Board of Directors

Ayshea Khan [President] is the Asian Pacific American Community Archivist at the Austin History Center, where she works alongside community members to collaboratively collect, preserve and provide access to Austin’s vibrant Asian American history. She holds a B.S. in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College and she received her MSIS in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Certified Archivist and has served in leadership positions with the Society of Southwest Archivists and Breaking Library Silos for Social Justice collective in Austin, which facilitates resource gathering, workshops, and conversations centered on creating more just library/archival/museum spaces. She has been a longtime SAADA volunteer and served as the Co-Chair for the SAADA Archivists' Collective.

Odessa Devi Despot [Secretary], PsyD is a graduate of NYU and holds a doctoral degree in psychology from Yeshiva University. She is a staff psychologist at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and co-coordinator of diversity and inclusion planning at Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS). She is also the recipient of the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Staff Beacon Award at RIT. Odessa's writings focus on intersectionality, immigrant culture, feminist issues, and relational psychotherapy. She has been featured in Caribbean Star newspaper, SAADA, and Brown Girl Magazine and has presented at various professional conferences in her field.

Amit Khanna [Treasurer] is a second generation Indian American whose career has been firmly rooted in legal practice, though in a variety of settings. From 2007 through 2015, Amit was an attorney with the law firms Paul Weiss and Fenwick & West, where is practice spanned a variety of matters, with a particular focus on advising mission-driven technology companies and their investors. He then served as the inaugural Mission Investing Fellow for Eric and Wendy Schmidt's family foundation in Palo Alto where he helped build a platform for investment in early-stage enterprises focused on social, economic and environmental impact. Since early 2017, he has served as General Counsel of Knotel, a New York-based company that builds, designs and operates fully-customized flexible offices for companies across the US, Europe, Asia and South America. Amit actively advises and invests in a number of early-stage technology companies as well.

Fariba S. Alam a visual artist whose work is intended to stimulate dialogue and reflection on the dynamic interplay between Islamic artistic traditions and personal family archives with more present and personal inquiries of gender and belonging. Alam is a former Fulbright Fellow, with a B.A. in MESAS (Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies) from Columbia University and an M.A. in studio art/art criticism from New York University. Over the last 15 years, Alam's work has been shown at The Queens Museum, The Asia Society, Exit Art, The Museum of African Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art/Shanghai amongst other galleries and fairs in the U.S. and Asia. During the same period, she has worked as a Digital Strategist for companies such as Apple and Estee Lauder (Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Clinique, MAC and others.) Her volunteer work includes creative services for SAKHI, Groundswell, The Acid Survivors Foundation and the founding board of The South Asian Women's Creative Collective. Alam resides in Brooklyn, New York and part-time in Joshua Tree, California where she is building an artist residency.

Amy Bhatt is a guest curator at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). She co-curated the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, and Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project. She received her PhD in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and was an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is the author of High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration (University of Washington Press, 2018) and co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 2013) with Nalini Iyer. She was the oral historian for the South Asian Oral History Project and is currently the co-chair of the SAADA's Academic Council. She has written for and appeared in news outlets such as NPR, The Conversation, The Society Pages, AsiaGlobal Online, The Indian Express, Quartz, and The Seattle Times.

Anna Mala Coats received her M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.A. in English from Rutgers University-Newark. She is currently the Assistant Director of Public Services for the Newark (NJ) Public Library and previously worked as the Head of Youth Services at Livingston (NJ) Public Library. Anna won the 2015 Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) Creativity Creates Grant and the 2015 NJ State Library Multicultural Programming Award, and was a 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader. Anna is an active member of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and was elected Executive Board Secretary (2015-2017) and Member-at-Large (2013-2015).

Samip Mallick is the co-founder and executive director of SAADA, which he has guided from its inception in 2008 to its place today as a national leader in community-based storytelling. Mallick's background includes degrees in computer science and library and information sciences and work related to international migration and South Asia for the for the Social Science Research Council and University of Chicago. Mallick currently serves on the Library of Congress Connecting Communities Digital Initiative advisory board. He also previously served as an archival consultant for the Ford Foundation's Reclaiming the Border Narrative initiative and on the Pennsylvania Governor's Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

Anjli Shah (she/her) has been a program associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation since 2019, a philanthropy dedicated to advancing health equity, where she has worked on initiatives related to diverse network building, equitable grantmaking, and inclusive innovation. She holds a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology (Neurobiology) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. She is a founding member of and community organizer with Jains for Justice, where she has spearheaded voter mobilization campaigns and community conversations on racial justice. She was previously a SAADA volunteer. She is on Twitter @anjlishah17.