Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 5

Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 5


This is the fifth in a five-part series. Part one is here, part two is here, part three is here and part four is here.

Sachin Chheda is a partner at Nation Consulting and a communications, government relations, advocacy and nonprofit management professional. He is a frequently utilized source for political and business reporters, and was named a “Behind the Scenes Power Player” by Gannett Media and one of the nation’s 500 top “Influencers” by Campaigns & Elections magazine. He currently serves as director of the Fair Elections Project, as campaigns advisor to the Economic Security Project, as a strategic communications advisor to the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, and as senior advisor to Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee. Sachin also oversaw winning campaigns for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly, and then-Superintendent Tony Evers, as well as dozens of local judges, aldermen, school board members and others. He previously served as a consultant to SEIU, as director of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition and Wisconsin Stem Cell Now, as deputy director for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and as Outreach Director for the film As Goes Janesville, among many other clients. Prior to coming to Nation Consulting in 2006, Sachin spent five years as an aide to Governor Jim Doyle.  Sachin is active in nonprofit leadership, having served two terms as Chair of the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice America. He currently serves as a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, and as Wisconsin State Director for South Asians for America. He previously served as an officer of the Wisconsin Coalition of Asian Indian Organizations and is Chairman Emeritus of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County. Sachin attended both the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and UW-Madison.

Jilly Gokalgandhi  currently works with the American Family Insurance Institute on the Equity in Education team, focusing on early childhood education, literacy, and high school graduation and was elected to the Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Directors in April 2021. She attended public schools and then graduated from Marquette University where she studied International Relations, Spanish, and Economics. She started her career at Employ Milwaukee as a youth workforce development policy analyst. From there, she was the Community Schools Coordinator via the United Way for Bradley Technology and Trade High School, which led her to Rockwell Automation’s community relations department where she is entrusted with Girls in STEM programming. She served as the Curator of the Milwaukee Global Shapers, a youth affiliate of the World Economic Forum, and has been involved with the City Year Associate Board, STEM Forward Board, and Acts Housing Board committees. Director Gokalgandhi is the first South Asian woman to serve on the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.

Sumit Rana is senior vice president at Epic, where he has worked for nearly 24 years. One of the minds behind MyChart, the company’s signature product, he began as a software developer in 1998 after graduating from the Delhi College of Engineering in India. He has served on the Board of Trustees at Madison Country Day School.

Nishant Upadhyay is director of data and analytics at UW Credit Union, where he started in June 2021 after nearly 14 years at American Family Insurance, where he most recently served as vice president for information and data management. He earned an undergraduate degree from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and an MBA from Bhavnagar University, also in India, in 1997.

Karen Hung is CEO and founder of Silver Rock Consulting, which she launched in 2014 where she works with leading institutions and brands to accelerate strategy and alignment through a proprietary co-creation model. Prior to founding Silver Rock Consulting, Karen held officer and executive roles with Lands’ End, GE, Ann Taylor, Citigroup and a privately held healthcare company. She has a background with Fortune 100 enterprises and has held Chief Marketing, Strategy and Innovation Officer roles. In a client-advisory capacity, she held interim C-Suite roles with MetLife and led specialized initiatives, including the rollout of a marketing transformation roadmap for AbbVie’s US Commercial Business Unit and coaching innovation teams at Johnson Controls. With a focus on enterprise and business transformation, Karen’s expertise spans multiple industries, including financial services, retail, pharmaceuticals and CPG. Leveraging her expertise in business development and transformational leadership, Karen has been consistently recognized for her leadership and vision in achieving team success in start-up and turn-around situations. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Washington University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Karen serves on the Boards of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee.  She is an adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at the University of Wisconsin – Lubar School of Business, and is the founder and chair of Intersect, an innovation symposium.  Karen also serves as the President of the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin and is a member of Milwaukee Women Inc.

Sachin Shivaram is chief executive officer of Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, a century-old, family-owned manufacturer in Manitowoc, Wis. Sachin has spent his entire career in the metals industry, holding roles in sales and strategy. Sachin grew up in Milwaukee. He and his wife, Lipi, lived and worked in Mexico for several years, also spending time in Brazil, Texas, Mississippi, Illinois and Michigan before finally moving back home to Wisconsin in 2016. Sachin and his family live in De Pere, just across the river from St. Norbert. He volunteers on the board of directors of IndUS of Fox Valley, Inc., a cultural organization dedicated to spreading local awareness of Indian culture. He also serves on the Council of Trustees of UW-Green Bay. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and the South Indian language of Kannada.

Shayna Hetzel is a community builder focused on collective action for greater social impact – with 15+ years of experience in education, equity, and social justice. She currently leads teams at American Family Insurance that are focused on social innovation and community collaboration to close equity gaps in education and for our youth through investments, strategic partnerships, and community programs. Before joining American Family Insurance, Shayna worked for the Wisconsin State Budget Office on education policy and government operations, and for the University of Wisconsin – Madison on community building, capital project management, and stakeholder communications. Shayna holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Public Affairs both from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Who’d we miss? If you know anyone who should be on our next list of Asian American leaders, email them to [email protected]!