Bookwallah Board of Directors
Seena Jacob Founder & CEO
Seena Jacob is the Founder of the Bookwallah Organization. She conceived the idea of Bookwallah Organization in 2009 with her desire to spread the joy of reading to children of orphanages in developing nations across the globe. Seena believes by sharing the gift of imagination with children of orphanages who have endured hardships early in their lives, she will empower, inspire, and give them hope for a better life. A good book is good medicine. Seena’s love of reading, imagination and creating “stories” have largely influenced her ability to crystallize concepts and opportunities for start-up initiatives and to “Bring Abstract Ideas to Life”. Seena’s previous professional experience includes management and management consulting positions for CCC Information Services, Heritage Financial Services, Citigroup, MarchFirst, Alpha Thought Group, and The Build Operate Transfer Group. She holds an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from Loyola University. B.A. in English Literature and Language from Mundelein College of Loyola University and St. Teresa’s College in Kerala, India. Seena is currently a member of the President’s Circle of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the North Shore International Women’s Network. Seena ran her first Chicago Marathon in 2009.
G. Riley Mills
G. Riley Mills experience as a children’s book author, communications consultant, and business owner provides a unique all-around perspective to The Bookwallah Organization’s mission. G. Riley Mills is a co-founder of Pinnacle Performance Company and has trained executives from major companies across North America, Asia and Europe. He has worked as a professional actor and writer since 1987. Television & Film credits include episodes of ER, Early Edition, Missing Persons, The Home Coming, the award-winning 35 Miles from Normal, which premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. As a writer, Mills and his frequent collaborator, Ralph Covert, have twice been awarded the Joseph Jefferson Citation (Chicago’s Tony Award) for Best New Work. Mills began writing for the professional theatre at age 17. Since then his work has been produced on stages across the country and as far away as Australia. He has two published books, Sawdust and Spangles and A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas. Mills received a BFA from The Theatre School, DePaul University. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Ranjeet Nambiar’s passion and experience in digital marketing and innovation, presence and knowledge of developing nations is invaluable as the BookWallah Organization moves forward with its mission in countries such as India. Ranjeet Nambiar is a Co-founder and Director at Urja Communications in Mumbai, India. He has over 20 years of experience as an advertising professional and as an Entrepreneur. He is acknowledged by clients and by associates alike as being “a high energy partner who provokes you to think anew”. In his ‘after office hours’ he has taught advertising to MBA students. At Urja, Ranjeet has worked with companies such as Citibank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Tata, and AIG.
Chetan Ghai’s expertise in global marketing & sales strategy will prove invaluable as Bookwallah continues to expand its global development and revenue initiatives. Chetan is currently Chief Product Officer at ShopperTrak. Chetan previously served as Sr. Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Strategy for CCC Information Services in Chicago, Illinois U.S.A. He is a 17- year veteran of the financial services, consulting, and software industry and is acknowledged as a visionary, motivational, and strategic leader. Chetan and his wife Karin reside in Chicago, Illinois. Chetan and his wife’s support of Bookwallah during the most critical stage- start-up- has allowed Bookwallah to continue to pursue its programs. They strongly believe in giving back to society and are also active donors and participants in other organizations including ASPCA, Avon Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the Gift Theater. Chetan has aspirations to start his own company. Chetan earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical and biomedical engineering in 1994 from Duke University and is a member of the Duke Alumni Association.
Bookwallah Board of Advisors
Eric G. Grossman is a 1988 graduate of The John Marshall Law School. He is a partner at the law firm of Bailey Borlack Nadelhoffer LLC, with a practice focused on commercial real estate and business transactions, including formation, acquisitions and divestitures, shareholder and employee relations, and information technology. From 2003 – 2007 he was General Counsel to Physician Support Systems (a medical billing services company) and OBT Global (which provides SAP enterprise resource planning services). Eric currently serves Board Chair for Access Living, a disability rights advocacy organization.
Dr. Bren Ortega Murphy
Dr. Bren Ortega Murphy has been a faculty member in Communication Studies at Loyola University Chicago since 1984. Bren’s experience in education , design of storytelling programs, and belief that stories can be used to improve communications between differentcultures are a few reasons why she is serving on Bookwallah Organization’s Board of Advisors. Bren holds a joint appointment in both the School of Communication and the Women’s Studies/Gender Studies program in the College of Arts & Sciences. In 1996 Bren received the Sujack Award for teaching excellence in 1996. She has been the department chair for Communication, an Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Director of Women’s Studies and interim Graduate director for Women’s Studies/Gender Studies. Dr. Murphy’s research areas include gender representation in popular culture, gender socialization, the glass ceiling phenomena, communication ethics, and service learning. In addition to numerous conference articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of two books, Hegemony in the Unites States [with Lee Artz] and Voices of Strong Democracy [with David Droge]. Dr. Murphy earned her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Dr. James Garbarino holds the Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology and was founding Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. Previously he was Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Development and Co-Director of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University. Dr. Garbarino has served as consultant or advisor to a wide range of organizations, including the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse to the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect and the FBI. Books he has authored or edited include:The Positive Psychology of Personal Transformation: Leveraging Resilience for Life Change; Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience; See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It; Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence; Parents Under Siege: Why You Are the Solution, Not the Problem, in Your Child’s Life plus more. Dr. Garbarino has received countless awards and also serves as a consultant to television, magazine and newspaper reports on children and families. For a more information on Dr. Garbarino’s background, please visit:http://www.apbspeakers.com/speaker/james-garbarino
Dr. Thomas Shirley
Dr. Shirley is currently a lecturer in the Lucas Graduate and School of Business and Department of Psychology at San José State University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California at Davis with an emphasis on international psychological testing. He was also awarded a Masters of Business Administration in International Business and a Masters of Science in Computer Information Systems from the University of Miami in Coral Gables (Miami), Florida.
Prior to his role at SJSU, he also held roles as a mergers and acquisitions advisor and executive with McKinsey, KPMG, and General Electric (GE) across North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
His personal and professional experiences have led him to his current teaching focus and research projects related to strategic management, international business, global leadership, and the industrial/organizational psychology.
Bookwallah Associate Board
Barbara Al-Saigh Associate Board, United States
Acting as the current Associate Board President, Barbara aligned herself with the cause late in 2012 along with her friend Laura Ferguson. From 9-5 you can find Barbara with her property manager hat on and outside of that she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, and meeting new people. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s in International Business and Marketing and serves as an active member of the Association of Condominium, Townhome, and Homeowner Association (ACHTA) as well as a member of the Community Association Institute (CAI). Barbara believes the core mission of Bookwallah goes far beyond books, libraries, and literacy. To her, Bookwallah is about transformation and making a deep-rooted, positive difference in a child’s life. It’s about showing children a means for inspiration, not just telling them about it. Always having had a global mindset, working with Bookwallah gives Barbara the opportunity to tap into skill sets for which her job doesn’t necessarily allow. She is excited to be part of an amazing cause that encourages children to dream beyond what they see every day and imagine a world of endless possibilities.
Laura Ferguson Associate Board, United States
Laura currently works in corporate marketing at Bank Administration Institute concentrating most of her time on event marketing. Having grown up in Rockford IL where her high school years were spent working part time at a children’s bookstore, Laura obtained her Bachelors of Science from Illinois State University with a double major in International Business and Marketing and now resides in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Through her combined love of soccer (American Football) and reading she discovered Bookwallah through her recreational sports league LTS (Live to Support) Chicago, when she registered her team to play in support of the organization. In her spare time Laura enjoys traveling, hanging out with family and friends, trying new restaurants and exploring everything this great city of Chicago has to offer.
Sandhya Sudhakar Associate Board, United States
Sandhya joined Bookwallah in 2014 and brings Sales & Marketing experience to the organization from her career at Procter & Gamble. She is currently in the Retail pillar for Procter & Gamble, and has worked working across many categories and retail business models. Sandhya graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Marketing & International Business. She is an avid traveler and loves exploring the Chicago restaurant scene. She joined Bookwallah because she was inspired by the founder Seena's personal story and believes the organization gives children a chance to change their path in life through empowerment and hope.
Kumar Thason Associate Board, United States
With close to 20 years of technology experience, Kumar has worked for IBM and Hitachi Data Systems as well as forming start ups focused on building niche software products. Currently Kumar is an Advisory Consultant with EMC Corp, and specializes in Data Center strategies such as data migrations and compute virtualization. Kumar has a bachelor's degree in Information Systems from Loyola University in Chicago, as well as hold various industry certifications from IBM, EMC, and PMI. Kumar also enjoys attending and speaking at technology events both large and small to help foster technological innovation.
Kumar has been an Associate Board member at Bookwallah since 2012, however he has been involved during the early days when Seena Jacob formed the organization. Bookwallah's mission and message has been something that Kumar and his wife Shaheen try to instill in their three young children. In his free time, Kumar enjoys attending his kids' events & activities, traveling, and exploring new places throughout the City of Chicago.
Deep Patel Associate Board, United States
Deep is a Principal and Consulting Actuary with Milliman Inc. He is a leading expert in the area of financial risk management for life insurance industry. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on topics related to risk management, hedging, capital management and product development.
Deep has a degree in Mathematics and Actuarial Science from the University of Waterloo and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. Deep is also an Associate Board Member of Bookwallah. Deep became involved with Bookwallah after attending a speech given by Seena Jacob and seeing how passionate she was about helping children. Deep has focused on raising awareness and fundraising in the Chicago area. He has also had the pleasure of visiting several Bookwallah libraries and spent time with the children attending the libraries.
Nishant Chavan Associate Board, India
Nishant Chavan is currently working as a Consultant - Research for ACCESS Health International, where he is helping to develop a surveillance system for tuberculosis care in Mumbai and Patna. He serves as a local coordinator and a researcher, with a focus on the local healthcare market. He was a Teach For India fellow and taught in a low-income school in Pune. He also collaborated with Haiyya, a startup nonprofit organization focused on democracy and civic engagement initiatives, to develop the Citizenship Education Program for students in Mumbai. He is selected as a Volunteer for Rio Olympics 2016 to be held in Brazil. Nishant was selected as TEDMED Front-Line Scholar in 2013 and also he is the first ever TEDx event organizer (TEDxSagarli) from the suburban named 'Dombivli', near Mumbai. He has Master's degree in Health Sciences from the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences at the University of Pune.
In free time, Nishant loves to click pics of food and nature. He loves to read articles on psychology, philosophy and start-up culture across the globe. He is a die hard fan of Vadapav, Chai and Mumbai!
Ankita Gupta Associate Board, India
Ankita is an Advisory Research and Due Diligence Analyst at Dasra. She conducts pre-investment due diligence of social businesses and non-profits in India. She also carries out research and writes reports and white papers on various development issues to drive investment in social space.
Prior to joining Dasra, Ankita worked at JP Morgan for two years in the Equity Research space, building financial models, writing research reports and providing buy/sell recommendations to the investors. She graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering.
Outside work, Ankita enjoys travelling and exploring book cafes in and around Mumbai and Delhi. She loves to be part of Bookwallah which is engaged in improving the lives of thousands of disadvantaged kids through the medium of story books.
Sukalp Tipre Associate Board, India
Amy Governale Associate Board, United States
Amy Governale, MA is a doctoral candidate in the Developmental Psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on the relation between participation in organized activities and the academic, psychological, and behavioral well-being among low-income, ethnically diverse adolescents. In addition to her research interests, she has extensive experience in survey methodology, advanced statistics, and program evaluation. For her dissertation, she is currently collaborating with the Chicago Park District to examine the role of summer programs preventing problem behaviors and promoting resiliency among some of Chicago's most vulnerable youth.
As an Associate Board for Bookwallah Organization, she primarily works on the program evaluation and grant applications to ensure Bookwallah is utilizing rigorous research methodology in the application of their mission and program evaluation.