Mount Holyoke Alumnae Symposium in Asia

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Preliminary list of speakers

Barbara M. Baumann ’77 serves as chair of the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees and is the president of Cross Creek Energy Corporation, an energy investor and a strategic consultant to firms with assets in the energy (exploration & production, refining and logistics) business. From 2000 through 2003 she was executive vice president of Associated Energy Managers, LLC, a private equity firm specializing in the energy arena. From 1981 through 1999, Baumann worked for Amoco Corporation and then its successor, BP Corporation, holding various financial and operating positions including CFO of the company’s environmental subsidiary, vice president of its San Juan Basin business unit and leader of its Wyoming oil field operations.

Baumann is a director of Devon Energy Corporation and Buckeye Partners, LP. She is an independent trustee of the Putnam Mutual Funds and formerly served on the boards of three publicly-traded NYSE companies: SM Energy Company, UNS Energy Corporation and CVR Energy Corporation. Baumann is also active in local nonprofits, serving on the Finance Committee of Children’s Hospital Colorado and chairs the Finance Committee of the Denver Foundation. Baumann currently chairs the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, her alma mater, and was co-chair of the College’s $300 million Capital Campaign. She also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sushmita Dev
is a politician and a member of the Indian National Congress. She is a member of Parliament of the 16th Lok Sabha for the constituency of Silchar in Assam. She is currently the president of All India Mahila Congress (women’s congress). She holds a B.A. (Hons) from Miranda House at the University of Delhi, an LL.B from the University of Delhi and an LL.M from King’s College London.

Barkha Dutt is an award-winning TV journalist, anchor and columnist with more than two decades of experience. She is India’s only Emmy-nominated journalist who has won multiple national and international awards, including the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour. She is a columnist with the Washington Post, and is a contributing editor at The Week magazine. She is founder-editor of Mojo, a multi-media events and content venture and founder of We the Women, a multi-city festival and current affairs website that focuses on the biggest gender debates of our time. She graduated from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and has a master’s in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York.

Siddharth Kasliwal
comes from a family of celebrated jewelers based in Jaipur whose jewelry-making legacy dates back to 1852. His lineage is part of the iconic Gem Palace boutique, known for its pioneering designs. Kasliwal designs modern jewelry reminiscent of pieces crafted in the Mughal era. His debut collection, Plique A Jour, paid homage to his father, the late Munnu Kasliwal, while showcasing his own style and vaulted him to the forefront of international jewelry design. The highlight of his exhibition was a quail-egg ruby pendant in an emerald and diamond encrusted setting, marking his maiden contribution to the Kasliwal family legacy. His second collection, The Sindoor Collection, was an ode to the famed Sindoor box that was known to be one of the many finest creations of his father. With an unmatched eye for detail, finely honed aesthetics and stores spanning across Mumbai, Jaipur and New York, Kasliwal continues his family’s tradition of master craftsmanship in jewelry. 

Mahua Moitra ’98
is an elected member of the legislative assembly of West Bengal, a state in the eastern part of India. She represents the Karimpur constituency in Nadia district, located on the India-Bangladesh border. Moitra graduated magna cum laude in economics and mathematics from Mount Holyoke College. She worked as an investment banker with J.P. Morgan in New York and London, first in mergers and acquisitions and then on the proprietary trading desk. She quit her job to enter active grassroots politics in India in 2009 and has since been involved in various organizational roles including booth-level cadre building and co-coordinating rural development programs. She is currently a general secretary of the West Bengal Trinamool Congress and serves on the Health & Family Welfare and on Public Estimate Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly.

Moitra is the first female legislator from the area and also the first to belong to a non-left political party in the past 40 years.

Maria Z. Mossaides ’73 serves as president of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College and as the child advocate for Massachusetts. In her four-decade career, Mossaides has held a wide range of positions in both the public and independent sectors as an attorney and administrator, including her appointment as the first woman to serve as executive director for Massachusetts’s highest court. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, a J.D. from SUNY at Buffalo and an M.P.A. from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She was recognized as a Top Woman of Law in Massachusetts for 2010 and received an Alumnae Medal of Honor from Mount Holyoke in 2018 and a Loyalty Award in 2008. Mossaides also teaches public law and nonprofit governance in the graduate management program at Suffolk University.

Tina Nagpaul ’93 is a filmmaker who has produced and written feature films as well as content for web and television. She is currently in the process of directing her first documentary feature. Previously, she was an accidental banker with Citigroup but spent her free time immersed in the creative culture of New York and Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in physics and astronomy from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S. in public policy from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Shoba Narayan ’88 is an award-winning author and columnist. She is the author of four books: “The Milk Lady of Bangalore,” “Kathã: Tell a Story; Sell a Dream,” “Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes” and “Return to India: A Memoir.” She graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which awarded her a Pulitzer Fellowship, and is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and Women’s Christian College. Narayan writes about food, travel, fashion, art and culture for many publications including the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Financial Times, DestinAsian, Atlantic, Gourmet, Time, Quartz and a number of airline publications among others. She has been a columnist for Mint, an Indian business daily, and for The National, based in Abu Dhabi. She writes a bi-weekly column for Hindustan Times Brunch magazine. She has also done radio work for National Public Radio as a commentator and Radio New Zealand as its overseas correspondent. Gourmet’s “Diary of a Foodie” decided that Narayan was eccentric enough to be a character and featured her in five episodes. Besides writing, she watches birds, quaffs wine, visits restaurants and enjoys gadgets. She loves the work of Carl Jung and is interested in dance, somatic therapies and holistic health. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva ’96 is the founder, MD and CEO of India Alternatives, a leading mid-market private equity fund. Sachdeva has more than 17 years of global private equity experience in the United States and in India at top funds including GE Equity, Lightyear Capital and IDFC Private Equity. Sachdeva has helped shape strategy at market-leading companies through board level involvement and has been instrumental in generating superior returns for her investors. Sachdeva received an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Mount Holyoke College (Phi-Beta-Kappa, magna cum laude, Sarah Williston Scholar).

Gayatri Rangachari Shah ’94 is an author and journalist. She is co-author of “Changemakers: 20 Women Transforming Bollywood Behind the Scenes.” Her work has appeared in both national and international publications, including The New York Times. She has a fortnightly column, “Flight of Fancy,” in The Hindu. She is a contributing editor at Vogue and Architectural Digest, and India head at Tina Brown Live Media, which produces the globally renowned journalism summit Women in the World. She covers a variety of subjects, including culture, gender and design, and has profiled leading personalities around the world. Prior to pursuing journalism, Shah was a management consultant with the Monitor Group in New York, London and Boston. She also worked as an equity research analyst with Deutsche Bank in New York and a leading policy analyst with Her Majesty’s Treasury in London. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and has an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Parmesh Shahani is the head of the award-winning Godrej India Culture Lab, an experimental ideas space located in Mumbai’s financial capital. He also works on innovation within the wider Godrej group, a large family-owned Indian conglomerate and serves as the editor for Verve Magazine. Shahani has also authored a book entitled, “Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India.” He is a TED Senior Fellow, a Yale World Fellow and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He holds a master’s degree in comparative media studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and bachelor’s degrees in commerce and education from Mumbai University.

Dr. Malini V. Shankar MA’82
is an officer of the Indian Administrative Service and currently serves as the director general in the Ministry of Shipping. Shankar’s career spans more than three decades, with key assignments at the policy level in industry, electricity and water ministries. Her career focus has been on the introduction of technology and modern management systems and practices, as well as on citizen-friendly initiatives. Shankar holds a Ph.D. in public policy and institutional economics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, India, and a master’s degree in business management from the Asian Institute of Management in Manila. She has a master’s degree in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and a diploma in international economics from the Institute International d’Administration Publique in Paris.

Ajay Sinha is professor of the art history, Asian studies and film studies programs at Mount Holyoke College. As a specialist of South Asian visual and material culture, his research areas include the history of ancient religious architecture, modern and contemporary art, as well as photography and film in India. His scholarship and teaching are informed by perspectives on global modernities, critical race and ethnic studies, sexuality studies, as well as media and technology studies. Recipient of research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, the American Institute of Indian Studies and Mount Holyoke College, his publications include “Imagining Architects: Creativity in Indian Temple Architecture,” and a volume of essays on Indian film, co-edited with Raminder Kaur, titled “Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens.” His current, book-length work relates to transcultural photography and studies the interactions between the cultural worlds of India and the United States based on a documentation of more than 100 photographs of an Indian dancer, Ram Gopal, taken in the 1930s by American photographer Carl Van Vechten in New York City.

Chetna Gala Sinha is an activist, farmer and banker. In 1996 she founded the Mann Deshi Foundation in Mhaswad, a drought-stricken area of Maharashtra in western India, with the aim of economically and socially empowering rural women. In 1997 she set up the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank, India’s first bank for and by rural women. Today, the bank has more than 10,000 account holders, manages business of more than $20 million and regularly creates new financial products to support the needs of female micro-entrepreneurs. It has received numerous awards. Sinha founded the first business school for rural women. She is a recognized global leader and has been awarded a number of prestigious awards. In 2002 she was part of the first class of Yale University’s prestigious World Fellows Programme. Sinha is the recipient of the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Award for Rural Entrepreneurship, the 2005 Ashoka Changemakers Award, the 2009 Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award, the 2010 EdelGive Social Innovation Honors (Livelihood Category) and the Schwab Foundation’s 2013 Social Entrepreneur of the Year. She serves on several boards and served as co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sonya Stephens is president of Mount Holyoke College and is an internationally recognized scholar, educator and leader. An ardent believer in women’s colleges and liberal arts education, President Stephens has devoted her life to advancing academic and intellectual lives, as well as building community across cultures and identities, all in the context of higher education. President Stephens is an expert in 19th-century French literature and its relation to visual culture. She is the author of “Baudelaire’s Prose Poems: The Practice and Politics of Irony” and has also edited several books, including “A History of Women’s Writing in France,” and most recently, “Translation and the Arts in Modern France,” which was published in July 2017.

President Stephens holds a doctorate in French from the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in French studies from the Université de Montréal, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar. Her deep commitment to women’s colleges began with her undergraduate studies at New Hall, a college for women at the University of Cambridge now known as Murray Edwards College, where she earned a B.A. in modern and medieval languages. President Stephens came to Mount Holyoke in 2013 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, following a national search led by an all-faculty committee. The Board of Trustees named her acting president of the College on July 1, 2016, and president on July 1, 2018, both by unanimous votes.