GPBF Class1

GP Birla Fellowship for Women Leaders

Ashweetha Shetty-Founder, Bodhi Tree Foundation

Ashweetha's dream is to live in a nation where there is no rural urban divide based on opportunities, skills, human knowledge and resources. To achieve that dream, Ashweetha started Bodhi Tree Foundation in 2014, a Tirunelveli based nonprofit that empowers rural college graduates. Bodhi Tree Foundation trains, supports and mentors rural college graduates so that they can access better career opportunities and live their true potential. Ashweetha previously worked as a Community Engagement Coordinator with SughaVazhvu Healthcare, which provides last-mile primary healthcare in rural India. Ashweetha is also a Young India Fellow, an Acumen India Fellow, anAshoka Youth Venturer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from ManonmaniamSundaranar University, Tirunelveli.

Dekyi Yangchen D Gyatso-Entrepreneur / Social Activist 

Dekyi graduated in Psychology and MBA from Bangalore and then worked for a short stint in a private bank. During that period, she got a few offers to work abroad, but being the only child and her parents having retired by then, she felt obligated to do so something in her home state. Even though she did have a choice to join the state civil services or opt for the central civil services she decided to move to her ancestral village in western Sikkim and take charge of the property there. The basic aim of her venture what  she now terms as "labour of love" or her "passion project" is to revive and retain all things uniquely Sikkimese ~ be it cultural, traditional or anything of historical significance. It's about giving back a little bit to the place that's given us so much for so long. "Biksthang Heritage Farmhouse" started its commercial operation in October 2014 and won 'Gold' under the category: The Best Community - Based Homestay Project, in the first ever Indian Responsible Tourism Award, held at The Grand, Delhi, organised by Outlook Traveller Group in 2017. Among her interests are dharma, creating social& environment awareness and philosophy to name a few. Dekyi believes that there is an urgent need for women to come to the forefront in the decisions making process if they are to make any tangible progress in society~ now more than ever, after all, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!

EmarineKharbhih-Program Manager,Impulse NGO Network

EmarineKharbhih is the Program Manager of Impulse NGO Network, an organization working towards addressing the issue of human trafficking from North East India for the past 25 years. Her work  consists of scaling Impulse Model – a strategy to address human trafficking cases effectively; to neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar and creating partnerships with stakeholders such as Governments, CSOs, Law Enforcement Agencies, Lawyers, Service Providers for Rehabilitation, Reintegration especially for cross border human trafficking cases. She engages with stakeholders at many levels in terms of organizing trainings to sensitize them through training of Media persons, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, NGOs and bridges the gap between them for smooth communication and proper assistance to trafficked persons and survivors. She is also an Acumen India Fellow 2018 and YUVA Chair of Young Indians Meghalaya Chapter 2018 – an initiative of Confederation of Indian Industry.

 Khushboo Awasthi -Co-Founder, Mantra4Change

Khushboo is an engineer turned education enthusiast. She brings over nine years of diverse professional experience across domains of technology, marketing, product management, healthcare and community engagement. After a conventional corporate beginning with Wipro Technologies and Honeywell, Khushboo went ahead to pursue her post-graduation from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is the recipient of the Gold Medal and M.K. Tata Prize for her excellent performance at TISS. An avid reader, Khushboo derives same pleasure from the work of fiction and non-fiction. Her love for travel has taken her to various uncharted geographies within the country. Khushboo founded Mantra4Change in the year 2013 with the singular vision of improving the quality of education for the under-served children. She is a WIPRO seeding fellow since 2016. In her current role as a co-founder, director at Mantra4Change, Khushboo leads the organization strategy, program design, field operations, research and communications. Engaging with the complexity that social problems pose and constant problem-solving with a maverick sense of possibility define her day.

 Mekha Thachankary - Co-Founder, Guardians of Dreams

Defying convention in India, Mekha decided to bet on her social entrepreneurial mindset and take on the challenge of helping underprivileged children in India. Her vision for creating a just society that provides equal opportunity for all its children led her to set up her first social venture - Guardians Of Dreams - which aims to ensure that every child in orphanages receive the care, resources and support to achieve positive adult outcomes. The model is focused on being a participatory model that mobilizes resources through community based programs.With her passion for creating scalable and sustainable models of fundraising for the development sector and her past experiences in design and implementing charity fundraising events in a number of cities, Mekha is currently the  Director of Partnerships and Product Design at Guardians. Her role includes launching and running various fundraisers with the help of volunteers as well as building corporate partnerships in cities where Guardians has presence. Fundraiser events that she is currently working on include school competitions, sports tournaments, music concerts, and workshopsetc. – which cater to different groups in society – from school children to corporate employees to housewives.

Monica Pesswani- Co-Founder, The Apprentice Project

Monica is an ideator, tinkerer and a serial entrepreneur. She is presently the Co-Founder of The Apprentice Project- A NGO that works with low income school kids to offer them the network of support and opportunities to be successful in the real world. She also has a baking start-up of her own and is the Co-Founder of an organisation that supports the differently abled. Prior to this she worked as the Project Lead at First Engineering Technologies- the first of its kind Additive manufacturing start-up in India. She held the position of Group Strategy Lead at NRB Bearings Ltd. while working directly with the CEO.Monica started her career with Infosys and comes with a wide-variety of experience in the IT, manufacturing, Branding and F&B industry. She graduated from Ashoka University as part of the prestigious Young India Fellowship program.Besides her work, Monica has a passion for diving and is in the process of becoming a professional instructor. 

 Muletolu Vero, Head of Research & HR, Listed

 Muletolu Vero is currently the Head of Research & HR at Listed, an online listing portal based in Dimapur, Nagaland that lists and promotes locally based businesses online. For over four years, she was a core member of the North East India International Model United Nations (NEIMUN), a non-profit educational foundation, facilitating opportunities exclusively tailored for young people in Northeast India to implement their ideas, study social issues, and learn the challenges of negotiation through several leadership programs. She is the co-founder of Border Libraries Project, a project aimed to promote building libraries for schools in the border areas of India and Myanmar. She has a Masters in History and M.Phil from the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. Her interest in research, gender issues, and history led her to pursue two-year M.Phil research on women and armed conflict particularly in the context of Naga women. Through various capacities, she has been actively involved with NGOs and entities that are working in the areas of research, youth development, mental health, women issues, and education.She loves gardening, traveling, reading, and trekking. Her inspiration mostly comes stories of people she meets.

Nidhi Pant-Head, DesiVdesi and Co-founder, Science for Society (S4S)

Nidhi Pant, a chemical engineer turned social entrepreneur and youth advocate, is the head of DesiVdesi and Co-founder of Science for Society (S4S) which is India’s fastest-growing food technology company. By employing innovative techniques with DesiVDesi and integrating a unique blend of natural ingredients, she has impacted the lives of 10,000 young people combatting malnutrition and reducing hunger thereby contributing to the ‘UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger’.Science for Society is also the winner of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Award and also has established partnerships and implemented strategic, high-priority projects for high value partner organisations such as USAID, Gates Foundation, FICCI, Government of India, World Bank, Tata Trust among others. In 2018, she participated in the 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW). Nidhi was selected as an Atal Innovation Mission Mentor of Change which is headed by NITI Aayog, Govt. of India. She is also a mentor within the Rural Tech sector for Smart India Hackathon 2018 which is organised by Ministry of Human Resource Development. In 2017, Nidhi was selected as the Global Social Impact House Fellow by University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy. She was awarded the DAAD Global Scholarship to conduct research in the largest chemical-bio diversity project in Germany and also received the Tata-CSIR-OSDD fellowship. She also received ‘Best Sustainable Organisation Award’ at Food+City 2017 at UT Austin.  She was chosen as the Changemakers’ Room 2017 Fellow supported by European Commission's Erasmus+ platform as part of the Action Agenda for Change 2020 to scale women-led businesses in rural India. She was a part of the Indian Delegation to Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 Nepal organized by MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp & Watson University. She believes in focusing on providing a permanent solution rather than addressing the symptoms. Nidhi has successfully carved out a niche for herself through diverse experience in the areas of sustainable agriculture and development. She loves oil-painting, collecting stationary, quizzes and is a trained Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical) dancer.

Ovi K Yeptho- Co-founder,  House Sutra

Ovi K Yeptho is the Co-founder of House Sutra- an omni-channel furniture store that caters to the unique experience of providing custom-made furniture. An economic graduate and an MBA in sales and marketing, Ovi possess professional experience in the field of channel management, strategy, digital marketing and analytics before venturing into House Sutra.She believes in enriching lives through women empowerment and is deeply passionate about working with students and youths. Her ultimate dream is to become a transformative agent in providing quality education and in helping youths to discover their purpose. As a result, she had volunteered with several NGOs and student’s forum in the past for activities like weekend teaching, reactivating drop-out students, and other student welfare activities.  Currently, she is a part of an advisor to her community students in Bangalore that acts as a guardianship and facilitate the welfare of students and professionals in the city.

Prachiti Sewalkar- Cluster Business Manager, Vistaar Finance

 Prachiti Sewalkar is an MBA graduate from IIM Ranchi with a background of Engineering in Metallurgy and Material Science.  She has worked in manufacturing sector as an engineer, as a lecturer in Metallurgy and currently she is leading a team of 40 people for driving sales of “Solapur reigon” in Vistaar Finance. She is a strong, carefree and friendly person. She believes in generosity, humanity and equality. She has worked for betterment of orphans and specially challenged children. She strongly believes that a great change society can be brought by empowering women and want to work towards this. She loves to travel, explore new places. In free time, she helps young girls with their studies, personality development. She enjoys cooking also. 

Pratyusha Ghosh, Program Co-ordinator, Jana Sanskriti Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed

Pratyusha Ghosh is a graduate in Biotechnology with masters in marketing management. She has worked with the Life Science/Healthcare industry for 7 years in Marcom and Brand development roles. In 2015, she moved out of the corporate sector and joined Jana Sanskriti Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed – a participatory theatre group in Bengal in capacity of Project Coordinator. In her current role she handles theatre-in-education projects for primary and higher secondary students of public schools in the Sunderbans and Purulia districts of West Bengal. Pratyusha has a deep passion for dance and has trained in Bharatnatyam for 15 years in Chennai – her hometown. Following her passion in dance, 2 years back she created a dance team with the children and adolescent girls from the marginalized sections of the village called Badu, in the outskirts of Kolkata. Pratyusha is also a farming enthusiast with keen interest in organic agriculture. Some of her other passions include travel, books and music.    

 Dr. Reshma Sagari – Founder, Rida Wellness

Dr. Reshma helps people get healthier and fitter. She has been a Homeopathy & Bach Flower Expert since 2005 and has been seeing patients from her clinic at Pune and outside Pune and Internationally via Skype. Her entrepreneurial journey started when she co-founded a venture in 2009; however it took good shape only when she got selected for the Start-up Leadership Program which helps start-up founders and CEOs emerge as Leaders. She was the only woman entrepreneur to graduate as a SLP Fellow from Pune 2016-17 batch after which she was elected as the Program Leader for Start-up Leadership Program, Pune Chapter and is responsible for the strategic leadership initiatives like Mentor Connects, Demo and Investor Days, Outreach Events and the Start-up 5K Run Pune 2018 that built an identity for SLP Pune. She is currently Building Wellness & Beauty Products which are chemical free and have added value of Homeopathy and Bach flower therapy at her venture Rida Wellness. Her burning desire is to make the lives of people as chemical free as possible. Having gone through the pain and challenges of nurturing her daughter born without a food pipe and then losing her at 18 months age, she wants to start Rida Foundation in her memory which will be a social support platform for children born with congenital birth defects and their families. In her current role, Reshma is happily building chemical free products as the Founder of Rida Wellness and is an Advisor to SLP Pune.

 Sanahadbegam Shaikh- Programme Officer, Naandi Foundation

Sanahad is a social work graduate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences with specialization in rural development and has an extensive fieldwork experience in rural areas of Maharashtra. She has worked with self-help groups, adolescent girls, person’s with disability, rural community on the issues of child rights; girls education, water conservation and drought mitigation.She considers her study period in TISS is a transitional phase of her life where she experienced enormous change from a diffident young girl to a confident person due to immense exposure to the diverse learning environment, field-based activities, sociological concepts and theories. She firmly believes her studies have helped her to find self-identity as a woman and learned to build perspective towards the existing issues of women. She loves to travel and explore the food history of places. She is ardent of working for women empowerment and to work as a change agent for creating a liberating environment for them. She is currently working as Programme Officer for Naandi Foundation in Chakan a rural area nearby Pune city. She is managing the N Star Programme in this location which focuses on skill development of adolescent girls. As a Programme officer she is working with various stakeholders and community at the grass root level to enhance the effect of the N Star programme and contribute to a comprehensive development of adolescent girls.

Shaheena Attarwala – UX Designer & Researcher, RuthlessUx and Social Activist

Hailing from a village in Uttar Pradesh, raised and living in a slum of Mumbai, Shaheena’s first fight was for her right to education in her own home against her own father. And since then it's been an uphill. Aiming to reduce bad human experiences by designing enjoyable, understandable and profitable interfaces & products through a seamless amalgamation of Design Thinking. Human behavior & cross-cultural experiences fascinate her. A passionate cyclist, reader and health enthusiast her empathy has led her to work for social causes for children, education, sanitation &social impact. She crowd funded #BuildaToilet campaign - to build a toilet for a poor family in Uttar Pradesh. Her efforts were applauded by the United Nations on the (World Toilet Day). She was also invited for the World Toilet Summit organized by the Central Government in Delhi. She raised her voice and created awareness against multibillion dollar fast food chain McDonald’s Pune, for denying food and throwing out a street kid from their outlet. This news was a national & international headlines. Organized #CleanYourHome campaign by mobilizing people in her slum to clean clean their area. This move was featured in the United Nations - UN Water Page. Recently involved in Promoting and Participating in #JusticeforAasifa movement by mobilizing people.

Shubha Khadke-Area Manager, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme

Shubha Khadke is having more than 13 years of experience in development sector. She worked with different organizations in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Thirteen years journey in the sector enriched her experience around Livelihood, Natural resource management, Organizational Development and Micro Finance.  Her major thrust area is Livelihood enhancement. She has passion for her sector and initiated alternate livelihood options for tribal community.At present she is working with Aga Khan rural Support Programme (India) as an Area Manager. She is based at Dangs district of south Gujarat and responsible for organizational activities in four districts – The Dangs, Navsari, Surat and Tapi. She started her journey with AKRSP (I) in 2013 when AKRSP (I) was expanding work in Dangs district and now organization is working in more than 200 villages of Dangs and adjoining districts under her leadership.

Tabish Habib- Managing Director, Founder-Prism Creationz&ThinkPod Business Incubators

Tabish has over 6 years of experience as advertising / branding consultant and business owner. Her Expertise is in areas ranging from business administration to marketing of products and services to recruiting and training sales staff. In a highly male dominated society, particularly in the arena of independent businesses, has created a space for oneself. She is one of the few woman entrepreneurs of Kashmir who is acknowledged as a thorough professional and needs no introduction. She has established PRISM Creationz in 2014, first ever foray by a woman in the field of designing, printing and publishing. The Turnover has exceeded one crore for consecutive two years till disturbances hit the industry in Kashmir. Foresight and courage to venture into an unchartered but promising area of business by launching THINKPOD, in 2016, taking the concept of shared spaces and thoughts from drawing board stage to ideation and to actual execution. She is also a Photographer and event manager of note, having been celebrated as the youngest shutterbug in recent times. She has organized a number of exhibitions, including international exhibition in 2014 at Srinagar which was an event that brought together artistic talents of the young Kashmiris on a single platform. She is an entrepreneur who has helped many businesses grow from start-up by offering consultancy on effective business planning, creative sales techniques and innovative marketing.She is recognized by clients and colleagues as a consummate professional with a high degree of personal integrity. She is known for a contagious passion for excellence, a talent for resourceful business solutions, and a capacity for motivational leadership.