Founders & Advisors

Aarti Sahgal

Synergies Work is a personal mission that stems from life experiences of Aarti. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome she is constantly challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations that excludes people with intellectual disabilities from living their true potential. In the past 10 years she has worked as a diversity consultant in the disability field. Before that she worked in the marketing & advertising field for 14 years.

Terry Blum

Terry Blum earned a PhD from Columbia University and has researched and published on topics related to behavioral health care.  She holds the Tedd Munchak Chair and is a Professor of Organizational Behavior in Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, where she served as dean for seven years (1999–2006).  She is the founding director of Georgia Tech’s Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE), and the co-founder of Georgia Tech’s Inclusive Postsecondary Education Program, EXCEL.

Eric E. Jacobson

Eric E. Jacobson is the executive director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) — a federally funded, independent state agency that advocates on behalf of Georgians and families living with developmental disabilities. Jacobson leads GCDD on its mission to collaborate with Georgia citizens, public and private advocacy organizations and policymakers to positively influence public policies that enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Judge Mason

A native of Atlanta, Judge Mason obtained his B.A. in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania, and obtained his law degree in 1984 from Woodrow Wilson College of Law. In 2000, on appointment by the Governor, Judge Mason serves on the Workers’ Compensation Board. In addition to his judicial service, Judge Mason has, for the last 18 years, been a board member and officer of Day League, who provides care and services for survivors of sexual assaults.

Robin Rayne Nelson

Robin Rayne Nelson is a nationally published magazines photojournalist, based in Canton, Georgia. Robin also serves the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia, where she is on staff as a photojournalist and documentary producer.

Randy Pilkenton

Randy has over 25 years experience in management consulting and executive leadership developing, selling and marketing innovative products and services in many industry sectors including financial technology, eCommerce, automotive services, airline, retail, and consumer products. He has held leadership roles with several noted firms including McKinsey & Co., Razorfish, and CheckFree. Randy has been actively engaged in serving the needs of the Atlanta community.

Maria Pinkelton

Since earning her BA in English/Creative Writing from Georgia State University Maria Pinkelton has used her visual and written communications skills to promote local artists, programs for people with disabilities, faith-based communities, and international medical aid charities. She has served in communications and advocacy roles with several Atlanta based disability focused organizations and is currently the social media director ay the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Her work can be found at

Teji Sahni

Teji Sahni joined India’s executive civil service in 1966 and held senior positions there and overseas including serving as board member for several government based organizations. In 1991 he moved into the private sector as the vice-president of a US Corporation where he was responsible for international market development. In 2010, he accepted the position of president of Georgia based Primo Exim, LLC.

Ashish N. Thakur

Ashish N. Thakur is a recovering banker, failed start up, successful fundraiser, loves people and is not afraid of public speaking, death or taxes! Find him on LinkedIn at

Aditya Sthanunathan

Adi currently works for The Home Depot, where he leads an arm of’s product management organization. In his role, he leads teams to both understand how customers shop online and create new online shopping experiences to serve Home Depot’s customers while growing the company’s $7B e-commerce business. He is excited to bring his e-commerce expertise and industry knowledge to Synergies Work!Outside of work, Adi and his wife, Atishi – a physician at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital – are passionate cooks and are on a quest to visit their 7th continent (Antarctica) each!