Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan

Visiting Professor


Sobhana graduated from Calicut University with a Bachelors’s degree in Philosophy and from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) with a Master’s degree in Social Work. After working in South East Asia, she immigrated to Canada in 1995 and worked in a minimum wage job prior to joining the Government of British Columbia serving in front-line child welfare and senior policy and management positions (including Acting Assistant Deputy Minister) for nearly two decades. After a two-year stint in India as global head of HR, she joined Simon Fraser University (SFU) as Associate Vice President, External Relations in 2017.

Sobhana's work focuses on strengthening relationships and partnerships between the academy and community. She is the co-facilitator for the Aboriginal Strategic Initiative at SFU, that aims to advance reconciliation. She collaborates with the SFU community to run a successful annual Moose Hide Campaign and United Way campaign. 

Sobhana completed her doctoral course work (School of Child and Youth Care) and taught the child welfare specialization undergraduate course at the University of Victoria. She is called upon to teach and present to students and faculty at universities in Canada and India. Sobhana's research interests includes policy and praxisskill development, future of work, entrepreneurship, immigration, social issues and social responsibility.   

Sobhana is currently the President of BC-India Business Network (Canada) and Chief Impact Officer for HashHackCode (India). Both pro bono positions. She mentors young entrepreneurs/CEOs, offers skill development programs at Tata Institute of Social Sciences' National University Students Skill Development Program, and is an Advisor to The National Federation Of the Blind Maharashtra (India), The Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival, The Inclusion Project, and Global Emerging Leadership Programs. 

In 2019, Sobhana was recognized by the global Women Economic Forum (WEF) with a Woman of the Decade award and in 2022, she received the International Inclusion Champion Award from The National Federation Of the Blind Maharashtra (India).

Research Interests

  • Child and Family Policy, Welfare Policy, Social Work, Social Policy