ishi team

chief connector

The ishi vest founding team includes 'chief connector' Harish I. Patel, a serial social justice entrepreneur who was also a founding board member of Chicago Votes, a youth civic engagement organization. Harish works as "Innovator" at Accelerate Change and previously co-founded a youth-led initiative of artists, writers, activists and students committed to educate, inspire and empower youth through art and creative projects called Project FOCUS.

A fellow of Green For All, New Leaders Council, and South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, Harish holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from UIC, where he helped launch a social justice initiative and taught a class entitled, ‘Youth Engagement in a Globalized World.”

chief storyteller

Co-founder Jackie Mahendra serves as chief storyteller for ishi vest. Jackie is the Director of Strategic Collaboration at Citizen Engagement Lab, a non-profit incubator based in Berkeley, CA. Previously, as Director of Storytelling at, Jackie worked to inspire everyday people to start and win campaigns on issues they care about. Jackie’s passion and experience lie at the intersection of technology, team-building, storytelling, and social change. Jackie is a board member of Netroots Nation, the country’s largest conference for progressive digital activists, and has given dozens of talks, including “Waging Stories With Social Media” at South By Southwest Interactive.

She received her B.A. in Science, Technology, and New Media Studies from Brown University.

managing director

Skylar graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in Art + Design. He recently completed his Year of Service as an Americorps Vista by working at the Center of Community Arts Partnerships. In his personal practice he’s currently working on several social justice based collaborative projects while continuing to expand his art making into new mediums and themes. While working at The Tie Bar he also picked up a few notions of what it takes to gain and maintain respect for a brand of fashion.