Sheetal Acharya: Championing women’s rights as cross-generational and cross-cultural

In today’s uncertain political and cultural landscape, Sheetal Acharya is leading the charge to make a better world for everyone. A long-time community activist, Acharya has led many charitable causes for the advancement of women’s rights and the South Asian community. She has been a driving force behind many notable events in Greater Boston, including co-chairing the South Asian Coalition of the Boston Women’s March for America in January 2017, and becoming the first National President for the Network of Indian Professionals of North America (NetIP).

Professionally, Acharya is a management consultant for Boston, MA consulting firm Slalom, leading corporate teams through large-scale transformations by focusing mainly on change management, organizational behavior, and leadership development. She brings these same talents to her community activism, where she is on planning committees and chairing initiatives such as Girl Rising India, a non-profit dedicated to bringing education to young girls in India.

She has also been on the hosting commitees for notable galas such as AIF’s Bowties and Bangles gala, and Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Gala. She is the incoming President for Happy Hollow Elementary School PTO as well.

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

Sheetal Acharya: I am a management consultant and change leader at Slalom.  I have over 20 years of experience in assisting global organizations in bringing their strategic initiatives to life.  I lead corporate teams through large-scale transformations by focusing mainly on change management, organizational behavior, and leadership development.  I enjoy assisting organizations to implement new strategies and technologies and to collaborate with their employees to manage the changes effectively.  Where you work is just as important as the work you do.  I look forward to working with my Slalom colleagues every day.  Our core values push everyone to be his or her best self, and we have the ability to chart our own career paths.

Sheetal Acharya

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

SA: Outside of my professional endeavors, I have a long history of leadership and community activism.  This past year, I co-chaired the launch of Girl Rising India in Boston for which I also served on the National Advisory Board.  I served on the planning committee for the Boston Women’s March for America and co-chaired the South Asian Coalition for the march.  I was also just named incoming President of the Happy Hollow Elementary School PTO for the 2017-2018 school year.

I served on Host Committees for several notable events in the past, including the AIF Bowties and Bangles Gala, Akshaya Patra Foundation Gala, and the Global India Fund Gala.  I was also the first National President for the Network of Indian Professionals of North America (NetIP).

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

SA: Issues affecting Indian-Americans and increasing awareness of women’s rights are two topics that are very near and dear to me.  Over the last year, I am most proud that the events that I chaired elevated awareness about causes focusing on women – whether related to Greater Boston or India.  We created a loud voice for South Asian women through our participation in the Women’s March.  Women’s rights are cross-generational and cross-cultural.  It is important that we support women around the world in standing up for our rights.  New England is home to amazing people who have the influence to affect change.  We should do more to mobilize them to donate their time and money.

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

SA: As a working mom, I consider most of my free time as family time.  My husband, Nish, and I are always chasing after our two, high-energy boys (9 and 5).  Outside of that, I enjoy travel…as long as a nice hotel and spa are involved!  My top 3 places are Hawaii, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Paris.  And, when I just want to “veg out,” I’m content binge watching procedural dramas like Law & Order.

INE: Your favorite books?

SA: I am a fan of American classics by authors such as Steinbeck, Lee, Twain, and Faulkner.  In terms of recent books, I highly recommend “Milk and Honey” by feminist poet Rupi Kaur.

INE: Your favorite quotes?

SA: There are so many to choose, but here are some favorites:

“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.” – Clinton

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Tagore

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness.  Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate.  Only love can do that.” – King

INE: Who inspires you the most?

SA: My children

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

SA: I would be most interested in meeting and learning from female trailblazers in history – Susan B. Anthony, Lucille Ball, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, and Coco Chanel.

INE: What are your core values that you try to live by?

SA: My core values are simple – loyalty to family and friends, be honest and authentic, exhibit empathy, remember your roots, and always lend a helping hand.

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