Founder & director, Samakhya Sustainable Alternatives Pvt. Ltd., Delhi
Prerna Agarwal is the founder & Director of Samakhya Sustainable Alternatives Pvt. Ltd., a for-profit community led company aimed at reviving traditional rural practices and raw materials to pr omote sustainable solutions in the space of textiles, natural fibre and built environment. She has been an Acumen fellow in 2021, and has served as a CEO of the Urmul Crafts Programme, an NGO ecosystem working for upliftment of women and rural communities in western Rajasthan. Using her 6 year experience of working in some of the top advertising agencies in the country, she shifted base from Delhi to a small village – Bajju, at the Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan to help rural communities access markets and earn dignified livelihoods. She has played a key role in developing the artisan brand – Urmul Desert Crafts, providing market access to over 5000 rural artisans from socially marginalised communities. She is now working towards evolving sustainable fibres and green crafts value chains by reviving local fibers and establishing environment positive value chains for making them future ready.
Co-founder – Inqui-lab Foundation, Hyderabad
Sahithya is a Co-founder at Inqui-Lab Foundation. With the vision of nurturing problem solving capacities in children and youth, Inqui-Lab provides in-school, college and online opportunities for adolescents to build problem-solving skills and mind-sets such as design thinking, prototyping, teamwork, innovative and entrepreneurial mind-sets. From upcycling coconut products to weapon chappal for women…she has witnessed students dream up 10,000+ inventions and hopes to create an ecosystem that supports their potential! Sahithya is also a Teach for India Alumnus and an Acumen India Fellow 2021. She loves to write, read, seek and create new learning experiences for oneself and others with the joy of learning being her primary ethos.
Chief of Growth, Founding partner, Project DEFY, MUSE Inc Pvt Ltd, Bangalore
Megha is a self proclaimed feminist who loves to meet new people as much as she is reclusive! When she is not hustling for DEFY she is attending theatre, poetry slams, queer gatherings or writing in hindustani language. She has recently started liking dogs and believes her love for mountains is hereditary.
CEO and Director, Inochi Care, Bhatinda
Shivani Gupta is a biotechnologist by training and socio-tech entrepreneur by profession. Shivani sees deep-tech solutions as the cross-cutting enabler to addressing many of the healthcare challenges faced around the globe both impactfully and sustainably. She believes that equitable access to quality healthcare should be a right to everyone rather than a privilege. She received her PhD degree from BITS Pilani, India followed by a Biodesign fellowship at School of International Biodesign. Shivani has received national and international recognition for her innovation and entrepreneurial work, including Forbes Ignite Change maker 2021, TiE Global women entrepreneur, MIT technology innovator under 35 2016, Women social innovator of the year at the TiE social sustainability summit 2021. She likes to travel to new places, experience different cultures and listening to people’s story.
Director – Hengna & Maben Private Limited, Dimapur
Ms. Nengneithem Hengna founded Runway Nagaland in the year 2013 at Dimapur Nagaland. She worked at Dabur India Pvt Ltd and HDFC Life before founding Runway. Nagaland. Our stories were covered by The Hindu, Financial Express, The Better India and the leading local papers and northeast news & Magazines. We were featured in ‘COSMOPOLITAN INDIA’ Magazine amongst the 31st accessories brand selection throughout India. And were also selected to be a part of “Impact Berlin” amongst 10 women lead ventures in India. We have received an award from Weavers Textile, “Centre ministry of textile, Govt of India” for contributing in the development of handloom, and an award from “Women Resource Development, Govt of Nagaland” for providing livelihood opportunities and employment generation.
Head – Philanthropy, Sarthak Foundation, Lucknow
I am strongly committed to the philosophy of “Leading by Example” and “Lifelong Learning”. It is the diversity in my work, challenges and opportunities that keep me upbeat. I have 8 years of working experience. At Sarthak Foundation, I head the new and existing partnerships, social media and HR. I also organise several events and drives for the community. In 2015, while I was working with a start up, I volunteered for Sarthak Foundation. That is when I developed a first-hand experience and a deeper understanding of the communities and joined the organisation full time. I love reading books and swimming. I like exploring places, especially mountains. My motto is: “Passion and Perseverance”.
Co-Founder, Cotton Rack, Jaipur
Rameshwari Kaul, Founder of Cotton Rack, a Jaipur-based conscious clothing brand and has been working with grassroots artisans for over 12 years. She has been pivotal in reviving & setting up weaving clusters in Jammu & Kashmir and her latest work includes international brand collaborations & explorations on indigenous wool with a focus on traceability. She has also been a part of Boot Camp at IIM, Ahmedabad for Social Entrepreneurship and was certified as Industry Disruptor for her contribution to UNSDGs by UN Women, We Empower Asia & DO School Berlin.
Director, Aatm Nirbhar Learning Private Limited, Founder – ANWA Trust, Founding Curator – Global Shapers Mathura Hub, Mathura
Pawani Khandelwal is the founder of Aatm Nirbhar, which is on a mission to make mobility accessible to women in the remotest parts of India. Her passion for women entrepreneurship has also led her to start ANWA Trust – a non-profit that supports women of her hometown in Mathura to start their own businesses. She is also the founding curator of the Global Shapers Hub in Mathura. Pawani’s inclination towards community work manifested at the age of 13, when she started her first NGO to teach underprivileged children. Pawani graduated in business administration from the Symbiosis International University, Pune in 2017 and has been a Young Leader’s Programme Admit at the Indian School Of Business. She has also studied entrepreneurship at the National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University, Beijing. In addition to her many awards and accolades, Pawani is also among the founding members of the Indian Women Social Entrepreneurs Network, an Ashoka Changemakers Alumni and a TEDx speaker. As a thought leader on women’s economic empowerment, she has represented India on issues related to gender, entrepreneurship and mobility at leadership forums across the world. On rainy days, she can be spotted riding her bullet somewhere in the streets of Mathura & Vrindavan.
Head of Operations, DNA Growth, Mohali
Ishpreet Kaur Khanuja leads operations at DNA Growth, with experience managing and leading 100+ professionals. Her background in finance and research consulting and scaling the company from a team size of 5 to a 100 in the last 5 years in a Tier-II city informs her mindful but competitive approach. Meanwhile, she has vastly improved the productivity of her department by implementing strategic project management methods and ensuring a high standard of service delivery for her team. Ishpreet is fueled by her passion for understanding the nuances of putting leadership into action by connecting and relating with people with empathy. With 70% female staff under her, she is inspiring and empowering their lives daily and giving them the ability to break the glass ceiling in Tier-II cities. Not only is she heading the CSR initiatives at her company, she also engages in larger community involvement by associating herself with regional orphanages and taking weekend classes for communication and using her existing network to provide orphanages with proper learning and training tools and resources.
Co-Founder, Samanta Foundation, Dehradun
Tanya is from Bhurarani village in the Udhamsingh nagar district of Uttarakhand. She completed her BA in Political science from University of Delhi. She worked with the children in the slums on education during her college days. She went on to complete her Masters in social work from Delhi School of Social work. She has an interest in engaging women, girls with the local challenges leading them to sustenance in the long run. She has worked extensively on menstrual health and hygiene with women, young girls towards building local solutions and behavioural change practices contextually. She co-founded Samanta with Prashant Anand in Uttarakhand as they after a year spent working with the forest dwelling, pastoral nomadic communities of the lower shivaliks (Rajaji National park & Tiger reserve). She has been thriving towards building a space for women and young girls from the forest, tribal and rural communities to pursue their dreams by engaging them with education, collective groups. She has successfully mentored a young Van Gujjar girl to go on and become the Samvaad fellow at the national level for the year 2021-22. The vision is to engage young girls and women from the community to realise their dreams and have a space for sharing and learning. She worked with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (Rajasthan) in the remote villages of Jhalawar district. She then went to work with the self help groups of women in Uttarakhand across Kumaon and Garhwal regions with Tata Trusts. She has developed modules of learning on menstrual health and hygiene, early child care using traditional and customary practices as per local needs.
She is an art enthusiast with a keen interest in up-cycling for innovative uses of waste and environmental conservation.
CEO, Tan90, Bangalore
I’m a Civil Engineer and a Public Policy major by education but have found my calling in addressing the Education and Skill Development challenge plaguing our country. My experience as a Teach for India fellow, back in 2010, got me curious about the space and over the years, my engagements with other education and skilling non-profits, the United Nations, and the Government of India helped me better understand the headwinds that make systemic transformations difficult. As a by-product of my personal experience and my observations on the ground, I’m currently working on building a democratic platform solution to help high schoolers overcome their fear of Mathematics. The idea being not every child should be forced to aspire to be an IITian but should be equipped to utilise the mental agility that basic math provides in any field of their choosing. When not working, you’d find me gathering trivia and solving puzzles. I also quite enjoy the history of geography, human psychology, and short stories by P.G.Wodehouse.
Partnership Lead – Last Mile Money, IDEO, Hyderabad
Kanika is an MBA graduate from the Said Business School, University of Oxford with 12+ years of experience in inclusive product design, impact investment and user centred solutioning across South and SouthEast Asia and East Africa. Kanika currently leads partnerships and strategy for IDEO CoLab’s Last Mile Money initiative, a global innovation portfolio in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to connect underserved communities and low-income communities to the digital economy. Over the last few years with the IDEO team, she’s worked on bringing tangibility to inclusive fin-tech innovations, to improve the financial well-being and resilience among rural populations, especially those affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. Prior to IDEO, she led the strategic innovations and global business development team at Intellecap, a leading development advisory and impact investment firm. During her time there, she managed the company’s expansion into East Africa, advised development finance institutions, corporations, private foundations and entrepreneurs on their inclusive business and impact investment strategies and was responsible for designing and implementing Sankalp Forum – one of the largest common action platforms for sustainable development. She is also an alum of the World Economic Forum Global Shaper Community.
Co-founder and CEO, Vidhya Vidhai Foundation, Chennai
Regila co-founded a not-for-profit organization called Vidhya Vidhai Foundation which means Seed for Education. The intent of this initiative came from her very own experience of schooling and its influence on her major decisions in life. Regila firmly believed that ‘Right Schooling’ can facilitate the ‘Right Choices’ in Life and addressing the root challenges in schooling begins from working with the key decision-makers of the school that is the Education Leaders who lead and manage the school on a daily basis. Regila is currently working with 500+ education leaders to equip them with school leadership that ensures quality education for every child. In her earlier days, she chose Bachelors in Social work, and to pursue her higher education she opted for Masters in Education from Azim Premji University with a specialization in School leadership organization and management. Regila has completed 5 years in the education space and her key role in Vidhya Vidhai involves forming and orchestrating the team, leading program design, and organization development with a short and long-term strategy.
Co-Founder, Inner Planet, Nagpur
Zohra Master Co-founded Inner Planet in 2016 which is a mental health organization dedicated to provide expert psychotherapeutic help to individuals and organizations by addressing their mental health concerns. A staunch supporter of Mental Health, her vision is to make ethical and professional mental health services available and accessible to the masses. Her organization has reached out to 10,000+ people through Alive- their mental health awareness drives and events to engage people in conversations around seeking help. She has also engaged with hundreds of people with her therapeutic services. Inner Planet has worked with organizations like TAL (now TASSLE), John Deere, and The Climber to help enhance work productivity of their employees. Specializing in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), a school of cognitive psychotherapy, she has done her Masters in Clinical Psychology from SNDT University and her Specialization in REBT from The Albert Ellis Institute, New York City, USA. She loves listening to music, reading, cooking and is a prolific dancer.
Senior Specialist, Resilient Agri- Food System, International Rice Research Institute, Bihar
A recipient of National Women Achiever Award “Aadhi Abaadi” India, belonging to the state of Bihar, Sugandha Munshi is an advocate of gender equality and women rights in India. She has an intensive experience of more than a decade (12 years) working in the field of gender mainstreaming including research. She has completed her International Leadership Program from WYSE UK and is an ambassador for South Asia. With degrees in Political Science, Gender, and Journalism from University of Delhi, she specializes in conceiving, designing, and promoting interventions and policies targeting at Gender issues. She held a position of Global Shaper of World Economic Forum, Geneva for consecutive 6 years and elected Hub Curator for two years. She has been an agenda contributor for women farmers in World Economic Forum. Currently, working as a Senior Specialist in International Rice Research Institute, she closely works with women farmers and partnership advocacy on innovations and policy interventions in agriculture. She has authored and co-authored various international as well as national publications on the work related to women farmers and system thinking innovation. She has been on the panel of various national and international dialogues on gender issues. She has also been one of the jury members of United Nation Youth Volunteer Award 2020. Her hobbies include Photography and Poetry writing.
Managing Director, Sai BioCare Pvt.Ltd., Bhubaneswar
Having almost 15+ years of rich and cross-cultural experience in heading People Management Operations & Administration spanning across Environment, waste management, recycling, liaison and consulting business with state and central government, awareness and survey curating and contributing to the Organization’s strategic & operational goals. Strong feeling for environment and its safety which allows me to incorporate science and technology to protect and create new goals. Effective and economic recycling techniques development and practicing every now and then to use recycled waste water for cultivation cleaning, gardening. Incorporating information technology for promoting awareness surveys, campaigns as well as creating revolutionary approach though web based application. Promoting sensible use of natural resources and using alternative energy properly blended. Creating healthy incubation system for research and development is the essence of my existence. Industrial Fire fitting system integration. I am passionate traveller, and driver loves participating in car rallies, passionate dog lover.
Aswathy Preetha Jayakumar
Cofounder, Ayang trust, Kerala
Aswathy facilitates the education programs of Ayang Trust as the Education Director. She believes that the best answer to most of the world’s problems is our children and is keenly interested in finding ways in which children in low income communities are best equipped to make the world a better place. In the exploration of various avenues of doing this work, she has worked in public and private schools, and in rural and urban areas from Mumbai to Manipur. Prior to Ayang, she has been a Teach for India fellow, and Programme Manager with Sunbird Trust. Since 2017, Aswathy has been engaged with The Hummingbird School community in Majuli, Assam in curriculum development and pedagogical practice improvements at the school, and eventually became a part of the team that set up Ayang Trust in Majuli. Aswathy holds a BE in Biotechnology and an MA in Peace Education. Aswathy stands for and is in the pursuit of compassion, equity and integrity for herself and everyone else.
Assistant Project Manager, Brand Unilever & Sustainability, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Chattisgarh
Ruchita works at the intersection of marketing communications & CSR, specifically around sustainability, gender, public health and education. She believes that cross sectoral collaboration is an effective way of addressing & solving pressing humanitarian & environmental challenges in the world. When she is not working, she bikes across the country.
AWS Startup Ramp, India Lead, Amazon India, Hyderabad
Vyshali Sagar is a part of AWS Public sector team and previously employed with PwC and Google. In her current role at AWS Public Sector, Vyshali handles the Startup Ramp Program which is an accelerator program designed to help startups build and scale innovative solutions on AWS. A program to engage, onboard, nurture and grow Public Sector focused startups from early-stages of their inception by collaborating with the Government, Academia, Corporate and Non-Profits to foster Innovation and managing partnerships with Incubators/Impact Investors. She represented India as a Global Climate Change Ambassador at International Antarctica Expedition 2016 and a Global Shaper at World Economic Forum and has represented the Government of Telangana at World economic forum, Davos and Global Entrepreneurship Congress, Bahrain in 2019.
Vyshali Sagar leads Startup Ramp Program for Amazon India where her true north is to relentlessly focus on helping startups win. Vyshali is collectively looking forward to partnering and building with the most ambitious founders/startup ecosystem stakeholders in India. Vyshali has and previously employed with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Google. Vyshali is a board member of the Women@Amazon India and is impatiently optimistic about making a difference to women, education and accessibility as she volunteers in various leadership roles through her contributions to nonprofits.
Vyshali is a Global Climate Change Ambassador – International Antarctica Expedition 2016 and a Curator, Hyderabad for Global shaper (an initiative by World Economic Forum) and has represented the Government of Telangana at World economic forum, Davos in 2019. Vyshali has been recognized under the Exceptional Individuals category as a part of Covid relief efforts during the first and second lockdown by the Government of Telangana in 2021. Vyshali has also been honored with the REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship (RKGF) and Karmaveer Chakra award instituted by iCONGO in Partnership with the United Nations in 2019. On International Women’s day, Vyshali is selected as ‘111 Power Women” for the Social Work that is recognized by World Book of Records, United Kingdom by Lead India Foundation on the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021.
Interested in community capacity building she studied Sociology and Intellectual property rights from National Law School, Bangalore. Pursued Technology and Policy from Takshashila Institution in 2020 and was recently a part of ‘She Represents’ Cohort from Indian School of Democracy (aims to enable a community of strong, politically motivated women, who have a mission to serve the Indian democracy and reclaim their space in Indian politics.)
Studied entrepreneurship through Jagriti Yatra; a 15-day long train journey that traverses 8000 kms across the length and breadth of India in order to understand smaller towns and villages and build India through enterprise for the past 6 years. Associated with Make A Difference’ mobilizing young leaders to ensure equitable outcomes for underprivileged children in shelters across India for 10 years. Active volunteer for TEDX Hyderabad fostering community relations while building a vibrant community, Car Free Thursday, TechStars Startup Weekend and Hyderabad Urban Makeover communities.