BOARD oF Directors

Yana Nirshberg

Fluent in Russian and English, Yana is a dynamic serial entrepreneur and local influencer. She is the Co-Founder and Managering Partner at Paradigm Next, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Chicago. Her success at Paradigm Next has come from delivering a seamlessly integrated Brand Experience and a greater measurable return on marketing investment (ROMI). Her company delivers brand identity, integrated marketing, inbound marketing strategy, web-design & development, startup incubation and product development services.
Yana is deeply rooted in the tech startup community in Chicago and abroad, and has strong relationships with emerging seed funds, VC’s, startup founders, and collegiate entrepreneurs. Additionally, Yana has had extensive experience in publishing and marketing. She was the Associate Publisher at Today's Chicago Magazine (TCW) and remains passionate about promoting female leadership in the workplace. Yana has been featured on Russia Today, Lux & Concord and Ms. Tech as a global influencer. Most recently, Yana was featured as a guest panelist for Women Driving Excellence 2016.


Shanita Baraka Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed, ABD

Shanita is on a mission to change lives. Utilizing the 15+ years of marketing and media skills she gained working as an account manager for top advertising and PR agencies such as BBDO, Burrell Communications Group, Porter Novelli, DDB and R.J. Dale Advertising, Inc., she is now teaching others how to maximize their potential. Currently, Shanita is Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago's Communication and Media Innovation Department. To date, her core messages of education, excellence, and empowerment have led this college professor, author, speaker, consultant, wife and mother to engage with thousands of audience members across 30 states. Diversity MBA Magazine selected Shanita as an elite member of the "Top 100 under 50," Award among countless other national recognitions. Shanita is also the proud President of the Alliance for Women in Media, American Marketing Association Communications Chair, First VP of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., and Metropolitan Club of Chicago Women Connection's Committee Chair.


Contributing author, "Unleash the Leader Within You"
Certified Speaker & Trainer
Expertise in marketing, higher education, diversity and leadership

Presentations include:

Selling the Sizzle: How to Become Notable and Quotable™
The C.A.R.E. Factor in Higher Education™
Ain’t I A Woman? An Exploration of Female Leadership Styles™


Rajeev Sharma, Founder & CEO,

A results-focused and incredibly dedicated IT project manager with extensive proficiencies in information technology setups, marketing, sales, event planning, charity events, product distribution, product development, business/systems analysis, designing, programming, client relations, programs and support.  Rajeev is proficient at serving in cross-functional roles and has a well-rounded background in advanced technical, event management, public relationship and marketing skills. Rajeev possesses a proven track record leading all stages of exceptional women's Network technology integration, program and development efforts, to enhance engagement and consumer awareness.

rajeev is also the Chief technology officer for the global table tennis company, Killerspin, has competed internationally and won many awards. Rajeev has a passion for supporting non-profits and 5% of all go to young athletes.

Additional Honors & Awards

NCTTA - Division Director of the Year -
School District 215 - Distinguished Service Award
Borough YMCA - Coach of the Year
Borough YMCA - Program of the Year
Bay State Games - Doubles Champion
North American Team Championship - Division Finalist
American Team Championship - Division Winner
North India Software Coding Competition - Runner up