Pooja Sethi - Executive Board Member, SAAM President
Pooja moved from New York to Austin in 2012 with her son and husband. Besides being a mom, she is an Attorney passionate about the rights of women and children. Since coming to Austin, Pooja has worked as a CASA Volunteer, an American Gateways Attorney Volunteer, assisted in charity events for organizations like SAIVA and Net IP, serves on the Executive Board for the Asian American Resource Center Nonprofit, and started South Asian Austin Moms Nonprofit. Pooja’s favorite things to do are spend time with her son and nephews, plan events, and engage in the Austin live music scene with her husband and close friends. Recently, Pooja launched her law firm, The Law Offices of Pooja Sethi, LLP in which she is the Principal Associate. She is very passionate about South Asian Austin Moms Nonprofit and hopes it will bring the South Asian Austin community together as well as teach all children in Austin about the South Asian culture, while raising money for children in need.
Parul Mehta - Executive Board Member, SAAM Vice President
Parul Mehta is a proud Delhi native who, like all Delhiites, wears her heart on her sleeve. She moved from Delhi to England, and then to the U.S., where she relished every new adventure she encountered. Parul used to work for HSBC, but being a passionate Kathak Dancer, could never seem to let go of her love of dance. Thus, she decided to pursue her passion for dance and became an educator and choreographer in Austin. Currently she teaches semi classical and Bollywood dance forms in Round Rock and Cedar Park. Passionate about promoting this form of dance art, she conducts various workshops and lecture demonstrations in schools and non profits. Being Zumba certified, she also looks forward to encouraging physical fitness through exercise and dance. Parul has two sons and prides herself on giving them long hugs that she hopes stays with them throughout the day.
Ami Gandhi - Executive Board Member, Blogger
Ami is a native New Jerseyan who now lives in Austin with her husband and two sons. Before having children, Ami worked as a high school English teacher in New Jersey public schools. Her greatest passions have always been literature and education, and she engages her passions by reading and writing as often as possible and discussing books with children and adults alike. Now that Ami has young kids she is immersed in the world of children’s books and is excited to share her recommendations and insights with the SAAM community. Ami also loves traveling and spending time outside, especially in, on, or by water.
Archana Vemulapalli - Executive Board Member, Blogger
Archana grew up in India in the culturally rich and diverse city of Hyderabad. She moved several times for education, work and family, living in up to eight different states over the years since moving to America in the year 2000. Being married with two daughters, she has plenty to say about raising children, providing them with an exposure to a healthy balance of different cultures as a South Asian, and the general joys and travails of family life.
Archana works in very logical environs within the IT world by day and hence loves to engage her creative side when she can with books, poetry, music and spending unbridled time chasing after her little munchkins with her husband. She is fascinated by different cultures, cuisines, and languages and loves to engage in meaningful conversations that enlighten and foster kinship. She is delighted by her recent move to Austin and wants to share her experiences as she explores this very cool, friendly city they are now calling home. You can read more of her writing at myasays.com
Veena Reddy - Executive Board Member, Events
Veena Reddy Gangidi moved from Hyderabad, India to Austin to join her husband. She is a mother of two boys, works full time as a database administrator, and also enjoys serving the community. She mentors second grade students, delivers food through Meals on Wheels, and also serves on the IACT (Indian American Coalition of Texas) board, which focuses on political and civic engagement. She loves meeting new people and cherishes old friends.
Divya Bharal - Executive Board Member, Events
Originally from Delhi, Divya moved from New Jersey to Austin in August of 2014 with her husband and three sons. She works in in the fashion industry and specializes in designer Indian ethnic apparel at her studio Suram Fashions. Before moving to Austin Divya participated in many community, cultural, and fashion-related events in New Jersey. She volunteered in the Durga Temple and as a teacher for Hindi NJ USA. Now in Austin Divya is super excited to work for the community through South Asian Austin Moms. She is fond of cooking, loves music ghazals, and spending time with her kids and friends.
Pragati Desai - Executive Board Member, Events
Pragati Desai has lived in Austin since 2000 and grew up mostly in Southern California and Oregon, moving around every couple of years. She has been happy to call Austin "home" now for the past sixteen years. Pragati works for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the foster care field, and is mom to an inquisitive and fun one-year-old girl. Pragati enjoys travelling and running in her free time.
Meenu Narula - Executive Board Member, Events
Meenu Narula was born in New Delhi, raised in Canada, and is now a proud Texan. She has a Doctorate in Pharmacy but her true passion is real estate. She is always looking to invest and at the same time give back to the community. Her son is her driving force and the one who can always put a smile on her face. His love for parties has brought out her creative side and she recently started her next venture in event planning. As a board member, Meenu also looks forward to help plan future SAAM events. She hopes that moms everywhere work together to support the SAAM team to raise awareness and encourage kids to learn more about our South Asian culture while having fun and building a stronger community!
Monika Sahni - Executive Board Member, Events
Monika moved from Mumbai, India to America in 2001 to pursue higher education. She now works in IT as a data warehouse engineer. Monika is the proud mother of an eight-year-old daughter and loves spending quality time with her outdoors and reading books. She takes pride in her cultural heritage and believes that it is something that needs to be woven into one's everyday life. Monika encourages speaking in her native language at home and loves teaching her daughter some cool Bollywood dance moves.
Akshaya Chinapa Reddy - Website Consultant
Akshaya was born in India but grew up in Dubai, U.A.E. She came to the US to pursue her B.A. in Film and Television and moved to Toronto, Canada after graduation. After working in the film festival circuit in Toronto, she spent a few years as an editor and post production supervisor at a boutique TV studio. In 2008, she decided to undergo a career change and completed her 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training in Toronto and taught at a couple of studios before moving back to the US. Akshaya took a break from teaching to have kids and do the "mom" thing for a few years. When she isn't scouting yoga studios, you can catch her drinking tea, cooking, and writing about her cooking adventures in her blog.