My Calling

To help social change leaders and organizations excel ~ To create and launch innovative networks and collaborations ~ To interpret complex global trends and identify opportunities for impact.


Executive Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (current) | Lecturer at Harvard, UCLA, USC | Vice President of human rights organization UUSC | President, Southern California Grantmakers | Program Officer with Ford and Open Society Foundations | Juror, Robert F. Kennedy Center's International Human Rights Award | Independent Consultant

Sushma is an insightful thinker, professional, and activist with a deep and complex understanding of the conditions of human powerlessness and how to address them. Her passion for justice is without parallel. Her fund of knowledge is global. She is a delight to work with.
— Makau Mutua, Dean, SUNY Buffalo Law School and Judge, RFK Center for Human Rights

What i've Achieved ... in partnership with others

  • Conceptualized, launched, and scaled social justice foundations focused on gender justice and human rights.
  • Created and launched a $100 million global philanthropic initiative.
  • Helped manage a $50 million immigrant and refugee rights' fund and designed and convened a funders' collaborative on immigrant and refugee rights.
  • Revitalized a philanthropic network whose members' assets exceeded $50 billion. 
  • Developed strategy and programs of a human rights organization around environmental justice, economic justice, and rights at risk.
  • Designed leadership and capacity building programs and provided executive coaching to social change leaders. 
  • Developed graduate curricula and taught courses at Harvard Kennedy School, UCLA, and USC on global civil society, nonprofit policy and management, inter-sectoral leadership, and policy analysis and communications.
Sushma is an excellent lecturer who tailors materials to get the best from her students and who pressed me to achieve even more influence through my written work.
— Joanne Adamson, OBE, U.K. Ambassador to Mali and Niger and Sushma's student at Harvard Kennedy School