Sharmila Rao Thakkar, MPH, MPA, is a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant at SRT Advising & Consulting based in New York City. Utilizing expertise in leadership development, program implementation, resource development and communications, she advises clients on operations, strategy, board development, multigenerational engagement, grantmaking and community outreach activities. She is also an affiliate consultant with the Support Center, an adjunct associate instructor in the nonprofit management master’s program in the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University in New York, a 21/64 certified trainer in multigenerational philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy peer coach, and mentor for philanthropy/nonprofit leadership development programs. Prior, Sharmila was appointed the first non-family executive director of The Siragusa Family Foundation in Chicago. She has held leadership roles on several boards and committees involving issues of women and children, immigrant communities, education and public health, and building philanthropic leadership and the capacity of the nonprofit sector.
Sharmila has been working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for 20+ years. From her early days as a grade school hospital candy-striper to tutoring children as a teenager, building programs earlier in her career and now mentoring young professionals and guiding families & organizations, she holds a keen awareness and passion for nonprofit/philanthropy work. She believes in building community, leadership development and resourcing folks to help all access a better quality of life and peaceful balance while pursuing dreams and innovative ideas to create something positive for our future generations. Time, talent, treasure, ties... the possibility of philanthropy lies in everyone, everywhere. A native New Yorker, Sharmila recently relocated back to Staten Island, NY after spending the past 17 years in Chicago. She holds an MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, an MPA from the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.
On Relationships: Recalling the Heart & Mind of Philanthropy
Often as funders and consultants, we’re distant from the work on the ground and it seems easy for us to stand up, out and above to advise on what should be done, and how it could be done.