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Meet Megha Desai Of the Desai Foundation in Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megha Desai.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After a 10+ year career in advertising, I started my own branding firm that focused on impact brands. Around that same time, The Desai Foundation, then a small family foundation, had just shifted into a public foundation – and suddenly had to fundraise – a challenge they had never faced. So, I took the Desai Foundation on as a client – I gave my parents a pretty good deal. The wanted me to do what I had done for other brands – name recognition, events, website… branding. The more work I did, the more I fell in love with the work, the more I began to impact the work, the more I knew that this is what I wanted to focus on. So just two years ago, I became the President of the Desai Foundation. Along that journey, I did work for so many causes, non-profits and political campaigns – from the age of 6. It was my training. I led my first fundraising campaign in the 6th grade for Project Bread in Boston. My mother pointed out that this has been my calling all along – and that I just needed to take my time to get here.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The pathway to success is rarely a paved road. My first real aspiration in life was to be the Press Secretary at the White House – like CJ Cregg in the West Wing. So, I started volunteering for political campaigns as a teenager, and went into advertising to learn communications. Advertising lead me to branded entertainment – and I wanted to work for a big studio and help brands, personalities and entertainment properties connect and create great content. And then, started my own branding company focused on start-ups and impact brands. No where in this very winding journey did I ever think I would be the head of a non profit organization. There are struggles along the way and there are struggles still. Having never had this role before I was terrified to take it on – some people study their whole lives to take on a role like I have. Failure has been a great teacher for me. I fail all the time. I just thank god I have resilience and resourcefulness – my two most important qualities.

The Desai Foundation – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m the President of the Desai Foundation, a public foundation that aims to elevate the health and livelihood of women and children through community programs in the U.S. and India. The Desai Foundation focuses on sustainable development with programs spanning from vocational classes, health camps, community volunteer outreach and sanitary napkin programs all for women in need. The organization, to date, has impacted 350,000 women’s lives in Gujarat, India, Metro-Boston and Harlem, New York. The highlights have been of course the fruits of the labor. Knowing that this is the work I am meant to be doing and having the privilege of being a part of it. I have loved how much of my past career I have been able to bring to the table – the story telling, the strategic partnerships, the creativity and creating community. Most of all, I am ever grateful for the lives we have impacted and lasting change we’ve been able to create for these women.

I am incredibly proud of our sanitary napkin program – which employs women, provides access to sanitary napkins, and educates women on menstrual health hygiene. Our vocational programs are incredible – sewing, computers, etc. And our health camps just keep growing and growing. Love seeing a whole community to come together to celebrate health and hygiene! We are really proud of the work we do – and just hope we can share our programs and our mission with more people.

What do you like best about our city (boston) ? What do you like least about our city?
I love Boston. I live between NYC and Boston – so I will admit – I get to see the best side of Boston. I am amazed to see how the arts and culture scene in Boston has really taken shape and transformed. I feel like there is more diversity in Boston than when I was growing up – not just in race, but in vales and ideology as well. And, I love the water. How lucky to be in a city with so much water. It’s a rare place Boston to have such a vibrant city and suburbs that are so close – so that you can really have both – culture and nature. My least favorite thing about Boston is that I have to leave so often and travel back and forth.

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