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
Fermeen Fazal, J.D.
Lakshmy Parameswaran, MA, LPC*
Mika Rao Kalapatapu
Sarah Abraham, PhD
Khalid Almoosa, MD
Chitra Divakaruni, PhD
Sindhu Idicula Giri, MD
Mary John, CPA
Dinesh Pejaver, PhD
Annu Rao Naik
Leeja Thomas, LCSW
John Ting, LLM
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.
Autoosa Abadi, LCSW
PROGRAM AND COMPLIANCE MANAGER
Autoosa Abadi joined Daya in 2017 after obtaining a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Autoosa provided trauma-informed therapeutic services, including specialized modalities such as EMDR and somatic interventions, and comprehensive case management services to survivors for 5 years before transitioning to Daya’s Program and Compliance Manager. Autoosa manages Daya’s programs by tracking data, goals, and metrics, ensuring team compliance with all policies and regulations, and assessing program effectiveness and impact. Autoosa also works closely with leadership in setting agency and grant goals, managing grant progress, audits, and reports, and ensuring all agency policies and practices comply with applicable laws, contracts, and the strategic plan.
Nusrat Ameen, PhD
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF LEGAL SERVICES
At Daya for last decade and a half, Dr. Ameen recruits and manages its Legal Clinic, works on policy advocacy, 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. Amongst the significant policy changes in USA in federal and State level impacting Survivors rights she pioneered in is advocating for H4 EAD and increasing the child marriage to 18. Dr. Ameen is a Visiting Scholar at Rice University’s CWGS Center & teaches as an Adjunct on Gender Rights. She is Member of the National Forced Marriage Working Group. She sits at the Crime Victims Response Team (CVRT) in Fort Bend and a member of the Crime Victims Working Group (CVWG) for immigration reforms in Houston. Previously, Dr. Ameen was a law professor in Bangladesh and a Judicial Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court. Her book Wife Abuse in Bangladesh: An Unrecognized Offense (University Press 2005) has been cited extensively worldwide, including in the UK Home Office’s COIS Report. She also has several articles to her credit on women and children’s rights.
DIRECTOR OF PREVENTION & TRAINING
As Daya’s Director of Prevention and Training, Tishya leads all community engagement efforts to build awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault through strategic and culturally specific trainings. 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 a South Asian immigrant herself, Tishya understands the intricacies of South Asian culture and uses her own experiences and learnings to help educate partner agencies & community members. She also serves as the Advocacy Chair for the Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leaders Board, which encourages local young professionals to join the anti-violence movement. Furthermore, she lectures Critical Thinking in Sexuality at Rice University to educate students on healthy relationships. In her spare time, she enjoys boxing, baking, and spending quality time with her loved ones.
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.
Hareema Mela, LPC
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.
DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH
Pam Otal is a second-generation Punjabi American with a passion for ending gender-based violence and empowering underserved communities. As the Director of Outreach, Pam manages Daya’s social media presence, recruits and leads volunteers, and coordinates outreach programs. Pam also serves as Communication Co-chair on the Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leaders Board, Fundraising Chair at WiseUp Texas, and as an Instructor for the Critical Thinking in Sexuality course at Rice University. Pam strives to build awareness of all forms of abuse and engage the community to end the cycle of abuse.
After volunteering for three years, Minoo officially joined the Daya team in May 2021 as the Financial Coordinator and is now the Accounting Clerk. In Daya, Minoo found an organization that resonates with her strong values where she can make purposeful contributions to empower the South Asian community. Utilizing her degree in accounting and financial expertise, Minoo maintains all documents to support our compliance and transparency. Prior to joining Daya, Minoo worked in the Biotech and retail industries. Minoo considers herself a world citizen—born and raised in Africa, went to University in Asia, worked in Europe and made a home, with her husband, in North America.
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