The Founding Story
Raised with the belief that education holds to the key to a successful future, Commit2Change’s founders Sumana Setty and Sejal Gehani set out to create an organization that could build bridges and pave paths for young girls in India to achieve their true potential regardless of their background.
Sumana’s story starts in India. Her family immigrated to the United States and during trips back to India always found time to give back, spending time volunteering at orphanages and schools. Sejal is a first generation Indian American, her family immigrated to the United States in the 60’s but returned every year to India. During these trips, one day was dedicated solely to service. Embracing their family’s legacy of giving back and culture of encouraging education, Sumana and Sejal got involved in many different causes over the years. They then channeled this dedication to service into the creation of Commit2Change: an organization unique in its education focused mission for young South Asian girls from difficult backgrounds. A mission inspired by their own experiences.
Sumana met Sumana, a young girl with HIV abandoned by her parents, during a recent visit to the Little Flowers Children’s Home in Bangalore. Though they shared a name and hometown, their childhoods are vastly different. But, with the belief that this young girl’s future is not predetermined and Sumana hopes that Commit2Change can help her write her own story.
Sejal sees her own daughters reflected in the girls Commit2Change supports. When visiting partner orphanages in India, her daughters got the chance to share stories and ideas with other girls, all the girls share the same curiosity and love for life despite how different their circumstances. Sejal hopes to level the playing field and some day provide disadvantaged Indian girls the same opportunities as her daughters.
Acknowledging their privilege and access to higher education and more opportunities, Sumana and Sejal hope to build bridges for young girls to cross and show them anything is possible no matter their gender, their childhood, or the challenges they face.
A co-founder of Commit2Change (C2C), and over 19 years of experience working as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
After working with Boston University Medical Center and Sydney Borum Homeless Youth Shelter, Sejal moved to Chicago in 2002 and provided comprehensive medical care to the adolescent population at Children's Memorial Hospital and a community clinic. In the past 7 years, Sejal has practiced in the specialty of Integrative Medicine where she provides primary medical care to a wide range of patients. Sejal’s passion is in helping each person engage in their own path to improved health by focusing on holistic wellness.
Sejal travels to India at least once a year to visit Commit2Change’s partner centers and work with their committee members to further the goals of C2C.
A co-founder of Commit-2-Change (C2C), and General Counsel to a private equity fund.
Before C2C, Sumana's passion for public service led her to become one of the founding members of the leadership council for AIF-Sahaya, which focuses on raising awareness for women's and children's health in India, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDs. Non-profit organizations that promote immigrant rights and education programs for the South Asian Community have also benefited from Sumana's efforts; her work through the pro bono program at Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP helped rebuild communities in South Asia that were torn apart by civil conflicts and natural disasters. Sumana's belief that every woman should be empowered inspired the co-creation of Catrinka, a socially conscious fashion brand that collaborates with women around the world to make fair trade, fair wage handbags.
When she is not leading the crusade to improve the lives of those less fortunate, Sumana serves as the general counsel for a private equity fund. She has been a practicing attorney for over 14 years.