Sush grew up and went to school in India, where she began working as an environmental engineer. After meeting her husband, she moved to Tennessee and earned her master’s degree in public health from ETSU. Here in Chattanooga, she is a philanthropic entrepreneur who takes every opportunity to bring cultural awareness to local communities. Sush is also a co-founder of a hospital in India, which not only provides improved health care to residents, but also offers jobs to the local women – empowering them with paths to independence. An energetic and positive problem solver, Sush never backs down from a challenge. Read on to see how this empathetic and intelligent mother of two loves to travel, serve, cook, and spend time with her family.
HS What are some of the local causes close to your heart?
SS I help with several nonprofits through Normal Park School, which is important to me because that’s where my sons attend. I’m also on the board of the Hunter Museum of American Art, and I’m very excited about the new things they’re bringing to Chattanooga. I work with ArchWay, which is a great organization that teaches valuable life skills to youth, and I am on the Interface Panel, which I’m very passionate about. We go to different places of worship, anywhere that will welcome us, and speak about our experiences as people of different religions living in Chattanooga.
HS How are you involved with the hospital in India?
SS My husband and I, along with his best friends, are all from India. We decided we should invest in a hospital that would provide the quality of care that we would want for ourselves and make it accessible to families in India. I was involved in the planning, finding the property, training the staff, and setting up the quality control department. When we were getting it off the ground, I spent six months in India. And I still travel back every year. It has grown by leaps and bounds, and we now have five branches. I continue to host fundraisers to help fund surgeries and expensive procedures.
HS How does the hospital benefit local women?
SS The cafeteria of the hospital serves really good, very healthy food, and it employs women from Bangalore. This gives them job opportunities and a way to earn their own income.
HS How do you introduce people to your culture?
SS I love public speaking! I’ve served as Normal Park’s India expert for different grades, and I’ve also been to other schools to speak, in addition to working with the Interface Panel. But I also use my cooking. I offer cooking classes, usually I donate them for charity events. I love to speak to those groups or individuals about the culture and history of the dishes I prepare, how we use our hands and incorporate flavor with herbs and spices – it’s a great experiential way to become more informed about the Indian culture.
HS Where in life do you find the most purpose?
SS I really feel like everyone has the potential to live the life they want to live, whether they realize it or not. And I find purpose in empowering them. I try to find positive aspects in every conversation and be supportive to instill confidence and independence. I believe we have to be responsible for our own happiness, and if I can help someone find the courage to create their happiness, that’s where I find purpose. HS