Megha Desai: Cultivating Dignity Through Health, Education and Vocational Programs

WALTHAM, MA- Through the Desai Foundation, Megha Desai has cultivated dignity for women and children through such programs as the foundation’s sanitary napkin program, vocational sewing program, children’s health camp, science high school, and community development and outreach programs on college campuses in Gujarat, Boston and Harlem, NY.

Desai is the current president of the Desai Foundation, where she has helped reshape the focus, programming, and overall brand of the Foundation since 2006. She is also the founder and principal of New York-based Marketing Strategy Dharma (MSD), a brand development and branded entertainment firm.

Desai has worked at some of the most prestigious advertising and communications agencies in the world including Wieden+Kennedy NY, OgilvyEntertainment, Anomaly, and BBH NY, shaping brands such as Unilever’s Axe Bodyspray, ING DIRECT, Coca-Cola products, and HP.

A devoted philanthropist, Desai has been devoted to public service, as exemplified by her many projects throughout the years. She continues her work with Columbia Community Impact, an umbrella organization at Columbia University, which develops and executes community development programs in the Morningside Heights area in New York City. She serves as an advisor for many non-profits, start-ups and political campaigns.

Megha Desai

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?

Megha Desai: The Desai Foundation empowers women and children through community programming in health and livelihood in Gujarat, Boston and Harlem. We are in the business of cultivating dignity through programs like our sanitary napkin program, our vocational sewing program, our children’s health camp, our science high school, and community development and outreach programs on college campuses. MSD is a branding company that helps companies wanting to have an impact connect with the right parters and tell their story. I love the people I work with and how creative we get to be daily. I feel honored to serve the thousands of people whose lives we enrich every day through our programs.

INE: To which charitable, community and professional group do you belong and why?

MD: I belong to several – as I believe it’s important to have a strong and diverse network. For most people, these communities are about getting ahead, but for me these communities have always been a platform for providing and receiving the support we all need to grow and succeed.  Some examples are, Summit Series – a group of change makers and entrepreneurs, TiE, NEXUS Global, a group focused on making the world a better place, and many more. And despite living in NYC – I spend a lot of time with the South Asian cultural community in Boston.

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

MD: I enjoy singing, podcasts, skiing and I am a die-hard New England Patriots fan. And I love my nephews!

INE: In what way do you feel you have positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?

MD: I love being a connector – connecting the right people, helping them fulfill their dreams or see their ideas come to life. It’s one of the fundamental tenants of the work we do – helping to cultivate dignity within people, so they can fulfill their dreams. I hope I bring this to all aspects of my work.

INE: Your rare talent?

MD: Singing is something that I have done my whole life. It keeps me centered and joyful. I also meditate on a regular basis. And I think my other rare talent is my curiosity. It keeps me motivated and learning.

INE: Your favorite books?

MD: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

INE: Your favorite quotes?

MD: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it” – Confucius

“Where there is love there is life.” – Gandhi

INE: Who inspires you the most?

MD: My Father.

INE: The one person you would like to meet and why?

MD: Though I was lucky enough to meet her when I was a girl, I would love to meet my great grandmother in her 30s or 40s. The stories I hear about her from those in one of the villages we serve are so remarkable – I think it would be an honor to meet her in her prime.

INE: Your core value you try to live by?

MD: My values are rooted in my religious values, in my family and in my unending faith in love.

 

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