Board Members

Naren Garg – Chair

Naren is a Planner, Entrepreneur and Community Organizer with degrees in Art History and Urban Planning. He began his career working with arts and culture nonprofits on capacity building, governance and strategy development and led research on the economic impacts of investments in the cultural sector. Naren has spent the past decade growing his entrepreneurial pursuits and currently is the CEO of Simplevolution Ltd. while contributing to various civic society organizations including most recently serving as a Director for TedXCalgary. He is passionate about Indian Classical Art forms and is eager to contribute to the continued excellence of Sampradaya Dance Creations.

Pankaj Mehra – Vice President

Pankaj Mehra is a career banker with over 4 decades of banking experience in senior roles across India, England and the Middle East.  He retired on January 31, 2018 as the Co-Lead, Multicultural Banking after 20+ years of service at Scotiabank.  In this capacity, he was responsible for the overarching strategy for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for assisting newcomers to Canada through Scotiabank’s StartRight Program. 

Pankaj also facilitates building trade linkages in the India-Canada corridor to promote “Canada Inc.” through regular dialogue with various Chambers of Commerce and Associations for Commerce and Industry.  Prior to this role, Pankaj worked in Scotiabank’s Global Risk Management division focusing on enterprise risk management and reporting. 

Pankaj is a Mechanical Engineer from Delhi University and commenced his banking career with Standard Chartered Bank in India.

Pankaj is also, a

  • Blogger who initiates conversations for a wider acceptance of beliefs and peoples 
  • Member of a team of Private Sponsors who helped two Syrian Refugee families arrive and settle in Canada
  • (Former) Director on the Canada-India Business Council Board of Directors
  • (former) Advisory Council member of WES (World Education Services) Canada
  • (Former) Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE)
  • (Former) Director on the Board of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and
  • Volunteer and past Board member of several non-profit organizations.  Pankaj was the recipient of the Distress Centers of Ontario’s The Spirit of Volunteerism award in 2018. 

Harish Athale – Treasurer

Harish is a senior finance professional and holds designations from India, UK, USA and Canada. His career encompasses work experience in India, Africa and North America, where he has held leadership roles with multinational corporations. Currently, he is the Financial Controller of Airfield Lighting business unit of Thomas and Betts Limited, a member of Swiss multi-national Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) group. Harish is actively involved with various Canadian charities including India Rainbow Community Services of Peel, The Malhar Group Music Circle of Ontario, Maharashtra Seva Samiti Organization (MSSO), Toronto Chapter and is now pleased to serve on the Board of Sampradaya Dance Creations. He is an ardent Indian classical music lover and has organized many classical and semi-classical music programs including Canadian debut concerts for a number of artists zoloft, appreciated by discerning audience. In addition he has acted in various plays and provided logistic support to local stage productions. Since 2001, Harish has made Canada is home and has enjoyed living in Oakville along with his wife Uma, a pediatric hemato-oncologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton and their daughter, Abha, a medical student at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona.

Shamy Bowden

Shamy’s natural passion for art led her to creativity and drawing at a very young age. Choosing creative thinking became an easy career path to follow as she graduated in Applied Arts with a focus on Advertising and the Power of the written word. This knowledge, coupled with her education at the University of Toronto in Marketing has led her to become an innovative and resourceful Marketing & Communications Manager well versed in all aspects of marketing campaigns from concept development to execution and launch. She has worked in various B2B and B2C industries such as Senior Living, Funeral and Cemetery, HR Solutions, Insurance Services, Government Funded Agency and Industrial Automation.

Jaspreet Gill

Jaspreet has spent most of her career in academia as an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of English and Humanities at York University, specializing in Postcolonial and South Asian Studies. She has taught such courses as Sikh History, South Asian Religions, Women’s Fiction and Postcolonial Literature.  She has a published chapter in the books, Subaltern Vision: A Study in Postcolonial Indian English Text and Shah Rukh Khan and the Global Bollywood. In 2015, she made the transition to the social services sector to work in the area of violence against women, joining Social Services Network as the Coordinator of Family Violence Programs. She is now the Case Manager at the York Region Centre for Community Safety, a multi-service hub that provides a single entry point for victims of domestic violence to receive support and services. Jaspreet is also a Board of Director at Community Living York South, a not-for-profit organization that provides support services to children, youth, adults and seniors who have an intellectual disability.

Raghuram Sitaram

Raghuram is a seasoned business leader with 15+ years experience in digital media management. He has held senior management positions in India for large MNCs such as Convergys and Fidelity Investments.

His experience spans multiple industries including information technology, media & entertainment, business process outsourcing, eLearning and digital marketing. Some of the brands he has worked for include Deutsche Bank, ADP, Intuit, Warner Bros, Sony pictures, Shutterstock, Aviva Insurance, PCM Canada and Merck Canada. He currently heads client services, delivery and operations for a rapidly growing digital marketing agency in Toronto.

Raghu is proficient in developing lead generation funnels via paid, organic, email, affiliate and social media channels. He is also a digital marketing ‘Platinum Trainer’ at a global leader in online certification programs.

While in India, Raghu pursued various performing arts alongside his career. He enacted a central role in one of India’s landmark television serials in the late 80s, ‘Malgudi Days’. Look for ‘Swami and Friends’ on YouTube and you will see a 11 years old Raghuram playing ‘Mani’.

Raghu was one of the singers on the pop music album ARIA released in India in 1999. Raghu has been singing at live shows for several years, one of the more notable performances being the ‘Shahrukh Live in Singapore’ show in November 2003.

Raghu has been a student of Dr. Jayashree Rajagopalan (the foremost disciple of the internationally renowned Indian danseuse Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam), for 18 years in Mumbai. Raghu was one of the dancers in the legendary Hindi film star Smt. Hema Malini’s dance ballet troupe ‘Natya Vihar Kala Kendra’. He performed in over 30 stage shows during 1991 – 93.

Past Presidents:

Ravi Kumar, 2010-2012

Margaret Manson, 2000-2010