Meet our Amazing Team!
Payal Sawhney (MHA, MSW, LCSW) is a licensed Mental Health practitioner with over 20 years of experience. She has worked in various hospitals in various cities in the fields of Mental Health. She has extensive experience in successfully planning and launching community projects for prevention of mental illness and enhancement of well-being in the South Asian community. She also has an extensive background in developing programs and clinical teams for non profit organizations. She has supervised several graduate and post graduate clinicians in her practice. Her passion is women’s health, working against violence and abuse, and focusing on prevention.
(Chief Process Officer)
Raksha Gopal holds M.S in Computer Engineering and has 30 years of experience in software development industry, currently working as Vice President of Corporate Project Management. She also ran her own software consulting business for 13 years. Raksha strongly believes in giving back to the community and paying it forward. She currently serves as a member of UCLA Parents’ Council Leadership Team, Board Member for Dance 2 Your Door, Mock Interviewer for Youth Employment Services and OneOC’s Disaster Cadre Team member. She has also served 6 years on the Parent Advisory Board for Assisteens, a teenage auxiliary of Assistance League of Irvine.
(Community Relations Manager)
Anchu has a unique background that combines nonprofit management, corporate social responsibility, and marketing. She is skilled in education & awareness raising, community engagement, communications and community relations. She has led the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee for a nonprofit that serves specially abled young adults with mental health disorders.
With a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, Anchu has over six years of diverse experience working with nonprofits and corporations in various capacities. She has completed 65 hours of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence training and is certified as an Adult Mental Health First Aid responder by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. At Saahas, she oversees communications, outgoing messaging via social media, newsletters, video production, and publications, and manages the staff, volunteers and consultants who work on them. She also leads the Saahas Youth program to educate and empower the South Asian community about various public health and social justice issues.
(Community Health Worker)
Dr. Aditi Simlote (BDS,DDS)
A graduate of Loma Linda University, she has been a practicing Dentist for 8 years in SoCal. The passion for working to make the community better was instilled in her since childhood by her parents. In India, she was a volunteer of the National Literacy Campaign through middle school and the Anti-Smoking campaign at Dental College. She lives the life with the belief that -Small changes when multiplied can transform the world. Being a part of the Language empowerment program and Creating awareness about South Asian culture, gives her the means to be the change.
(Chief Operating Officer)
Raji Satish has many years of experience working with special needs children and adults as well as extensive volunteering across a variety of organizations. In her words, “My strength is I am a “people-person” who is naturally enthusiastic and passionate about working with special needs individuals and seniors.”
Her current activities include : Certified Therapy Dog Handler @ Psychiatric Ward of the College Hospital Cerritos, Volunteer @ Annual Special Olympics at CSULB, Client Facilitator with AARP for their VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).
She is 65 hours Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DVSA) certified.
(Program Manager - Older Adult Wellness)
Neetu Mani earned a degree in nursing (RN) in California and received a diploma in Counselling and Life Skill Coaching in India. She is very passionate about working with people and serving the community. Working with seniors at Saahas brings her immense happiness.
(Community Health Worker)
I joined Saahas for Cause in early 2022, and I am very delighted to be part of the organization. I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with Bachelor’s in Food Science. I worked as a Nutritionist and Food Scientist for 16 years and now I have my own business. I work as a notary public and loan signing agent! I am looking forward to working with Saahas and serving community members in as various ways as possible, it gives really gives me a sense of satisfaction and joy!
Kanchan Gokhale did her Bachelors in Computer Information Systems and joined Toyota Motors as an IT professional. Later she worked at an outpatient psychiatric facility in medical billing and payroll for 10 years. She enjoyed working with patients and insurance companies to resolve billing issues. She also enjoyed acting as a liaison between IT personnel and the office to resolve internal billing software issues. Growing up in a family that was always involved in social work has taught her the importance of helping the community.
Kanchan is a people’s person who
believes in giving back to the community. Currently through Saahas she is involved in vaccination camps and community outreach for Covid-19 awareness. She is also connected with South Asian Seniors through Saahas Mauj Masti Sehat and E-visitor program.
Sheetal S. Ayyathan
(Program Manager - Women Wellness)
After a Masters in Biotech and a career in clinical research in India, Sheetal shifted her focus to assisting survivors of domestic violence of South Asian descent living in the United States of America. She is 65 hours Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DVSA) certified who is very passionate about supporting survivors of DVSA and finds the courage and resolve of the survivors to move ahead and reclaim their lives. Sheetal has experience working with the South Asian community through various non-profit organizations.
(Community Health Worker)
My name is Zeel Ahir and I am a MSW candidate expected to graduate in 2023 from the University of Southern California. I have also received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the California State University of Fullerton. Along with that, I have also spent two years receiving a post-baccalaureate in Counseling Psychology. My research background consists of topics such as Gratitude and Materialism, Memory Retention and Gardening, Kama Mutta: Feeling of Oneness, and Moral education intervention in Children (under the age of 10). My expertise lies in Macro policy and Program design. Saahas for Cause allows me to practice my knowledge and give back to the community I come from.
Meet our Amazing Volunteers!!
Director Saahas Youth Tech Chapter
Priya Gupta is a software professional and holds an M.B.A in Marketing. Her professional background and focus on community service led to a number of volunteer opportunities and leadership roles. Following her passion to serve the community she completed a Nonprofit Leadership Center Management Essentials course from the Allstate Foundation/Northwestern Kellogg’s university.
As a Saahas Youth Tech program lead, she works with youth volunteers and dedicates her time to providing technical assistance and support to the community.