Management Team

Our management team comprises passionate individuals with diverse strengths and experiences, united in our mission to revolutionize the children's publishing industry through innovative mobile technology solutions, driving meaningful impact.

Surinder Sharma.png
Surinder Sharma
Founder & CEO

Surinder brings over two decades of combined experience in publishing and IT to the table. With a deep-rooted passion for literature and a keen interest in the evolving landscape of digital content consumption, Surinder was driven to address the declining engagement of children in reading through leveraging digital technology. Drawing on her expertise in publishing and IT, as well as her innate strengths in creativity, ideation, and strategic thinking, Surinder co-founded Smart Kidz Club, a platform designed to ignite a love for reading among children globally.

Her accomplishments include being a TEDx speaker and gaining recognition from SuperCharger Ventures as one of the distinguished EdTech Female Founders worldwide. Surinder holds a Master's in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing and a bachelor's degree in Economics from Delhi University. She is also the author of over 52 children's books, spanning both fiction and non-fiction genres, all available on Smart Kidz Club.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Surinder actively volunteers with organizations dedicated to driving positive change in education, entrepreneurship, and EdTech. She firmly believes in the transformative power of education to foster equality in our diverse society, viewing access to quality education and opportunities as fundamental to building a brighter future for all.

Rajeev Karpe
Rajeev Karpe
President, Asia Pacific

Rajeev is a seasoned strategic business leader with an extensive 35-year track record working with prominent Global MNCs. His areas of expertise include forging partnerships, managing sales channels, and driving organizational development initiatives.

With a background in both Engineering and an MBA, Rajeev has held pivotal roles leading businesses across key global markets, including the US, China, India, and South East Asia. His distinguished career includes impactful tenures at renowned companies such as P&G, J.M. Huber, and C.P. Kelco. Rajeev's versatile skill set encompasses a wide spectrum of functions, ranging from general management and strategic planning to sales and business development, marketing, innovation, and operational excellence.

Neelam Singh
Neelam Singh
Legal and CS

With over 20 years of legal practice in New York and New Jersey, Neelam is a seasoned attorney ensuring the company's legal compliance as it ventures into global expansion. Her expertise spans various domains of business law, including contract law, intellectual property, employment law, labor relations, entertainment law, corporate governance, consumer law, marketing/advertising regulations, and anti-trust law. Ms. Singh provides legal representation to for-profit organizations, non-profit corporations, and individuals across diverse industry sectors in New York and New Jersey.

Board of Advisors

Our esteemed Advisory Board comprises dedicated and passionate members deeply immersed in the education sector. They generously offer their valuable time, resources, and expertise to empower Smart Kidz Club in creating high-quality educational materials and ensuring their accessibility to children worldwide. Aligned with our mission of promoting affordable education, our Advisory Board members wholeheartedly support and actively contribute to our shared goal of nurturing the learning journey for all children.

Portia Kennel
Portia Kennel
Early Childhood Education, Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Consultant
Thriving Families Thriving Children

Portia Kennel is a visionary leader in early childhood education. Portia has been a champion for quality early learning focused on closing the opportunity gap for our youngest children.

In 2015 after years of partnering with philanthropic organizations to build and launch innovative early childhood programs, Portia Kennel joined the Buffett Early Childhood Fund to serve as a senior advisor to the foundation. During her tenure at the foundation, Portia led efforts to develop family engagement program models that empower parents as a force for change in their families, schools, and communities.

Before joining the foundation in 2015, she worked as the Senior Vice President for Program Innovation at Start Early (formerly, Ounce of Prevention Fund) in Chicago. Portia has more than 30 years of experience designing, implementing, and scaling effective, evidence-based early childhood education and family support program models for children and their families. In 2000, she developed and led the implementation of the first Educare School, (early learning and care program) serving Chicago's south side.

As the founding Executive Director of the Educare Learning Network, Portia led the national expansion of Educare to a diverse range of communities across America. Portia also directed the team that created the framework a program components of the Educare model of intensive family engagement (IFE). The IFE training and professional development builds professionals' capacity to employ intentional practices that support building strong relationships with families.

As a former Head Start Director/Administrator, her work is grounded in an understanding of early childhood development, teaching practices, family systems, and clinical issues related to working with families in under-resourced communities. Portia holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Illinois and is a Zero to Three Fellow. In addition, Portia is the 2020 recipient of the Global MindED Inclusive Leader Award in Early Childhood. She serves on a variety of boards and task forces including Raising a Reader (, the Parent Family Voice Steering Committee for the Head Start National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, and the National Advisory Council for the Rapid Survey Project, at the Stanford Center on Early Childhood. She also serves as a member of the Foundations Inc. Advisory Board. (

Anne Gemmell
Anne Gemmell
Principal at A-Gemm Consulting

As an entrepreneur, collaboration strategist, and forward-thinking futurist, Anne specializes in translating futuristic concepts into actionable strategies. During her tenure as the Director of Special Initiatives at the City of Philadelphia, she cultivated a collaborative culture across various sectors and spearheaded innovative policies for the future of work.

One of Anne's significant accomplishments includes orchestrating the equitable design of the PHL-PreK program in 2016, which has since provided thousands of children with a strong foundation for learning and life. Anne has led other successful advocacy campaigns as well as co-founded Education Voters PA. Beyond her roles in policy and governance, she is also a writer, speaker, policy expert, and social entrepreneur.

As the Future-Proofing columnist for The Philadelphia Citizen, Anne actively contributes to national discussions surrounding the future of work, examining its impact on culture, workers, the economy, and society at large. Anne is a former public high school Social Studies teacher and a Pennsylvania selection for the James Madison fellowship.

Harjeet Singh
Harjeet Singh
Engagement Manager at Tata Consultancy Services

Harjeet brings over 24 years of invaluable experience in establishing and scaling new businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. He is renowned for his proficiency in developing mobile apps and software solutions for major corporations and publishers. With a keen focus on managing international IT teams and a deep-seated passion for crafting enterprise solutions, Harjeet ensures that the technology solutions he spearheads are globally scalable. Presently, he oversees the Intelligent Assistant Solutions Portfolio at Pfizer, showcasing his strategic leadership in technological innovation.

Mr. Singh holds a post-graduate management degree from New Delhi, India, with a dual specialization in Finance and Marketing. He also possesses a B.Sc. in Computer Sciences from Wilmington, Delaware. His unwavering passion lies in building scalable enterprise solutions, exploring the realms of IoT, and pioneering the development of intelligent systems.

Julie Azuma
Julie Azuma
Entrepreneur, Social Activist, & Community Leader

Julie Azuma is the Founder and President of Different Roads to Learning Books, a publishing house specifically for books and curricula related to autism education. Julie has been featured as one of Inc. Magazine's 26 Favorite Entrepreneurs in 2005 in addition to being CNBC, MSN Roadtrip Nation, Ladies Who Launch, Forbes Online, and the Marlo Thomas book "It Ain't Over" on women who reinvent themselves. From 2009–2015 she served as president of the Eden II and Genesis Foundation Board, an agency that educates and serves individuals diagnosed with autism.In the autism community, she was presented the Robert Ambrey Award from Eden II and Genesis Foundation. The Elija Foundation honored her for her company's work in autism with the prestigious "Chariot Award."

Starting in 1978, working towards Redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII, Julie also remains involved in the Asian-American community. She served as chairperson and board member at Asian Women in Business for 20 years. She is currently part of the US Japan Council, on the steering committee at Japanese Americans and Japanese in America (JAJA). She is vice president on the board of the Japanese American Association. She is appointed as Kenjin-Tatsujin for the Ashinaga Foundation. She was elected to the Board of Governors at the Japanese American National Museum in 2015.

She has been honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have a Dream Award" by New York State Governor George Pataki and received community service awards from the Office of the Public Advocate of New York City, the Comptroller's Office and the Manhattan Borough President. In 2013, she was honored for community service by the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. In 2015, she received the Clara Lemlich Award for lifelong social activism.

In addition, she is a past member of the boards of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Asian Americans for Equality, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre.

Lee Woodall
Lee Artis Woodall
Board of Directors, NFL Alumni Association

Lee Artis Woodall, hailing from Carlisle, PA, boasts a distinguished career as a former NFL player, recognized for his exceptional talent as a two-time Pro Bowl Linebacker. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 1994 NFL Draft and enjoyed an exciting eight-year tenure in the league. Lee's rookie season with the 49ers culminated in a triumphant victory at Super Bowl XXIX, where they defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26. Following his time with North Carolina, Lee concluded his NFL journey in 2001 as a player with the Denver Broncos.

In addition to his football legacy, Lee is deeply connected to a cause close to his heart through his wife, Terri Matthews, who is the CEO and Founder of Jaden's Voice, Inc. Dedicated to supporting families affected by Autism since its establishment in 2010, Jaden's Voice has emerged as a prominent advocacy platform in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their mission, as articulated on their website, is to "Serve as a global advocate, resource, and pioneer in the development of innovative solutions for individuals diagnosed with autism, their families, and those who serve them."

Lee's commitment to empowering children served by Jaden's Voice led him to engage with, where his contributions have been invaluable. He remains actively involved with the NFL Alumni based out of Georgia. Like many former NFL players, Lee is dedicated to giving back to the community and making a positive impact beyond the football field.

Dr. Michal Herzenstein
Dr. Michal Herzenstein
Associate Professor, Lerner College, University of Delaware

Michal Herzenstein is an esteemed associate professor of marketing at the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business and Economics. Since joining the Lerner College in 2006, following the completion of her doctoral studies at the University of Rochester, Michal has been a pivotal member of the academic community. She has received prestigious accolades including the University of Delaware teaching award in 2013, the Department of Business Administration outstanding research award in 2012, and the outstanding faculty award in 2014.

Michal's research expertise centers on consumer decision-making, with a specific focus on financial decision-making, crowdfunding, and prosocial behaviors. Her impactful papers have been published in renowned journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Michal gained valuable experience as a marketing consultant at a prominent firm in Israel and served as a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics, statistics, and operations research, as well as an MBA in marketing, both from Tel Aviv University.

Mini Suri
Mini Suri
Co-Founder & CEO, VELMENI

Mini Suri peviosuly held the position of Chief Customer Success Officer at and served as the COE Lead for Intelligent Automation at Uber. Her distinguished career includes a role as Senior Vice President at Citi, where she oversaw the implementation of Chatbots, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence as part of Citi's Services Strategy 2020.

Mini is a graduate of the Sloan School of Management at MIT, where she earned her MBA. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Anna University, Chennai, India, and a Master of Science in Information Technology from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Beyond her professional achievements, Mini is deeply passionate about various social causes and initiatives. She actively supports Women's initiatives, The Hunger Project aimed at eradicating world hunger, and endeavors to provide Quality Education to underprivileged children. She also serves as an advisor to young entrepreneurs with their startups, is a TiE charter member, and chaired the AI/ML track for TiEConn 2020.

Prashant Yadav
Prashant Yadav
Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development

Prashant Yadav holds esteemed positions as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Professor at INSEAD, and a Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is a prolific author with numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications to his credit, and his work has been prominently featured in both print and broadcast media.

Apart from his academic and think tank roles, Prashant actively contributes as a board member for various health and development-focused companies. His extensive professional background includes serving as the Strategy Leader-Supply Chain at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vice President of Healthcare at the William Davidson Institute, and Faculty member at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He also held positions as a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program and as a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Prashant's educational journey began with training as a Chemical Engineer, followed by earning his PhD in Management Science & Operations Research.

Samia Bahsoun
Samia Bahsoun
CEO Capwave Technologies

Samia Bahsoun is the CEO of Capwave Technologies, bringing decades of experience as a telecom infrastructure expert and innovator. Her career spans across global telecommunication networks, from research and development at Bell Laboratories to executive leadership roles in various telecom lines of business. Samia has successfully restructured and grown businesses within the sector, serving as a strategic advisor to Fortune 500 companies, governments, and private institutions.

In 1997, Samia founded SetWave Communications, followed by FiberWorx, the first privately owned fiber optics testing company. This venture led to the formation of TerraWorx, focusing on ultra-long-haul fiber optics equipment manufacturing. In 2015, she co-founded Capwave Technologies with a mission to bridge digital divides by providing affordable broadband wireless access solutions.

As an immigrant and naturalized citizen, Samia actively promotes policies for innovation, job creation, education, and immigration reform. She has been recognized for her advocacy efforts, receiving the 2013 David Sarnoff Award. Samia's multicultural upbringing and proficiency in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Spanish, and Wolof, have enriched her global perspective. She holds a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Xan Hong
Xan Hong
CEO & Co-Founder, ONTrac

Xan serves as the CEO and Founder of OnTrac, a technology company that aims to simplify the process of achieving life goals, promoting happier and more balanced lives for its users. Additionally, Xan is an investor and principal in an independent insurance agency and owns an e-commerce business.

Xan Hong is a multifaceted professional with a diverse background spanning education, entrepreneurship, and technology. Over nearly two decades, he has ventured into various industries as an entrepreneur, including real estate development, food and beverage, e-commerce, insurance and financial services, marketing communications, and technology. His ventures have collectively achieved impressive revenue milestones, exceeding $10 million.

Xan's commitment to education extended to his role as an adjunct professor in Entrepreneurial Finance at Lincoln University, where he shared his knowledge and expertise with students. Despite his busy schedule, he remains dedicated to mentoring and inspiring youth from inner-city schools, recognizing the importance of giving back to the community.

Xan earned his Bachelor's in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he excelled as a member of the Varsity Men's Track team for four years. Subsequently, he pursued a Master's in Education from the same institution, actively engaging as a student teacher and volunteer track & field coach at a University High School in West Philadelphia. He resides in Middletown, Delaware, with his wife and daughter. His leadership extends beyond his professional endeavors, having served as the former President of the University Of Pennsylvania Alumni Society Of Delaware, showcasing his commitment to fostering connections and community engagement.

Youth Advisors

Suyash Singh
Suyash Singh

Suyash is a dedicated student enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point, set to graduate in the Class of 2028. He also holds the distinction of being a member of Caravel Academy's Class of 2024. Throughout his academic journey, Suyash has been a proud recipient of Caravel Academy's scholarship, which he has earned consistently since grade 5.

At Caravel Academy, Suyash is actively involved in various sports and clubs, showcasing his well-rounded interests and talents. His primary sport is soccer, a passion he has pursued since second grade. As a valued member of the Caravel Academy varsity soccer team, he contributed significantly to winning the DIAA D2 State Championship in 2021 and 2022. In addition to excelling in sports, Suyash is engaged in the school's Debate Club, Coding Club, Science Olympiad, National Junior Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society, demonstrating his diverse interests and commitment to academic excellence.

Beyond his academic and extracurricular pursuits, Suyash possesses an entrepreneurial spirit. He co-led a summer soccer camp for preschool children in his neighborhood in 2017, showcasing his leadership abilities. His dedication to service and leadership is further evidenced by his involvement in the school's Student Government body and membership in organizations like the Blue Gold Club.

Suyash's passion for making a positive impact extends beyond his school and local community. He has actively participated in various leadership programs and competitions, such as the HOBY Delaware Leadership Seminar and the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship's International Diamond Challenge Summit, where his team secured third place in the Social Innovation Track.

Additionally, Suyash has dedicated several hours to volunteering at his local Gurdwara, providing education as an assistant teacher, and supporting numerous charitable events. He also contributes his spare time to Smart Kidz Club, contributing as an author/editor and voice talent, and actively participates in initiatives like the Ready to Read project in Delaware, which aims to provide quality educational resources to children and families with limited access to libraries or low reading proficiencies.

Samrath Singh
Samrath Singh

Samrath Singh, a member of the Class of 2026 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, is a distinguished graduate of Caravel Academy's Class of 2022. He has been recognized for his exceptional achievements with the George I. and Bonnie C. Mills Memorial Award, honoring his outstanding contributions in athletics and academics.

Throughout his academic journey, Samrath has demonstrated a strong commitment to leadership and service. He actively participated in The American Legion, Department of Delaware, Boys State program in 2021 and has been a recipient of Caravel Academy's scholarship since grade 4. As a dedicated student-athlete, he served as captain of the Caravel Academy Varsity Soccer team, leading them to victory in the DIAA D2 State Championship in 2021, and also contributed as the kicker for the varsity football team.

Samrath's passion for service and community impact is evident in his extensive volunteering efforts at hospitals, local Gurdwara, and charitable events. As a former volunteer firefighter, he founded Incendium as part of the Diamond Challenge, focusing on improving fire response and safety for volunteers. His team's innovative communication network idea earned them top honors at the local Diamond Challenge entrepreneurship competition.

In addition to his service endeavors, Samrath has been actively involved in education advocacy. He served as a Youth Education Advocate for DelawareCan and was a member of Dual School, where he advocated for quality education and education policy. He dedicated his spare time to Smart Kidz Club, contributing as an author/editor and voice talent, and played a pivotal role in developing engagement strategies and offering a youth perspective for global education initiatives.