Supriya Saurabh, president and Governing Board Member of Saheli, has been associated with Saheli for many years and has actively participated in the organization’s community outreach events, support groups, computer literacy classes and media communications.
She is an engineer by qualification and worked as Assistant Professor with Kurukshetra University in India. She previously collaborated with a professor at John Hopkins University as Research Scientist in the field of Neuroimaging and Neurospectroscopy. An advocate of gender equality and women empowerment, Ms. Saurabh is passionate about Saheli’s mission. In her professional life, she works as Quality and Compliance leader in a health technology company.
INDIA New England: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it.
Supriya Saurabh: I have the privilege of serving as President of the board at Saheli. Twenty two years ago, our founding father, Dr. Kaplesh Kumar, then President of IAGB laid the foundation of this organization with our co-founders, who were on a mission of support the women and families in crisis within our community.
When I first begun volunteering with Saheli, I was intrigued by the commitment and zeal of the Sahelis working tirelessly to support the South Asian community. Their true devotion to the cause motivated me as well to serve the community and it has been a pure joy to work with the highly talented women and men of this community. As fellow board members, advisory committee and staff members together we offer free services to address the challenges faced by South Asian community members.
INE: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?
SS: I belong at Saheli. I was drawn to Saheli by the incredible efforts and passion of two charismatic woman of the community. Our co-founders, Usha Vakil, President Emeritus and Gouri Banerjee, Past President who has inspired many young community members like me by their selfless service and vision to empower South Asian women and families to lead safe and healthy lives. Saheli provides direct services for domestic violence response and prevention needs to address the physical, mental health and safety needs of women. As an advocate of gender equality and women empowerment, Saheli’s mission is close to my heart and I am indebted to the Saheli leaders to establish a platform for us to serve the community.
INE: What are your hobbies and interests?
SS: I enjoy meeting people and learning about different cultures, places, food and languages, I also enjoy traveling and exploring new places with my husband. I am currently learning Mandarin and Portuguese from my co-workers in professional life.
INE: In what way do you feel you have positively influenced or served the local community, your company/organization or professional field?
SS: Saheli has helped thousands of women in its twenty two years of existence of which 152 people were in 2017 alone. Saheli has made tremendous progress and ventured into many new programs in past couple years. Saheli initiated legal workshops in 2017 with the help of our supporter and adviser Trupti Patel (Trupti N Patel Associates). We were also successful in launching our new parenting workshops under the leadership of Dr. Maya Ragavan and Dr. Uma Millner from BU.
Through our economic empowerment program and computer literacy classes, Saheli has helped many women and men on their path to financial independence. Saheli also help women and youth with skills training, career planning and creates social and cultural volunteer and staff opportunities. I am thrilled to have recruited two new Executive Directors, interns, staff members and many volunteers with the help of board in past one year which has strengthened our structure and program delivery.
INE: What are your favorite books?
SS: Although I do not always get a chance to read from cover to cover, I keep copious supply of short articles and words of wisdom accessible (thanks to smart phones) catching few moments between work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Build to Last (Successful habits of visionary companies) by Jim Collins very much. I enjoy reading articles focusing on leadership, organizational chance, negotiation, strategy, operations and managing teams.
INE: Your favorite quotes?
SS: This quote from Vince Lombardi is etched in my mind: “Perfection is not attainable but we chase perfection we can catch excellence”.
Growing up, my father instilled many of the teachings of visionary leader, Swami Vivekananda, one of which I fondly remember “All the power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that; don’t believe that you are weak, Stand up and express the divinity within you”.
INE: Who inspires you the most?
SS: I draw inspirations from a variety of things. Mother Nature has been a big stimulator for me. From a small fly to mighty mountains or beautiful rivers, all could inspire in subtle yet powerful ways. Though my biggest source of inspiration is my Mother-in-Law for her relentless efforts, perseverance and devotion to her family and work. She is a powerhouse of energy and is the epitome of love, sacrifice and strength. I aspire to be like her by emulating her profound determination, enthusiasm and adoration towards all.
INE: What core values do you try to live by?
SS: A Will to Win, Team up to Excel and Empower the People are my life mantras. I believe in servant leadership by putting the needs of others first and helping people develop and perform. John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I seek to serve the community in additional ways in years to come.