generated fintech motifs such as mobile wallet and robo-advising. Two of his career highlights are the subscription-based Apple valuation, which has become gold standard on Wall Street, and a unique sum-of-the-parts model for Amazon, which added a deeper level to its valuation analysis.

His core principle is “If you manage for returns, you increase risk, but if you manage risk, you increase returns.” This he applied in the 2000 Dot-com bust, 9/11, and the Great Recession.

A Chartered Financial Analyst, Nainesh is also a member of the CFA Society NY. He has presented to over 100 audiences of financial advisors and non-profits on macroeconomic conditions, capital markets, portfolio construction, and risk management. Barron’s and Businessweek have quoted his insights into some of these topics.

Nainesh coaches people in financial need pro bono. Behavioral finance and AI are among his professional interests. His personal interests include practicing meditation, reading autobiographies, and running marathons. His wife is program coordinator for two non-profit senior centers, and their son and daughter are in college.

Sachi Shenoy

Sachi serves as Upaya's Chief Impact Officer. You can read more about her work and background here. 

Robin Wolaner

Board member since 2017

Board member since 2017

Robin Wolaner is the founder of Parenting magazine, the most successful magazine launch of the decade and later sold to Time Inc. Parenting’s founding is documented in one of the most popular case studies by Harvard Business School. She has broad experience in startups and managing companies. She is the author of Naked in the Boardroom: A CEO Bares Her Secrets So You Can Transform Your Career (Simon & Schuster 2005).

Robin is the former Chief Operating Officer of We Care Solar, a pioneering nonprofit working to insure that every mother can give birth with essential power and light. She was the CEO of Vittana, a nonprofit which pioneered higher education loans in the developing world.

Her career encompasses publisher of Mother Jones Magazine; heading magazine development for Time Inc.; CEO of Sunset Publishing; executive vice president of CNET; founding TeeBeeDee, a social network for people over 40; and advising early-stage tech startups. She has been on the board of directors of Credo Mobile, the social-impact company formerly known as Working Assets, since 2000. Robin holds a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.