Staff biographies

SAAS Head Office Staff

Lisa Bernstein, Senior Manager - SA8000
The SAAS Senior Manager - SA8000 is responsible for maintaining oversight and management of the accreditation systems and related structure of the compliance system.  In addition to managing SAAS compliance with policies and procedures, the Senior Manager oversees the SA8000 accreditation system.  The Senior Manager also revises internal procedures, develops pilot programs, maintains the website and communication with the general public, coordinates activities with the SAAS Board and Committees, assists with complaints management, and oversees the data collections system.  The Senior Manager works closely with the Program Coordinator in maintaining the SA8000 audit schedule, and with the Senior Manager - BSCI in identifying metrics, measurement and evaluation of the Certification Bodies.  Lisa Bernstein is the SAAS Senior Manager - SA8000.  Lisa Bernstein has more than a decade of experience in the world of accreditation and certification, having worked for 15 years at SAAS and SAI.  She manages the creation of policies and procedures for accreditation of certification bodies and social auditing and oversees the implementation of internal audits, management reviews and corrective actions at SAAS, as well as compliance to international ISO standards, best practice guidance and ISEAL membership requirements.  Ms. Bernstein also liaises directly with the Board and Committees, prepares reports and manages the investigation of complaints and appeals.  Prior to moving into the role of Program Manager, she coordinated special projects, communication and fundraising at SAI. Previously, Ms. Bernstein was the Registered Representative and Administrative Director for Green Century Capital Management, a socially responsible investment firm. Ms. Bernstein has also directed public interest and recruitment campaigns for the national association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) and holds her degree in Environmental Policy from Rutgers University.  Lisa Bernstein serves as the Corporate Secretary of SAAS, is a member of the Impartiality Committee for the Green Electronics Council, and was previously a member of ISEAL's Membership Committee of the Board of Directors.

I starting working for SAI, the parent organisation of SAAS, more than 14 years ago.  I hold a deep commitment to making the world a better place.  In 2001, I was looking to work for an organization whose mission would contribute to that commitment - or rather, that I could contribute to improving the world and feel good about going to work every day.  I sit at a desk, behind a computer every day - so, while I may not be at the front lines of poverty alleviation or healing the sick, I understand that my work can play a small part in impacting the lives of people around the world.  And I feel really good about that.  So, while I came to work at SAAS because of the mission, I continue now to work here because of the impact of the organization.  Plus, I really like the people I get to work with - they inspire me every day and help make work less of a chore and more part of being a family.

 

John Brookes, Executive Director
The Executive Director is the senior executive representative of SAAS, serving as liaison to the SAAS Board of Directors and on various external/business partner committees and programs. As Executive Director, Mr. Brookes has overall authority and decision-making responsibility for the organization and is responsible for the development and management of the budget, the consistency and effectiveness of SAAS accreditation/oversight programs, and the competency of staff and contractors. Since 1988, John has been a management systems and accreditation specialist in the voluntary conformity assessment/consensus standards arena (delivering quality, environmental, health and safety management systems consulting, training, auditing, and operational leadership services). Through this period, he held operational, business development and quality management positions at SGS and AIG, ran his own professional services business, and contributed to the development of the ANSI-RAB National Accreditation Program for Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001). For almost 20 years, John has also provided various pro-bono governance, audit and paid consultative services to both SAAS and SAI, including contributions during the development and launch of the first SA8000 standard in 1998. In the United Kingdom, earlier in his career, Mr. Brookes held positions as Merchant Navy Radio Officer, Quality Engineer, Quality Consultant and IRCA certified ISO 9001 Lead Auditor. A US resident since 1991, John lives in New Jersey and works at the SAAS headquarters in New York City.

 

Archana Panda, Operations Manager and Lead Accreditation Auditor
Ms. Archana joined SAAS team as Operations Manager and Lead Auditor in 2017. Based in Gurgaon, India, she is responsible for developing and managing SAAS’ market surveillance monitoring and internal auditor development programs, and for managing and delivering accreditation audits to SAAS’ Certification Body clients. Ms. Archana holds a degree in Industrial Engineering, a PG diploma in Industrial Safety, and has more than 18 years of management system audit experience (comprising more than 1000 audits in various industry sectors) as a Lead Auditor for ISO9001, ISO14001, OHSAS 18001,  SA8000. Before joining SAAS she worked as SA8000 Product Manager with Bureau Veritas South Asia region. There she was responsible for SA8000 certification decision making, competency approvals for the global BV network (except Italy) and was an IRCA approved trainer for QMS, EMS, OHSAS & SA8000.

 


SAAS Accreditation Auditors

Simon Armstrong, Lead Auditor
Mr. Armstrong is a Lead Accreditation Auditor for SAAS.  From 2008 to the present, Mr. Armstrong has been Director of Simon Armstrong & Associates.  In addition to his work with SAAS, for the past 12 years, he has been a Lead Assessor and Accreditation Program Manager for Accreditation Services International (ASI) for the FSC and RSPO schemes. He has been developing and piloting accreditation services for RSPO, leading a project to develop an Intelligent Assurance Centre for scheme owners, drafting specific scheme owner certification body accreditation requirements, and reviewing the RSB certification standards for WWF.  His project evaluations include financial and economic modeling and social and environmental evaluation. In addition, Mr. Armstrong has worked on strategy development for forestry and forest industries. Mr. Armstrong developed his forestry qualifications and experience as Project Manager for the Confederation of Forest Industries, in which he facilitated public-private sector partnership organizations to deliver on multiple social, economic and environmental objectives, as well as through his working relationship with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Moreover, Mr. Armstrong has 8 years of experience as a consultant working on forest industry initiatives. Mr. Armstrong obtained a BS degree and graduated with First Class Honors in Ecological Science (Resource Management) at Edinburgh University in 1993. He then obtained his MS degree in Forestry and Land Use at Oxford University in 1997, followed by an MBA at Edinburgh University in 2002. He graduated from both from Oxford University and Edinburgh University with distinction. 

 

Douglas DeRuisseau, Lead Auditor (retired)

Mr. DeRuisseau has recently retired as a Lead Accreditation Auditor and Client Manager for SAAS and Director of Field Services for SAI. He played a key role in the ongoing development of the SA8000 audit process, methodology and related policies, having conducted audits and related activities since 1998.  In addition to auditing, Mr. DeRuisseau developed the content and structure and is the lead tutor for the basic and advanced social auditor training course for the SA8000 standard – he has delivered these and other courses in more than eighteen countries since the SA8000 standard was developed over ten years ago.  Mr. DeRuisseau is a lead assessor for quality management systems, having conducted over 350 audits throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Central, and South America. He has also worked with multi-national companies in the agricultural, banking, textile, and service sectors to develop and improve their social management systems and compliance teams.  Additionally, he has developed general and customized courses for suppliers seeking to get certified to the standard.  Mr. DeRuisseau received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Norwich University and has had over 29 years of executive management experience in AT&T and its subsidiaries, prior to joining SAI and SAAS. Mr. DeRuisseau is fluent in English and Spanish.

 

Selvanathan Grapragasem, Lead Auditor
Mr. Selvanathan, a Lead Auditor with SAAS since 2017, has a Diploma in Agriculture and a Degree in Business Management. He is a member of the auditing community and has served as an auditor/lead auditor for several certification schemes, including Management Systems, RSPO, ISCC and Social Accountability. Prior to conducting audits, he has worked in companies and factories with various positions including as a Management Representative for Quality, Environment, Safety & Health. His audit experience includes a wide spectrum of industries such as Wood, Printing, Manufacturing, Metal Stamping, Engineering, Hotels and Hospitals etc; and has international exposure having conducted audits in Asia and Europe alike. Mr. Selvanathan is a native Tamil speaker and fluently speaks English, Melayu, and Indonesian language. 

 

Badrinath Gulur, Lead Auditor
Mr. Gulur is the Lead Accreditation Auditor for SAAS and heads SAI programs in India – he is also a qualified SAI Lead Trainer for SA8000 basic and advanced courses.  He has worked with SAI and SAAS since 2003 in a range of training and accreditation programs. He has conducted SA8000 Auditor and Advanced training and provided technical assistance in over 30 countries across Asia, Africa, USA and Europe.  He is a global expert in managements systems, with over 15 years of experience in Quality, Environmental, Health & Safety and Social Accountability training, consulting and auditing.  In addition to his positions as SAI Lead Trainer and SAAS Auditor, Mr. Gulur is also the CEO of a Swiss based consulting company called Four-D Management Consulting. In this capacity, he has provided consulting and training services in Quality, Environment, Health & Safety and Social Accountability spanning various sectors in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.  Mr. Gulur holds a Masters Degree in Urban Environmental Management from Netherlands. He is also a registered IRCA Lead Auditor and Trainer for ISO 9000, ISO 14000 & OHSAS 18000. Before being involved in the training and accreditation activities, Mr. Gulur worked as Country Manager, Lead Auditor and Trainer for BVQI on ISO 9000, ISO 14000, SA 8000 and OHSAS 18000.   He has conducted over 500 audits and training programs in India, Thailand, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya, Maldives, South Africa, Europe and the US.  Mr. Gulur speaks English, Hindi, and Indian dialects.

 

Yolanda Brenes Hernandez, Lead Auditor
Ms. Brenes Hernandez is a Lead Auditor for SAAS and an SAI Lead Trainer and Project Manager in Central America and has been working with the organization since 2006.  She develops and delivers training on labor rights and social auditing for workers, factory managers and social auditors. She has extensive experience throughout Latin America with social compliance auditing and training and has conducted social audits and provided consulting for a range of clients, including DelMonte, Dole and Tico Fruit, The Netherlands Development Finance Company and SGS.  Prior to working with SAAS and SAI, she was the Social Accountability Projects Regional Manager for Chiquita Brands International.  She managed the SA8000 implementation, training and internal auditing for all the Latin-American divisions and the social accountability system for the regional offices of the company. Ms. Brenes Hernandez received an M.B.A., Master in Business Administration with a major in International Business from UCR – FUNDEPOS in San José, Costa Rica.  She is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English and has an understanding of Portuguese.

 

D.K.S. Moorthy, Lead Auditor
Mr. Moorthy, a Lead Accreditation Auditor and Client Manager with SAAS since 2010, is a Graduate Mechanical Engineer from University of Madras, India, having 38 years of work experience in the fields of Construction Project Management, Project Quality Assurance and Third Party Certification.  He gained experience through initial association with reputed organizations like Larsen & Toubro and  Engineers India Limited and finally with Det Norske Veritas  ( DNV ), a reputed international certification body with whom he served for 28 years. Mr. Moorthy retired in September 2009 from DNV as their Head of Sustainability & Business Excellence Group in India where he had overall responsibility for DNV’s services in the areas of CSR, Corporate Governance, Enterprise Risk Management, Business Excellence Models and Ethical Supply Chain Management. He was globally responsible for DNV’s accreditation for SA8000 and BSCI audits and represented DNV as a member of the Advisory Board of SAI.  As a Lead Auditor in  Quality (ISO 9001), Environment (ISO 14001), Occupational Health & Safety (OHSAS-18001) and Social Accountability  ( SA - 8000 ) Management Systems, he has carried out audits of more than 1000 organisations in different industries such as Engineering, Process, Chemical, Oil & Gas and Nuclear Industries. He has travelled widely and worked in India, Middle East and Europe in connection with his assignments.  Mr. Moorthy is a native Tamil speaker and fluently speaks Hindi and English.

 

Viswanathan Padmanabhan, Lead Auditor
Mr. Viswanathan, a Lead Auditor with SAAS since 2011, is a graduate in Electrical Engineering with 40 years of experience gained whilst working with companies like Tata Steel, SGS India Limited and Det Norske Veritas; retiring from DNV in 2008. He is experienced in Electrical Machine Operations & Maintenance, Project Management, Quality Assurance, Management System Audits, Management System Trainings, International Quality Rating Assessments and Corporate Responsibility Assessments. His audit experience includes a wide spectrum of industries such as Textiles, Leather, Food processing, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering etc. and has international exposure having conducted audits in UK, Dubai, Vietnam, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Thailand. Additionally, he has provided trainings in ISO 9001:2008, OHSAS 18001:2007, ISO 14001:2006, SA8000:2008 and CSR. Mr. Viswanathan is a native Tamil speaker and fluently speaks English, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.

 

Perumalsamy Prabakaran, Lead Auditor
Mr. Prabakaran, a Lead Accreditation Auditor, has worked with SAAS since 2017.  Mr. Prabakaran has been a trainer, auditor, reviewer and consultant with 26 years of industrial experience in different roles, including 14 years of working at a multinational organization involved in Testing, Inspection and Certifications as Associate Vice President – Technical.  He is an IRCA Approved Lead tutor, Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and SA8000, and Trainer and Consultant for Quality, Process & Productivity improvement, Operational Excellence, and Business strategy design & implementation.  Mr. Prabakaran has a strong international exposure of social accountability, environment, safety production and quality management systems.  He has conducted over 900 audits in various industries like Manufacturing, Automotive, Textile, Education, Health Care, Food, IT & ITES across Asia, Africa and Europe, as well as delivering training programs related to productivity and Quality improvement topics like TQM, BSC, Kaizen, 5S, DOE, VE, Lean, etc. for manufacturing, automotive, education, textile, IT, ITES and healthcare sector.  Mr. Prabakaran graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering (GIE) and has an MBA.  He is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in Management.  Mr. Prabakaran is a native Tamil speaker, fluently speaks English and Telugu, and has a working knowledge of Malayalam and Kannada.

 

Richard Rowe, Lead Auditor
Mr. Rowe is a Lead Accreditation Auditor and Client Manager for SAAS and has been working with SAAS conducting accreditation audits since 2004.  Mr. Rowe is an IRCA Certified QMS Auditor and has carried out over 180 audits in Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Central America, and the United States.  He has over ten years of experience with Quality Management Systems (QMS) training, auditing, and consulting in the United States and in Asia.  In addition to managing a multi-national consulting firm headquartered in the United States, he has been on the Florida Council Board of Examiners for the Governor’s Sterling Award, the Florida state award for quality.  Mr. Rowe’s training specialties include quality auditing, quality management, and business development courses. His current social compliance work includes over 80 codes of practice audits worldwide for a major US footwear-apparel brand and working with Social Accountability International to carry out SA8000 training work and certification body compliance audits. Mr. Rowe started his career as a professional civil engineer in the United Kingdom and Malaysia, before project managing several major engineering works in Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.  Mr. Rowe received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree with Honors from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and his Master’s of Business Administration from the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom.  Mr. Rowe is a native English speaker and has working knowledge of Cantonese, Malay, Thai and French.

 

Dundar Sahin, Lead Auditor
Mr. Sahin is a Lead Accreditation Auditor for SAAS since 2011 and has been working with SAI and SAAS since 2009.  He is an experienced auditor, consultant and trainer, having conducted over 150 trainings on a broad variety of subjects ranging from Labor Rights and Health and Safety to Disaster and Emergency Management. Mr. Sahin has consulted for a variety of organizations including: The World Bank, Levi Strauss, Nike, Yesim Textile, Tyco, Sterol Medical Equipment and Halliburton.  Previously, Mr. Sahin was a Health and Safety Environment Manager for British Petroleum. In addition to being a social and code of conduct auditor, Mr. Sahin is also a qualified OHSAS 18001, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Risk and Crisis Management consultant and auditor. He has been the Project Manager for the Levi Strauss Foundation Labor Rights Project for Turkey and is familiar with EU Labor Legislations as well as Turkish and Azerbaijanis law.  In addition to his extensive experience in social compliance, Mr. Sahin utilizes his extensive training in emergency management as a Volunteer for AKUT, Turkey’s search and rescue association. Mr. Sahin received his B.A. in Political Science from Istanbul University and is a native speaker of Turkish, with fluency in English and Azerbaijanese.

 

Peter Scott, Lead Auditor
Mr. Scott is a Lead Auditor and Client Manager for SAAS and has conducted accreditation audits on behalf of SAAS since 2003.  In addition to his role as an auditor and client manager, Mr. Scott works as a senior advisor to SAAS, assisting in the development of policies, procedures and pilot programs. Prior to working with SAAS, he has been responsible for the initiation and development of many third-party certification schemes.  He has advised many bodies, including UKAS, UK Department of Health, UK Department of Trade and Industry, UK Ministry of Defense, US Department of Defense, RAB, RvA, FSC, MSC, MAC, and more on certifier accreditation, standards production and certification issues.  Mr. Scott’s consultancy revolves around accredited performance and management system certification to the SA8000, ISO 9000, and ISO 14000 series of standards, product certification to CE, BS, UL, and CSA directives and standards, environmental performance certification to the Forest Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council schemes. Mr. Scott handles certifier accreditation to the ISO 60 series guides and standards setting to the ISO Directives, including the WTO/TBT Annexes, and eco-labeling schemes such as Fair Trade.  Mr. Scott is a trained and qualified IRCA Lead Auditor and has undertaken over 800 third-party audits to a large number of ISO and other international standards.

 

Raza Shah, Lead Auditor
Mr. Shah is a Lead Auditor for SAAS based in Pakistan.   He has a background in merchandising, production, and quality control in the textile and leather industries. He has also taught business at various universities in Pakistan and worked for several years as a journalist.  Shah holds master’s degrees in business administration and in education with specialization in distance and non-formal education. He also holds a Master of Philosophy degree in project management. Shah has done research on environmental standards’ impact on company performance.  Shah is a qualified auditor and trainer for ISO 9000, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18000, ISO 13485, ISO 22000, ISO 26000, and ISO 31000.

 

Sanjiv Singh, Lead Auditor
Mr. Singh is a Lead Accreditation Auditor for SAAS and is the CEO of Workplace Internal Regulatory Establishment, an independent, third-party social auditing company based in Dubai that specializes in the verification of human rights in the supply chain. He has worked with SAAS since 2009.  In addition to his work with SAAS, he is also the Middle East auditor/consultant for GoodCorporation, a verifiable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standard based out of the United Kingdom. Mr. Singh lectures on social accountability at the Department of Fashion Design and Technology, Manipal Institute of Higher Education, Dubai and is currently working on educating business management students on Corporate Social Responsibility.  Additionally, he is an Adjunct Consultant for the Dubai Ethics Resource Centre.  Previously, Mr. Singh managed the Social Compliance division at Triburg Investments Limited, Jebel Ali, a global company that represents apparel corporations in the United States like Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Express Inc, Abercrombie & Fitch and Sean John in the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Singh has worked in countries including Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Ukraine, the GCC, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius and Madagascar. He has performed both consultative and certification audits in the supply chain. Mr. Singh holds a Masters in Economics from Lucknow University in India. He is fluent in English, Hindu, Telugu, Arabic, and Bengali.

 

Shirley To, Lead Auditor
Ms. To is a Lead Accreditation Auditor for SAAS and Lead Trainer for SAI, working with the organization since 2010. Ms. To has worked in quality management systems and CSR auditing for more than 15 years and is one of the most experienced SA8000 and social auditors in China. Ms. To has conducted over a thousand second party and third party social & quality system (ISO 9001, IATF 16949) audits in various industries and Asian countries. Besides auditing, she has also worked with brands and buyers to facilitate many CSR and supply chain management projects. Ms. To brings her experience in CSR and management systems to auditing and training. Ms. To received an MBA in Technology Management / Business Management, MPhil. in Materials Science and BSc (Hons) in Applied Physics. Ms. To lives in Hong Kong and audits / trains in Mandarin, English and Cantonese.