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Vasant Nayak

Book: Being Sheela

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“Being Sheela” a Biography Recently Published by Harper Collins

The critically acclaimed biography “Being Sheela: The Life Journey of an Immigration Attorney” has recently been released by Harper Collins.

What is “Being Sheela” about? It explores the life of a woman who has made it her purpose to strive for a better world. With insightful detours into her rather eventful growing-up years, it follows her journey from India to the United States, through law school at Harvard to the inception of what went on to become one of the most successful immigration law firms in the world – the Murthy Law Firm. The book takes a close look at a few out of the countless cases that Sheela and her dynamic legal team have handled over twenty-five years in the face of rapidly changing American attitudes towards immigrants. It highlights how one person’s vision and mission, working with a dedicated team, can transform lives. Lives not just in the thousands who work directly with her and the firm each year but in the millions of individuals and families who rely on the information, knowledge and wisdom shared through the website,

“Being Sheela” is about the human side of a successful professional, an immigrant and woman of color. Sheela feels that she is simply a vehicle to help people achieve their American dream of living and working in the U.S. This book will transport you, as you feel the highs and the lows, by seeing yourself through the eyes of those impacted. It is ironic that most from the outside see America as the land of limitless opportunities, yet so many in the U.S. do not feel that way.  Hopefully, this book will provide inspiration and motivation, not just for immigrants, but for all, to seek and find hope and opportunities to fulfill their dreams and to live life to its fullest potential.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book, please consider the following suggested donation. The Foundation will send the book as a thank you gift for your generous contribution. For a donation of $25.00 you will receive a hard-bound copy as a gift and for $100.00, you will receive a hard-bound and signed copy as a gift. There are no additional shipping and handling charges.

100% of all proceeds will be donated to the MurthyNAYAK Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity and will be used for projects funded by the Foundation  to support causes and organizations both in the U.S. and India. A portion of your contribution is tax deductible. Please check with your accountant for details.

Click here to request a copy of the book.



Norte Dame University: March 30, 2021, 5:00 – 6:30PM ET. Women’s Business Institute for Leadership at Norte Dame University. Kick-off with Denise Koch, Emmy Award–winning journalist and news anchor.  Link to register.

TiEDC: April 7, 2021, 4:00pm – 5:30pm ET, Event organized and hosted by TiEDC, the world’s largest organization for entrepreneurs. Co-Hosts: Harvard Business School Club of Washington DC and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Maryland Institute, College of Art: Video of interview with Marc Steiner, nationally renowned, award winning journalist and radio personality.

Stevenson University: Interview with Dr. Heather Harris, Professor at the School of Design, Stevenson University, Owings Mills, MD.

WJZ TV – CBS Affiliate: Two minute news segment video with Denise Koch, Emmy Award–winning journalist and news anchor to celebrate Women’s History Month, March 2021.

Harper Collins: Sheela Murthy and Adithi Rao in conversation with editor Prema Govindan of Harper Collins on Sheela’s extraordinary professional journey and her purpose in life to work for the benefit of others.Video

The American Bazaar: Book Review  – ‘Being Sheela’: Life and times of a powerhouse attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist by Sandra Liotta.

The American Bazaar Online: Video interview by Aziz Hanifa. Sheela Murthy discusses her newly released biography, “Being Sheela: The Life Journey of an Immigration Lawyer.”

I95Business: Interview in the I95Business magazine and website by Vicki Franz, summarizing a discussion of Sheela Murthy with Heidi Daniel, the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, MD, during the United Way Book Club event.

The Hindu: Book Review in The Hindu, a leading daily newspaper in India on the book Being Sheela.

TiE Global: Video of an interview with Sheela Murthy during the TiE Global Summit organized by TiE Hyderabad on the book “Being Sheela”, with a lively discussion on entrepreneurship and philanthropy.


Maryland Legal Aid

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Maryland Legal Aid is a private, nonprofit law firm providing free legal services to low-income people statewide. The organization serves Baltimore City and Maryland’s 23 counties from 12 offices and three District Court Self-Help Centers.

Maryland Legal Aid handles civil (not criminal) cases, involving a wide range of issues, including custody, housing, public benefits, and consumer law. Many of the group’s local offices represent children in CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) proceedings. Other vulnerable members of the population, such as senior citizens, migrant and seasonal farm workers, and nursing home and assisted living residents, also receive specialized representation. Legal protections under the law for the vulnerable in our society: this is where the MurthyNAYAK Foundation intersects with Maryland Legal Aid.

Maryland Legal Aid provides a variety of services including representation before federal and state trial and appellate courts, brief advice and counsel, and referrals to other sources of assistance. Maryland Legal Aid’s mission is to provide high quality legal services to the state’s low-income population poor through a mix of services, and to bring about the changes low-income poor people want and need in the systems that affect them.


Scholarship America

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Scholarship America believes that every student deserves an opportunity to go to college, regardless of their financial resources. As the nation’s largest private education support organization, having distributed more than $3.7 billion to 2+ million students, Scholarship America works directly with students, parents, donors, colleges, businesses, and communities to empower people to achieve their educational goals, while helping to improve lives and create economic prosperity for individuals and society.

Founded in 1958, Scholarship America is a nonprofit organization with a mission to mobilize America through scholarships and other educational support to make post-secondary success possible for all who desire it. The MurthyNAYAK Foundation partners with Scholarship America, because finances or connections should not be prerequisites for college.


United Way

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United Way of America (now United Way Worldwide) based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a nonprofit organization that works with almost 1,200 local United Way offices throughout the country in a coalition of charitable organizations to pool efforts in fundraising and support. United Way’s focus is to identify and resolve important community issues and to make measurable, sustainable changes in communities through partnerships with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community, and others. The main areas of focus include education, income, and health, which aligns with the mission of the MurthyNAYAK Foundation – a longtime supporter.

United Way identifies and builds on community strengths and assets, helps individuals and groups with specific community interests find ways to contribute their time and talents, supports direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocates public-policy changes. All of this is done in collaboration with diverse partners. Depending on the issue and how the community chooses to address it, United Way coordinates with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the religious community, and others.

Some of the common themes addressed by United Way include:

  • Helping children and youth succeed through engagement
  • Strengthening and supporting families
  • Improving access to health care
  • Promoting financial stability


University of Maryland Immigration Clinic

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The Immigration Clinic represents individuals in immigration proceedings before the Immigration Court and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in Baltimore. Assistance for immigrants is very important to us at the MurthyNAYAK Foundation, and we believe that the Immigration Clinic is an organization worthy of our support. Law students work under the supervision of an experienced attorney, performing all aspects of case preparation, including client interviews, fact development, witness interviews, writing motions and legal briefs, court appearances, trial, and post-relief issues. The immigration clinic seeks to provide an environment for students that is conducive to learning these skills and applying them in real cases.

Student attorneys represent clients who are fleeing persecution in their homelands and seeking asylum in the U.S., individuals in danger of being deported due to criminal convictions, and individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence or other crimes. In addition, the clinic has a number of cases that have challenged abusive enforcement practices by the government.


Tahirih Justice Center

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Tahirih Justice Center is a national nonprofit that has served more than 22,000 courageous individuals fleeing violence since 1997. The organization utilizes an efficient, effective, and innovative model to serve as many immigrant women and girls as possible.

Tahirih Justice Center strives to protect brave immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence. By elevating their voices in communities, courts, and Congress, the organization is creating a world where all women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity. This is a world the MurthyNAYAK Foundation would like to help build, which is why we support Tahirih Justice Center.

Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal servicespolicy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.


Baltimore Speaker Series

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Each year, the Baltimore Speakers Series offers evenings of diverse opinions, profound insights, and fascinating discussion on a broad range of issues. Over the years, the distinguished guests who have served as speakers have included Pulitzer Prize winners, world leaders, statesmen, journalists, authors, and other celebrated personalities. The MurthyNAYAK Foundation is a supporter of this series, which brings leaders in politics and culture to our city to enlighten and inspire us.


Ronald McDonald Foundation

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Since 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities, or RMHC, has created programs that strengthen families during difficult times. RMHC provides vital resources and compassionate care to children and their families who are being served by leading hospitals worldwide. Core RMHC programs, including — Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile — provide access to health services, and enable family-centered care. RMHC helped ease the burden for more than 5.5 million families in 2016. Employees of the Murthy Law Firm were actively involved in fundraisers for RMHC, which introduced the MurthyNAYAK Foundation to the important support they provide for these families.

Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. That is a long time to be away from home, possibly separated from the rest of the family. And, for these children, nothing seems scarier than facing a serious medical crisis without mom and dad close by for love and support. A Ronald McDonald House is that “home-away-from-home,” which allows a family to remain close to their hospitalized child at little or no cost.


Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service

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For more than seven decades, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has been a champion for migrants and refugees from all over the globe. The group’s legacy of courageous and compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities. The MurthyNAYAK Foundation understands that the United States is a beacon of hope for many living in dire situations around the world. Because families and immigrants are central to our mission, we partner with LIRS in support of the relief they provide.

LIRS works with migrants and refugees, U.S. Lutherans, and a wide array of partners in service and justice to accomplish its mission. Refugees are resettled through a network of local organizations in multiple states, most of which are Lutheran social ministry organizations. Many of those organizations also provide immigration legal services. Asylum seekers, survivors of torture, and other migrants impacted by detention are served through partners providing legal and social services including visitation ministry. In addition, LIRS works directly with foster care programs at the state level to provide family reunification and foster care services for unaccompanied refugee and immigrant minors.



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Jhpiego is an international, nonprofit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. For 40 years and in more than 155 countries, Jhpiego has been committed to preventing the needless deaths of women and their families. Health care for women and children aligns with the MurthyNAYAK Foundation’s mission, which is why we are long-time partners with Jhpiego.

Jhpiego works with health experts, governments and community leaders to provide high-quality health care for their people. Jhpiego develops strategies to help countries create a culture of care for themselves by training competent health care workers, strengthening health care systems, and improving delivery of care. Innovative, effective, and low-cost health care solutions are designed to ensure a high level of care for women and their families. These practical, evidence-based interventions are breaking down barriers to high-quality health care for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Mission and Values

Jhpiego is dedicated to improving the health of women and families in developing countries.

From its origins as technical experts in reproductive, maternal, and child health, Jhpiego has evolved to embrace new challenges, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and cervical cancer prevention and urban health – reflecting the increasing interconnectedness of global health. Jhpiego takes the latest advances in science and technology, applies that knowledge to develop practical, low-cost health care solutions, and makes them available from home to hospital, village to city.

Jhpiego assists countries confronting and addressing health needs for women and their families. Jhpiego accomplishes this by educating and preparing frontline health workers with evidence-based skills and techniques to deliver quality health care. Jhpiego believes that, because many people cannot reach needed services easily and expeditiously, health care should be mobile and made available to people where they live and in their communities.

To meet that need, Jhpiego designs and implements effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions that can be delivered by a community health care worker in a home or by a doctor or a nurse in a hospital. Jhpiego supports and works to develop integrated treatment services and health interventions for a variety of illnesses, so women and families can be treated for several conditions in a convenient place at one time.


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