Meet Priya Sreenivasan, SVA’s Finance Associate

Meet Priya Sreenivasan, SVA’s Finance Associate

by | May 13, 2024 | Movement Building

 Where are you from?

I was originally born in New York, but I grew up in North Carolina. North Carolina is definitely home for me. And my parents are from Sri Lanka and India and we had opportunities to go there every other summer when I was growing up, so that’s a second home for me. But North Carolina is definitely first.


What led you to SVA?

For a long time, I have been searching for a place that feels like they’re doing world-building work while practicing what they preach internally. And I found that, particularly in nonprofits, I was having struggles meeting both or either of those things in terms of the type of support I wanted to provide. So the type of roles that I’ve played have been pretty varied. 

I went to law school and was exploring that as an option to kind of do movement learning work and was practicing kind of doing movement through learning immigration advocacy work for a year. But in the day to day I was feeling more removed than I wanted to be. I didn’t really see the seeds that I was planting, and I felt misaligned.

And so trying to make a switch led to me finding a finance role, which I didn’t think that I would be in. But the attention to detail resonates. I’ve heard about the amazing work SVA has been doing for a while, and it felt like it really, really aligned.


What made you want to get into movement work?

Growing up, I was involved in a lot of direct service work through a charity mindset.  

That’s a mindset that I carried with me largely through like high school and even through college. And it wasn’t really until after college and going through racial equity trainings that I was beginning to learn and unlearn about my own identity, and how much I had internalized a lot of like, assimilation to whiteness, and capitalism, and all the systems.

At that point, I was struggling with balancing the understanding that our world was set up in a way where we don’t have the resources we need, but through that learning and unlearning and through law school I really solidified my desire to be part of movement spaces. Specifically, in terms of creating and experimenting with what a different world could look like. That’s the work that makes me come alive and that I feel called to do.


What’s an important lesson you picked up in your career?

One lesson I’ve learned particularly about when tension or conflict comes up, is that it’s important for me to stop and reflect on how I want to approach this from a place of living my values. I want to approach things from a place of understanding that we’re all human and that we all make mistakes.

There’s always going to be miscommunications, so it’s important to not let that fester. I try to ask more questions than make assumptions, and that’s really helped me sustain long-term relationships in movement work.


What are some of the things you hope to accomplish in your first year?

I really love process development, and one of my goals is to document some of the things that I’m learning to help build capacity and redundancy. I think that’s so important because it’s so easy for our work to be siloed or for things to pile up if someone takes time off, so I would really love to help in terms of that.

I’d also really love to get to know the sponsored projects more. There’s lots of e-mail touchpoints, but I’d love to know what folks are doing and how I can be of more support for the folks doing the work. 

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