Co FounderPaul Walsh - I co-founded Shanti Life with my wife to help poor entrepreneurs in India get their businesses off the ground with low-interest microfinance loans, mentoring and education in basic literacy skills.
After raising just over $1M in seed funding from 14 angels across Silicon Valley, Russia, Dubai and London, I’m building the next generation Internet Security Company for smart devices, called MetaCert. With the biggest data set of its kind worldwide, MetaCert helps families, schools and enterprises provide better protection against harmful and inappropriate content. Now focused on solving the security threats behind mobile apps that use WebView.
In 2004 I became an investor and Partner in one of Dublin’s most glamorous Michelin star Indian restaurants called Jaipur in Malahide, Dublin.
In 2003 I founded a software testing company called Segala, generating $2.2M revenue in year one. It was profitable within months and later became one of the most respected test houses in the mobile industry. Segala was the first test house worldwide, to become an Associate member of the GSM Association.
I started my Internet career when I joined AOL as a young startup during the mid 90’s. I started as a technician and soon after I became the first Technical Accounts Manager and International Beta Coordinator in Europe.
I spent 12 years in the UK where I was Chair of the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) for 3 years and Advisor to the British Council on its Digital Pioneer Program with Hong Kong and Advisor to its Creative Entrepreneur Program with India. I gave regular speaking engagements throughout Europe and was a judge at many startup awards. I’ve spoken at numerous Universities including Hass Business School Berkley, University College Dublin and National University of Ireland in Galway.
I have been Advisor to numerous tech startups in the UK and Ireland as well as Angels Den, Europe’s largest Angel Network. I helped to stimulate the startup ecosystem in the UK by creating some of the most widely attended networking events for entrepreneurs and investors. I am currently on the Board of iTagged, an artificial intelligence platform with social applications.
I have contributed to more than 10 Industry technical standards and specifications and was one of the seven original founders of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative and I co-instigated the creation of the W3C standard for content labeling, formally replacing PICS in 2009.
CEO, Shanti Life India
CEO, Shanti Life IndiaSanjay has been a long time advisor to our activities in the Gujarat region in helping to alleviate poverty through microfinance, health and education. He is instrumental in collaborating with our partners and managing Shanti’s local activities. Sanjay brings 25 years of experience in the development sector with leading NGOs of India and specifically developing and conducting field based projects and programmes. His hands on experience, local understanding of the issues and trust of the communities make him an invaluable asset to our team. Sanjay works with IIM Ahmedabad, focusing on Child Health projects and has consulted with several organizations (including CEE, SAATH, FRHS, and CHETNA) in providing capacity building, material development and documentation for training and reporting. Sanjay holds a Masters of Social Work and BA and has an expertise in film.
Board Member India
Board Member IndiaJitender is a lawyer specializing in Indian corporate & tax laws. Jitender is law graduate from University of Delhi, India and is also a member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators, The United Kingdom. Jitender previously worked with top Indian law firms. Presently, Jitender is partner of Mumbai based law firm ArcIndo Law. Jitender has vast experience on the Indian laws and business environment and his name is included in the list of Recognized Legal Practitioners by Chambers & Partners – Asia Pacific 2013 for ‘Private Equity in India’.
Funding AdvisorJames is a Management Consultant with Kingston Smith LLP and supports Shanti Life with fundraising advice. With a breadth of experience from working with charities over the last decade, James is a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School and was named as a ‘Rising Star’ in Civil Society’s 25 under 35 feature.
Global Advisor, Chairwoman Canada, Director USA
Global Advisor, Chairwoman Canada, Director USASuneeta completed a Masters in Social Work from Delhi School of Social Work, India, in1977, followed by a course in Personnel Administration and Industrial Relations from Delhi University, India, in 1978. There after she worked in the areas of child welfare, child sponsorship, adult education, community organization and health care. She has more than 35 years of experience while working with different organizations like SOS Children’s Villages, CASP PLAN Project, Shramik Vidyapeeth (now: Jan Shikshan Sansthan) in India and Alberta Health Services in Canada.
For last 16 years she has been with Alberta Health Services, Canada and has done extensive work in the areas of Social Work practice in health care delivery, concern resolution, privacy and external collaborations..
Along side her professional engagements, since 1992, Suneeta has extensively engaged in volunteering. She supported community based non-profit organizations e.g. P.A.T.C.H Place and Indo-Canadian Women’s Association (I.C.W.A.). She participated in several focus groups in support of constructive social change. She has supported cultural activities through her work with Edmonton 2010 Raas Garba Festival and Edmonton Raga-Mala Music Society. She has also held board positions with Edmonton Raga-Mala Music Society, I.C.W.A. and P.A.T.C.H Place..
Suneeta visits India frequently and is again engaging in social development in India. She was the one who first inspired Sheetal to go to India in 1996 to volunteer at the SOS Children’s Villages.
Global Advisor, Director Canada
Global Advisor, Director CanadaMrudula is Sheetal’s mother and most influenced her at a young age to get involved in community efforts especially giving. Mrudula started the Alberta Gujarati Association of Alberta in 1976 which has now evolved to over 4000 families. Mrudula spent most of her career working for the Alberta Government as Accounting Officer first for Municipal Affairs and then for Public Works Supply and Services. She has made numerous field trips to India to meet Shanti partners and is responsible for ensuring our model and numbers align with our recycling of donations and scaling the operations.
Board Member USA
Board Member USASue Malone is the founder of Strategies For Small Business where she helps people obtain access to capital in the form of small business start up loans so that they can expand their businesses. She is the undisputed, number one SBA loan provider for the Community Express Loan Program in the nation. As of April 2008, she is responsible for closing over 20,000 loans which are all grass roots serving all communities across the USA.
Sue dispenses a plethora of capital through innumerable loan workshops to: organizations, groups, churches, associations, chambers of commerce, non-profits, colleges, franchises, and entrepreneurial organizations. She is proud, along with other banks, to work directly with the SBA, as well as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), Women’s Business Centers, and SBA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s).
An inspirational speaker, she has been highlighted in countless speaking engagements, as well as in newspaper articles, magazines, television, radio, conventions, and CNN. Together with her numerous awards and with the assistance of the lenders she has partnered with, she has been responsible for their achieving the #1 SBA lender status in West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Hawaii, North Carolina, and in the top five lenders category in other districts.
Sue Malone has a degree in accounting and an MBA in finance. As such, she brings not only the requisite education and expertise, but also the proven commitment to care deeply for the success of this Nation’s small businesses.
Director CanadaBrent McDonough has been an educator for his entire career with broad experience in both middle and high schools. He has chaired, advised, and served on various committees for the Alberta Minister of Education and has taught curriculum courses at the university level. Brent is currently a Field Experiences Associate/Sessional in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, facilitating the practicum component for education students and engaged in special projects for the Dean. Next year, Brent will also be coordinating the Internationally Educated Teachers Bridging Project. Globally, Brent has extensive experience with the International Baccalaureate Organization and is a member of the IB Educator Network (IB Americas)
Among his many community activities, Brent has served on the Senate of the University of Alberta, Chaired the Edmonton Public Library Board of Trustees, held an executive position on the University of Alberta Alumni Council , and was a long time board member of a multicultural fundation serving the needs of south Edmonton communities.
Hernish J. Acharya
Hernish J. Acharya
Director CanadaHernish specialises in medicine, entrepreneurship, and music. Having received his MD in 2007 and becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 2012, he practices Rehabilitation Medicine in Edmonton, Canada at the renowned Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital serving people with neuromuscular diseases, amputations, and burn injuries. He revived the Burn Rehabilitation Program in 2013 and has since been the Medical Lead of Burn Rehabilitation in Edmonton. He is a founding member of the Multidisciplinary Neuromuscular Clinic at the University of Alberta, a unique approach to complex care for these patients. He has authored several peer-reviewed publications and has presented his work at many international meetings.
Having noted the importance of timely patient access to healthcare, he co-founded CancellationSpot.com, a software company which has helped thousands of patients to access their healthcare much more rapidly by solving critical system-wide inefficiencies.
Hernish has received several awards and accolades for his work in both medicine and entrepreneurship, having been granted Greenlight Status and named a Global Entrepreneur by UK Trade and Investment in 2015 and having won the opportunity for a one-on-one public coaching session with the eminent change leader, Helen Bevan, Chief Transformational Officer of NHS.
Hernish dedicates much of his free time to his passion of learning the exquisite art of the classical Indian hand drums, the tabla.
Director UKAfter Graduating from U.M.I.S.T, Manchester with a BSc in Management Sciences, Shamir worked for Accenture dealing with FTSE 100 companies, including Shell, Centrica and DeBeers. In 2004, he left the City and established The East India Tea House that makes premium quality loose-leaf teas. The company works with a number of well-known brands, supplying to the likes of Caprice Holdings, Conran Restaurants, Soho House Group, Ren Skincare, Harvey Nichols and the Lanesborough Hotel. The company has been recognized for its innovative approach, winning awards for its signature blends as well as being the first company in the UK to develop a tea sommelier-training course. Capitalizing on his experience within the food sector, in 2005, Shamir set up three coffee shops and provides general consultancy services to a number of start up and established brands.
Identifying a gap in the market for branded impulse buy snack items, in 2006, Shamir diversified into the packaging and distribution of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and confectionary products. Icone International Ltd packs for numerous UK high street brand including operators such as Itsu, Apostrophe, Yo! Sushi and Curzon Cinemas. He further diversified his interests Swiss Pack UK which is a market leader in Europe in the manufacturing of stand up resealable pouches. With a modern production facility in Gujarat, India and network offices in Asia and the US, the company is widely recognized as carrying the largest range of stock pouches in the World. Drawing upon his experience in the packaging sector, in 2007 Shamir co-founded, Enviropack Ltd. The company specialises in the supply and distribution of environmentally friendly forms of packaging.
Recognised in the Hospitality Industry, Shamir has been featured in numerous publications and has also been awarded The Hamptons Newcomer of the Year Award 2007 at the Asian Business Awards. Shamir is looking to draw upon his varied entrepreneurial background as well as his experience specifically in dealing with companies and institutions in India to support the goals and objectives of Shanti Microfinance.
Board Member USA
Board Member USAJohn has provided Shanti with guidance in the early days of setting up in the UK. John graduated from Princeton in 1970 with an AB in English and ten years later, received his MBA from Stanford Business School in 1980. During the interim, John was a professional athlete, having been drafted in the first round of the National Basketball Association’s annual college draft in 1970, played six years and retired in 1976 from the Seattle SuperSonics. In 1989 John founded Hummer Winblad, with Ann Winblad, John’s prior investments include Octel, Wind River Systems, Powersoft (where Mitchell Kertzman was the CEO), Extensity, Global Center and Employease. He currently sits on the boards of Baynote, and Birst.
Director UKMorlai was appointed a Director and Trustee of Shanti Life in August 2013. He is a Chartered Certified Accountant and specialises in most aspects of charity finance including both general and Churches. In addition, he works with private sector companies.
Before he set up Moracle in 2008, he has worked with over 60 diverse charities and not for profit organisations on financial matters including: external and internal audits, due diligence work, systems and procedures reviews, investigations, benchmarking, financial reporting and governance.
After all his experience, knowledge and qualifications gained over the years in his former employments, Morlai felt that he could make a career by training accounting graduates in helping smaller charity clients, and also by assisting with management information systems, accountancy matters as well as audit matters. So he decided to leave haysmacintyre in 2008 to set up his own audit firm called Moracle. As a success, Morlai has now been running Moracle for nearly 6 years with over 80 clients in the charity or non-charity sectors.
In 2010, he also set up Moracle Foundation as a vehicle for Moracle, the Firm to invest some of its resources into a charitable venture that gives back to the communities in which it operates. The vision of Moracle Foundation is to provide realistic and sustainable vocational training opportunities to accountancy trainees and graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds, in a manner that augments local and community benefits.
Hundreds of Colleges, Universities and specialist training and distance learning institutions provide academic training to prepare accounting technicians and accountancy students. After passing the different stages of the academic exams, graduates/students need to build up a vocational record documenting their practical work experience covering different competency areas. This vocational training is provided by accountancy firms with the required portfolio of senior qualified staff and practice licenses. The large multinational accountancy firms provide trainee contracts, paying attractive salaries. For most trainees from disadvantaged backgrounds, training is provided by small accountancy practices/firms.
There is a dearth of schemes that purposefully recruit and place these trainees with a view to getting them fully qualified, through an efficient and socially beneficial framework. Moracle Foundation operates within a niche by providing work placement and vocational training to disadvantaged trainees, who would work under supervision from qualified and experienced accountants, to provide subsidised accounting support to community organisations and social enterprises.
Morlai uses much of his spare time working for voluntary organisations and he is also a Steward at his local Church.
FellowVivian has conducted a social impact study on behalf of Shanti while she spent time in India working directly with the beneficiaries. She currently works at Google in Ireland as Account Strategist for the German market. Prior to this she worked with Mrs. Doyle’s team company promoting the sales of ethically sourced tea in the UK and Ireland where she set up an online presence and increased sales by 20% over six months. She has spent time working with widows in Guatemala to develop and sell textiles and has skills in project management, marketing and communications and strategy. Vivian is a graduate of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Dublin, Ireland, ESB Business School Reutlingen, Germany and Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE).
Special Projects UK
Special Projects UKMonik is implementing a sustainability initiative with Shanti to enable the artisans to scale their businesses and develop textiles and fashion items to be distributed globally. After joining Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at university, she has lead a team of over 80 student members and created sustainability projects in London, Uganda and Gujarat. She has set up a honey making co-operative for 185 farmers in northern Uganda, creating sustainable income generating projects along with business training for the farmers to improve their standard of living. She works with homeless individuals alongside SIFE partners to create social enterprises that use food surpluses from major supermarkets to create healthy food to generate income and boost their employability skills. During her time at SIFE, Monik has worked with major firms in the City to improve their CSR strategy as well as securing sponsorships for her projects with various charities in London. Monik has conducted field visits to meet the artisans in Gujarat. She graduated with a Law Degree from Kings College London and has a deep interest in social enterprise.
Special Projects UK
Special Projects UKRohana is instrumental in developing a sustainability model for the artisans and craftsmen in Gujarat so that they can scale their businesses. She is also responsible for Shanti’s internship programme globally as well as liaising with the legal community on behalf of Shanti. She is a member of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) where she has promoted sustainability projects globally. Throughout her time at university and through joining many different societies she has gained a passion for working on social enterprise projects, combining this with her love for travelling and fascination for Indian culture and history. Rohana has made several field trips to Gujarat to meet with the recipients. She is a recent graduate in Law at King’s college London in 2012 and seeks to pursue a career in the field where she can make an international impact.
LiaLarreaLia Larrea is a fashion designer who focuses on creating women’s RTW clothing and accessories. Born in Ecuador, she is greatly influenced by her cultural background and society. Lia’s love for fashion began at a young age as she would spend her free time drawing and painting. This encouraged her to pursue a career in the arts and evolve as a designer. She enjoys working with a mix of media to bring detail and characteristics to her work.
Lia has been involved with Shanti to help bring out other people’s art. Ideas are born and at many times lost, but if given the opportunity to shine they will not fade away. This is one of the goals Lia is working towards along with Shanti. Not only to bring the beauty and craftsmanship to a variety of designs, but to help people in India have their ideas shown.