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CHENNAI: Having already gained kudos as a policy wonk in the field of transportation, 38-year-old Shefali Ranganathan of Chennai has now achieved another distinction. She has been named deputy mayor of the US city of Seattle.
Ranganathan was selected by mayor-elect Jenny Durkan to head her transition team, along with two others. She is the executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition, a nonprofit that lobbies for transit, walking and biking infrastructure in Seattle.
“She was always ahead of her peers, be it in school or in college. This is a recognition of her work in the area of transportation and we hope it acts as an inspiration for young girls in the country and abroad,” said Pradeep Ranganathan, her father, who resides in the city with her mother Cheryl Ranganathan.
Ranganathan moved to the US in 2001 and went on to study at an American University.
“Even before she completed her course, she was offered a job by the government to work in the area of environmental conditions in Washington DC,” he said.
She joined the Transportation Choices Coalition as a mid-level executive in 2014-15 and went on to become the executive director.
On account of her outstanding work for the light rail project, she was selected as one of the business leaders who were part of the ’40 under 40′ awards programme compiled by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Ranganathan, along with Ron Sims and Paul Lambros, will serve as co-chair of Durkan’s transition committee and develop ideas on housing, homelessness and transportation for the new mayor to act on immediately after taking office.
She did her schooling at Good Shepherd Convent, Nungambakkam, and went on to pursue a BSc in zoology at Stella Maris. She also studied environmental science at Anna University where she was a gold medallist.
Ranganathan was a participant in many rowing events at the Madras Boat Club, representing the club and the university. She was the coxswain (navigator) for the team which won a gold medal in an inter-university rowing competition held at the club in the late 1990s.