Meet Your YJP Executive Board 2014-2015!
Rupal Vora, Co-Chair Raleigh, NC Email
Jai Jinendra! I am excited to serve as the Co-Chair for Young Jain Professionals. I am an attorney currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina, originally from the Midwest. I have had numerous experiences with the Jain community both in the Midwest and Southeast regions as well as nationally through YJA and JAINA involvement. Most recently I have grown fond of the Jain community in the Triangle area and the Jain Study Center of North Carolina. Prior to living in the Triangle, I attended the University of Iowa, College of Law and Northwestern University for my undergraduate studies. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and I love visiting Jain centers from coast to coast!
I have always found that integrating Jain faith and culture into Western traditions is ever evolving. I most enjoy connecting with others and building positive interactions among communities. YJP is an opportunity to develop a space for those with similar interests and backgrounds to learn, grow, and connect. I look forward to contributing to community and networking opportunities for YJP! If you would like to get involved or suggest ideas for our organization, please feel free to contact me.
Sheenika Shah, Co-Chair Brea, CA Email
Jai Jinendra! I am excited to be one of the Co-Chairs for YJP this year. I currently live in Southern California and professionally I am an attorney who decided to switch career paths and work on digital marketing initiatives for an intellectual property law firm. I’m looking forward to using my previous experiences with YJA board (Co-Chair from 2012-2013 and Director of Publications from 2008-2010) and with YJA Convention Committee (2010 and 2012) to re-vamp YJP to be a successful professional networking organization for the Jain community.
In my free time, I love to travel to visit friends, watch TV on Hulu Plus and Netflix, and eat at every vegan restaurant possible. Please contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @sheenikashah.
Ashna Shah, Public Relations Director New York City, NY Email
Ashna is a brand strategist at a global advertising agency based in Manhattan. After graduating from Northwestern University as an undergraduate, she received a masters degree from New York University in Integrated Marketing and Brand Management. More recently, Ashna has worked on building impactful brand strategies and creating consumer-facing communications on several health & wellness brands, including pharmaceuticals from manufacturers such as Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi. Her experience in advertising spans market research, digital engagement and social media, as well as analyses of cultural trends. As PR Director on YJP, her goal is to drive engagement amongst current and prospective members to help them feel connected to the organization and committed to its vision.
Niraj Shah, Finance Director Cypress, TX Email
Jai Jinendra! My name is Niraj Shah and I live in Cypress, Texas, a suburb northwest of Houston. I came to United States in 2004 after completing M.Com from Gujarat University in India. I came here to play cricket from a local club (believe it or not). I represented the US National cricket team from 2006 to 2008. I finished my CPA in 2007 and worked in a few accounting firms until January, 2012 when I started my own firm. I am also a co-founder of restaurant chain called dgn Factory (Formerly known as the dosa Factory) which had the privilege of being named as one of the top 100 new restaurants in 2013 in the entire country. Currently, we have 3 restaurants in the greater Houston area and have plans to start franchising end of 2015.
I am thrilled and honored to be a part of YJP. I strongly believe in Jainism and the values taught to me of it. I feel it’s time for me to do what I’m really passionate about: “Jan Seva”. Also, a lot of people in the world (especially this country) are trying to adapt to various different facets of what Jainism has been strongly believing in since ages. It is time to create global awareness of Jainism and am looking forward to working with the like-minded YJPs in doing so.
I love music, sports, staying healthy, meeting people, and traveling. Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime for anything.
Apurvi Mehta, Communications Director Long Island, NY Email
Jai Jinendra! My name is Apurvi Mehta, and I am thrilled to serve as the Communications Director for YJP for a second term! I have been involved with YJA and JAINA in the past, and am so excited to continue bringing exciting YJP and JAINA news and upcoming YJP events to our members in our monthly newsletters!
Being a native New Yorker, and after attending Tufts University for college and Columbia University for a Master of Public Health degree, I now work at Nassau University Medical Center as the project manager for a state healthcare grant. When not at work, I love hanging out with my family, pup, and friends, cooking and baking vegan meals/desserts, and rooting for NY sports teams (Yankees and Giants, in particular)!
Prerit Shah, Southwest Regional Coordinator Houston, TX Email
Prerit Shah is an experienced Aerospace & Controls Engineering Professional working at General Electric (GE) who lives in Houston, Texas. His previous experience includes working on International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle program at NASA Johnson Space Center. He has been serving as a pathshala teacher at Jain Society of Houston (JSH) for middle school kids. In the past, he had also been involved in teaching Jainism to Young Jain Professionals at JSH. He is also coordinator & founder of first Worldwide Jain Virtual Classroom for Young Jain Professionals (YJP) and has conducted workshops on “Stress Management from Jain Perspective” at JAINA and YJA conventions. His areas of interests include applications of Jain fundamentals, Jain metaphysics and applicability & practicality of Jain ethics in today’s world.
Rupesh Narkar, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Newport News, VA Email
Hello my name is Rupesh. I am the YJP Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator. My approach to life is simple and beautifully summarized by Einstein: Live for today, dream for tomorrow, learn from yesterday! I am gregarious, unpretentious and independent. Professionally, I am an engineer (Masters in Industrial Engineering) and work for a multinational company. I also have an entrepreneurial drive and dream to be a venture capitalist some day. Traveling, racing, swimming and outdoor sports are some of my hobbies. I am an autocross driver and participate in local races during summer. My vision for YJP Mid-Atlantic is to create enough enthusiasm and opportunities for like-minded Jain professionals to share, connect and benefit from the group.
Rahul Sheth, West Regional Coordinator San Francisco, CA Email
Jai Jinendra! I am honored to serve as the West Regional Coordinator for YJP in the coming year. I have a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and am currently working as a Scientist for a biotech company in the San Francisco / Bay Area.
I was born in Mumbai and brought up in Kolhapur, India. I come from a religious family and strongly believe in Jainism myself! I did my schooling (up to high school) in Kolhapur and got my Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Matunga, Mumbai. I came to the U.S. in 2009 to pursue graduate studies at RPI and finished my Ph.D. in 2014. Following that I moved to the Bay Area for my job. I have been an active member of YJP since early 2014 and have met a number of people from our community through various YJP and YJA events. I am excited to be able to serve our community and look forward to working with everyone! If you have any ideas for an event or are interested in volunteering, please feel free to reach out to me.
Viraj Mehta, Northeast Regional Coordinator New York, NY Email
Jai Jinendra. My name is Viraj Mehta. I live in New York and am very excited to be the Northeast Regional Coordinator for YJP. I graduated from the Penn State University and currently work within the Corporate Strategy area at DTCC.
I moved to the states when I was 15. Despite having to be significantly exposed to the western culture while growing up, I feel greatly rooted to Eastern values embedded in by my parents and my immediate family. Having the balance of both Eastern and Western values has taught me to appreciate the best of both worlds. I strongly believe in the roots and foundation of Jain Principles. I strive to continue personal spiritual and intellectual growth by following meditation practices, reading non-fiction books and listening to discourses by spiritual leaders.
To me creating a community amongst my peers where we can expand our professional network, help each other grow in multifaceted way, foster the concept of community service to help the unfortunate individuals and have fun at the same time is extremely important. I am truly blessed to be a part of the YJP board and hope to meet all of you throughout the journey. Whether you live or work in NYC area or are visiting, I would love to connect with you. Please fee free to email me any time.
Rakesh Karnavat, Southeast Regional Coordinator Atlanta, GA Email
Jai Jinendra! I am Rakesh Karnavat; a proud member of the YJP team serving as the regional coordinator for the southeast region. I came to the US in 2008 and stayed mostly in Atlanta, GA. I’ve also spend some time in New York and California. As part of my work I’ve lived couple of years in Europe before coming to the US. Professionally, I work as Program Manager for a multinational company.
I have spent my childhood in a town called Dahanu near Mumbai and pursued my graduation in Mumbai. While in Mumbai, I stayed in Jain hostel and was one of the few fortunate students to receive scholarship from the Jain Trust which came at much needed time during my studies. This formed the foundation of my desire to give the kindness back to our Jain society. Personally, I have found myself active in social groups and it interests me to work collaborating Jain fundamentals with our daily lives. Apart from this, I am an certified Event Planner and I like helping family and friends plan events.
Marmy Shah, Midwest Regional Coordinator Chicago, IL Email
Biography coming soon!
Shaleen Jain, Canada Regional Coordinator Toronto, ON Email
Jai Jinendra! It’s my pleasure to be serving as the Canadian Regional Coordinator for YJP. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I studied pharmacy at the University of Toronto and am currently working as a pharmacist in Burlington, Ontario. In my spare time I enjoy reading, spending time with family and friends and staying physically active. I have always been involved with the Jain community in Toronto. As a child, I attended Yoga camps run by Guruji (Acharya Sushil Kumar Ji ) and am now involved in continuing these camps for our youth. I believe that Jain principles can be practiced in our everyday lives. I am looking forward to being a part of the new YJP and representing Jain professionals of the true north strong and free!