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San Francisco Bay Area Leaders Extend Support for Women’s Higher Education in Asia and the Middle East

Posted on December 3, 2020

Written by AUW

San Francisco, California, December 2, 2020 – Corporate leaders from Salesforce, Google, PayPal, VISA, BlackRock, Cisco, Adobe, Horizon Therapeutics, KPMG and others, all serving in their personal capacity, have volunteered to come together to support the work of the Asian University for Women (AUW) located in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

The AUW Bay Area Advisory Board is entrusted with raising awareness of the urgent need to enhance opportunities for women’s higher education and leadership development; facilitating partnerships between Bay Area universities and companies and AUW to improve teaching and learning at the University; and fundraising for student scholarships and other needs at the University from individuals, philanthropies, and businesses. It is part of a global network of Advisory Boards that support AUW, including in Tokyo, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

Ritu Bhargava, a Senior Vice President at Salesforce, Chairs the Advisory Board.  “I went to an all-women’s college in India,” said Bhargava. “I was inspired and learned that a woman can dream of the unimaginable and achieve it.  I want to let the young women of AUW know that it is possible for them, too. And I want to help them get there.” Bhargava, who is the head of Engineering for Sales Cloud, is also mentoring a current student at AUW.  This mentorship relationship is one of the core responsibilities of all Bay Area Advisory Board members.



Another Advisory Board member, Stacey Taylor, a Vice President at VISA, commented, “I’m excited to be a part of AUW, supporting women to advance their education and careers.  I have taken to heart the wisdom that Gail Evans shared in her book, She Wins, You Win, and believe that if we help women succeed through AUW, we are opening doors to women everywhere to make a bigger contribution on the world.” Taylor leads the Bay Area Advisory Board as Chair of its Events & Advocacy Committee.





The Advisory Board is organized into three committees: a Partnerships Committee, chaired by Dr. Srini Ramanathan, Group Vice President of Development Sciences at Horizon Therapeutics; an Events & Advocacy Committee, chaired by Stacey Taylor; and a Scholarship Support Committee, co-chaired by Marcy Campbell, Vice President of Sales for the North American and Australian Markets at PayPal and Alexander Craddock, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer, iShares, BlackRock.



From Left: Dr. Srini Ramanathan, Alex Craddock, and Marcy Campbell

The Advisory Board has been meeting regularly since it came together in early September and is currently hosting a week-long virtual film festival called, HERSTORY: Women’s Empowerment Through Her Lens. The film festival will showcase a number of films directed and produced by prominent South Asian women. It will be accompanied by an exclusive director’s panel featuring acclaimed film directors Smriti Mundhra, Alka Raghuram, Alankrita Shrivastava, and others; and a live discussion featuring AUW student Nazifa Rafa; and Dr. Tiffany Cone, an AUW faculty member, anthropologist, and filmmaker. The event aims to raise $100,000 for student scholarships to AUW.

The Chancellor of Asian University for Women, Cherie Blair, a prominent human rights lawyer and wife of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, attended an initial Advisory Board meeting. “What impressed me most about the Bay Area Advisory Board,” she commented, “was the creativity, energy, and deep concern among all of its members for the issues that AUW addresses on the ground in educating and empowering women.”

“On my many visits to AUW’s campus, I had palpably felt the inspiration and optimism shared by AUW students. At this time of the global pandemic, it is heartening to see others also similarly inspired and helping sustain our mission in such a positive and constructive manner. These women and men who have come together to make a positive impact for changing the lives of women are also our heroes,” she added.

The AUW Bay Area Advisory Board is composed of the following individuals:

Ritu Bhargava, Senior Vice President, Salesforce (Board Chair)

Srini Ramanathan, Group Vice President of Development Sciences, Horizon Therapeutics

(Chair, Partnerships Committee)

Stacey Taylor, Vice President, Systems Strategy and Operational Excellence, VISA (Chair, Events & Advocacy Committee)

Alex Craddock, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer, iShares, BlackRock (Co-Chair, Scholarship Support Committee)

Marcy Campbell, Vice President, Sales for the North American and Australian Markets, PayPal (Co-Chair, Scholarship Support Committee)

Pratima Arora, Vice President of Confluence, Atlassian

Dave Kleidermacher, Vice President of Engineering for Android Security & Privacy, Google

Grace Kloba, Senior Engineering Director for Android, Google

Purnima Kochikar, Vice President of Business Development, Google Play

Raj Krishna, Vice President of Strategy & Planning, the Cloud Networking Group, Cisco

Simon Longbottom, Vice President, Creative Cloud and Document Cloud, Adobe

Ariel Spivak, Managing Director, Auto, TV, and IoT Partnerships, Google

Vijay Subramanyam, Managing Director, Transformation Delivery, KPMG