Leadership 2018-04-05T16:08:55+00:00

Meet Our Staff

<strong>Alison Karasz</strong>
Alison KaraszCo-Founder & Executive Director
Alison is a cultural clinical psychologist and health researcher. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Alison began her research with South Asian immigrant women in the early 1990s. She co-founded Sapna NYC to provide services and develop community based research programs.
<strong>Diya Basu-Sen</strong>
Diya Basu-SenManaging Director
Diya brings with her over 10 years of management experience, both in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Before joining Sapna, she worked in the education sector, focusing on staff management & development, training, and program & curriculum development. Prior to that, she also worked with HIV/AIDS awareness in Harlem and managed a Soup Kitchen in Morningside Heights. Diya received a B.A. degree in Sociology and Premedical Sciences from Barnard College of Columbia University. She also earned a Master of Science in Global Health and Population from the Harvard T.S. Chan School of Public Health. She is passionate about the intersection of education and health and believes strongly in the need for accessible, quality programming in both areas in order to foster successful communities.
<strong>T. Syeda Showkat</strong>
T. Syeda ShowkatAssistant Managing Director
Syeda works closely with staff and management to help oversee finance, marketing, communications, operations and donor support. Before joining Sapna, Syeda spent a year and a half in South Korea teaching and volunteering with local non-profit organizations. She has a breadth of job and internship experience in the international development sector, social entrepreneurship, community outreach and non-profit work. She has worked in organizations based in Morocco, New York City, and South Korea. Syeda received her B.A in International Studies from Kenyon College. She is passionate about sustainable development and community-based organizing. She is passionate about working with the South Asian community and focus on health disparities, access to resources, economic empowerment, and women’s rights.
<strong>Meherun Sardar</strong>
Meherun SardarProgram Associate
In addition to her work at Sapna NYC, Meherun is currently completing her BA in Sociology and Anthropology at Hunter College. As a woman who identifies as a South Asian immigrant, she is highly invested in understanding and developing her South Asian immigrant community, focusing on women’s rights, social and cultural structures, and health disparities. Meherun aspires to become a health researcher and to do global humanitarian work. When she is not attending classes or working with the community, Meherun enjoys planning get-togethers with friends and family.
<strong>Myesha Hossain</strong>
Myesha HossainProgram Associate
Myesha is working actively on multiple programs, including ESL and Saathi (Diabetes Prevention). Growing up in a Bangladeshi community has further motivated her passions to work with members of her cultural background. She hopes to continue working with the South Asian population to help them attain their goals. She earned a BA degree in Psychology at CUNY Hunter College.
<strong>Nahida Ferdoush</strong>
Nahida FerdoushCommunity Health Worker
Nahida facilitates health trainings for community members, including Lead Awareness and Saathi (Diabetes Prevention), and does home health visits for our CHALO! Project on early childhood health. She immigrated to the US from Bangladesh in 2010 and has been living in NYC since. She is passionate about working within her own community to help other immigrants through health programming. She completed a Dietetic Technician Program at LaGuardia Community College and hopes to continue with a degree in Nutrition in the future.
<strong>Nilifa Desilva</strong>
Nilifa DesilvaProject Director, CHALO!
Nilifa works in the Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York. She works on the CHALO! project, a multi-level strategy to reduce pediatric obesity and dental caries risk in South Asian children. Nilifa earned her Master of Public Health degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. She is a proud member of Delta Omega, an honorary society for graduate studies in public health. As an award-winning public health leader, she has been very passionate about health disparities, and has been particularly involved in Maternal and Child Health. She has been an active health professional since she earned her Bachelor’s in Dental Surgery from Mumbai, India.
<strong>Margia Shiriti</strong>
Margia ShiritiStudy Coordinator, CHALO!
Margia works in the Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University on the CHALO! Project. In addition, she is the Creative Director of Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA) and the co-founder of BBWA, an organization which works with immigrants. She is passionate about working with the Bangladeshi community to increase health awareness and education. Margia has a BA in Psychology from Baruch College. In her studies, she has conducted research on child and adult development and will be pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist.

Board of Directors

<strong>Meghana Shah</strong>
Meghana ShahBoard Co-Chair
Meghana is a partner at Eversheds Sutherland LLP in New York City. She has pursued human-rights related pro bono work throughout her career, both representing individuals seeking political asylum in the United States and providing legal services for a number of organizations including Lawyers Without Borders and the Cherish the Children Foundation. Meghana was also a founding member of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut (SABAC). Meghana is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
<strong>Tania Khan</strong>
Tania KhanBoard Co-Chair
Tania is Assistant General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at New York Life Insurance Company. In addition, she is an active member of New York Life’s OGC Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Asian American Employee Networking Group and serves as a mentor in the LEAD Diversity Mentoring Program. She has pursued her interest in issues impacting immigrant communities in the US and abroad for many years, including prior work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the UK, Human Rights Watch and the Immigration Affairs Department of former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Tania is a native New Yorker of Bangladeshi heritage and graduate of Barnard College and Georgetown University Law Center.
<strong>Ravali Parsa</strong>
Ravali ParsaFundraising Chair
Ravali focuses on client services and business development activities at Pantheon Ventures in New York City. She covers large public pension plans throughout the United States. She was previously at Credit Suisse in Investment Banking focusing on Technology, Media and Telecom group. She graduated from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business with a major in Finance and a minor in public policy and management. In addition to her work with Sapna as their Fundraising Chair, Ravali is involved in Student Sponsorship Group and Minds Matter.
<strong>Yasho Lahiri</strong>
Yasho Lahiri
Yasho Lahiri is a Partner in the Corporate group and Global Investment Funds practice in the New York office of DLA Piper LLP (US), where he directs its Institutional Investor Practice. He has almost a quarter century of experience as a business lawyer. Yasho was born in Kolkata, India, and grew up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Lusaka, Zambia. He moved to the United States with his parents during high school, and is intimately familiar with the challenges facing Bengali-speaking and other immigrants to the United States.
<strong>Neeta Jain</strong>
Neeta Jain
Neeta Jain is a Program Manager for the Ad Technology Platform at Amazon. She graduated from University of Delaware in 2006 with a Masters in Computer Science degree. She is deeply committed to improving gender diversity in STEM fields within schools. Currently, she is championing the Girls Who Code partnership at the Amazon New York location. Her other interests include sports and dance, from the perspective of using these activities as tools to change the body language and empower women and young girls with confidence. In 2016, she was part of the host committee for Sapna’s annual fundraiser, Festival of Dreams.
<strong>Debarati Roy</strong>
Debarati Roy
Debarati Roy is a journalist with Bloomberg News, having started in journalism as a freelance reporter in India covering the film industry. She was employed by various publications before joining Bloomberg in 2004. Born and raised in India, she is a graduate of Sophia College in Mumbai, and earned a Masters Degree in Economics from Bombay University. Debarati volunteered with India’s National Social Service, where she taught at an orphanage and has also worked with and counseled patients at drug treatment facilities. She has worked with Kallol Women’s Forum, a non-profit focused on raising money for under-privileged children in India.
<strong>Sehra Eusufzai</strong>
Sehra Eusufzai

Sehra Eusufzai is global head of brand marketing and communications at Openlink. A versatile change agent and problem-solver, Sehra has delivered brand and revenue growth, client success and culture change at technology, professional services and telecommunications companies. Previously, she held leadership roles in marketing, brand and communications at IBM, including positions in South Asia. She earned a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a M.S. in Mass Communications and Journalism studies from the University of Denver. Sehra also is an advisor to early-stage social businesses such as Silicon Harlem and Overture and is a volunteer activity consul with InterNations.
<strong>Jean Burg</strong>
Jean BurgCo-founder/Former Board Member
Jean Burg is a family physician. Dr. Burg is the Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine in the North Bronx Health Care Network. She provides primary care services and conducts community research in the Bronx community. She is a co-founder of Sapna NYC