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

 
background3.jpg
 
 

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

KennethSq.jpg

KENNETH DESOUZA
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. 

Ali Sassoon.png

ALI SASSOON
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! 

Sundara.jpeg

HAILEY BORRASCA
Intern

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.

VismitaSq.jpg
BrendaSq.jpg

VISMITA RAO BARRETTO
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.
 

_21A0529.jpg

AUDREY BEAULIEU-FOREST
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.

BRENDA LEWIS
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. 
 

Sheetal Tare.JPG

SHEETAL TARE

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

 
 
 
Sundara India Team.jpg

Board Members

Board at Gala.jpg
 
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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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! 

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! 

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Hitha Palepu

Hitha Palepu