“Early in high school, I started volunteering for a summer camp that brought youth from different homeless shelters together for a week of fun and care-free programming. As I got to know the campers, I started to recognize my privilege as well as my passion for utilizing relationships to help youth overcome challenges and accomplish their goals. This passion has stayed with me as I have worked with kids and young-adults in non-profits and elementary school through college. I am excited to be a part of an organization that recognizes the power of relationships and works to build connections between girls and women so that they can explore and accomplish their personal and professional goals.”
Dr. Rohit Chandra
Dr. Rohit Chandra is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at MGH Chelsea, where he works closely with immigrant populations and co-chairs the Community Research Program, and Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where he teaches 3rd-year medical students. He is president of the New England chapter of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association (psychiatrists of Indian origin), and co-chairs the Early Career Psychiatrist committee of AACAP, the largest organization for child and adolescent psychiatrists nationally. He has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MD from Boston University School of Medicine, and completed postgraduate training at Boston Medical Center and MGH. He is interested in the cultural identity development of Asian-Americans, adolescent suicide prevention, and the impact of academic pressure on student mental health. He has published on the influence of values and culture on the mental health of Asian Indians in America.
“I graduated from American University in 2011. Since that time, I have been working in education enrichment programs for urban youth. I am excited to join the Speak Mentorship team and to gain new skills as I continue my work in the nonprofit sector. I also appreciate the idea of professional women passing on their expertise to help forge the path for the next generation.
“When I was younger, I thought I was going to grow up to be a doctor. But, when I got into high school, I realized I was no longer sure of my path since I enjoyed a variety of subjects. Blending my natural talents and interests led to a career in education, addressing inequities and increasing opportunities. My calling is to enable people to learn how to access and activate knowledge, identify opportunities, and develop skills and connections to pursue those opportunities. This is why I started SPEAK Mentorship. I discovered my path was to empower others to find theirs.”
“As immigrants who came to America in the late 1970’s, I and my wife faced many challenges. The supportive community we had made the transition into a new country and integrating into the local way of life much easier. Raising children between two cultures can always be challenging, but it was important to us that we instill our ancestral culture and language in our children. The issues that children of immigrants and first-generation children struggle with around identity on top of the lesser resources and knowledge about the education system immigrant parents can provide them serve as limitations in their careers. Many immigrants live in cultural communities but our children grow up in between cultural communities; we must learn to properly support their particular needs and provide them with as many resources as possible. Mentors who have already been successful in their journey can accelerate the success of our children while we continue to help them as much as possible along the way. This is I’m working with my daughter to support her in this journey in the best way that I can.”
Tracie Denise Jones
Tracie Jones is the Assistant Director for Diversity and Inclusion Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to coming to HGSE she was the vessel operations coordinator for Amistad America, tracing the slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean on a tall ship. Tracie holds an M.Ed from Northeastern University, and is a current doctoral student in Higher Education, also at Northeastern. Tracie also has many years of experience in the corporate world as well.
When she is not at HGSE Tracie is working with Adventure Girlz the non-profit organization that she founded in 2013. The mission of the organization is to guide at risk adolescent Black girls out of the school to prison pipeline; introducing them to social justice campaigns and adventures such as surfing, zip-lining and sailing. www.adventuregirlz.org
Tracie is excited to be an advisor for the Speak Mentorship Program because she understands the importance of providing young women support as they grow. In addition, she realizes preparing for college is often a daunting experience and it takes a team to navigate the process. She is dedicated to uplifting young women and empowering them to write their own stories!
“From a very young age, I’ve always found myself asking questions. ‘Why can’t I do that?’ ‘How is this fair?’ I didn’t have the terms and theory that I have learned about now, but I had this rebellious passion and that is what I have always used to drive me. I want to be able to inspire young women to find this fiery passion and manipulate it for good. I want to be able to support young women by guiding them on how to expand their horizons when it comes to their future careers. I want young girls to know that they can prosper in any field as long as they put the work in. With confidence and diligence anything is possible.”
Dr. Josephine Kim
Josephine Kim has a dual faculty appointment in Prevention Science and Practice/CAS in Counseling programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and in the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She is also on faculty at the Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor whose clinical skills and experiences span many contexts including residential facilities, community agencies, and public and private schools. She has worked with multicultural populations through individual, group, and family counseling and has taught students of all ages in varied educational contexts, including private and public language schools and private and public colleges and universities. Kim has provided professional consultation and expertise on multicultural, mental health, career development, and educational issues to various media sources in Asia and in the U.S. She is USA Today's collegiate case study expert on school violence and has been featured in EBS (Educational Broadcast System) and KBS (Korea Broadcast System) programs in Korea related to developmental and mental health issues of youths. Kim is the keynote speaker at 70-100 parent, teacher, counselor, and youth conferences yearly in Asia and in the U.S. She has been called upon during national crises, deployed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the federal government to work with Katrina victims during the summer of 2006 and Virginia Tech in the spring of 2007, directly following the campus violence. She is also the founding executive director of a nonprofit organization that aims to educate Asian Americans on issues of spirituality, cultural and racial identity, intergenerational conflicts, cross-cultural advocacy, mental health, and career development issues. She is a former resident fellow in the Administrative Fellowship Program at the Office of the Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity and Equity at Harvard University and is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Dr. Sanjay Kumar
Since 1999, Sanjay Kumar has served as the Director of SEWA Bharat, a National level Federation of SEWA organizations that serves 1.7 million poor self-employed women workers in the informal economy in India. Kumar holds a PhD and M. Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University, a Masters from University of Delhi, and a Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. "When I was given this chance to start at SEWA, I realized that this is the kind of public service I want to do in my life. Not many people in our country were opting to work with NGOs at that point. I joined, and what inspired me the most was the hard work of the poor women. Even though they were very marginalized, socially and economically, they had this spirit of doing well in their life, especially for their future generations. These women, harassed by the police and the municipal authorities, work in an informal economy, which means that there is no social security being given by the society or the employers. After seeing these atrocities and understanding their vulnerabilities, I felt a very big connection with them. I was given twin tasks: one was to establish SEWA in Delhi, and grow the organization within Delhi; And the other was to expand the SEWA Movement in other Indian states." Currently, Sanjay Kumar serves as the India Country Director of the Harvard University South Asia Institute, which engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia.
”I think SPEAK is doing a very important work of empowering girls and women of immigrant background. I have worked closely with women and young girls for over 17 years for their economic empowerment and I feel that I can contribute to SPEAK’s work. Being an advisor, I would be able to provide help and guidance to the SPEAK team especially in developing and strengthening their Programs.
I grew in a small town with less exposure to career and higher education options. I only got to know about career options when I moved to New Delhi, capital city of India. Later on I realized that in the absence of platforms that could assist students like me at early age, I lost valuable years. My parents could not finish school and therefore they were also unable to guide me in my education and career options. However, they invested in my education. I think that the target group of SPEAK also face similar situation and their problems are manifold as their situation is harsher then men. I feel that initiatives like SPEAK would be able to help young female students by guiding them to choose right career options and to pursue their dreams.”
Marina Lee is a co-founder of Envoys. She is responsible for ensuring that Envoys programs align with the needs of our school partners and that each student receives individualized support before, during, and after each trip to develop their individual passion and voice.
Born in Seoul, Marina has led students on trips in North America, South America, and Asia. She is a PADI-certified open-water diver and loves exploring new cultures and cuisines.
A former biological researcher, Marina earned her Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her studies focused on Immigration, Education, and Identities.
Following graduation from HGSE, Marina co-founded a successful Seoul-based educational program that became the subject of a Harvard Business School case study on entrepreneurship in education. She also founded Cogita Education Initiatives, a leading provider of tutoring and educational advising services in the Boston area.
Christine Li-Auyeung is Senior Vice President at StoneCastle Partners, LLC, a New York-based investment management firm specializing in the community banking sector. As an early employee, she built and scaled the operations, accounting and client services functions of the company’s cash management division. She is a certified public accountant (CPA) and certified global management accountant (CGMA). Christine’s tenure in financial services includes auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and business management associate at JPMorgan Chase.
As a first-generation immigrant educated in the New York City public school system, Christine knows first-hand the critical support mentoring provides to immigrant and first-generation American students in their professional development. She is passionate about women’s rights, diversity and economic empowerment. Christine has over ten years of experience working with various mentoring programs including the college mentoring program at the Financial Women’s Association of New York (FWA), and the Executive on Campus (EOC) and Financial Leadership mentoring programs at Baruch College. She believes education is the great equalizer, and Speak Mentoring is doing the crucial work of educating and developing the future generation of immigrant and first-generation American women professionals.
Christine holds double Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Computer Information Systems, and a Master of Science in Financial Statement Analysis from Baruch College. She serves on the the board of the Baruch College Fund. Christine is also the recipient of the scholarship for women in association with the 30% club at University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, where completed an Executive Master of Business Administration.
“Like many high school graduates, I enrolled in college without a clear picture of what I wanted to do with my life, or what career options were available to me. I was fortunate to develop relationships in school and work that helped guide me towards a career in law. I am thrilled to be part of SPEAK Mentorship, which offers the kind of support and education that young women need to help them make informed choices in their education and career, to shape their future and realize their full potential.”
Alpa Rajai is a seasoned financial services professional with over 14 years of experience. In her current role, she works on Strategic Initiatives for Financial Control Americas at Barclays. Prior to Barclays, she worked at PwC, Sapient, and Citi. In her previous roles, she was focused on regulatory initiatives in the capital markets domain mainly Dodd Frank Title 1 and Title 7, MiFID II, FINRA 4210, etc.. She
She holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Entrepreneurship from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics / Statistics from Stony Brook University.
She was born in Mumbai, India and raised by a feminist-but-in-denial family that introduced her to community service early on in life – which is probably why remains passionate about giving back and attaining gender equality. She was the first in her family move abroad to study and, as such, fully understands how the lack of a mentor can negatively impact career trajectory. Hoping to bridge this gap for someone else, she signed up as a mentor for SPEAK. She eventually joined the board as she saw the value SPEAK provides to the immigrant female population which she closely identifies with. When she is not working or volunteering, she loves to spend quality time and rediscover this beautiful world with her curious little daughter.
Hiba Sharief serves as Vice President of Information Technology at Oportun, a financial technology company with the mission of providing affordable loans that help people with little or no credit history establish credit and build a better future. Oportun uses advanced data analytics and technology to score the “unscorable” and offers responsible, affordable, credit-building loans to individuals with limited credit history. Hiba graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York. She was recently honored with the recognition of Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 in 2017.
Hiba has a diverse personal and professional background with technology and leadership experience across various industries, and in more than 20 countries around the globe. As the daughter of a career diplomat, she had lived in four countries and spoken three languages fluently before the age of 8. Hiba moved to the U.S. from her home country of Sudan in late 1995 to pursue her university education. She has since had a very exciting career fueled by a passion for learning, growth and innovation. After spending time in various leadership roles at Lehman Brothers and Accenture in New York, Hiba spent two years in Dubai building EMC’s consulting arm in Europe South, Middle East and Africa. She is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area and highly committed to shaping future generations and changing the ratio of women in technology and leadership.
Linda Thomson-Clem, moved to the USA from England in 1978. She founded the Rowley Public Education Fund in 1986, (to generate innovative learning and teaching techniques) and Kids Kaleidoscope in 1988, (a before and after school program). After working in the microfinance field in sub-Saharan Africa, Linda founded MicroVentures International (global projects in poverty relief for women and girls). After working in the non-profit field for more than 25 years, Linda “retired” to pursue new adventures closer to home. She is an experienced social entrepreneur, and non-profit professional.
“Working in the non- profit arena was probably my destiny. (I held my first fundraiser at age 10) It’s not a glamorous field, and the pay isn’t on a par with corporate scales, but the satisfaction from knowing that you are helping someone lead a better life, far out ways status and a large salary. Seeing how the impact of a small amount of training and education can help the women and children in Africa, they have been my focus for a number of years. Translating that knowledge to assisting young people, especially young women, in this country is a natural transition. I’m delighted to be able to advise SPEAK in any way it needs.”
When not swimming, Linda is an avid gardener, reader, baker, and master cake decorator. She is a Board member of the National High School Microfinance Initiative, and advises students about microfinance and its impact on women and girls in developing countries. In addition, she is on the Board of Old Colony YMCA, Easton branch and volunteers with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and then from graduate school. The process of deciding what higher education path to take or which career to pursue was unfamiliar and difficult to understand. In college, I found that other students like me, students from immigrant families and families of color, also had similar struggles. Helping to empower others, especially those from underrepresented communities, to advocate for themselves and access opportunities became my passion as I pursued a career in social work and community development. SPEAK Mentorship's comprehensive, goal-oriented program for young women empowers them and gives them the tools to access opportunities to build the future they want. I am so excited to be a part of this team and the impactful work happening here!”