Management Team

Our management team is a group of passionate individuals with complementary strengths and experiences who have come together to disrupt children's publishing space and make an impact using the power of mobile technology.

Surinder Sharma.png
Surinder Sharma
CEO

Surinder has more than 20 years of experience in publishing and IT. Passionate about reading and inspired by the shift toward digital content consumption, lack of reading engagement by kids, and the power and reach of digital technology, Ms. Sharma used her experience in publishing and IT in addition to her strengths in creativity, ideation, and strategy to co-found Smart Kidz Club to inspire children all around the world to love reading. She believes that education is the only way to bring equity in this diverse world and that the right education and opportunities are the key to a better world.

Ms. Sharma earned her Master's in Business Administration, specializing in Marketing and a bachelor's degree in Economics from Delhi University. She has also authored over 52 books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, that are currently published on Smart Kidz Club.

Harjeet Singh
Harjeet Singh
Director of IT

Harjeet has more than 24 years of experience in forming new businesses and helping them scale with the use of cutting-edge technology. He has developed several mobile apps and software solutions for major publishers and corporations. With his expertise in managing international IT teams and a passion for building enterprise solutions, he ensures that the technology solutions are globally scalable.

Mr. Singh earned a post-graduate management degree from New Delhi, India, double-majoring in Finance and Marketing. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Sciences from Wilmington, Delaware. He is passionate about building scalable enterprise solutions to deliver affordable education to children around the world, IoT, and developing intelligent systems.

Rajeev Karpe
Rajeev Karpe
President, Asia Pacific

Rajeev is a strategic business leader with 35 years of experience working with Global MNCs. He is responsible for partnerships, sales & channel management and organization development.

As an Engineer‒MBA, he has led businesses in the US, China, India, and South East Asia for companies such as P&G, J.M. Huber and C.P. Kelco. His multi-functional experience spans general management & strategy, sales & business development, marketing, innovation and operations.

Neelam Singh
Neelam Singh
Legal and CS

Neelam is a practicing attorney in New York and New Jersey for more than 12 years. She keeps the company legally in check as it expands globally into other countries. Neelam has extensive business law experience relating to contract, intellectual property, employment, labor, entertainment, corporate governance, consumer, marketing/advertising, regulatory and anti-trust law. Ms. Singh represents for-profit entities, non-profit corporations and individuals in different industry sectors in New York and New Jersey.

Board of Advisors

Our very distinguished and passionate advisory board members are committed and deeply involved in the field of education. They selflessly contribute their precious time, resources, and efforts in order to enable Smart Kidz Club to develop quality educational resources and ensure that these reach every child in this world. They all support and share our common goal and mission of promoting affordable education among our kids.

Anne Gemmell
Anne Gemmell
Director of Special Initiatives, City of Philadelphia

Anne Gemmell is the Director of Special Initiatives in the City of Philadelphia in the Office of Workforce Development. In this role, Anne is responsible for creating strategic plans related to the future of work. She is an expert at facilitating stakeholder consensus and creating innovative policy plans. Her expertise is varied, but is now focused upon emerging industries and technologies and their effect on regional talent pipelines. Anne combines policy expertise and political organizing to affect positive, systemic change. Prior to this role, in January of 2016, Anne joined the City government to lead the equitable design, advocacy effort and successful launch of the PHL PreK program. In addition, Anne has led other successful advocacy campaigns as well as co-founded Education Voters PA. Anne is a former public high school Social Studies teacher and a Pennsylvania selection for the James Madison Fellowship.

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 Woodall

Lee Artis Woodall, raised in Carlisle, PA, is a former NFL player – a two time Pro Bowl Linebacker who was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Lee had an exciting eight-year career. Lee was a rookie for the 49ers during the 1994 season when they beat the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. He would go on to play with North Carolina and then his last year in the NFL as a player was 2001 with Denver.

Lee’s wife, Terri Matthews, is the CEO and Founder of Jaden’s Voice, Inc. (http://jadensvoice.org).

Dedicated to helping families with Autism since its founding in 2010, it is one of the most successful advocacy platforms in the Mid-Atlantic. Their vision, from the Site: “Serve as a global advocate, resource and pioneer in the development of innovative solutions for individuals diagnosed with autism, their families and those who service them.”

Lee’s passion for finding resources for the kids that are served with Jaden’s Voice brought him to SmartKidzClub.com and his contributions have been invaluable. Lee is very active with the NFL Alumnae in both San Francisco and Philadelphia. Today Lee serves as President of the NFL Philadelphia Chapter Alumni. Like so many NFL players, he is dedicated to giving back to the community.

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

Michal Herzenstein is an associate professor of marketing University of Delaware’s Lerner College of Business and Economics. She has been a member of the Lerner College since 2006, upon completion of her doctoral studies at the University of Rochester. Michal received the University of Delaware teaching award (2013), and the Department of Business Administration outstanding research award (2012) and outstanding faculty award (2014). Michal’s research focuses on consumer decision making and specifically on financial decision making, crowdfunding, and prosocial behaviors. Her papers were published at top journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Prior to her doctoral studies, Michal worked as a marketing consultant at a prominent consulting firm in Israel, and was a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces. She holds a BS in economics, statistics, and operations research, and an MBA in marketing, both from Tel Aviv University.

Mini Suri
Mini Suri
Chief Customer Success Officer, Kore.ai

Mini Suri is Chief Customer Success officer at Kore.ai . She worked at Uber as the COE Lead for Intelligent Automation. Prior to that she was the Senior Vice President at Citi managing Citi's Services Strategy 2020 implementing Chatbots, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Mini completed her MBA from MIT at the Sloan School of Management. She has 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. Mini is passionate about Women's initiatives, The Hunger project to eradicate world's hunger, Quality Education to under-privileged Children, advisor to young entrepreneurs with their startups, TiE charter member, Chair of AI/ML track for TiEConn 2020.

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

Prashant Yadav is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Professor at INSEAD and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications and his work has also been featured in prominent print and broadcast media. In addition to his roles in academia and think tank, Prashant serves on the boards of many health and development focused companies. In his previous roles Prashant has worked as Strategy Leader-Supply Chain at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Vice President of Healthcare at the William Davidson Institute and Faculty at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan; Professor of Supply Chain Management at the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program and Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. He trained as a Chemical Engineer and obtained his PhD in Management Science & Operations Research.

Samia Bahsoun
Samia Bahsoun
CEO Capwave Technologies

A telecom infrastructure expert and innovator, Samia has been building global telecommunication networks since the mid 1980's, doing business in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Her Role & Responsibilities have ranged from Research & Development at Bell Laboratories, where she co-pioneered the first fiber optics DWDM system, to corporate executive functions, spanning all telecom lines of business. Samia has restructured and grown businesses in the telecom sector and served as strategic advisor to fortune 500 companies, governments, public and private institutions. She served for 3 years as the ambassador to the Americas for the South Asia, Middle- East, and North Africa Telecommunications Council.

Samia's entrepreneurial path started in 1997 when she founded SetWave Communications, a fiber optics advisory firm and FiberWorx, the first privately owned fiber optics testing company which she sold to Tyco Electronics in 2000 to form TerraWorx, an ultra-long-haul fiber optics equipment manufacturing firm.

In 2015, Samia co-founded Capwave Technologies out of her passion and resolve to break down the digital isolation that excludes people from participating fully in the world economies by providing affordable broadband wireless access solutions.

As an Immigrant and Naturalized Citizen, a small business owner in the high-tech sector, Samia joined the steering committee of the NJ Main Street Alliance in 2010 to promote policies for innovation, job creation, education, and immigration reform. She was the recipient of the 2013 David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy.

Born and raised in Senegal of Lebanese parents, educated in Senegal, France, and the U.S., Samia was exposed at a young age to issues of gender, race and religion. Multi-cultural and multi-lingual, Samia speaks Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Spanish and Wolof.

Samia has a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Xan Hong
Xan Hong

Xan Hong received his Bachelor's in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania where he competed on the Varsity Men's Track team for four years. He later also received his Master's in Education from the University of Pennsylvania during which he served as a student teacher and volunteer track & field coach at a University High School in West Philadelphia. He has since served as an adjunct professor in Entrepreneurial Finance at Lincoln University. He still regularly volunteers his time mentoring and speaking to youth from inner city schools.

Xan has been an entrepreneur for almost two decades in a variety of industries including real estate development, food and beverage, e-commerce, insurance and financial services, marketing communications, and technology. During this time, his companies have grossed over $10 million in revenue. His expertise is in marketing strategy, digital marketing, and sales.

Currently, Xan is the CEO and Founder of OnTrac, a technology company that helps people live happier, more balanced lives by simplifying the process of achieving life goals which will be launching its beta version in the fall of 2020. He also is an investor and principal in an independent insurance agency, and owns an e-commerce business. Xan lives in Middletown, Delaware with his wife and 8-year old daughter. He was the former President of the University Of Pennsylvania Alumni Society Of Delaware.

Youth Advisors

Samrath Singh
Samrath Singh

Samrath Singh is a student of Caravel Academy's Class of 2022, and aspires to attend The United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a proud recipient of Caravel Academy's scholarship awarded consistently since grade 4 and maintains a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.33. Samrath is involved in multiple sports that include basketball, football, and track. He finished third in his age category in the local Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in 2019. His primary sport is soccer, that he has played since fourth grade and which he hopes to continue playing through college. Samrath is also involved in multiple academic activities such as Debate, Science Olympiad, Math League, Engineering Club, Chess Club, National Junior Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. However, Samrath's true passion is helping people, volunteering at hospitals, local gurdwara and several charitable events. In addition, he is also a volunteer firefighter in his hometown, and founded the company Incendium as a part of the Diamond Challenge, with the aim of improving fire response and making the job safer for volunteers. Witnessing problems posed by poorly coordinated communication tools during his time on the job, Samrath led his team with an idea to help digitize a communication network among fire stations statewide and took home the top social innovation prize at the local Diamond Challenge entrepreneurship competition held in Wilmington in 2020. Education is another major part of his involvement in the community. As a Youth Education Advocate for DelawareCan and member of Dual School, Samrath developed an understanding of the importance of education and education policy. He actively contributes his spare time from his busy schedule to Smart Kidz Club, as a voice talent, developing the engagement strategy for young children, and helping strategize with the team to offer youth perspective and new generation ideas that can provide quality education to kids across the world.

Suyash Singh
Suyash Singh

Suyash Singh is a student at Caravel Academy and a member of the class of 2024. He is a proud recipient of Caravel Academy's scholarship awarded consistently since grade 5 and maintains a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.07. He aspires to attend Stanford University and is involved in multiple sports and clubs at Caravel. His primary sport is soccer that he has pursued since second grade. In addition he is an active part of the school's Debate Club, Coding Club, Science Olympiad, National Junior Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Suyash has been an influencer with an entrepreneurial streak who, along with his brother, ran a summer soccer camp for pre-school children in his neighborhood. He displays strong leadership and was nominated by his teachers for the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF), STEM which he attended at Villanova University in 2019. His true passion is making the world a better place in all the ways he can. Suyash has volunteered over 50 hours of service dedication to providing education at his local gurdwara as an assistant teacher as well as volunteered at several local charitable events. He actively contributes his spare time to Smart Kidz Club, as a voice talent, developing the engagement strategy for young children, and helping strategize with the team and continue to provide high-quality and engaging educational resources to kids all over the globe.