Executive Committee (of the Global Council of Trustees)

URI’s primary governing body, the Global Council, is comprised of Trustees who are elected from - and by - URI Cooperation Circles. The Executive Committee of the Global Council is responsible for general governance oversight. 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Kiran Bali, MBE JP

Chair of the URI Global Council of Trustees (At-Large Trustee)

Kiran Bali, MBE JP is a remarkable global organizational leader and spokesperson in areas of interfaith understanding, environmental justice, women’s empowerment, and peacebuilding through selfless service and multidisciplinary approaches. Kiran was honored by HM Queen Elizabeth II with the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire accolade in 2008 and has received a number of international awards for her achievements. Tackling cli-mate change through advocacy and empowering grassroots communities with knowledge, she launched the Hindu declaration on climate change in India and spoke at the launch of the inter-faith declaration on climate change in New York. As a UK magistrate, Kiran underpins all her initiatives with the principles of social justice, compassion and equity toward creating safer, healthier and stronger inclusive communities.

Preeta Bansal

Senior Advisory Council Member; URI Global Council Trustee (At-Large)

Preeta D. Bansal has served in senior roles in government, global business, and corporate law practice. She served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the Obama White House’s Office of Management & Budget and as Solicitor General of the State of New York. In the private sector, she was a partner at Skadden, Arps in New York City, and a global general counsel in London for one of the world’s largest banks. She was a Commissioner and Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan federal human rights agency from 2003-2009, and a leader of President Obama’s Advisory Committee on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships focusing on poverty and inequality in America in 2015-2016. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an independent corporate director of Nelnet, Inc. (NYSE: NNI), among many other board and advisory roles. A former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, she received the National Organization of Women’s “Woman of Power and Influence Award” in 2006 and was named one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal in 2008. She recently has been a lecturer at MIT and senior advisor at the Laboratory for Social Machines based at the MIT Media Lab.

Biff Barnard

Acting Executive Director

Biff Barnard was appointed URI Acting Executive Director in September 2021. He joined URI as its Director of Institutional Advancement in October 2016, having served as a member of URI’s Senior Advisory Council since 2003. While his primary responsibilities have been in development and individual and institutional donor relations, he provides support for the Senior Advisory Council and the URI Foundation; supports URI’s global partnerships, oversees URI’s Coordinator of Individual Membership and URI’s effort to seek corporate and foundation grants. Prior to joining URI, he was Managing Partner of Barnard/Montague Capital Advisors; Managing Director of Caltius Mezzanine; Senior Vice President of Allied Capital; and Chairman and CEO of Heller First Capital. Biff served as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, as President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, and as a Director of ACG-Global. He serves on the East Bay Advisory Board of Heritage Bank of Commerce. Biff received a B.A. from Stanford University. He lives in Walnut Creek, California, with his wife, Connie.

Becky Burad

URI Global Council Trustee (At-Large); URI Treasurer; Finance and Operations Committee Chair; Foundation Board Member

Becky is the URI Foundation Treasurer and serves on URI’s Global Council and as Chair of URI’s Finance and Operations Committee.

Becky (now retired) was a principal in Squar Milner’s Outsourced Accounting Department. Becky joined Squar Milner when DZH Phillips merged with Squar Milner in 2018. Becky was previously a founder and principal of Bridgeway, LLC, a financial services company providing bookkeeping, accounting, and interim CFO services to start-up companies and non-profits which merged with DZH Phillips’ Outsourced Accounting and CFO Advisory group.

Rev. Kalyan Kumar Kisku

URI Trustee for Asia

Rev. Kalyan Kumar Kisku (affectionately known as “KK”) has worked at the grassroots level for a number of years and brings the success of local interfaith actions and the richness of diverse religious practices to the Global Council. Based in Kolkata, KK has worked as the regional team president for URI’s East India region and has been a mentor and facilitator for over ten years. He has also rendered pastoral service to communities, especially Muslims and Animists based at the Peace and Conflict Resolution Center. KK looks forward to continuing to build bridges and partner with likeminded organizations and government agencies promoting interfaith actions.

Pulin Sanghvi

Senior Advisory Council Member; URI Global Council Trustee (At-Large); URI Treasurer-Elect; Foundation Board Treasurer-Elect

Pulin Sanghvi is a speaker, author, and educator on the topics of purpose and meaningful work based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pulin led structural reimaginations of career development at Princeton University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and he created and taught a model of hypothesis-driven exploration that has engaged thousands of members of the Princeton, Stanford, and Yale communities. Previously, Pulin was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Palo Alto and an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York. Pulin holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with Distinction in Economics from Yale University. Pulin serves on the boards of The Peace Studio and Hospital de la Familia Foundation, and previously served on the national board of Positive Coaching Alliance. He also serves Yale in multiple capacities, including as a Fellow in Davenport College and previously as Executive Officer of the Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors.

Barbara Shannon

Senior Advisory Council Member; Global Council Trustee (At-Large)

Barbara Shannon is a business growth expert. She is CEO of the Shannon Group advising C-Level corporate executives with clients that include FEI/Thermo Fischer, Lumentum, HireRight, Flextronics, and others. She helps clients achieve game-changing results for themselves and their businesses. She is founder and chair of THECEOBOARD, a San Francisco-based CEO peer group, and ATHENA, a monthly mastermind group dedicated to the success of women entrepreneurs. Barbara hosts the Bernstein CEO Speaker Series, serves on the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change, and is a frequent speaker and panelist on big shift business transformation. Previously, she was with Deloitte Consulting, where she guided senior executives at JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, Lockheed Martin, Hewlett Packard and Applied Materials. Barbara gives back locally as a board member at We Vote, as a Global Ambassador for How Women Lead, and as the coach-in-residence at Save The Bay. She has also served as a member of the URI Foundation Board. Barbara received her BA from Smith College and her MBA at The Wharton School.

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing

Founder and President Emeritus of URI; Former Episcopal Bishop of California

William E. Swing, 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California (1980-2006), was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He graduated from Kenyon College and Virginia Theological Seminary, and holds six honorary degrees. Bishop Swing served as a priest in Wheeling, Weirton, and Chester, West Virginia. He also started a church at Waterford Park Race Track in Chester, pioneered homeless work in San Francisco, and played a critical role in saving St. Luke’s Hospital. He served on the Board of the American Foundation for AIDS research for 20 years and has spoken throughout the world. He was instrumental in starting a capital development bank in Oakland. He is known as an outspoken leader about the standing of gays and lesbians in the church. He led the radical expansion of the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, California. Bishop Swing is the Founder and President Emeritus of the United Religions Initiative. He is married to Mary Taylor Swing and has two children and three grandchildren.

Bishop Swing is an inspirational speaker and an author, most recently of A Bishop's Quest: Founding a United Religions and The Sacred and the Silly: A Bishop's Playful and Eventful Life. Both books are available on Amazon.com; the proceeds of book sales will benefit URI.

Morgana Sythove

URI Trustee for Multiregion

Morgana Sythove, a Wiccan Elder, first became aware of URI in 2004 at the PWR/Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona but it was not until 2008 that she became involved with URI in the Netherlands. Since then, she has become involved in various CCs in Europe, North America, and South-East Asia. Her interest and passion for Earth Spirituality and environmental issues brought her into contact with many diverse people and cultures. As she became more involved with various grassroots projects she became more aware of the problems Indigenous people face and the many problems caused by pollution and monoculture, resulting in climate change. Morgana has been instrumental in the formation of the new Multi CC Planetary Wellbeing and, together with the URI Environmental Network CC and Spirituality and the Earth CC, has strengthened the bonds with many environmentalists and partner organizations such as Charter for Compassion in supporting grassroots initiatives.