Board Bios and Pictures
Chairperson of the Board, FOCUS USA & Executive Officer (Interim, Non-Compensated)
Shenila Amirudin Momin currently serves as the Chairperson for FOCUS USA since December 2019 and was formally the Board’s Legal Member. She attended Notre Dame Law School and attained a Juris Doctor from Deadman School of Law from Southern Methodist University in December 1998. Shenila was admitted to the State Bar of Texas on May 3, 1999 and currently a Partner in the Esani & Momin Law Firm since August 2003. Her areas of practice include business/real estate transactions, corporate law, business/investment immigration, employment immigration and family immigration.
Shenila has been part of the Legal Matters Portfolio for the Southwestern US Council and a National Member for the Conciliation and Arbitration Board as well as serving as Vice Chair of the Board of the Pioneer Mutual Federal Credit Union.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Shenila migrated to the United States with her family when she was two years old. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two children.
Vice Chairperson of the Board, FOCUS USA
Minhaz is the Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors of Focus Humanitarian Assistance Program USA. He has served Focus in the capacity of Treasurer from 2012 to 2016. From 2015 to 2019, he was the Mukhi Saheb of Dallas Headquarter Jamatkhana. From 2002 to 2012, he was part of Grants and Review Board (GRB) for North Texas in different capacities including Chairman for GRB NTX from 2007-2012. Minhaz is a CPA, a certified Internal auditor and a chartered accountant. He is a Big 4 alumni with over 20 years of public accounting, shared services accounting and corporate governance experience. Currently, he is working as Director of North American Shared Services for McKesson Corporation in Dallas, Texas.
Board Member, Treasurer, FOCUS USA
Board Member, Director of Disaster Management, FOCUS USA
Altaz Bhanji has been the Focus Humanitarian Board Member responsible for Disaster Management since January, 2020. Prior to this, Altaz has served in various capacities in the Jamat and institutions including as Kamadia Saheb of Washington DC Jamatkhana, as a member of the Grants and Review Board as well as the Safety and Security National Task Force member during Golden Jubilee.
Altaz is the Director of Cloud Engineering at Enquizit, Inc. where he provides consulting services for clients such as Harvard University, Wharton School of Business and NASA. Prior to this he worked in various technology-centric roles in the areas of Cloud Computing, Machine Learning and Analytics.
Altaz earned his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a B.A.Sc. from the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has resided in Northern Virginia since 2004 with his wife, three children, and a dog.
Board Member, Director of Legal Matters & Compliance, FOCUS USA
Shermin Ali-Andani serves as the Legal Matters and Compliance Board Member for FOCUS USA and began in this role in December 2019.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Organizational Management from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2005 and attained a Juris Doctor from DePaul University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois in May 2008. Shermin currently practices as a licensed attorney in Illinois. She is a Partner at Whitted Takiff where she focuses her practice in the areas of school law, special education law, child welfare, mental health law, and guardianship. Shermin holds a Certificate in Family and Divorce Mediation and also currently serves as a member of the Education Section Committee of the Illinois State Bar Association.
In her previous roles, Shermin served as the Legal Matters Portfolio Member for the Midwestern Council of the US and has also served as a Member of the Conciliation and Arbitration Board.
Board Member, Director of Fundraising, FOCUS USA
As the head of technology at The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach, Florida, Sul Paperwalla oversees all information technology efforts, sets IT direction, and coordinates infrastructure and service delivery across the museum in order to advance the museum’s mission to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design.
Sul has a passion for community service and has been actively serving for many years in voluntary capacties locally, nationally, and internationally particularly in areas of community sports development as well as areas related to cultural arts & expression.
Sul holds a Master’s of Science degree in Computer Science and a Minor in Internationsl Relations from Florida International University. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and watching boats go by near his home in Aventura, Florida
Board Member, Director of Communications, FOCUS USA
Fiza Pirani joined FOCUS USA in 2019 and currently serves on the Board of Directors, primarily assisting with communications and content editing. She was previously an assistant editor with The Ismaili Magazine.
Fiza graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with concentrations in journalism and psychology and continues to work professionally as a journalist, publishing for both local and national publications. She’s also the founder and editor of Foreign Bodies, an award-winning newsletter centering immigrants dedicated to de-stigmatizing mental illness in marginalized communities and encouraging personal storytelling. She’s currently working on an essay collection on the subject.
Finance Officer, FOCUS USA
Firuz Vatanshoev joined Focus Humanitarian Assistance, USA, in 2002 as the Finance Officer. Before that, he worked for seven years at the AKDN Diplomatic Representation Office in Tajikistan.
Some of his responsibilities include: maintaining accurate records, monitors expenditures, and prepares monthly financial statements and fundraising reports, liaise with other worldwide FOCUS units, ensuring compliance to governmental regulations, gather information to formulate a fiscal-year unit budget and grant proposals. He also provides technical assistance and training to clerical and professional personnel in field offices.
A graduate of Tajik Technical University, Firuz holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Firuz is fluent in English, Russian, and Tajik. He is married and has a son and a daughter.
Donor Database Manager, FOCUS USA
Sophia M. Assani
Senior Program Officer, FOCUS USA
Sophia Assani joined FOCUS USA in May 2020 as the Senior Program Officer returning from Afghanistan where she worked as a Senior Program Manager for Business Development and Communications with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and prior to that, the Senior Health Programs Manager with the Aga Khan Foundation; both based in Kabul.
Sophia is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University in the Department of Emergency Management instructing courses on international emergency management and humanitarian assistance.
She began her career as a global health and development specialist at AKF USA and AKF Afghanistan. She was among the first TKN volunteers in Central Asia supporting the AKDN Resident Representative Office as a Research Analyst in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is certified in Incident Commander System and Emergency Operations Center 100 & 200 from JIBC.
She has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and a Master’s in International Emergency & Disaster Management from Georgetown University.