EduSeed is the umbrella nonprofit organization for SisterMentors
Montina M. Cole
Montina Cole has practiced law for several years and also has significant legislative and political experience. She is a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where she helps lead an unprecedented initiative to integrate equity considerations into NRDC’s advocacy work across all programs. She was previously Counsel at the law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Sullivan & Worcester LLP and at the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, where she was a member of the law firm’s Hiring Committee, and helped to recruit women and minorities.
Ms. Cole also served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she advised senior departmental officials on legal and policy issues regarding U.S. investment abroad. She worked with U.S. and South African government officials and non-governmental organizations to help develop the 1995 U.S.-South Africa Seminar on Commercial Law, to help promote trade between the U.S. and South Africa.
Ms. Cole’s legislative and political experience also includes her service on the congressional staff of former U.S. Representative Jim Slattery, and experience with campaign finance management.
Ms. Cole received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991, where she served on the Senior Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and Politics, and was a founding member of the Coalition for Diversity. She graduated from Washburn University in 1988, where she received her B.A. in political science, cum laude, with University and Departmental honors. She is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia and in Pennsylvania, and the American and Energy bar associations.
Ms. Cole is a certified yoga instructor. She received her teacher certification from Satchidananda Ashram –Yogaville, Buckingham, Virginia. She has a daily practice of meditation and yoga.
Shireen K. Lewis, Ph.D.
Dr. Shireen Lewis has received many awards for her work with SisterMentors, including an honorary degree from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and EBONY magazine for making a difference for children, schools and communities. She has devoted over 30 years to mentoring and coaching women and girls. She has mentored women in college, encouraging them to pursue graduate and professional school.
Dr. Lewis was Dean and teacher of a high school for girls in Trinidad and Tobago. She has served on the board of several community organizations that promote education and equity for women and girls. She is past Co-President of the Washington Branch of the American Association of University Women. Dr. Lewis earned her Ph.D. from Duke University and her J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law. She has a B.A. from Douglass College, a women’s college at Rutgers University, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society in her junior year.
Dr. Lewis practices yoga and meditation every day and is a frequent visitor to Satchidananda Ashram —Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia. She is vegan.
Thomas Jesulaitis has over 30 years of experience working in the non-profit sector. Mr. Jesulaitis recently retired from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) where he served as director of grants and contracts for over 30 years. Before AIR, he served as the Executive Director of the Head Start program for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, a program that offered free transportation, meals, education and social services to disadvantaged families and children living in the African American neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Mr. Jesulaitis also worked for various other non-profit organizations including People Working Cooperatively (PWC) and Comprehensive Community Child Care (4C’s).
Mr. Jesulaitis received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a Master’s Certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Marianne Tshihamba is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and has lived in the United States for most of her life. For the past 15 years, she has worked with associations, non-profit organizations and government contractors as a conference and event planner in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Her first in depth exposure to the subject of women and girls’ education was organizing the first board meeting of the Friends of FAWE, the fundraising arm of a non-profit organization serving 33 African countries to empower girls and women through gender-responsive education.
Most recently, she has taken the lead in organizing international democracy conferences.
Kenda Kittrell Chavis, DScPT
Kenda Kittrell Chavis is an experienced physical therapist and rehabilitation consultant with over tenyears of experience working with individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities. As a physical therapist, she has treated a myriad of diagnoses across life spans. As a clinical consultant, Dr. Chavis worked closely with the District of Columbia Department of Disability Services through a partnership with Liberty Healthcare and Georgetown University’s Child Development Center. Dr. Chavis is a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities as well as for training and development of caregivers who support individuals with complex needs. She helped develop professional development programs for community staff agencies and adult day care centers as well as provided individualized training for families. Dr. Chavis was also a co-presenter at the International Center of Equity in Health in Cuba as a graduate student. She believes that this experience fueled her passion for patient advocacy as well as training and development. Currently, Dr. Chavis works as a pediatric physical therapist specializing in infants and toddlers with developmental delays and medically fragile diagnoses.
As a philanthropist, Dr. Chavis is active in many civic organization including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, The Links, Inc., and Junior League of Washington, D.C. Dr. Chavis was born in New York City and was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and both a B.S and M.P.T from Howard University. She completed her Doctor of Science degree at The University of Maryland Physical Therapy program within the School of Medicine with the support of her family and the village of women in SisterMentors.
Aditi Sawhney is a Senior Director in Capital One’s Corporate Strategy team in Mclean, VA. Previously, she spent four years as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) New York office advising Fortune 500 and non-profit clients on strategy, sales and marketing and organization. She also worked for Shell Oil in Singapore in a variety of sales and marketing roles.
Both at BCG and Shell, Ms. Sawhney was an active contributor to the women’s affiliation networks. She organized mentoring programs and talks by senior leaders while also serving on the planning committees for the networks. In business school, she revamped the Women in Leadership conference by leading an effort to increase career development and networking opportunities during the conference and to bring more industry leaders in to share their perspectives.
Originally from India, Ms. Sawhney holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.