Sonal Shah, an economist by training, served as a a deputy assistant to the president during the Obama administration.
As the 2020 presidential race entered the crucial third quarter, the presence of Indian American advisers, consultants campaign aides seem to be at an all-time high.
The latest in the growing list of Indian Americans to join a presidential campaign is veteran Democratic operative Sonal Shah.
Shah has joined Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign. Shah has been given the important role of the National Policy Director.
Shah, an Indian American, has had an impressive career graph. She is the founding executive director at the Beeck Institute of Social Impact at the Georgetown University.
Shah has taken a leave of absence from the university to focus on her new role as the policy director for Buttigieg.
Another high-profile hiring by the Buttigieg presidential campaign is Jess O’ Connell, who joins as a senior adviser.
O’Connell served as the CEO of the Democratic National Committee in 2017.
“Super excited to be joining @PeteButtigieg campaign with @JessOConnell who is awesome!” tweeted Shah earlier this morning.
The hiring of Shah and O’Connell comes at a crucial time for Buttigieg, who is one of the top five candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field, along with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
He raised more than $24 million in the second quarter.
Born in Mumbai, India, Shah moved to the United States as a 4-year-old in 1972. She grew up in Houston, Texas.
She studied economics at the University of Chicago and also earned master’s in economics at Duke University.
She is not new to the presidential politics. During the Obama administration, she served as a deputy assistant to the president. She’s credited with founding the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
She has also served as an international economist at the Department of Treasury.
Shah also has extensive experience in the private sector, having worked with Google, where she led its technology initiative for civic voice and investing for impact as the company’s head of Global Development Initiatives.
Prior to that Shah worked at Goldman Sachs, where she developed environmental strategy and ran a number of initiatives, including the firm’s clean technologies investment strategy.
Shah, who also been part of some major philanthropic endeavors, lists the setting up of the non-profit Indicorps as one of her proudest accomplishments. The non-profit, which she set up along with her siblings, aims at building a new generation of socially conscious global leaders.
Indicorps has contributed to the development of the service movement in India, inspiring and incubating new social enterprises like Teach for India and Sarvajal.