with Farooq Mitha
U.S.-India Business Council
Nisha Biswal is President of the U.S.-India Business Council and Senior Vice President for South Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Biswal served as Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State from 2013 to 2017, where she oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation, including launching the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. In recognition of her efforts, Biswal was awarded the prestigious Samman Award by the President of India in January 2017.
She previously served as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Biswal also spent over ten years on Capitol Hill, serving as staff director on the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. Most recently, she was a senior advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she helped expand the firm’s India and South Asia practice.
Biswal has served on the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and is a current member of the U.S. Institute of Peace International Advisory Council and the Institute for Sustainable Communities Board of Directors.
Ronnie Chatterji is an economist and tenured professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy. His expertise is in business strategy, entrepreneurship, socially responsible investing, and the intersection of business and public policy.
Ronnie served as a senior economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama Administration. He worked on policies to strengthen our national economy, which resulted in tax cuts for small businesses, greater access to capital for entrepreneurs, and investments in economic development in North Carolina and across the nation. He has advised multiple Presidential and U.S. Senate campaigns on economic policy.
Ronnie received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his undergraduate degree in economics from Cornell University. Ronnie and his wife, Neely, are proud residents of Durham where they are raising their three children.
State Treasurer Candidate
State Senate Democratic Whip
Democrat Jay Chaudhuri is a progressive problem solver who has served as senior attorney to Attorney General Roy Cooper and State Treasurer Janet Cowell. He is a voice for progressive values by standing up against the Tea Party and right-wing Republicans. Jay is leading the fight to protect a woman's right to choose, pushing for stronger gun control laws, and always stands up for North Carolina children and families.
As Special Counsel to Attorney General Roy Cooper, Jay helped lead an investigation by all 50 Attorneys General that resulted in a landmark agreement with the two leading social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook, to better protect children from Internet predators. For his efforts, the National Association of Attorneys General honored him with the Marvin Award, given to an individual who furthers that association’s goals.
Born in Chattanooga, Jay is the son of immigrants. His father left India to come to America exactly fifty years ago. His parents settled in Fayetteville in 1972, where his father worked at the Veteran Administration Hospital before entering private practice. Jay attended Fayetteville public schools. He graduated from Davidson College, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and North Carolina Central University School of Law with honors.
He lives in Cameron Village with his wife Sejal Mehta, a former New York City prosecutor, their two children, and a black lab.
Manka Dhingra is a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. As Chair of the Therapeutic Alternative Unit, Manka helped develop and oversee the Regional Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court, and the Community Assessment and Referral for Diversion program. Outside the courtroom, she is a community leader and anti-domestic violence advocate on the Eastside.
Manka was elected in November 2017 to serve in the state Senate by constituents of the 45th Legislative District. Her priorities are to address the deficits in education funding, mental health, and violence prevention, and to protect the rights of women. Prior to being elected, Manka was a co-founder of Chaya, an organization that assists South Asian survivors of domestic violence and led the organization’s work to end systemic violence through education and prevention. She also serves on the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Eastside.
Manka has worked with King County law enforcement agencies, Harborview Hospital, mental health professionals, and our courts to improve criminal justice outcomes for individuals with mental illness—seeking to close the revolving door of jail, homelessness, and crime. She has engaged the State Department of Social and Human Services, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, legislators, and the Governor’s office build consensus and make real strides in reforming and improving our criminal justice system. She worked to ensure the well-being of individuals remained the core tenet of any reform. As a mental health and crisis intervention expert, she has also been an instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission for the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers to reduce the risk of tragedy and improve the response to people in crisis.
She brings her expertise to the Washington State Senate as Deputy Majority Leader, Chair of the Behavioral Health Sub-Committee, and Vice Chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee. She also serves on the Health & Long Term Care Committee and the Ways & Means Committee.
Vin Gopal is a lifelong resident of Monmouth County, born at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and raised in Freehold. He is a proud to be a small-business owner, having built his business from the ground up, now with 14 employees. Vin is also the Founder and President of a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping Monmouth County charities and individuals in need. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University.
He previously served on the Board of Directors for the then-Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, and also served as President of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association. He is a past Board of Trustees Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County. Vin spent many years as a volunteer first responder, serving as an EMT and certified CPR Instructor.
Vin serves as Senate Majority Conference Leader and Chairman of the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and as a member of the Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.
Raj Goyle is Co-CEO of Bodhala, a data company focused on the legal industry. In 2006, Raj became the first Asian American elected in Kansas history and the first Democrat elected to his State House seat in Wichita. He was re-elected in 2008 and in 2010, ran for Congress against then- Congressman Mike Pompeo. After leaving Kansas politics, Raj moved to New York City, where he served as a senior adviser to Shelley and Donald Rubin’s family office on philanthropic, political and business matters. He sits on the boards of Hunger Free America, New Deal Democrats, the State Innovation Exchange, Everyartist.me, Issue One, and Planned Parenthood of NYC Action Fund.
He is the co-founder of the Indian American Impact Project and the India Center Foundation and serves on the advisory board of the American India Foundation. Raj has worked as a staff member for the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, and served as an adjunct professor at Wichita State University. He holds degrees from Duke University and Harvard Law School.
Indian American Impact Fund
For the past 30 years, Ghazala Hashmi has served as a college eductor, and for the last two decades, she has worked as a professor and administrator within Virginia's community college system. When she was four years old, she immigrated from India with my parents to Georgia, and 2019 marks her 50th anniversary of living in America. After she earned her Ph.D. in English from Emory University, she and her husband moved to the Richmond area as newlyweds. They've raised their two daughters in Chesterfield County. Both were involved in Girl Scouts (Sen. Hashmi served as Troop Leader for three years for her younger daughter's troop), extensive volunteer work, and lots of extra-curricular activities.
Sen. Hashmi is passionate about education and about making sure that students, faculty, and staff have the resources and support that they need to excel. Her most recent experiences as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College have made her more determined than ever to ensure that we provide excellent educational opportunities to all Virginians. She's in this race because she thinks it's time each and every Virginian has a chance to experience the economic opportunity, education, and safety they deserve, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, or socio-economic background.
Nisha Jain is a Vice President at GBAO with over a decade of experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative research for Democratic candidates, progressive causes, advocacy groups, and Fortune 500 companies.
Prior to joining GBAO, Nisha served as a Senior Director at Purple Strategies. As part of the Insights team, she led design, execution, and analysis for US and global research engagements for clients looking for rapid research in response to a crisis or looking to bolster their brand reputation. She also served as an in-house expert advising client teams on research methodologies and advanced analytics.
Prior to joining Purple, Nisha was Research Director at Momentum Analysis, where she led quantitative and opposition research for Democratic campaigns, oversaw survey methodology and administration, analyzed data, performed multivariate statistical analysis and developed targeting recommendations.
Nisha also serves on the board of directors of the Washington Leadership Program, a national non-profit organization developing the next generation of South Asian American leaders. Nisha is a graduate of George Mason University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
U.S. House of Representatives (IL-08)
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was elected in November 2016 to represent the 8th District of Illinois, which includes the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago. Raja serves on the Oversight Committee, for which he is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, as well as on the House Intelligence Committee. In addition to this committee work, Raja was selected as an Assistant Whip and serves on the Steering and Policy Committee.
Raja is the child of immigrants and was reared in Peoria, Illinois. He attended public schools in Peoria and was a valedictorian of his high school class. Scholarships and student loans allowed Raja to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in mechanical engineering and a certificate from the Princeton School of Public Policy. He then graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and clerked for a federal judge before practicing law in Chicago.
Raja pursued public service while practicing law and was appointed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a Special Assistant Attorney General to help start the state’s Public Integrity Unit created to root out corruption in Illinois. As a member of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Raja chaired its Audit Committee, helping to provide thousands of low and moderate-income families across the state with affordable housing. Raja also served as Illinois Deputy Treasurer. There, he oversaw the state's technology venture capital fund and helped revamp programs such as the state's unclaimed property program to become leaner and more efficient.
After his time in the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, Raja returned to the private sector, serving as president of research-oriented small businesses developing technology in the national security and renewable energy industries. Raja also served as the Vice-Chair of the Illinois Innovation Council and co-founded InSPIRE, a non-profit that provides inner-city students and veterans with training in solar technology.
Raja and his wife, Priya, a physician, live in Schaumburg with their two sons and baby daughter.
Varun Krovi currently serves as Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill and has over a decade of experience in the public and private sectors. In his current capacity, he serves as a political and policy advisor and is responsible for the design and implementation of legislative and political priorities. Varun serves as liaison to House and Senate leadership in Congress. He specializes in technology, trade and foreign policy.
Prior to his current role, he served as a consultant in the private sector providing business advisory services to Fortune 100 companies.
Varun is a veteran of campaigns on the local, state and national level. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and is a Member of the Council on Extended Intelligence (CXI); a not-for-profit formed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).
Varun and his wife Reena reside in Arlington, Virginia.
Chief of Staff
U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI)
Kentucky State House
Nima Kulkarni, native of India and immigration law attorney at her own practice, moved to Louisville when she was young and learned from a young age the success behind hard work and determination. Working to leverage immigration in order to help build a better economy and workforce, she gives numerous hours as a Country Ambassador for India, the Greater Louisville International Professionals, Indian Professional Council, and Rotary Club of Louisville.
As a Representative, Nima is looking to be an advocate for equality and fair immigration policies. Nima will support new and innovative ways to stimulate Kentucky’s economy, support the expansion of healthcare for all, stand up for a living wage for all workers and support an education system that will give the children in her district the best chance for success.
Nima stands to be the first Indian American elected to public office in Kentucky and only the second woman of color in the Kentucky State Legislature.
State Rep. Padma Kuppa is serving her first term representing Michigan’s 41st House District, which encompasses the cities of Troy and Clawson. She currently serves as Assistant Minority Whip for the House Democrats.
Since moving to the 41st District more than 20 years ago, Kuppa has worked as an engineer and project manager with a career that spans the automotive, financial and IT industries. Kuppa has also been a civic leader, volunteering with the PTA throughout her children’s K-12 education, founding the Troy-area Interfaith Group to bring people of all faiths together and serving on Troy’s Planning Commission. She is currently President of the Troy Historical Society and a board member of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.
Rep. Kuppa arrived in the United States as a child, attending public schools during her formative years. She moved to India with her family as a teenager, providing her with an appreciation of how public education provides a foundation for a strong economy. Throughout her life, and especially since returning to the U.S. for graduate school more than 30 years ago, Kuppa has sought to bring people together to solve problems both in the professional world and in the community. She brings this experience to the committees she currently serves on, the House Energy and House Local Government and Municipal Finance committees.
Rep. Kuppa champions issues for several caucuses, including Labor, Education, and Mental Health. She serves as Co-Chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus Equal Pay Task Force, Co-Chair of the Asian-Pacific American Caucus, and Historian of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Rep. Kuppa is also a member of the MiSTEM Council and the Prescription Drug Task Force. As the first Indian immigrant and Hindu in the state Legislature, she hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the State House.
Before Seema became CEO of the DNC in 2018, she served on DNC Chair Tom Perez's transition team, which took a fresh look at the committee's operations following the 2016 election and put in place an infrastructure that contributed to wins in 2017 and 2018.
Seema has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, where she oversees strategy and manages day-to-day operations. Prior to that, Seema was Chief of Staff to then-Secretary Tom Perez at the U.S. Department of Labor. While at the Labor Department, she also worked as Deputy Solicitor and as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to Perez, managing a portfolio that included immigration, workforce development, and internal management issues.
Before her time at the Labor Department, Seema led the now-named Office of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section in U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Her experience also includes practicing labor and employment law and served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.
Seema is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Brown University and a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Shekar Narasimhan is Chairman and Founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, one of the first of its kind SuperPac’s focused exclusively on building the political power of the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
In his business life, Shekar is the Managing Partner at Beekman Advisors which provides strategic advisory services to companies and investors involved in real estate, mortgage finance, affordable housing and related sectors. He also serves as Chairman of Papillon Capital, focused on sustainable infrastructure investing in emerging markets. Prior to Beekman Advisors, Shekar Narasimhan was a Managing Director of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, one of the nation’s leading providers of commercial mortgage financing. Immediately prior to Shekar’s time at Prudential, he was Chairman & CEO of the WMF Group, a publicly traded, commercial mortgage financial services company. WMF was one of the largest such firms in the country before being acquired by Prudential in 2000.
Shekar is currently serving on the boards of Broadstone Net Lease, Inc., Broadtree Homes, Inc. Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. and Indiaspora. Shekar was appointed by the President as Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and by the Governor of Virginia on the Board for Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Housing Development Authority. He also serves as a Senior Industry Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and on the Economic Advisory Council of the Center for American Progress. He has served on many boards, including the Low Income Investment Fund, the Community Preservation and Development Corporation, the National Housing Conference and the National Multi Housing Council. He is a sought after speaker on housing finance and affordable housing and is considered a leading expert on rental housing issues in the United States.
Shekar has served several terms on the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) Board of Directors, was the first Chair of the MBA’s Commercial/Multifamily Board of Governors, and founded its Multifamily Steering Committee. He was elected as the first Chair of the Fannie Mae DUS Advisory Committee.
AAPI Victory Fund
Former Vice Mayor
Anu Natarajan was elected to the Fremont City Council and served for ten years. On Council, she was an advocate for sensible, sensitive and sustainable planning as the engine for economic growth and community building. She believes in the importance of placemaking. She represented Fremont on regional and national boards such as Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Boardmember of the Local Government Commission, Stopwaste and Recycling Board of Alameda County, Housing Authority of Alameda County and SPUR San Jose. She enjoys both politics and policy making and considers herself to be a policy wonk.
Anu has a background in architecture, urban design and planning and is a LEED AP. She has professional experience as a planner in both agency and consulting roles, and has also worked as an architect. In her work with the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley, Anu focused on community engagement and outreach by building a network of networks and using technology in innovative ways. She is currently working with MidPen Housing Corporation as their Director of Policy and Advocacy.
Anu volunteers with community organizations, and also enjoys exploring new cities and their architecture, meeting people, and reading. She and her husband are raising their daughter in Fremont.
Sonal Shah is the Founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation and Professor at Georgetown University.
Sonal served as Deputy Assistant to the President for President Obama and founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. She has extensive experience in the public sector including as an international economist at the Department of Treasury, setting set up the central bank in Bosnia, working post conflict reconstruction in Kosovo, and implementing poverty reduction strategies in Africa and financial crises in Asia and Latin America.
She has extensive private sector experience. At Google, Sonal led technology initiative for civic voice and investing for impact as the head of Global Development Initiatives. At Goldman Sachs, she developed the environmental strategy and ran the initiatives, including investing clean technologies at Goldman Sachs.
One of Sonal’s most proud accomplishments is working with her siblings to create a non-profit, Indicorps, to build a new generation of socially conscious global leaders. Indicorps created the service movement in India inspiring and incubating new social enterprises like Teach for India and Sarvajal.
Sonal serves on the boards of Oxfam America, the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Case Foundation Non Profit Finance Fund, Voto Latino, and The Century Foundation. She also serves as an adviser to the Democracy Fund and is coordinating the Initiative on Tech & Society at Georgetown University.