Our Team

 

Swati Bhise Founder Making Her Story
Swati Bhise is the founder and source of inspiration of Making Herstory Project. She is also the founder and CEO of Cayenne Pepper Productions. She most recently finished directing, writing, and producing a period drama film, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi, based on the life of the iconic Rani of Jhansi. The film released in November 2019 in theatres across America, India, and Canada, and released on DVD & Digital in May 2020 in the USA. The film was the first Hollywood action film in history with a brown female lead and received the “Impact Award” at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival and the prestigious ReFrame Stamp for demonstrating gender parity.
Inspired from the film, Swati Bhise along with husband Bharat Bhise, founder of Bravia Capital launched “Making Herstory Project,” a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization aimed at closing the gender gap and promoting the economic empowerment of women.

Prior to this, she served as Executive Producer and Indian cultural consultant on The Man Who Knew Infinity, an Ed Pressman Film starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to screen at The White House to critical acclaim and open festivals in Zurich, India, Dubai, and Singapore, among others. She has served on numerous panels including the five-member grand jury at the 9th annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META).

In 2012, Swati founded The Sadir Theater Festival, a three-day festival focused on thought provoking content that takes place annually in Goa. Critically acclaimed theater stars have participated over the years, and she is still the festival’s artistic director. Swati brought the UNESCO heritage art form KunQu opera, one of the oldest styles of Chinese theatre, to India for the first time with performances at The National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, and at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi.

She served as a virtual ambassador of Indian culture and classical arts in New York for 35 years and founded Sanskriti Centre, a nonprofit organization that promoted Indian artists and introduced Indian classical arts to a generation of American children. In addition to a deep study of music, dance and theatre, she has a Masters in Indian and Chinese history that has led her to combine different artistic mediums: north and south Indian music with western classical Jazz. In 2017 she was invited to open the renowned Newport Jazz Festival with her original Carnatic-Jazz fusion composition. In 2015, she conducted her first Jazz and Carnatic music symphony at Jazz at Lincoln Centre to a full house, winning her wide acclaim in the Wall Street Journal.

A multifaceted performer, Swati has worked as a choreographer, actress, script-writer, TV show host with “Spotlight on Culture”, New York correspondent for Sruti magazine, and curator of art festivals in New York and India. Swati’s contributions range from performances at the U.N. General Assembly, choreography of Broadway shows including The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Transposed Heads and acting in operas such as Daddy meets Durga.

She was an artist in residence at The Brearley School for 22 years and remains an artist in residence at Lincoln Centre Institute and Symphony Space with an emphasis on arts in education.

Swati initially made her mark as a reputed Bharatanatyam Dancer by synthesizing key elements of classical dramaturgy into both traditional and contemporary choreography in the performing arts. In 1977, Swati became the first disciple of Padma Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh. Since her debut performance at The Center of Indian Classical Dances in New Delhi, she has performed extensively around the world at venues including the National Centre for the Performing Arts (India), Lincoln Center, Asia Society, Symphony Space, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, SPIC MACAY, and the House of Soviet Culture, among others.

She is also an outspoken advocate for women’s empowerment with a focus on South East Asia and The Warrior Queen of Jhansi was the culmination of many years of work in this sphere. She is a Lotus Circle advisor for The Asia Foundation, which serves to empower women and girls in Asia through education.

Rinarisa Coronel De Fronze

Rinarisa currently serves as the President and member of the Board of Directors of Making Herstory Project. She also serves as Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Administration Officer to Bravia Capital, a global single-family office in New York. Prior to joining Bravia Capital in 2018, Rinarisa was the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of The Archstone Partnerships, a multi-strategy, fund of hedge funds investment advisory firm. Before that, Ms. DeFronze worked at Alden Global Capital, LLC, a distressed and global opportunities hedge fund and was also previously a Partner and Managing Director of a boutique firm that specializes in compliance, operational and due diligence support services for the alternative investments industry. Rinarisa began her career as a Corporate Associate in the investment management department of Schulte, Roth & Zabel, LLP where she worked with institutional and entrepreneurial investment managers to facilitate the formation and operation of domestic and offshore hedge funds.   Her track recording of working in the finance arena for many years has given her a unique perspective of the challenges – and opportunities – working women encounter in Wall Street. Rinarisa resides in Westport, Connecticut with her husband, Ian, and two children, Sienna and Brady.

Ankur Jain

Ankur Jain is a seasoned entrepreneur, operator and marketer. He is currently Partner, COO and Head of Business Development at Tabor Asset Management, a TMT hedge fund sponsor. Previously, he held the same role at Falchion Capital where he built the business from the ground up with $3m under management at launch and $140m at their peak two years later. Prior to starting Falchion, he started two other businesses, one of which he sold in 2014. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Jain was an allocator, first at TAG Associates and then at BBR Partners, both multi-family offices managing several billion dollars for ultra-wealthy families. He was heavily involved in sourcing and conducting investment & operational due diligence on hedge, private equity and real estate funds. Prior to that, Mr. Jain was at Hedgefund.net, a Guggenheim-owned distressed hedge fund database he turned around and made profitable. In his role as Vice President, he also sourced best in class hedge funds for the broker-dealer to market.

Mr. Jain is on the board of Making HerStory, a women’s advocacy group launched in 2019. Previously, he was on the board of Educate Girls Globally (EGG), which empowers girls in emerging markets to go back to school and build their careers. Mr. Jain earned a BA in Economics from University of Michigan, and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Meghan Johnson

Meghan Johnson is a partner in Federal City Strategies, a boutique government relations firm based in Washington, DC.  She draws on her extensive experience in elective politics to provide fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and non-profit organizations with counsel focused on state and federal government relations. Her deep understanding of the intersection of politics and policy is informed by her 20 plus years working to elect democrats at all different levels of government. These experiences allow her provide clients invaluable strategic advice and legislative based solutions.

 Meghan served in senior posts at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), including committee liaison to House Leadership, the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions. During her tenure, she worked with nearly every member of the House and advised on numerous Democratic campaigns. She was also the chief fundraiser for Speaker Pelosi and the national finance director for numerous Members of Congress including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Jack Reed. Prior to her work in Washington, DC, Meghan worked on political campaigns in several states. Most recently, Meghan was Congresswoman Linda Sanchez Chief of Staff.

Meghan graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She serves as a valuable adviser to the Board of Making HerStory Project.

Rachel Pearson

Rachel Pearson draws on her extensive experience of elective politics to provide corporations, associations, and non-profit organizations with strategic planning and counsel. Pearson’s multi- faceted work in politics and policy is informed by a deep understanding of how Washington works – on the Hill and in the diplomatic and business communities.

She founded Pearson & Associates in 1996 and has tremendous experience in numerous Senate campaigns and three Presidential elections. Her success has allowed her to form deep and extensive relationships with Members of both houses of Congress. Committed to reaching across the aisle, Pearson often convenes bipartisan congressional staff in an effort to foster relationships that will result in legislative solutions.

Pearson has served as an advisor to several governments in Africa with a focus on strengthening bi-lateral relationships and fostering U.S. investment in Africa.

In 2013, Rachel co-founded Principal to Principal, a forum which connects with Members of Congress, diplomats, and business leaders for intimate dinners several times a year.

In October of 2018, Rachel launched the Capitol Conversation & Performing Arts Series, a newly formed program designed to expose 535 Members of Congress to America’s fine arts virtuosos and promote a keener understanding of how music develops the American mind.

A month later, in the wake of the 2018 election, she launched Engage: Bringing Women Together to Find Solutions, a bipartisan women’s initiative that focuses on women’s economic security.

Rachel serves on the Boards of the 150PAC and the French-American Cultural Foundation. She also serves on the Advisory Board of The New School Drama Department.

An Ohio native, Rachel is a collector of works on paper and an avid supporter of the arts.

Kristie Stiles

Kristie Stiles is a Managing Director in Mercury’s New York City office. With over two decades of experience in development strategy, Kristie utilizes a professional network of political and business leaders from all over the world. Whether consulting for political candidates, businesses or major advocacy groups, Kristie knows how to create a development strategy that ties into the financial and messaging goals of each client. 

In 2007 Kristie founded her own political consulting firm where she advised and oversaw fundraising and management for city, state and federal candidates, as well as progressive causes, and capital campaigns. Most recently Kristie has served as senior consultant to the campaigns of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Assemblyman Keith Wright and Congressman Charles Rangel. She is also proud to have worked on the efforts of New York Mayoral candidate William Thompson, the New York State Democratic Party, numerous Members of Congress, the DCCC, the DGA, the House Majority PAC, and non-profit groups: International Fund for Animal Welfare, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Elizabeth Seton’s Pediatric Center.

Prior to her role as a political consultant, she served on the staff of the Presidential campaigns of Vice President Al Gore and Congressman Richard Gephardt, as well as the Gubernatorial Campaigns of New York Governors Eliot Spitzer and David A. Paterson.

Kristie is an alumna of The American Council of Young Political Leaders, and served on their 2011 delegation to Indonesia and Malaysia. She currently serves on the Board of La Escuelita, a Spanish Immersion Pre-School in New York City. Kristie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Political Science from Southern Methodist University.  She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, Marius Muresanu, daughter Aurelia.

She serves as a valuable adviser to the Board of Making HerStory Project.