Shantha has spent the last two decades working in international humanitarian and development assistance. She first started her work in development in Zambia, where she worked in a rural community. She subsequently spent a decade based in New York, where she worked as a communications consultant for UNICEF, as well as a producer in advertising, news and independent film. Her award-winning film T-shirt Travels, the story of second hand clothes and third world debt, which highlighted the impact of debt in poor countries, aired on PBS in the US in 2001 and was used widely in schools and universities as a teaching tool.
For UNICEF, Shantha worked on a variety of communication initiatives and has been actively involved in getting media attention to child rights, global health and poverty in Africa and Asia. During her stint as head of UNICEF’s Africa media hub, based in Johannesburg, she travelled extensively across the continent to provide communication support in Sub Saharan Africa. Most recently, based in China, in addition to managing UNICEF's external relations, she helped to initiate an innovation partnership between UNICEF and Tsinghua University and contributed to strengthening collaboration between China and African countries on global health. Shantha has a master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a honours degree in History from University of Western Australia.