Shivani Singh and Jessica van Thiel co-founded this organization and manage all its aspects together. Shivani and Jessica met in Mauritius in 2012, where Jess was interning with the United Nations Development Programme and reporting to Shivani’s close friend, mentor, and then UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles. The women quickly became friends, sharing not only chemistry but also similar passions and goals.
Shivani has grown up around the world, having lived in five countries and travelled seventeen. She comes from a humble background and was raised to value education, hard work and integrity with the highest regard. She left home for boarding school at the young age of ten and has been independent since. Shivani has achieved everything she needed to on her own, struggling through with the help of several jobs, scholarships, diligence and drive. She grew up wanting to ensure her family (siblings particularly) were well cared for before she completed her own education and established herself in New York City’s tough and competitive Financial Industry. Since Shivani was barely a teenager however, she has dreamed of helping to create a better world for all and especially those who are most vulnerable or unfortunate. Having addressed her greatest responsibilities and proven herself as an accomplished woman, Shivani is finally ready and working to realize her greatest dreams.
Shivani prides herself a citizen of the world and is passionately engaged in its affairs. Her enthusiasm coupled with the education and skills she has acquired through her experiences have enabled her to become a strong candidate for success: one with passion, experience and fortitude to offer. She is neither easily intimidated nor susceptible, and she is committed more than anything else, to being a good, morally sound and generous human being. She is uniquely qualified for her current role as Founding Partner of PATHFINDER on account of the following reasons in particular:
- She has a history of (and very much enjoys) extensive travels and experiences living in different countries, absorbing and learning about their cultures and peoples. She is therefore quickly comfortable and fully operational in a multitude of settings.
- She has the specific set of education and professional experiences that lends to efficiently organizing, implementing and managing large, complex projects in a global setting.
- Through previous work and academic experiences, she has demonstrated a significant sense of responsibility and diligence. She functions well as a leader when necessary and contributes effectively in collaborative team environments. She is self-motivated and welcomes challenges, as well as opportunities, to grow and develop Also, Shivani sets high standards for herself and lets her dedication guide her towards striving for excellence.
- She has demonstrated reliability, strong analytical thinking skills, and the ability to adapt and learn quickly. Perhaps most importantly of all, she demonstrated the ability to deliver uncompromising quality in the most rapid, challenging and stressful of environments as well.
- Shivani is a passionate and strong communicator and is varyingly functional with six languages, including three scripts.
Jessica van Thiel
Having lived and worked in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, France, South Africa, Mauritius, and Belgium, Jessica truly has a vast body of international experience. Her focus is in the field of aid and development, human rights, advocacy, international security programs, communications, research and science policy.
Her love of academics and interest in the field of international relations led her to complete a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Security and Peacebuilding and Conflict Analysis and Management) from Royal Roads University, Canada; a Certificate in International Law, European Law in the 21st Century from Viadrina University, Germany; an MA Certificate in Human Rights Defenders Programme from the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization, Italy; an Undergraduate Degree in Political Science, International Relations from Concordia University, Canada; and a College Diploma in Languages and Communications from Vanier College, Canada.
Jess’ professional career has aligned with her academic career having worked with EU Institutions in Brussels where she worked closely on international research and development projects with Members of European Parliament, European Commission officials, and specialists in the field. She also worked and lived in Mauritius, as Gender Focal Point of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mauritius Country Office, where she concentrated on gender inequality issues and access to justice for women, which gave her a sound foundation for the social issues in the country and region. She worked closely with the Ministry of Gender Equality as well as many international and local NGOs.
Jess’ work includes time spent working as a consultant for a Human Rights NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, where, among other achievements, she assisted victims of domestic violence and worked on an anti-Human Trafficking Campaign during the 2010 FIFA world cup. She later developed a research project that explores questions regarding HIV/AIDS, rape and domestic violence affecting women of the community.
On a more personal note, Jess is outgoing, open-minded, and optimistic. She has traveled to over 60 countries on account of her keenness to discover the world. While completing her early post-secondary studies, she worked as a Cabin Crew member for both Air Canada and Emirates, which allowed her to visit destinations she would not have otherwise had the privilege to discover. Additionally, Jess has been volunteering with organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and various Women’s Shelters for over a decade. Her passion to advocate policies and sustainable strategies that directly benefit minority groups and the impoverished are what motivated her to co-found PATHFINDER!