Ashima Saigal, Founder of Database Sherpa
We often don’t know our destination while taking a journey, and this was the case for Ashima Saigal before developing Database Sherpa. Her path has taken her from working for herself in an award-winning computer consulting business to a small software development company to a large manufacturing company to a small startup nonprofit to a university. The experiences along this path, combined with her ongoing education and her yoga practice, came together as the foundation of Database Sherpa.
Having lived all over the world, she eventually landed in Michigan to attend Michigan State University, where she studied Computer Science in a liberal arts setting at MSU’s Lyman Briggs College. She completed her Master’s in Computer Information Systems at Grand Valley State University. Ashima is a Certified Salesforce Developer and a Certified Salesforce Software Administrator. In 2012, Ashima founded Database Sherpa to help organizations find peace with their data. She developed a “Sherpa Approach” to guide organizations to use their own skills and knowledge to develop their databases using the Salesforce platform. With her background in software development, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit technology, she guides nonprofits towards self-sufficiency with the Salesforce platform. Database Sherpa is not just a business for Ashima—it’s a community of people who are open-minded and eager-hearted when it comes to using technology to shape organizations. Her consulting approach is grounded in her yoga and meditation practice and her compassion for people. Ashima is proactive and thought-provoking, encouraging dialogue whenever possible. She lives with her friend David and their daughter Zola in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to travel, meet new people, try new foods, and play board games.
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Gabriel Vieira, Sherpa Apprentice
Gabriel is an experienced mentor, teacher, and coach, whose dedication to social and environmental justice has motivated him to help grow capacity in the nonprofit sector.
His background in circus and the performing arts lends humour to his coaching style, while his experience living at Earthaven Ecovillage, an experiment in sustainable lifeways in the Western Appalachians, gives him a unique perspective on group dynamics and a rich bank of knowledge regarding effective group process. As a graduate of Gaia University, a worldwide university with a radically self-directed, project-based approach to education, Gabriel brings a deep understanding of the learning process. Gabriel came into Salesforce without a database background, and has since learned the Salesforce platform from scratch under his own direction. He knows what the typical user faces when learning the platform, and will always hold your challenges with compassion and care.
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Bhanudas Tanaka, Sherpa Apprentice
Bhanudas has always had a fascination and strong connection to technology since his first introduction to computers in the 1st grade. After completing an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Hawaii, he continued his passion for computing by leading e-commerce deployments in the late 90’s for apparel companies such as Guess Jeans, Speedo and lucy activewear.
With more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, project manager, start-up CTO, CIO for a national non-profit, and most recently a Salesforce.com practice director, Bhanudas is thrilled to be blazing new paths with the Database Sherpa team. As a spiritual practitioner, Bhanudas has embraced the principles of mentorship, compassion, and nonaggression – the foundation of the Database Sherpa mentorship model – and is energized to help organizations become more skillful and adept with their Salesforce.com aspirations.
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The following are our Sherpa Advisors, individuals who have been and continue to be, instrumental to the success of Database Sherpa. We honor these individuals who continue to provide feedback and input to our unique model and process. With gratitude and a deep bow, please learn more about our advisors:
Veronica Waters Beck, Sherpa Advisor
Veronica is a patient and kind person who lives her life with joy and wonderment at all the possibilities. The influence of yoga practices in Database Sherpa’s creation can be credited to Veronica.
Early on in the birth of Database Sherpa, Ashima and Veronica were exchanging ideas and challenges facing database consulting today. Wasn’t there a more interesting way to engage people? Why did it have to be so cumbersome? How could the technology be less of a barrier to newcomers and the process more empowering? Veronica shared how she was starting to incorporate some of her yoga techniques in her work, an idea that spoke to Ashima and sparked the treks and practices that would officially become Database Sherpa. Veronica’s path has always been one marked with diverse and integrated skills. She has been a yoga teacher since 2004, and she has done software development since 2000. She also has a degree in Linguistics. In other words, she epitomizes the left and right brain connections. Her work reflects the mind of both an artist and a programmer. She lives with her wife Kate Beck and their two children, Otto and Etta, and two cats near Seattle, WA.
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Freya Bradford, Sherpa Advisor
Freya is a client turned Sherpa! She began with Database Sherpa during the formative years of the business. In the beginning, as she likes to tell it, she went “kicking and screaming” toward this new model. But, now, she is one of the biggest advocates for the model and has come on board to help in an advisory role.
Freya continues to be a catalyst for ideas and concepts that continue to grow within Database Sherpa. Her ability to synthesize ideas into clear concepts is just one of the beautiful gifts she offers to the business, along with her entrepreneurial spirit and curious nature. She has also helped to develop an evaluation plan and helping to build the strategy that will make Database Sherpa sustainable beyond 2020. Freya’s background is unique and varied. She has traveled from her education at Michigan State University with an MSW in social work to a position at with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians as the director of program development and evaluation to her current position as a senior consultant at NorthSky Nonprofit Network. Her focus has always been on evaluation and data, a perfect fit for Database Sherpa! Freya loves a good romp in the snow and thus she lives in Traverse City with her husband Jeremy and two children, Henry and Anna.
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