Dr. Eric Winston is the vice-president of institutional advancement at Columbia College Chicago. His career in higher education began in 1969 at Michigan State University where he served as assistant dean and assistant professor of urban development for five years. He served as president for development and university relations at Wilberforce University from 1983 to 2002 where he increased the university’s endowment from $1.5 million in 1990 to more than $12 million in 2002.
Dr. Winston is also the principal and owner of Eric Winston & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm located in Wilberforce, Ohio that specializes in fundraising, annual fund, government and alumni relations and educational programs for colleges and universities. His professional affiliations over the years have included the National Society of Fundraising Executives, American Library Association, he serves on the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Ira Azulay is a founding partner of Immigration Attorneys, LLP and oversees the business and operations of the firm, including its expansion strategy. He sits on the Board of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
In addition to practicing law, Ira previously co-founded an independent film production company, Fusefilter Pictures, Inc. Ira also headed business development for Vivcom, Inc., a company that pioneered a then new way to index video utilizing MPEG-7. Prior to that, he was vice president of Wired Planet, Inc., an online entertainment company, and ran its business, legal and financial operations.
Nilesh aka Kayenn Coco May’s Media and Entertainment career has spanned more than twenty years. Starting young in the world of advertising as a visualiser he went on to become a creative director and eventually a Producer of several noteworthy advertising commercials both in India and in the US.
He was also the co-founder of Hakuna Matata Entertainment, which brought some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters to over 2 billion people worldwide.
Ketki studied at the prestigious Darpana Academy in Ahmadabad, India. There, she became intimately engaged in both the performance and theories of artistic expression through dance and drama.
After moving to the United States, she founded, Vachikam and was instrumental in bringing acclaimed Indian theatrical plays to the U.S. including the recent Shabana Azmi play Broken Images and Girish Karnad’s The Wedding Album.
Additionally, Ketki is a strong and active supporter of the Indian community. She serves as a board member of Apna Ghar, a domestic violence shelter in Chicago serving Asian women and children, where she organized several high profile charity events including including the Taste for Life. Ketki is a co-founder of the Festival.
Amit Rana graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked as a software consultant and project manager at Accenture before he led the effort to found the Chicago South Asian Film Festival in 2010.
His creative pursuits include directing several short films including “Dawn of a New Day” for the 48 Hour Film Project; and studying acting and performing improvised comedy at the prestigious Second City Conservatory Program. He recently acted in the Nequa Studios feature ”Promiseland” and currently serves as the Festival Director.
Shalini Trivedi comes with a background in both engineering and theater. A graduate in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she has always balanced technical pursuits with artistic ones. Shalini has worked as a water quality engineering consultant over the past decade. In her spare time she has volunteered her time to various artistic ventures, including coaching high school public speaking and acting students.
Beginning in 2010 Shalini put her professional project management skills to work as a founding committee member of the Chicago South Asian Film Festival. She has continued to work at the festival since and continues to strive to bring South Asia’s unique brand of storytelling to an ever growing Chicago audience.