Annual Event of Global Action on Poverty (GAP) Jan 31 – Feb 3, Gandhi Ashram & Gujarat Vidyapith
350+ passionate, powerful individuals, working across several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from all parts of the country and overseas, converged at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad and pledged to not stop till poverty is eradicated (SDG Goal #1: No Poverty). The event was hosted by Head Held High Foundation & supported by Gandhi Ashram. The event was supported by grants from ONGC, Facebook, Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development, Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society as well as contributions (we had no registration fee!) by participants.
This unique event brought together inspiring Changemakers from every part of India and was stitched together on the Gandhian Philosophy of Truth, Love & Equality. The convening was designed in such a way that every Changemaker who participated was able to build bonds of love & trust with every other participant – and the surge of positive energy & love was very visible right throughout the event. The event saw the participation of representatives from leading corporations like Asian Paints, Facebook, Taj Hotels, Tata Steel, Unilever, Fabindia, ONGC Foundation as well as representatives from Government – Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society, Ministry of MSME & Changemakers from rural and urban India.
This Event was spread over four days between 31 Jan – 3 Feb and had mentors/speakers like Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (first Indian in space), Arun Maira (former Member, Planning Commission), Ravi Venkatesan (Special Representative, UNICEF), Ram Mohan Mishra (Additional Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India), Sourav Roy (CSR Head, Tata Steel), Binali Suhandani (Head, AVPN India), Prableen Sabhaney (Head, Public Affairs – FabIndia), Shelley Thakral (Head – Public Policy Program, Facebook), DM Kiran (CEO, ONGC Foundation), Elizabeth Coffey ( Founder – Spark Leadership) amongst others.
GAP’s goal is to impact 1 million people living in poverty by 2022. This event will help to amplify the impact of Social Changemakers’ journeys by supporting them with relevant business expertise.
The Event had four major themes for amplifying impact – Leveraging resources; Making causes more visible; Creative funding and Frugal innovation/Jugaad. Each theme had a range of mentors/experts sharing their learnings in an open & honest way; and a workshop that gave an opportunity for participants to apply these learnings into their plans. Participants and speakers worked together as co-travellers on a common journey to help end poverty.
Facebook conducted an in-depth workshop on how social media platforms can give a boost to their messages; the audience was also taken by the different tools available to them on platforms.
Arun Maira also conducted a workshop on Systems Thinking: Before coming to the conclusion of any problem – ask the question why and understand the value systems from which the problem is emerging.
Changemaker Circles were conducted on the beautiful lawns of Gujarat Vidyapith, where all the Changemakers sat with each other to exchange their stories and figure out how they can work together.
“Thank you for all the appreciative comments. I want to congratulate Madan, Manisha and yourself Sunil along with your team members for crafting and then forging this powerful alliance. I got the sense that GAP today has the critical mass needed to become regenerative in India. More power to all of you. God bless.”
“I had an overwhelmingly gratifying kick-off to my new year! I attended the Global Action against Poverty (GAP), a 3-day event held at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad. I am really grateful to SVP for providing me with the opportunity to attend full program. In my corporate job, I have taken such opportunities for granted”. More….
“I’d like to thank Manisha for making me a part GAP 2019, Parul for spotting the synergy and pulling me in, last but not the least Madan for being an inspiration at the MGF launch. An experience I’ll remember for a long long time!”
“In 5 days my FB family grew from 300 to 4,600…thats the power and secret of GAP.
The movement pics and the connects at the event are helping reach out to networks I may have never found.
Even 1% success will be a large outreach for meeting the 1 million goal.”
“We generally take learnings from corporate sector to social sector. However, can we also take some learning from social sector to corporate sector? If you had asked me this question a week ago, I would have said – No,not really. However last week ,after witnessing an entirely new realm of social sector”. More…
“Thank you for the wonderful three days of GAP event and the award. It means a lot to me. It was an inspiring and beautiful experience meeting all the passionate changemakers and speakers.
I am glad that I could be part of the event. Look forward to being part of GAP events in the future. Thank you once again. Appreciate your efforts.”
“Gap event was an eye-opening for me and my team . 1. Expansion doesn’t mean stretching out yourself, but it means creating a ripple movement and extending ownership and moving towards collaborations, 2. Coming from real life story helps in pitch 3. The meaning of Emptiness and becoming ज़रिया मात्र helps when you are demanding support from कायनात the universe”. More…
“Thank you for the wonderful three days of GAP event and the award. It means a lot to me. It was an inspiring and beautiful experience meeting all the passionate changemakers and speakers.
I am glad that I could be part of the event. Look forward to being part of GAP events in the future. Thank you once again. Appreciate your efforts”.
George Rakesh Alma
Best Expert Champion
Prof. Nirja Mattoo. (SPJIMR)
Best Academic Partner
An initiative of
Wing Commander, Cosmonaut
The first Indian to fly into space, Rakesh Sharma was born on January 13, 1949 in Patiala, Punjab. He was a squadron leader with the Indian Air Force, when he flew into space in 1984 as part of a joint programme between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Soviet Intercosmos space program. He spent eight days in space on board the Salyut 7 space station. He joined two other Soviet cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft which blasted off on April 2, 1984.
He was awarded the Hero of Soviet Union award on his return from space. The Government of India honoured him with the Ashok Chakra. He retired with the rank of Wing Commander.
Special Representative for Young People & Innovation.
Ravi has a BTech from IIT Bombay, an MS from Purdue University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar. He is a recipient of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and Purdue University’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award. He is the author of an acclaimed book “Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere” published by Harvard Business Review. Ravi was voted as one of India’s best management thinkers by Thinkers50 and is one of Linkedin’s Global Influencers.
Boston Consulting Group
Mr. Arun Maira is a thought leader and writer on the subjects of transformational change and leadership. Mr. Maira has held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors, bringing a perspective on how the two can work together to foster growth in India. He served as Chairman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) India for eight years, and spent 25 years in the Tata Group, serving on the Board of Tata Motors. As member of the Planning Commission from 2009-2014, he developed strategies, policies, and programmes on issues relating to industrialisation and urbanisation. He has also led participative scenario building for the future of India in 1999 with the Confederation of Indian Industry and in 2005 with the World Economic Forum.
He is the author of many books including Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions, Transforming Capitalism: Improving the World for Everyone, Discordant Democrats: Five Steps to Consensus, Remaking India: One Country, One Destiny, and Shaping the Future: Aspirational Leadership in India and Beyond.
A Chartered Accountant by education, IT employee by employment history, Nitya, a mother of two and an ethical vegan, has lived across the globe and worked in the High Tech world for 20 years before stepping off to create and nurture the WR platform. The uniqueness of the platform is its unconventional mechanism of working togethe with no leaders, no titles and no funds.
udha heads N/Core, an incubator for nonprofits. As CEO, Sudha leads N/Core’s efforts to make the nonprofit sector attractive to top talent who can solve problems of poverty at scale through their innovative models for change. N/Core accelerates the startup journey of early stage entrepreneurs by providing an innovation grant, hands-on mentoring as well as connects to potential donors. Since April 2017, N/Core has incubated 27 startups, including 8 technology startups through the N/Core tech track.
Previously, Sudha worked at Intel, where she spent nearly 13 years in various leadership roles defining and executing large-scale global programs. She has great passion for enabling organizations to ramp in scale and competence and achieve audacious goals. Prior to Intel she worked at Verizon Data Services, iNautix Technology and Infosys. Sudha is an engineer by training and holds an MBA from IIM-Lucknow.
Anshu Bhartia comes to UnLtd India with more than 25 years of experience working seamlessly in non-profit and for-profit global organisations. Prior to UnLtd India, she was the CEO of Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN), Friends of WWB, a leading Financial Services Organization and VP at American Express. Anshu started her career with a management consulting firm and in the last 7 years has also provided Strategic Advisory guidance to Promoters of Social Enterprises.
The Life You Can Save
After earning a PhD in Social and Clinical Psychology from Clark University, Charlie became Director of Behavioral Medicine for The California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno (CSPP-F), where he was a full-time professor and founder of a teaching clinic for treating anxiety & stress disorders. He was recruited to The Men’s Wearhouse, a 700 store clothing chain, where he became head of human resources, stores, and marketing and ultimately President. He stepped down in order to fulfill his long-standing desire to work directly on social and economic issues, especially wealth inequality.
In 2013, Charlie became volunteer Executive Director of The Life You Can Save, a non-profit dedicated to reducing extreme poverty and its devastating effects on over 700 million people globally. Through his financial support and leadership, Charlie has helped TLYCS’s Founder, Peter Singer, develop the organization from the ground up.
Charlie lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife Diana, a family physician, who partners in supporting The Life You Can Save.
Co-founder and CEO
MASH Project Foundation
Aashish Beergi is a youth activist and a social entrepreneur based out of New Delhi, India. He is the Co-founder and CEO of MASH Project Foundation (MASH Project), a youth-led non-profit organization, building a global eco-system for young social entrepreneurs. MASH Project currently has 6 Hubs (chapters) in India and is building a community for social entrepreneurs through events & workshops, aggregating platforms between mentors and mentees, providing media support to social entrepreneurs and partnering with other key stakeholders.
Aashish has been a British Council - Global Changemaker (London), Official Indian Delegate to BRICS Youth Summit (Guwahati), UNESCO Youth Forum (Paris), International Youth Forum – (Seliger, Russia). He was invited to speak at the International Conference on Climate Change organized by The World Youth Foundation in Malaysia He is ‘Changemaker' by Ashoka Foundation and participated at Asia Changemakers Exchange Summit held in Singapore in May, 2017 and Network Summit in Indonesia in December, 2017. Recently, he participated at the UNLEASH Conference held in Singapore on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. During his college, he conceptualized and built a waste management project, which went on to become one of the finest models of decentralized urban waste management in India and got extensively covered in the media and research study for various stakeholders. Microsoft India featured Aashish in their silver anniversary campaign called ‘Everyday 25’ which highlighted the journeys of 25 exceptional leaders.
Aashish is a member of World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers New Delhi Hub. He is a SLP (2014) and Changelooms Fellow (2016). He graduated in Business Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia and founded his University’s Entrepreneurship Society. During his college, he has organised various youth events like the first International Youth Forum, New Delhi; Rolex Leadership Forum; TEDx Talks and StartUp Weekend among others. He consults Ashoka University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship.
He has widely spoken on the areas of youth leadership and social entrepreneurship in various corporates like Jubilant FoodWorks Limited, Walmart, Facebook, BW| BusinessWorld and in over 100 academic institutions including IITs, Delhi University’s colleges, B-Schools and other prestigious platforms.
Co-founder & Trustee
Head Held High
Rajesh Bhat, co-founder of Head Held High, hails from a small village in Sirsi, Karnataka. After completing his engineering, he started working as a software engineer for an Infosys incubated Company called OnMobile.
At the age of 25, in 2007, Rajesh decided to move away from the Software Industry and dedicate the rest of his life to enable the youth and children of the country to become more capable.With the above vision, he helped start Head Held High Foundation in 2007. Magic Wand, was started as an associate organization of Head Held High subsequently, which was later run by him as a part of his overall responsibility.
Through Head Held High Foundation, Rajesh’s work has impacted lakhs of people directly and indirectly, and he has now emerged as an influential leader in the space of Education and Training.
Rajesh is an inspiration to the youth of the country – as an educator, young entrepreneur, and a visionary leader.
Head - Operations
Shailendra Sharma works with Pratham, the organization he joined in 2002 after doing Master’s in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Subsequently, he studied law at Delhi University. He leads Pratham’s program in Delhi which seeks to facilitate access and enhance learning of children in early childhood and primary education segment. Besides, he is part of the National Policy and program design group of Pratham. He was actively associated with the launch of Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).
Currently, he is also serving as Principal Advisor (Hon) to the Director Education, Government of NCT Delhi, India. In this capacity, he is working closely with the Government of Delhi in conceptualizing and implementing several reforms aimed at enhancing the learning of students in the Government schools. He is also a member of the Delhi State Advisory Council formed under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram
Born and brought up in the Gandhi Ashram, Jayeshbhai Patel has spent the last two decades serving in communities across the state of Gujarat. To the outside world, he is the founder of Manav Sadhna, an organization that works with 10,000 children, Managing Trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram, President of the Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh, founded by Gandhi - the list goes on. But beyond all the designations and outward work lies his true essence of holding the spirit of service in every moment. Through his interactions with children, economically disadvantaged and the downtrodden he flows like a wave of love uplifting all those around him dissolving barriers between himself and those he serves.
Dr Aparna Hegde
Dr. Aparna Hegde is one of India’s leading urogynecologists. During her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Hegde witnessed how pervasive systemic problems in health systems led to loss of lives that were completely preventable. Unable to tolerate the status quo, Dr. Hegde, in addition to her full-time medical practice, founded ARMMAN, a Mumbai-based nonprofit, ten years ago, which creates scalable programs using technology innovatively to impact maternal and child health. ARMMAN’s five major programs including its flagship mMitra program has impacted the lives of more than 1.9 million women and their children in 9 states. ARMMAN has recently entered into a 3-year MOU with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, to manage two major national mhealth-based programs, Kilkari and Mobile Academy, in a public-private partnership, in 13 states currently and the plan is to scale the two programs throughout the country.
Dr. Hegde is also the Founder and Director of the Centre for Urogynecology and Pelvic Health (The C.U.P), Delhi India and a Consultant in Urogynecology at Global Hospital, Mumbai. She is also the Founding Director of the upcoming Tata Center of Urogynecology and Pelvic Health at Cama Hospital, Mumbai, one of India’s first university-based academic centers of excellence in the country with one of the first University-recognized fellowship programs in the field. In addition to MD, DNB and FCPS degrees in Obgyn, she also holds a MS degree from Stanford University and was awarded the IUGA International Fellowship in Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery that she completed in Cleveland Clinic Florida. She is an avid researcher with multiple research awards with a best paper award at the American Urogynecological Society Annul Meeting in 2013 and more than 75 publications and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals She is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of 3D and 2D sonographic assessment of the pelvic floor and is routinely invited as an expert to conduct workshops and round tables on her research work at major international conferences including the International Urogynecology Association and American Urogynecology Society annual meetings since the last five years and the FIGO World Congress held triennially. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Urogynecology Journal. She is also the member of the International Urogynecology Committee on Prolapse.
She is a TEDx speaker and was awarded the Social Entrepreneur award by USAID and MSD for Mothers in 2018, the Social Entrepreneur of the year award by the Geneva-based Womanity Foundation in 2017 and also has been featured as one of the five global women leaders in the Voice of America documentary, ‘A Single Step: Journeys of Women Leaders’ narrated by Oscar award winning actress Sally Field in 2015. ARMMAN was awarded the British Medical Journal South Asia Award for the ‘Maternal and Child Health Team of the year’ in 2018, the WHO Public Health Champion Award in the innovation category in 2017 and is the only Indian NGO to have ever won the ‘GSK-Save the Children International’ grant. Dr Hegde has been awarded the “People’s Choice Award” at the Saving Lives at Birth event in Washington DC in 2011, the ‘Top 50 Social Innovators’ Award’ in 2014, the Digital Woman’s Entrepreneur Award in 2015 and the Mother Teresa Social Leadership Scholarship in 2016 among other awards. She was invited to speak at the Harvard India conference in 2017.
Founder & CEO
Sujay Santra, Founder & CEO of IKURE. Before IKURE, he was a Solution Architect in Oracle, Team Lead at IBM, System Executive at NIIT Technologies Pvt ltd. Founder & Owner of Denicasoft Consulting that caters for Ecommerce. He completed his Masters in IETE, O.U. Hyderabad. He was awarded as a NDTV Good Samaritan of the Year 2016. His main aim is to cut down the problems, which are facing by rural people in the case of basic primary health issues.
He also created a unique solution called WHIMS which serves the rural people directly with the doctors even if they are not reachable because lack of internet facility and electrification.
VP Program Quality & Innovation
Jaya Sarkar, Trickle Up’s vice president of Program Quality and Innovation, is an international development professional with 30 years of experience, including project management in India and Latin America. She joined Trickle Up in 2011 and focuses on the organization’s scale strategy for economic empowerment of the poorest, leading the establishment of large state partnerships in India, negotiation with the World Bank Adaptive Social Protection program in five Francophone countries in West Africa, and development of relations with key ministries and programs in Latin America including Paraguay, Nicaragua and Mexico.
Among Sarkar’s publications and projects is the 2006 Children and Adolescents: Four Million Actors for Development, published with the UNDP and UNICEF in Bolivia. Sarkar holds a master’s degree in International Development Administration from World Learning and a BA in English and government from Oberlin College. She serves as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.
Akshaya Patra Foundation
Sundeep is a dual Post Graduate in Management from Duke & IIM-Ahmedabad and certified Black-Belt in Quality with over 26 years of work experience in the areas of marketing & communications with leading corporates especially in Telecom Sector.
Before joining Akshaya Patra, as CMO, he was associated as National Business Head (Mobility Operations) with Aircel, driving the Mobile Banking operations nationally. Prior to that, he has essayed Senior Leadership Roles with brands like Bharti Airtel, Motorola, Escotel (Idea) & Essar (Vodafone) across country and in Africa. He is also awarded with an international accreditation from BID Spain for developing the first anti-virus application He is a vivid professional Trainer too and have talked on various subjects in prestigious schools like IIM, IIPM, IMT over years.
Meera is recognized as a pioneer in market linked skill trainings for rural, tribal and disabled youth. She is one of the few in the country who work both on policy, strategy and implementation of large projects, with a focus on the vulnerable. Her most recent work was supporting the Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ramdorai, in his capacity as Chairman, NSDA. She was also Senior Advisor, UNDP, Youth Skilling where she focused on integrating rural girls into the Aajeevika skilling scheme of NRLM. She has worked closely with MoRD, NSDC and Ministry of disability to develop skilling guidelines for youth with disability. She worked as the World Banks' only specialist in youth and skilling in their poverty alleviation projects of Rajasthan, Orissa , Bihar and Chhattisgarh. S
She has written several learning notes on skilling youth for the World Bank, which was circulated globally. Meera Shenoy began her work in skilling as Executive Director of EGMM, the countrys' first Jobs mission for rural and tribal youth, which she helped set up from scratch for the Andhra Pradesh government in 2004. Today it is recognised as the countrys best market linked state government skilling mission . She has won several awards, national and international, for the work.
CEO & Founder
Ranga has worked with large brand firms & startups over the last 27 years in India & China. His roles have been across sales, marketing, operations & running businesses as a profit center head and CEO. He has experience working across different business categories in the B2C space and has a penchant for launching new product and businesses or working in situations that involved the need for a business turnaround. An avid traveler, he understands 7 Indian languages, has lived and worked across 15 cities, is a fitness enthusiast & cannot resist a dip when he spots a swimming pool or a beach. An avid golfer & crossword buff he has the ability to find creative solutions to complex issues & has been instrumental in successfully ramping up many a new business.
As the founder of Fuel-a-dream he is focused on transforming how people raise & contribute money for ideas, social causes and other activities. His wife Skandapriya is an award-winning interior designer and his 23-year-old daughter Isha Thota is studying to be a director in the movie /media industry. Both share this vision & are stakeholders and directors in Fuel-a-dream.
- BE & MBA - both from the University of Mumbai
- Worked with Godrej GE, Whirlpool, Pepsi, Mobile2win, Hindustan Times, Bharat Realty India, SE Asia & China exposure
- Start-up, Product launches & turnaround expert
- Last assignment: Founder of Golfgaga - India's largest website & solutions company for golf
- Based out of Bengaluru
Elizabeth Coffey is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker and author focused on developing CEOs, CEO Successors and Board Executives of FTSE 100 and the Global 500 companies to achieve stretching organization strategies. She has coached CEOs & Successors in leading Private Equity companies, global banks, the oil majors, top energy companies & utilities, global healthcare companies, leading technology companies, professional services firms, shipping companies and Russell Group universities.
Elizabeth founded Spark Leadership (UK) in 2005 and Spark Growth (India) in 2014 to advise Board Executives on leading change in their people and their organizations. Previously a Senior Partner in Korn Ferry’s Leadership and Talent Consulting practice, from 2002, Elizabeth led the Leadership Capabilities practice at Mercer Delta Consulting Ltd. She joined Mercer Delta as a Partner from The Change Partnership (now part of Korn Ferry).
Decades of consulting to CEOs resulted in the book 10 Things That Keep CEOs Awake – and How to Put Them to Bed. Other publications include: The End of Tolerance? which outlined Elizabeth’s practical approach to business diversity issues & The Changing Culture of Leadership – Women Leaders’ Voices – a research-based book about women leaders across 20 industries in the UK. She has a global reputation as an expert on diversity & leadership. She is currently leading a historic female CEO Successor development project at the largest company in the UAE.
Elizabeth has received numerous awards: 2007 Mentor of the Year, 2001 European Woman of Achievement of Award & Woman Super Achiever Award (Times Ascent) for her pioneering work in developing leaders (2018) & advancing women’s leadership (2019). In India, Elizabeth has lectured at The Times of India’s CEO conference (2003), delivered workshops for Mumbai’s exclusive Entrepreneur’s Organisation, the Art of Living’s International HQ as well as Business Schools in Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore. She was a panelist at the Economic Times’ Women’s Forum (2018) and spoke at the Times’ Ascent World HR Congress (2019). She Co-Produced the award winning ‘Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock’ documentary feature, which is screening in Indian festivals, now (Guwahati, Jaipur).
Elizabeth’s Indian clients include Tata, Nomura Bank, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank, Enzen, Dasra & Global Consumer Products, Internationally, she has developed senior leaders at KKR, Investec, Citi, Credit Suisse, BP, Shell, PwC, Accenture, Unilever, Xerox, British Airways & UK Cabinet Ministers.
She graduated cum laude with a double degree (BSc Hons) from Wellesley College (USA) in Psychology and English Literature & is a Lifetime Member of the Indian Producer’s Motion Pictures Association.
Manish is the Managing Director of Rhino Machines Pvt Ltd. He is a graduate of Maharaja Sayaji Rao University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering. He started his career as a Plant Engineer and L & T Hazira before joining Rhino Machines in Oct 1991. Since 2015, he also serves as a Director of ACE Foundation.
Co-founder & Director
Shalabh began his journey co-founding iVolunteer in 2001 and continues to lead it today as the largest social enterprise for formal volunteering in India counting 10,000 volunteers, 350+ NGOs & marquee corporate names among its partners. Shalabh is also credited with creating iVolunteer Awards, our nation’s only awards aimed at inspiring, recognizing and establishing new benchmarks on volunteering.
Shalabh, was instrumental in creating the ICICI Fellows program in 2009 and led it till 2013, following which he co-founded India Fellow – an intense 13-month leadership journey that sets young Indians on becoming socially conscious leaders of tomorrow.
Having closely worked with social sector organizations across India, Shalabh understood the ‘human capital’ challenges unique to the sector. He committed to establishing an exclusive service and JobsForGood was founded - a boutique consultancy offering Recruitment and HR Advisory services to social enterprises.
Shalabh serves on the Global Council for Global Probono Network and on the Task Force for CII’s India@75 initiative. He is a visiting faculty at leading B-schools in Mumbai – SPJIMR and NMIMS. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and was also India’s first Commonwealth Professional Fellow to UK in 2003.
Vandana Nadig Nair
Phicus Social Solutions
Vandana holds a PhD in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from Central Michigan University. She has 26 years of work experience across the corporate and social sectors. Her areas of expertise include: Support to top teams / Senior leaders to grow and scale organizations and projects; Enabling creation of vision and strategic plans; Design of institution building, culture programs; Design of capacity building programs / initiatives / products; Leadership capability assessment and development and enabling collaborations, networks.
Post a couple of years in teaching and consulting, Vandana returned to India to join Hindustan Unilever Limited in the Human Resources function. She was responsible for introducing some innovative leadership development practices to help leaders understand their strengths and gaps.
She then moved on to head HR for a boutique IT company, Torry Harris Business Solutions where she was part of the core team that helped grow the nascent organization and put in place critical systems and processes in HR.
In 2000, the entrepreneurial bug bit and Vandana moved on to set up CoCoon, a niche firm that designs and delivers strategic talent-related solutions. In 2012, Vandana set up Phicus Social Solutions, a Section 8 company that focuses on capacity building of key change agents in the social sector eco-system in order to amplify social impact. In 2015, she co-founded ElderAid Wellness, a social enterprise that provides at-home services to senior citizens in Bangalore and works to spread awareness about senior wellness. She divides her time equally between Phicus and ElderAid.
She is also full-time mom to two lovely girls, an avid baker, trekker and Mohiniattam dancer and teacher!
Dhwani Rural Information System
Sunandan Madan has completed his PGDM in Rural Management from IRMA, Anand. Along with one of his batchmates at IRMA, he started Dhwani RIS in 2015, which aims at providing affordable ICT applications only for development sector organizations. Before starting Dhwani, Sunandan has worked in handloom and handicraft sector.
He believes that technology can amplify social impact and bring overall effectiveness in development/social sector. Their team develops custom mobile apps and MIS systems for grassroots organizations, social enterprises, CSR and Philanthropic initiatives.
Sourav currently leads the Corporate Social Responsibility of Tata Steel globally, which is one of the oldest, deepest and most meaningful corporate - community interfaces in the country working across more than 3,000 villages of India and reaching more than a million lives every year. He combines an education in management (Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad) and economics (Delhi School of Economics) with significant experience in grassroots development and a deep interest in defining the role of responsible capitalism in addressing the most difficult societal challenges of today. Sourav has been with the Tatas since a decade now, and is part of the Tata Administrative Services - the flagship leaders programme of the group. He started in the group M&A team responsible for divesting, acquiring and restructuring Tata businesses globally.
Chairperson & Founder
IEF Entrepreneurship Foundation
Bhairavi is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, developmental enthusiast and an avid venture philanthropist. She is the Chairperson and Founder of IEF Entrepreneurship Foundation and Executive Director of SCA Group of Companies founded in 1896. SCA Group undertakes activities in supply chain and logistics sector. Bhairavi is a firm believer in entrepreneurial ecosystems that create livelihood opportunities. She dedicates a significant amount of her time, expertise and philanthropy for the cause and has been committed to it since the past decade. In 2014 Bhairavi drove 18,181 kms. across India to gather information on peoples’ choices and views for entrepreneurship, livelihood and development. Traveling for 51 days with her team, Bhairavi visited 102 locations and conducted 3000 plus interviews of Indians from all walks of life. Bhairavi has been listed as one of the 30 most Powerful Women in India by the India Today publication. She is a KBF Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network of the Aspen Institute and a Responsible Leader of the BMW World Responsible Leaders Forum.
Alumnus of Vijaya College, held various senior leadership positions in different organizations, he has 20+ years of rich and versatile experience in both IT and Non-IT Industries, with a demonstrated history of working in Human Resources & Operations, General Management and Corporate Strategy. Proven track record as a generalist and a specialist with precision in all-functions of HR. Currently serves as the CEO of ONGC Foundation.
Head of Communications and Public Affairs
Prableen Sabhaney serves as a Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Fabindia Overseas Private Limited since Jul 2006. Besides brand perception management, she specializes in strategizing, preparation and management of messaging and communication initiatives to facilitate information flow and dissemination of knowledge. Prableen is of the firm belief that focused communications is the final differentiator and should be viewed as a strategic investment. In her previous capacity as an independent consultant, for over two decades Prableen has worked with companies, organizations and institutions across a variety of sectors and verticals, providing strategic inputs and creating individualized programmes which have included media training and the use of multi-media platforms to facilitate effective outreach in a constantly changing landscape. She has also worked with, and participated on a number of panels examining concepts relating to Brands and the idea of Social Entrepreneurship and Responsibility, which is an area of particular interest.
AVPN (Asian Venture Philanthropy Network)
She has over 19 years of experience in not for profit sector in India and UK. Her last seven-year stint as a Country head was with Akshaya Patra Foundation. Prior to this, she helped Sense International, UK set up its base in India and with the Women’s World Bank working in the area of Micro finance for women. She has been a speaker and trainer on Indian and International forums on Resource Mobilization and Strategic Planning. She is also a consultative member on the United Nation’s SUN Group headed by UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition, Mr. David Nabbaro.
Head of Policy Programs
Shelley Thakral has more than 20 years experience in communications, international development and public health spanning the BBC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and the World Food Program. Thakral graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA in Political Science and studied Behavioral Change Communications in Emergencies (Polio and Ebola), from NYU. Currently she serves as the Head of Policy Programs at Facebook
Almunus of Bhopal-Barkatullah Vishwavidyalaya, graduated with a B.Sc First Class honors. He has also done Masters in Marketing from the University of Pune. Started his career at Methodex Systems as a Marketing Executive. His business career of over 30 years is spread across Skilling and Education, BPO, Telecom and Business Automation industries. He has headed SBUs/ managed P&L, and held CXO-level positions in Sales and Business Development, Customer Service and Operations with leading corporates like Airtel, Reliance and ICICI prudential. He currently serves as the CEO of Yuva Parivartan India.
Social Venture Partners
Kannan is a Partner at Social Venture Partners with the Bangalore Chapter and leads the initiatives in Rural/ Agriculture and also part of the Healthcare and Micro-Enterprises initiatives.
Kannan is also keen on Entrepreneurship and is a Business Mentor and a small Investor. Kannan has more than 2 decades of corporate experience with strong performance credentials in the Consumer Goods and FMCG space in general management, marketing, sales & distribution and retail functions. Kannan was earlier, Director – Retail for Nokia India, Prior to Nokia, Kannan was with adidas for nearly 14 years in various roles, including as Managing Director for Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Head of Retail for South East Asia. He was a key member of the team that set up adidas in India and built the brand to the No.1 position by 2000. He turned around the brand and grew the business 3-fold in Singapore in under 5 years and led the brand to leadership positions in Indonesia and Thailand.
Senior Innovation Consultant
Erehwon Innovation Consulting
Sandeep loves engaging with people, get them to challenge their deep-rooted belief systems & create Breakthrough Results, be it at work, in relationships or any other aspect of their life.
Sandeep is expert in Transformational Learning, coaching individuals & teams to achieve what seems impossible at the beginning. He is adept in coaching models based on Ontology (Study of Being), Phenomenology (Study of how Human Beings interpret experiences) & Theory U (Presencing Institute founded by Otto Scharmer, MIT). Sandeep has by now lead & co-facilitated Orbit-Shifting Interventions with clients in diverse industries including Auto, Lifestyle, Food chain, Consumer Durables. He has lead Insight Expeditions with Consumers & Customers (B-C & B-B) across categories & geographies India. Clients include Crompton Fans, Jubilant Foods (Dominos), CEAT, AVAADA Power, Keva, Schneider, Manipal Group, HFFC, John Deere, Kalyani Technoforge & Mahindra Auto.
Corporate Director - CSR
Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces
Ms Foram Nagori is an alumni of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and has been a practitioner in the space of development & corporate responsibility since over a decade. Besides anchoring the Tata-Ladakh Hill Development Council programme that facilitated participatory developmental planning in this distinctive region & largest district of our country; she has spearheaded several social development initiatives with the Tata Group & currently heads CSR at Indian Hotels Company Limited (iHCL). She has been one of the early corporate responsibility leaders who championed United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Reporting and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in India Apart from being instrumental in building capacities of many social impact organizations & government teams; she has been constantly working on building Private Public Partnerships and the bridges required between organized industry ecosystems & socially disadvantaged communities who struggle for access to knowledge, exposure & value chains of mainstream economy.
VIVA Development Strategies
She brings together media, communication and the social perspective to create solutions for the development sector and corporate social responsibility. Having worked in leading positions with two leading organizations in their respective sector: Times of India (Media), National AIDS Control Organization (HIV AIDS-social sector), she has an understanding of media, corporate bodies, government, society and strategies to develop integrated solutions under CSR. She founded VIVA Development Strategies in 2013 that has 12 clients in less than three years - 4 global organizations (World Health Organization, University of California & Los Angeles, Sonrisas De Bombay, Girl Rising), 3 corporate clients (Novartis, Bharat Petroleum, Sutherland), 5 development firms, NGOs and agencies (PATH, Global Health Strategies, Futures International, Karnataka State Promotion Trust, Family Planning Association of India). The projects are in the social space and display her expertise in strategic consulting, knowledge, partnerships, implementation, capacity building, communication, advocacy and reporting of CSR.
Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust
He did his BA in rural studies from Saurashtra University and MSW from Gujarat Vidyapith. Later he worked with CEE’s sister organization VIKSAT from 1985-87. He was also part of several outreach and training programs besides rural programs at CEE from 1988-2014. After that he joined his alma mater Lokbharti. He comes with a wealth of experience in administration and also on Gandhian philosophy and thought.
Co-Founder and Managing Trustee
Head Held High Foundation
An engineer from NIE Mysore and an MBA from SPJIMR, Mumbai, Madan Padaki had worked with Wipro, Infosys and Mphasis (Japan) – before being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in 2000 when he co-founded MeritTrac as a pioneering idea in skills assessments. MeritTrac is today one of the leading Skills Assessment companies in the World and is recognized as a thought-leader in the sector, having won several awards like the NASSCOM Innovation Award & Deloitte Fast 50 India Award. MeritTrac has also been featured extensively in several books on entrepreneurship and is also a case-study at INSEAD. MeritTrac was acquired by Manipal Global Education Services, one of India’s largest education services company.
In 2011, he transitioned to Manipal Education from MeritTrac to head up Strategy, Innovation and International Partnerships and transitioned out in March 2013. He is currently the Co-founder & CEO of RubanBridge Private Limited, a rural last-mile services platform provides access, choice & convenience to rural consumers by leveraging the power of local entrepreneurs & technology. Today, 1Bridge as a brand under RubanBridge is present in 25+ districts across South India and has over 400+ rural youth engaged on its platform.
Co-Founder & Trustee
Head Held High Foundation
Sunil is a co-founder and Trustee of Head Held High Foundation. He also envisioned and launched GAP – Global Action on Poverty, a platform which accelerates the journey of change-makers to eradicate poverty. Alongside, through Foundation for Life, Sunil has led personal transformational workshops that have catalysed individuals to unearth their life purposes & lead fuller lives, over the last 2 decades. Having co-founded Automated Workflow Private Limited, which is currently Asia’s leading Business Process solutions provider, Sunil led programmes that transformed the way people work in financial organizations like Aviva, Prudential, ING and others. Prior to this, he ran IBM’s business in Asia Pacific in Content & Business Process Management solutions. Sunil also founded and ran an Office Automation company for a decade before joining IBM. Sunil is passionate about life, about the power of transformation, about eradicating poverty. He recognises that there is abundance in the world, abundance in our hearts, and the work he does in leadership development is a continuum of this philosophy.
Global Action on Poverty
Manisha brings two decades of experience in the business & social sectors combined with leadership transformation and coaching to enhance capabilities of individuals, groups and enterprises across UK & India through the organization Social Brilliance. She is currently heading GAP - Global Action on Poverty in India, an organization that accelerates the journeys of Changemakers in India and around the world. Manisha also conducts leadership programs to generate purposeful leaders that can take on seemingly impossible missions that change our societies.
She has worked on large transformational programs with T-Mobile, O2, Cable & Wireless and Virgin Media, gave her insights and understanding of the impact businesses can have on our global societies and economies. She also brought richness and clarity to purposeful leadership programs for women leaders for over 3 years with companies & charities such as Colliers CRE, BDO Stoy Hayward, Nationwide, Save the Children and NEST in the UK. In 2001, she co-founded DAWN – a hub for Asian women in England to work with the aspirations and potential of Asian women.
Simon (Mac) McKenzie
Mac is a Director of Bridge, and one of the founders of the Bridge Institute. He has worked with CEOs, government leaders and senior civil leaders across more than fifteen industries, including financial services, agriculture, education, sustainable food, climate change, logistics, aerospace, construction and defence.
For the Bridge Institute, he has led and shaped many fellowships over the years - fellowships are strategic commissions which bring government, business and civil leaders together to solve societal challenges. Recent fellowship challenges have included economic growth policy, education reform, peacebuilding, safety, reconciliation, water and youth development.
He is a dedicated sportsman and mountaineer and is passionate about the role of sport in developing young pioneering leaders. He has also been a mountain guide for Raleigh International. He is married and the father of a daughter and son.
Mac graduated from Oxford University with a Masters in Engineering, Economics and Management. He is trained and qualified in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Transactional Analysis, Myers Briggs and Systems Theory.
Chief Culture Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer
An architect by professional qualification, Mr. Vivek Talwar has done TBEM external assessments as a team leader in the Tata Group. In 1989, he was selected for the Indo Canadian Environment Project and has the experience of leading Tata Chemicals' campaign of conserving the Whale Shark. This project won the coveted Green Governance Award for Tata Chemicals, conferred upon the company by the Prime Minister of India. As Chief Culture Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer in Tata Power, he drives Organizational Transformation, Business Excellence, Environment Management, CSR, Biodiversity Conservation and Customer Affection, and has played a role in the organizational transformation of both Tata Chemicals (The Company he served from 1984 to 2007) and Tata Power.
An ardent trekker, he is widely travelled and is a wildlife and nature photographer. His slide shows giving a message of environmental conservation have been presented to institutions across India, Europe and North America.
Chief - Project & Corporate Affairs
Etasha works towards creating employability skills for underprivileged children and youth so that they can be self-sufficient and survive with dignity. They work in slum and slum-resettlement communities who are primarily migrants from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttaranchal who have moved to Delhi in search of work. Their Beneficiaries are Adolescents in 8th class & above in Government Schools typically in the age group of 18 – 28 years. Nearly 60% of their beneficiaries are girls. Last year in Mangolpuri alone they have covered 1633 adolescents in 8th to 11th standards through Life Skills development, 1173 students in 10th and 12th through Career Guidance, 194 youth through Vocational Training & Placement Programs.
Founder and CEO
Samhita Social Ventures,
Priya Naik is the Founder and CEO of Samhita Social Ventures, a leading CSR consulting firm.Prior to setting up Samhita Social Ventures, Priya co-founded The Spark Group, an education incubator that delivered affordable, high quality education to low income communities in India. Priya’s interest in social entrepreneurship began when she worked as a Researcher at the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA. At MIT, Priya was part of two student-led start-ups that won several innovation and business plan competitions.
Priya has worked as a consultant with the International Finance Corporation in four countries in Africa. She started her career at Arthur Andersen in Mumbai. Priya has graduate degrees in Economics from Yale University, in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and in Commerce from Mumbai University where she stood first in the University. She also completed an Executive Education course from Harvard Business School.
Born on 17 January 1960 is the son of journalist Arun Manilal Gandhi, grandson of Manilal Gandhi and great-grandson of M.K. Gandhi In March 2005, he led the 75th anniversary re-enactment of the Dandi March. From 2007 to 2012, he was the Goodwill Ambassador of the CISRI-ISP Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition.
Tushar Gandhi also runs the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation. He is the Chairman of Australian Indian Rural Development Foundation.
Population Foundation of India
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, Population Foundation of India-PFI, has over 35 years of experience in promoting women’s rights, rural livelihoods, public advocacy, communications and behaviour change. She conceived and promoted the popular television serial, Mai Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon - I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything. Before joining PFI, she served as Country Director of McArthur Foundation in India. She serves on the board of several non-governmental organisations, and co-founded SRUTI, DASTKAR, and Ashoka Foundation. She is an alumnus of Delhi University and Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government. Poonam is a regular television and print commentator in India and internationally.
Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA)
A co-operative organiser, activist and Gandhian, she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) in 1972 which now has over 1 million members. Since then, Bhatt has founded and chaired numerous organizations that aim to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalized women workers, notably through microfinance. She was also a Member of Parliament and a Member of the Indian Planning Commission.
CEO - Unilever
Paul Polman served as Unilever CEO for over 10 years and has worked in the consumer goods industry for almost four decades. During his tenure, the company has delivered consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets. Polman received his BBA and BA at the University of Groningen in 1977 and then his MBA in Finance and International Marketing in 1070 at the University of Cincinnati. Upon graduating, he immediately began working for Procter & Gamble as a cost analysis. He stayed at the company for the next 27 years, working his way up to the Managing Director and the Group President in Europe. He joined Unilever in 2009 and took on the role of Chief Executive Officer.
As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an interdisciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. In 2005, he was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. Other awards include the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honour, the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; and the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award. As one of three members of the Leadership Team, his special responsibilities are the leadership of the new group entrepreneurship and social financial services programs as well as staff search and marketing functions.
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus created the concept of micro-credit. In 1976, Professor Yunus started to experiment with providing collateral free loans to the poor. Today Grameen Bank has over 8.4 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women. Professor Yunus’ microcredit idea has spread to almost all countries in the world. He is also the co-founder of Yunus Social Business, which creates and empowers social businesses to address social problems around the world.
Nidhi, who is the Founder of Tanzeb, a venture that is into preserving and retaining the quality of the Lucknow chikankari craft, along with bringing about positive changes in the social and economic conditions of the artisans. Born and brought up in Lucknow, Nidhi graduated in 1997 and went on to pursue a post graduation in Economics in 2000 and a Masters in Business Administration in 2003. After a short stint with Sahara India in 2003 she went to US for two years. Upon her return she worked with social venture Collaborative Community in Bengaluru in 2012 for a year, after which it was South Korea for two years. In 2014, after she got back to India, she began working with a Lucknow-based NGO called NEED.
She met hundreds of women artisans here who had been practising the craft without any recognition, before founding Tanzeb. Starting the venture with only Rs 40,000, Nidhi’s focus for the first year was to create a team and maintain the quality. “Today, I have managed to create a team of 20 people while residing in another city,” Nidhi says, of her journey.
Atchuta established Estah Society in the year 2009 with the objective to empower farmers and tribal villages through various models of agriculture. They also train the farmers and support them with various livelihood skills required in agriculture. Apart from this they have been working with tribal villages to empower them through farming. These farmers are given knowledge, skill, implementation and marketing support. Through multi-cropping, value-based agriculture produces and strengthened Farmer Producers Organizations Estah aims to improve the lives of 4000 farmers and their families & to provide the small and marginal farmers with a stable and sustainable income throughout the year.
HR head, Executive Coach (PCC - ICF Certified), EQ-i2.0 assessor and coach, Certified practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry, Masters in Neuroscience of Leadership and Vipassana Meditator. Over 930 hours of coaching experience spanning across Mid-level Managers, to Senior Managers and AVPs of the company. Largely addressing issues like: o Transition management – Transition of Role, Business line etc. o Work-Life Balance, Stress management among Senior Managers/AVPs o Performance related issues, Self-management, Self-confidence and Self-esteem o Life coaching, personal relationships