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Our Team

Shivam Punjya is the founder and CEO of behno. He oversees the brandʼs social and design direction and positioning. Punjya founded the brand with the goal of addressing poverty and global health through traditional and non-traditional enterprise channels. Punjyaʼs professional experiences include luxury hospitality conglomerate InterContinental Hotels Group in London to, a tech-based nonprofit in the Silicon Valley. Upon completing his B.A. in International Political Economy from U.C. Berkeley, Punjya led extensive fundraising campaigns for the overseas branch of Pratham, India’s largest education advocacy nonprofit. Punjya graduated from Duke University with a M.S. in Global Health from the Duke Global Health Institute. During his time at Duke University, Punjya also studied social entrepreneurship at the Fuqua School of Business.
Ashley Austin is behnoʼs  designer. With behno, Austin aims to marry her love for textile development with classic menʼs tailoring to create womenswear that is feminine and powerful. After graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design, Austin was mentored by CFDA award-winning designer Chris Benz and was selected to participate in Elle Magazineʼs “Fashion Next” competition as well as its four-part documentary series on the design process. Previously, Austin has sold her collection on MUUSE, and debuted her collection in its showrooms in both Denmark and Sweden. Most recently, Austin worked for Kate Spade New York.
Sunil Patel is the chairperson of behno and oversees the brandʼs overarching business strategy, and is responsible for aligning behnoʼs Board of Advisors. He practices medicine in California and is a recipient of the Professional of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and the Champion of Health awards. Patel is actively involved in investments in hospitality, agriculture and tech-based startup companies in the Silicon Valley, and is well networked with textiles innovators and manufacturers in India. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Tracy Hospital Foundation and for Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, and is currently on the board of The Boys and Girls Club. He is a strong supporter of philanthropy and social entrepreneurial ventures both in the U.S. and abroad.
brand advisor
Jasonpaul McCarthy is behnoʼs brand advisor. He oversees the brands creative initiatives and design direction. McCarthy has been teaching internationally for over 10 years, recently working at Parsons New York, where he was involved heavily with the Fashion Benefit and also as a member of the Parsons External Partnerships Committee. He has overseen projects in collaboration with The Kering Group, LVMH, CFDA, and Milk Made Studio. McCarthy shifted location to his current position as the Director of the B.F.A. Fashion Design Program at Parsons Paris. He also works as an editorial reviewer for Lawrence King, AVA and Bloomsburg Publishing. McCarthy has worked on menswear and womenswear collections throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S., and holds an M.A. in Fashion Womenswear from the Royal College of Art in London.
business development advisor
Ankita Iyer is behnoʼs business development advisor and advises on business strategy and brand commercialization. She is currently a consultant specializing in commercial operations and brand development. Her experiences include budget development and managing multimillion-dollar corporate projects. Iyer specializes in project management execution and risk/issue identification and mitigation. She completed her B.S. in Economics and Biological Sciences from U.C. San Diego and received her Masters in Public Health in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Most recently, she has helped bring to market and commercialize a pharmaceutical therapy that will delay disease progression in millions of cardiac patients.