Gauthami Vemula, Co-Founder || From an early age, Gauthami Vemula defied expectation – that of her family, the Indian community around her and, eventually, her own dreams. Born in India, raised in New York and New Mexico, and finally moving to Dallas in 2001, this go-getter could never have imagined the equally motley but purposeful life she would have in store for her. Definitely not the physician and dutiful twenty-something bride she was groomed to be! But through her own perseverance, strong sense of self and visionary attitude, she has paved the way for other women, just like her, to take a stand, be a force in their communities and experience everything life has to offer on their own terms.
Entrepreneur, Activist, Community Leader Gauthami graduated with Master’s Degrees in both Psychology and Counseling from the University of Southwest. Ten years as a Department Manager at the Department of Child Protective Services helped her see the inequity and shortfalls of the system, leading her to found color me SAFE, a family crisis management consulting firm in Dallas, Texas. As President and an active consultant, she provides a voice for underrepresented families, especially immigrants, going through the system and raises awareness about child abuse and neglect.
In her spare time, she brings her love of music to young students in Dallas as a classical piano teacher. She even tried her hand at another musical aspiration, studying voice under opera singer and performer Ronana Gales. She also co-hosts the YouTube series Social Issues Time, or S.I.T., a forum for females of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities to come together and talk about issues that are relevant in today’s multicultural society. And most recently, she published her first children’s book, Ganesha Goes To First Grade and is working on her second one. Whenever the mood strikes, she hops on a plane to discover the world beyond Texas. Her mission is to fill her passport and visit as many countries and continents as possible!
Gauthami holds leadership positions in several organizations, including a Board Member for Empowering Women as Leaders (EWL) and Hope’s Door; a mentor at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School; a volunteer for HEAL and the Chinmaya Mission of DFW; and an Ambassador for and sponsor of nonprofit Against The Grain Productions. She is a Dallas Women’s Foundation 2014 Maura Helping Women Award recipient and a 2015 Dallas Business Journal Women in Business Award winner.
Renae Virata, Co-Founder || Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Renae is the daughter of immigrant parents who left the Philippines in the mid-1970s to pursue a better life for their family. Sandwiched between an older sister and younger brother, she and her siblings were surrounded by old-world stories told in Tagalog as well as Filipino meals that connected them to their heritage. A Gemini to a “T,” she has always pursued some form of communication and creative outlet, playing the piano, writing short stories and entering numerous drawing and design contests.
After graduating with a degree in the Communication of Science, Engineering and Technology from Vanderbilt University, she worked in a variety of fields and industries, first as an assistant buyer at Foley’s Department Stores in the young designer area, then as an award-winning sales consultant at CareerBuilder.com and finally, today, as the founder of marketing company revXmarketing.
For the past few years, she has been helping startup entrepreneurs launch their dreams with Houston-based Fruition Technology Labs and is an active member of the social entrepreneur-focused coworking community The Grove in Dallas. In 2014, she joined the board of Dallas nonprofit Against The Grain Productions to assist in the promotion of Asian American culture and arts, furthering her passion for her roots and involvement in the local community.
With a passion for life and adventure, Renae has always looked for new and interesting ways to spice up life. In 2012, she joined the cast of the NBC reality TV show “Ready for Love” where the real connections she made were with the amazing women she met on and off the set. Her passport includes stamps from the Philippines, France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, India, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Serbia, Israel, Switzerland, England, Singapore, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, Monoco, Spain and a number of islands in the Caribbean. Currently, she is perfecting her tennis moves and Spanish to keep up with her fiance Jerome. 🙂
Renae has always felt the power of courageous women throughout her life and is proud to co-found #UGauGrrl.
Raul Gonzalez, Designer || Raul Gonzalez is a passionate graphic designer who resides in Colorado Springs. He grew up in Odessa, Texas, where he continued his studies and eventually finished with his Associate’s degree from Odessa College. He has worked in the graphic design field since 2012 with several clientele including Nerdcore Medical, creating various types of ad marketing, museum exhibitions, comic book artwork, and, in 2014, with the help of the NCM team, created the Bacterionomicon. Currently, among other projects he will, in collaboration with NCM, complete the Defenders of Soma card game. Ever since he can remember, he’s been a fan of art, particularly sketching and comic art. In his free time, he enjoys free sketching and being active outdoors, trying new things.
“I love to imagine and create! The possibilities become endless and to me that’s exciting! I hope to invoke that excitement when presenting a new idea.”
Carol Nguyen, Designer | As a precocious child full of energy, Carol was always exploring [getting lost], meeting new friends [bringing home critters of all types], and trying to figure out how the world works [taking things apart]. She grew up on a small chicken farm in Brenham, Texas, surrounded by vast countryside and endless supply of Blue Bell ice cream – fuel for a magical childhood. After noticing her propensity for creative hobbies, her parents encouraged the exploration her artistic nature; anything to keep her busy and out of trouble. There were limitless discoveries to be made and new things to learn everyday.
Carol Nguyen is an alumnus of the University of North Texas where she earned a B.F.A. in Communication Design and B.B.A. in Business Marketing. Her work was showcased at the 2008 Dallas Society of Visual Communication National Student Show and she was awarded with a Fort Worth Addy in 2009. Carol has been in the professional design industry for 9 years, gathering experience from large agencies, smaller in-house companies, and local private businesses. She has gained much insight through working with diverse industries such as technology, education, oil & gas, medical, food, entertainment and beauty. Currently, she is Partner and Creative Director at Blue Cardigan Creative, a Dallas-based design agency. She is very motivated to continue learning and understanding more about what it takes to create great works of print, interactive, and online communications.
Carol’s interest in philanthropy has led to her involvement with several organizations. She is a member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals and volunteers with the Marketing team, a Brand Ambassador and Graphic Designer for ATG Against The Grain Productions, Director of Marketing with Pros for Paws, and regularly cooks and serves meals with The Source of Hope. Through ATG, Carol met Renae and Gauthami and has been awaiting the opportunity to work with them ever since. She is excited to be part of the #UGauGrrl team and help bring a positive message to young girls and women everywhere.
Rahul Yaratha, Advisor || Rahul Yaratha is an entrepreneur who has made the world his home and collage. Born in Wisconsin and raised in New Mexico, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. During his college years, he got his first taste of entrepreneurship by purchasing his first real estate property.
Over the years, he has built a diverse portfolio of properties such as houses, apartment units, storage units, and commercial strip centers over multiple states. In 2009, he launched the first Sport Clips franchise in Midland,Texas, eventually building the store to become one of the top stores in the nation. In 2011, he joined up with several work colleagues to create 3S Engineering and Design, an engineering and consulting firm that focuses on the energy industry.
Rahul currently resides in Dallas, Texas and spends his free time traveling across the world, seeking to find new experiences and discover inspirations for the next great idea.
Aanika Gupta, Intern || Aanika Gupta is our newest member to the group, running our social media accounts since August 2016! She continues growing up as she is approaching her junior year in high school. Being active in many organizations, Aanika hopes to leave a legacy with a positive influence. This includes being a member in the renowned high school program Leadership Institute, which teaches students how to become a person of impact in their communities. As Chairman of the Student Diversity Leadership Council (SDLC), Aanika helps develop lessons around topics from racism to gender equality.
I want to leave a lasting impact at my school where everyone is aware of current events that affect our society.
In her few moments of free time, she appreciates the beauty of art, from learning how to play piano, writing music, and taking pictures. If that’s not enough, her golf game is on par! She has been playing for a number of years and really enjoys the game. If she is neither golfing nor practicing piano, Aanika is a globetrotter who loves to wander through the streets of Europe, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, take a hike in the Andes Mountains, or adventure to somewhere she has never seen. She has traveled to six continents and wants to fuel her love of travel by collecting artwork and literary works.
By being fortunate enough to travel, I am able to gain multiple perspectives and take a lesson outside of school! Traveling made me globally competent; I am able to understand international issues and have an ability to learn and work with the problem.