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Board of Directors and Executive Staff

Murali Bashyam is the Founder and President of Friends Unite. He serves on the organization's Board of Directors.

Murali has always had a strong desire to help others. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Tammy Lynn Foundation for Developmental Disabilities. Murali founded Friends Unite based on the belief that strong, lifelong relationships really can make a difference in people's lives around the world.

Murali is also a Managing Partner at Bashyam Spiro LLP, a law firm located in Raleigh, North Carolina that practices Immigration and Nationality Law. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University.

Pamela Prather
is a Co-Founder and Vice President of Friends Unite. She serves on the organization's Board of Directors.

Pam has helped others her entire life. She spends a considerable amount of time helping Montagnard (indigenous tribesman of the central highlands in Vietnam) and other refugees adjust to life in the United States. Pam also serves on the Board of Directors of the Montagnard Human Rights Organization.

Pam is currently a Client Relations Manager at Bashyam Spiro LLP.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Old Dominion University.

Elizabeth Raiford
serves Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Friends Unite. She is currently a Vice President and Principal of Grubb & Ellis|Thomas Linderman Graham. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth was recently named one of the top 26 most accomplished businesswomen in the Raleigh-Durham area.

In addition to serving on the organization's Board, Elizabeth will help with strategic and event planning, and outreach programs for Friends Unite.

Ketan Soni
joined the Board of Directors for Friends Unite in August 2010.  He believes in helping others help themselves and has volunteered as a teen court judge in directing youths that are first time offenders on minor infractions as well as assisting adults who wish to obtain their G.E.Ds later in life.

Ketan has served as the managing attorney for Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh, Charlotte and Chapel Hill since 2006.  He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from University of Illinois and received his law degree from Wake Forest University. 

Cheryl Gaffney serves as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Friends Unite. She currently works as a Financial Analyst for Progress Energy - Carolinas.

Cheryl received her Masters degree in Accounting from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Ashley Poling serves as Head of Human Rights Issues and Advocacy for Friends Unite.  Ashley has always felt that making a difference in the world is strongly tied to who she is as a person. She has a passion for working with and helping people around the world.

Ashley pursued this interest by studying humanitarian and human rights issues as a law student in Geneva, Switzerland and Strasbourg, France.  She looks forward to helping mobilize people both in the United States and around the world so that their voices can be heard through the power of advocacy.

Ashley is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is a current student at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina.