To be a powerful network of South Asian women determined to make a difference through entrepreneurship, creativity and leadership.
A deeply connected and thriving community of South Asian women who lead with purpose.
We're ambitious, resourceful and action orientated. We get things done and we do it with radical transparency, love and have a whole heap of fun while we're at it.
Daizy Maan -Founder
Daizy is passionate about youth leadership, startups and empowering South Asian women. She was a delegate for the Australia India Youth Dialogue, currently leads the start-up program at Deakin University – SPARK Deakin and has served as the youngest Director for Australia’s largest Community Bank network (NSX:CSH) from 21 -26. In 2020 she was listed on Asian Woman Festival’s Power List amongst women across the world making a difference. She’s Punjabi Australian and based in Melbourne, Australia.
Sehar Gupta - Operations Associate
Sehar Gupta is passionate about women's rights and youth leadership she has served as the Cambodia Programs Director at Oaktree. She has a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne and volunteers with Bold Punjab. She's committed to volunteering, women's empowerment and diversity. In her spare time she enjoys watching true crime.
Svetha Venkatesh - Advisory Board Member
Svetha is one of the top 15 women in the world for Artificial Intelligence research and the only woman from Australia on that list. Originally from India, Svetha now lives in Geelong where she leads A²I² – Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute. Her research has led to spinoffs, one of which is now an ASX listed company – icetana, which originally started by answering the simple but critical question “did the bomber get off the bus” after the tragic London bombings in 2005. Another spinoff from her team’s research is the Toby Playpad app which provides therapy for children with autism. Her desire to help researchers be more entrepreneurial led to the establishment of SPARK Deakin – Deakin University’s flagship entrepreneurial program. She was awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship by Australian Research Council for a project on exploring how pattern recognition can be harnessed to accelerate and expand the capability of experimental optimisation disrupting current experimental methods.
Ajay Bhatia -Advisory Board Member
Ajay is Managing Director of one of Australia’s innovative unicorns (ASX:CAR). He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, University of Technology Sydney and Executive Sponsor of Stanford Digital Cities Program. He will share his unique insights and most importantly join us in listening to what incredible young people are doing on the ground in India and how we can support grassroots initiatives.
This is Svetha. I met her 5 years ago while I was still studying law. I ended up pitching myself to her for a casual job when I was 22 to help the university inspire students to build startups, she pretty much immediately said “when can you start?” I was thrilled and had no idea what I was doing, but I cared deeply about helping students realise they don’t have to keep job hunting at a boring corporate soul-sucking job and should think about starting their own purpose-driven business or joining a cool startup. One year later she asked me to be the manager, I was 23 years old so I politely declined the offer – I knew nothing about management at a university – ironically I didn’t even have an undergraduate degree. I took my annual break for a month and went away to the Himalayas to meditate and the first day I got back to Melbourne she said “You’re the manager now, go talk to Chris about your contract.” I was confused, excited and had major imposter syndrome.
Fast forward to now, I’m 26 still the youngest manager in a university that employes 4000 people and has 60 000+ students. The job has been a dream [I didn’t even know I had] come true, I still pinch myself when I realise I get to help ambitious folks bring their startup ideas to life and call that a job. I wouldn’t be here without her.
It was only much later that I realised how brilliant she was. She’s one of the top 15 women in the world for Artificial Intelligence research and the only woman from Australia on that list. After the tragic London bombings happened in 2005, Svetha and her team were brought in to answer the simple but critical question “did the bomber get off the bus?” Her research ultimately led to what is now an ASX listed company – icetana. Another spinoff from her team’s research is the Toby Playpad app which provides therapy for children with autism. After a visit to Stanford and seeing the thriving startup community within the university there she established SPARK Deakin – Deakin University’s flagship entrepreneurial program.
She’s a genius in her own right and of course her only child ended up a fields medalist – which is akin to the Nobel prize of Maths (you can google him). I’m grateful Svetha and I have a strong bond, I’m her self-appointed CCO – Chief Champion Officer (meaning I do things like this post) and she she thinks that’s ridiculous, my goal is to get a New York Times profile on her (to which she responded “I’m not that good.”). She’s down to earth, non-pretentious and focused on making a difference. This is an appreciation post to the women who support other women, especially women of colour who defy stereotypes and pave their own path.
A rising tide lifts all boats and I’m so fortunate for my luck to run into this generous woman on campus. Serendipity combined with the right attitude is beautiful. Svetha and I have been talking about setting up an initiative that supports more women of colour in STEM, entrepreneurship, creatives and literature. We talk about the lack of representation in Australia and across the world. The Australian South Asian Centre is the place for this work. Don’t be mistaken by the formal fancy name, we’re grassroots and taking a startup approach. If you are interested in making a financial pledge and becoming one of our very first donors (the most important) please do so below. The Centre will have global impact and primarily support South Asian women and minorities.