People of Daya
Board of Directors
Shree Hardikar Nath, MPA, MSN, PRESIDENT
Aparna Asthana, PRESIDENT-ELECT
Sandhya Sabhani, SECRETARY
Asha Desai, CPA, CO-TREASURER
Christa Jaganath, CPA, CO-TREASURER
Fatima Mohiuddin, LCSW, PAST PRESIDENT
Lakshmy Parameswaran, MA, LPC*
Mika Rao Kalapatapu
John Ting, LLM
Sarah Abraham, PhD
Khalid Almoosa, MD
Vatsala Bhaskaran, MD
Chitra Divakaruni, PhD
Sindhu Idicula Giri, MD
Mary John, CPA
Dinesh Pejaver, PhD
Annu Rao Naik
Leeja Thomas, LCSW
Stuti Trehan Patel, JD
Rachna Khare takes a thoughtful and intersectional approach to address and prevent violence in our community. She is a Founding Member of South Asian Youth of Houston Unite (SAYHU) and serves on committees for the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC) and the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC). On the state level, Rachna serves on the Board for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and is a member of the Thought Leaders Cohort for the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV). Nationally, she is a Founding Member of the South Asian Survivors & Organizations in Alliance & Rising (SOAR). Prior to starting her work at Daya in 2016, Rachna held leadership positions at Rice University, Mount Sinai Medical School, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. A native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Rachna believes in the power of compassion, collaboration, and innovation to build equity and cultivate pathways to healing and justice.
Nusrat Ameen, PhD
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF LEGAL SERVICES
At Daya for over a decade, Dr. Ameen recruits and manages its Legal Clinic, oversees legal advocacy efforts and closely monitors immigration cases. Dr. Ameen holds a PhD in Domestic Violence and Law. She has been in the field of gender justice since 1999, primarily in the academia working in the systems change through policy advocacy. Nusrat is a Visiting Scholar at Rice University’s CWGS Center & an Adjunct on Gender Rights and serves on the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative’s Crime Victims Committee and the national Forced Marriage Working Group, among others. Previously, Nusrat was a law professor in Bangladesh and a Judicial Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court. She has also served as a consultant on gender rights for various NGOs and international organizations.
DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH & EDUCATION
Tishya Bedi joined the team in 2021 as the Director of Outreach and Education. Tishya leads Daya’s community engagement efforts to build awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault. With a background in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Houston, Tishya is extremely passionate about reaching silent victims within the South Asian Diaspora while also honoring their intersectionality. Being an immigrant herself, Tishya understands the intricacies of South Asian culture and uses her own experiences and learnings to help reach as many community members as possible. Tishya also serves as the Volunteer chair for the Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leaders Board, encouraging local young professionals to join the anti-violence movement.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & COMPLIANCE
Since August 2018, Barbara Le has overseen Daya’s finances, including budget development and management, financial compliance, human resources, and fund development. Barbara works closely to ensure Daya builds a diverse and sustainable funding profile which includes public and private sources. At Daya, Barbara ensures accountability to our community and funders through the management of federal, state, and local foundation grants. Barbara holds a BBA from the University of Houston and has over a decade of financial experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sector.
DIRECTOR OF CLIENT SERVICES
Hareema Mela leads the client services team in providing mental health services and comprehensive case management. She is a bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor with training and experience in trauma-informed therapy approaches including EMDR and somatic interventions. Since 2017, Hareema has been providing linguistically and culturally specific counseling and case management to survivors at Daya. She holds a Master's in Applied Clinical Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and specializes in areas of trauma recovery, mood disorders, cultural identity, and career development.
OUTREACH & VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Pam Otal joined the team in 2021 to manage Daya’s social media presence, recruit and lead volunteers, and coordinate community outreach efforts. She is a native Houstonian and first-generation Punjabi American with a passion for gender justice. Pam has 3 years of nonprofit work experience including developing creative virtual volunteer opportunities. Pam is driven by her desire to help underserved communities and her commitment to ensure Daya is inclusive and accessible for Houston’s diverse South Asian community.
Client Services Team
In addition to the the Director of Client Services. Daya's Client Services Team (not pictured) includes two additional licensed therapists and five Client Advocates