About Us



Erin Zaikis is the Founder of Sundara. Raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts, she graduated from the University of Michigan's Gerald Ford School of Public Policy.  Erin has lived in India, Thailand, Israel and New York before making the Bay Area her home.

She is an avid rap fan, blogs about Asian desserts and hangs out with her cockapoo Yoshi in her free time. Her favorite part of working at Sundara is feeling connected to people around the world who are trying to make their communities healthier and safer.

She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 (Social Impact - 2018), has been recognized by the Huffington Post, ONE, CNN, BBC and the Clean India campaign and has spoken at universities and conferences across the US and Canada, including a Tedx talk.

Erin Zaikis   Sundara Founder and Head of Operations

Erin Zaikis
Sundara Founder and Head of Operations


Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Soap and hand washing education attracted me because of its simplicity. It’s low cost, low technology and incredibly effective. I hope more people can understand the importance of this basic necessity for children all over the world.

-Erin Zaikis


Michelle Fusco is the Executive Director of Sundara. Originally from Toronto, Canada she comes to Sundara with a Postgraduate degree in International Development and an Honours BA in Global Studies and Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.

She brings 8 years of experience in nonprofits and international development, having previously worked in South Africa, El Salvador, and Nepal. The highlight of her time with Sundara is spending time with our hygiene ambassadors on the ground. She has spent extensive time at Sundara's India and Uganda operations, deepening her connection to and understanding of the complex issues faced in each community.

Michelle enjoys rollerblading, lifting heavy objects at the gym, and soaking up the sun any chance she gets.

Michelle   Fusco  Executive Director

Michelle Fusco
Executive Director


Meet our team


India Operations

Kenneth is the Director of Sundara India. Based out of Mumbai, Kenneth comes to Sundara with decades of experience in Indian e-learning and non-profits. He has spearheaded the inauguration of all 3 soap recycling workshops in India and oversees daily operations in the field. Kenneth communicates with high level partners nationally and internationally to expand and strengthen Sundara’s impact within each community and across India. 

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WASH Program Manager

Ali currently resides in New York City and is a Program Manager working in evaluation and research for emergency response programs at the International Rescue Committee. Previously, Ali studied Arabic, Economics and Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington DC, and has WASH and research field experience in Myanmar, the Middle East and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Her passion for travel combined with her desire for a cleaner and healthier world is one of the many reasons why she is so happy to be a part of the Sundara Team! 



Currently living in Appalachia, Hailey graduated from Ohio University with a degree in public health. In addition to health science, Hailey also enjoys photography and being outdoors. Her passion for global issues and disease prevention brought her to Sundara, where she is now pursuing her dream to make the world a place where everyone has the opportunity to live healthy lives.


Project Officer India

Vismita comes to Sundara as our Indian Project Officer with a Bachelor of Commerce. Her extroverted personality shines as she coordinates with all of our hospitality partners across India and interacts with our Hygiene Ambassadors in Kalwa, Ashte, Palghar and Pune on a daily basis to collect quantitative and qualitative data-- helping us to provide you with ongoing updates straight from the field.


Development Consultant

Based in Toronto, Audrey is a registered nurse with over 10 years of experience in the health education field. Prior to joining Sundara, she worked on a WASH project in Bangalore, India, which triggered her passion for hygiene and sanitation projects abroad. Audrey has recently worked in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo with Doctors Without Borders to provide vital immunizations to thousands of children in need.

Hygiene Campaign Coordinator

Brenda, a Business Management graduate in Human Resources, coordinates the delivery of soap and of our Hygiene Education Programs across schools in the communities served by our Kalwa, Ashte, Pune and Palghar soap recycling centers. She ensures that the education promoted by our Sundara Hygiene Angels is impactful and will engage the communities in adopting good hygiene habits for a better health. 

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Program Assistant

Sheetal is Sundara India's program assistant. She supervises soap collections and distributions, manages travel and oversees all administrative work and record keeping in our India offices. Sheetal's favorite part of working at Sundara is seeing the children in Ashte village when she accompanies staff for hygiene trainings.

Our Ambassadors


"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women."
-Kofi Annan


Indian Ambassadors

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Board Members

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Rishie Narula

Rishie is a New York-based professional musician and Senior Analytical Lead at @google. Rishie, who was born and raised in India, recently wrote about what inspired him to join Sundara: “Living in India, I would be considered as someone who was raised in a premium lifestyle. Despite being in a protected environment, life gave an opportunity and showed me how the less-privileged try to survive and the lengths they would go. Over time, I learnt that education is one of the most important things you can hold on to and not everyone get's the same chance. It is even more difficult for women because the society historically has been misogynous. I look up to all women in family and see how they have been successful despite all the hurdles they have been through.”

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Knopf

A New Jersey native and New York-based Pre-K teacher, Sundara's mission to educate underserved populations immediately resonated with Liz : “Sundara follows my fundamental belief that the key to sustainable change is through empowering youth and women. My hope is that more service organizations look at aid through the lens of education and sustainable change, as Sundara has.”

Sheba Rasson

Sheba is a strategy and analytics lead at @google in New York. As a woman in business, Sheba is passionate about helping women find livelihood through a greater good for their communities. A Texas native and avid explorer, Sheba loves spending time with Erin Zaikis’s dog Yoshi, and has her own travel blog!

Michael ‘Mikey’ Ayat

Michael is currently an Associate at Goldman Sachs in New York, and was first introduced to Sundara through our founder, Erin Zaikis. Growing up internationally, Michael has long understood the challenges of accessing basic health and hygiene services for marginalized groups. He chose to be involved with Sundara in order to find a creative way to give back and spread awareness in his community.

Eram Siddiqui

Eram is a California-born entrepreneur and founder of Hudson and Bleeker. As a mother, Eram shares our desire for a healthier world with equal access to such a basic need. As a business woman, she is also passionate about private-public sector impact, such as our ongoing partnerships with local hotels.

Melissa St. Clair

Melissa St. Clair is the senior director for Insights and Inclusion and leads TIAA’s Innovation and Diversity Strategies team. A world traveler and new mother of two, Melissa is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and equality, particularly for those living in the developing world whose social and political structure allow for little freedoms. Sundara’s mission to provide employment for economically disadvantaged women resonated with her because of the opportunities it allows for women to support themselves and their families, paving the way for a healthier, more fulfilled life.

Anna Konstantinova

Anna Konstantinova is currently the Director of Strategy at KWG Advertising. She attended Boston University as well as taking courses at Miami Ad School and the Wharton School of Business. Anna is extremely interested in the intersection of nature, sustainability and hospitality; helping launch Second House in 2015 and setting up their Living Room series at Soho House.

Hitha Palepu

Hitha Palepu is an entrepreneur, investor, and author. She is the CEO of Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharma company that develops injectable presentations of common oral drugs. Hitha is also an active angel investor and the author of How To Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip. Her passion for empowering women and improving health sustainably drew her to Sundara's mission.


Jesse Kornbluth

Jesse is a dynamic international affairs generalist and dot connector with a bent toward social impact and human rights. He has practical experience in foreign policy, global health, education, and digital communications, and has lived, worked, and studied in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa. He earned a BA in anthropology at Boston University and an MA in international administration at the University of Miami. He currently resides in Washington, DC, where he works in the Foreign Policy program at The Brookings Institution. When he's not working, he's probably seeking out new foods, traveling, playing any sport, watching the Knicks and/or Jets lose, behind a camera, or spending time with his friends, family, and three dogs.