OUR TEAM

Board of Directors

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GREGORY T. BUIE, M.A.

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Greg has worked as an international development consultant, serving organizations that operate in countries all over the world in building their capacity, designing & implementing programs, and working side-by-side with local partners & communities to help them achieve theirdevelopment goals. He holds a BA in Political Science: International Relations from the University o California, San Diego, and an MA in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Greg first volunteered with Visions in 2004 and has consulted with many nonprofit organizations committed to working with communities in need globally since then, having worked in Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia. In addition to his role with Visions, he serves as a Board member of the American Friends of SOAS and as an Advisory Board member of Rapid Response (India) & Visions Global Empowerment India. He resides in Orange County, California, is passionate about travel, and is working toward his goal of developing fluency in Spanish.

 

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MEERA PATHMARAJAH, Ed.d., ed.m.

Founder

In 2003, Meera Pathmarajah organized and led a team of volunteers to implement a youth leadership and English training program in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, sowing the seeds for the establishment of Visions Global Empowerment. While working with Room to Read from 2005 to 2009 as Asia Regional Program Manager, she helped design educational programs with teams based across 7 countries in South and Southeast Asia. Meera holds a B.A. in Psychology and South Asia Studies from the University of California, Berkeley; an Ed.M. in International Education from Harvard University; and an Ed.D. in International Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. Meera is also the proud mother of 2 young children and speaks Tamil.

 

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Shyamala nagendran, Ph.d., M.sc.

President

Having immigrated to Canada more than three decades ago, Shyamala now resides in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her family. University of Alberta is her Alma mater where she obtained a BSc, MSc, and a PhD in Computing Science and Informatics focusing on medical education. Being a lifelong leaner she passionately believes in education and volunteers in activities related to education supporting underprivileged and disadvantaged children. She is the founder of Natya-Size Fitness/Wellness Club. Established in 2001 and funded by the Alberta government, the club promotes fitness and Wellness within the Asian community in Edmonton. One of her responsibilities is to strategize funding models targeting governments. Shyamala is also a native speaker of Tamil.

 

venita sivamani, m.b.a.

Secretary

Venita has focused her efforts on educational equity and leadership for nearly a decade. She has a keen passion for international education and closing the achievement gap locally and abroad. Venita is a Teach for America alumnus and recently received her MBA from UC Davis. She has led our Northern California/UC Davis Chapter for many years and has volunteered with Visions in India & Ethiopia. Venita’s leadership and tireless efforts have contributed greatly to the growth of our organization. She recently helped launch a new business venture called Dermveda, which is dedicated to the promotion of high quality, holistic information about skin health and wellness, integrating Eastern and Western medical perspectives through education, research, and product review.

 

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Tamara Lafarga, M.S.

Artist, entrepreneur, philanthropist - Tamara channels her boundless energy and diverse skill set into many different ventures. She founded CLJ Designs Inc., an international marketing & advertising company, and Tamarfineart / TaMarGalleries, which specializes in the creation and marketing of fine art for commercial and home enjoyment. She is highly involved in various charities and philanthropic events and organizations, especially in the Rancho Santa Fe/Greater San Diego area where she currently resides, and is highly involved with the Miracle Babies Foundation. Tamara obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison; Master of Science degree from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas; and specialized certificate in Gerontological Counseling from the University of Cailfornia - San Diego. She is also fluent in Spanish.

 

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Zuliya Khawaja, B.S.

Aside from her day job as a real estate broker, Zuliya is also a health & wellness coach and plant-based chef who runs her own business - Naturally Zuzu. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics & Business Administration from the Russian University of Economics in Moscow, as well as her real estate license and certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. Based in San Diego, California, Zuliya speaks Russian and Uzbek fluently and is a proud mother of two teenage boys.


Advisory Board

Catherine Clark, Au.D., M.A.

For the past 30 years, Dr. Catherine Clark has worked as an Associate Professor, Audiologist and Coordinator of the Cochlear Implant Program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s (NTID) Department of Communication Studies and Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Clark provides speech-reading and auditory training, performs hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings and services related to cochlear implants and teaches an interpersonal relationships course. Dr. Clark earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Services from Bradley University, a Master’s Degree in Audiology from the University of Louisville, a Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) from Salus University, and completed her clinical fellowship at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles where she worked in the children’s cochlear implant program.

 

PAULA BROWN, Ph.D.

Dr. Brown is a professor of speech-language pathology at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, where she has taught since August 2003. She was previously a faculty member and chairperson of the Speech-Language Department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, and adjunct faculty member of Nazareth College. Dr. Brown holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology & Audiology from the University of Missouri; M.A. in Speech Pathology from Kent State University; and both M.S. in Development & Leaning and PhD in Language & Cognition from the University of Rochester. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest, Hungary in 2013, and was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2016. Dr. Brown has led several service-learning trips to Ethiopia in partnership with Visions, and regularly supports Visions' work to help empower Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ethiopians.

 

Ramoshan Canagasaby, M.S.

An engineer by day and Social Entreprenuer the rest of the time, Ramoshan is driven by his dream of making Jaffna (Sri Lanka) the next Silicon Valley. Ramoshan grew up amidst the war in Jaffna in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He developed a passion for educational development and entrepreneurship ever sine he moved to Silicon Valley in the late 90’s. He has been CTO of the iTEE Foundation and an integral part of Yarl IT Hub – an IT incubator in Jaffna for the past 5 years. He is the Director of Engineering, Systems and Applications at Rambus, based in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also the CEO & Co-Founder of Vetri Holdings LLC, which “intends to become the de-facto integrator for the development of IT-based infrastructure in Sri Lanka.”

 

Sally Neiser, M.A.

Sally Neiser is a lifelong educator from Huntington Beach, CA. She recently retired from a 25+ year career in public education to help bring education and leadership opportunities to youth that may not have readily-available resources.  With a B.S. in education from Bucknell University and a M.A. in educational administration from Azusa Pacific University, she taught music, language arts, and leadership to all grade levels before transitioning to administration. Most recently she served as the principal of a high-achieving middle school in southern California. Reading to stay current in best educational practices, and volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to foster youth are important activities for Sally.


Chapter Directors & Volunteers

Mounika Bhaskara, Davis Chapter Co-Director

Mounika Bhaskara, Davis Chapter Co-Director

Hayat Ali, Toronto Chapter Director

Hayat Ali, Toronto Chapter Director

Wendy Gold, Saugerties Chapter Director

Wendy Gold, Saugerties Chapter Director

Mary Grace Hamme, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Mary Grace Hamme, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Brittany Hughes, Rochester Chapter Director

Brittany Hughes, Rochester Chapter Director

Kai MacDonald, Legal Counsel

Kai MacDonald, Legal Counsel

Mahitha Murali, Davis Chapter Co-Director

Mahitha Murali, Davis Chapter Co-Director

Anisha Rajavel, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Anisha Rajavel, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Saruka Santhiran, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Saruka Santhiran, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Gurdeep Sareen, New York City Chapter Director

Gurdeep Sareen, New York City Chapter Director

Hashanth Sasitharan, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Hashanth Sasitharan, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Abigail Seewald, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Abigail Seewald, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Ramana Vasanthan, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Ramana Vasanthan, Edmonton Chapter Co-Director

Viji Sritharan, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Viji Sritharan, Boston Chapter Co-Director

Vietly Vu, Web/Tech Advisor

Vietly Vu, Web/Tech Advisor

 

 

Staff

Sri Lanka

Sivatharsini Raveendran, Sri Lanka Leadership Program Manager

Sivatharsini Raveendran, Sri Lanka Leadership Program Manager

 

India

Shylet Moni, India Team Lead

Shylet Moni, India Team Lead

Ambily Mohan, India Programs Manager

Ambily Mohan, India Programs Manager

Anish Vimal, Program Officer

Anish Vimal, Program Officer

 

Ethiopia

Aynalem Ayalew, Director

Aynalem Ayalew, Director

Berhanu Belay, Security

Berhanu Belay, Security

Melekem Assefa, Finance & Accounting Officer*

Melekem Assefa, Finance & Accounting Officer*

Abel Wudu, Deaf Educator

Abel Wudu, Deaf Educator

Demelash Tsegaye, Deaf Educator

Demelash Tsegaye, Deaf Educator

Mulugeta Moges, Deaf Educator

Mulugeta Moges, Deaf Educator

Abyot Tadesse, Deaf Educator

Abyot Tadesse, Deaf Educator

Fikadu Weldemikael, Interpreter

Fikadu Weldemikael, Interpreter

Samuel Tizazu, Deaf Educator

Samuel Tizazu, Deaf Educator

Askal Tamir, Deaf Early Childhood Program Officer

Askal Tamir, Deaf Early Childhood Program Officer

Mekedes Tadele, Secretary & Cashier*

Mekedes Tadele, Secretary & Cashier*

Tirengo Yersaw, Interpreter

Tirengo Yersaw, Interpreter

Nicaragua

Analy Castillo Herrera, e-Learning Program Manager

Analy Castillo Herrera, e-Learning Program Manager

 

*denotes a part-time position