Our Team

Vishnu Swaminathan, India Country Director

Vishnu Swaminathan, South Asia Representative, Leadership Group Member

Vishnu leads Ashoka South Asia's efforts to create an "Everyone a Changemaker" world—one where each person has the skills, drive, and resources to push forward solutions to pressing social and environmental problems, and each organization works to maximize the changemaking potential of its members. Vishnu also heads the Housing for All program at Ashoka in India, which is working on increasing the supply of affordable housing for low income communities in India on market based models. The program has reached 6 cities, catalyzing around 10,000 homes in a short period of 2 years. Vishnu is also recognised as a global expert in the area of market driven approaches to create new markets for the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) customers.

Before Ashoka, Vishnu co-founded and lead two companies working on Financial transactions and Animation technology in Singapore for 8 years. After one of the companies was acquired he moved to India to head a leadership school for three years, where he led the school's social effort by creating an independent Centre for Social Development and Governance.

Sunish Jauhari, Director, Operations

Sunish Jauhari, Director, Operations (South Asia)

For over 17 years, Sunish has worked in different capacities in the areas of Public Relations, Marketing and Sales and Business Consulting. Before joining Ashoka in June 2011, he worked closely with British and Indian small and medium scale enterprise on market-entry and distribution strategies in technology sectors. Sunish is currently leading Ashoka’s Strategic Resources initiative, setting up an Ashoka Support Network of highly successful business entrepreneurs and also leading the fundraising effort in India. Earlier, Sunish was a part of the Housing for All team at Ashoka, working on market-based models on affordable housing for the informal sector.

Sunish is also driving an initiative on Road and Pedestrian Safety, working closely with a few behavioral and road safety experts, to build a curriculum on road safety for children in India. In his free time, Sunish loves to paint and has held a few exhibitions of his own. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, Vidyut and son, Yash.

Ashwin Naik, Leadership Group Member

Ashwin Naik, Resident Fellow, Leadership Group Member

Ashwin is a Resident Fellow, part of the Ashoka Health and Nutrition Initiative and a Leadership Group Member at Ashoka. 

He is the founder and serves on the board of Vaatsalya Hospitals, an award winning social enterprise, focused on building and managing a network of hospitals in small towns in India. Vaatsalya is the largest hospital network of its kind in India, bringing affordable healthcare services to more than half a million underserved customers per year, and is the winner of the Inaugural Porter Prize in India for value based healthcare. In 2012, Ashwin also helped establish National Association of Social Enterprises in India, a leading industry body comprising of the leading social enterprises in India. Ashwin has been honored as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by World Economic Forum, Young Leader by Asia Society Asia21, Senior Ashoka Fellow, and Ted India fellow. His passion is Social entrepreneurship, Healthcare access and innovation.

At Ashoka, Ashwin leads the efforts to launch a Global Vitalness Initiative to transform our current thinking about health, wellbeing and nutrition. He is also involved in helping companies build changemaker organisations by collaborating with Ashoka Fellows.

Ashwin has a medical degree from Karnatak Medical College, Hubli and a Masters from University of Houston, Texas. In his spare time, you will find him watching movies or collecting random (and mostly useless) historical trivia.

Sashikumar Velath, Leadership Group Member

Shashikumar Velath, Leadership Group Member

Shashi is a global leadership group member in Ashoka. In a career spanning two decades he has relied on his entrepreneurial thought leadership to contribute to changemaking – as an award winning investigative journalist, conflict & war correspondent, editor, strategist on campaigns-communications-advocacy, team builder, entrepreneur and analyst on security and strategic affairs. He has held leadership positions in media and non-profit organizations. He has been a practitioner of frame change strategies with the ability to convert uncertainties and adversities into breakthrough opportunities. His leadership as Amnesty International India’s chief strategist was a game-changer in re-establishing the organization in India.

Supriya Sankaran, Director, Venture and Fellowship

Supriya Sankaran, Director, Venture and Fellowship

Supriya joined Ashoka India in 2010 as the Venture Manager. She coordinates the search and selection process of social entrepreneurs in India and with them, she is helping to build collaborative entrepreneurship platforms in different areas, such as rural innovation, health, education.

Having graduated in 2005 from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad India, Supriya joined a premier Indian corporate law firm, Amarchand Mangaldas, and specialized in securities laws and capital market transactions. Prior to joining Ashoka, she worked with the African Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania, where she was also teaching the Massai tribes.

Read more about Ashoka India's Venture and Fellowship program

Trina Talukdar

Trina Talukdar, Venture Manager, Venture and Fellowship

Trina Talukdar started working in Kalighat, one of Asia's oldest and largest red light areas, at the age of 18. Her interaction with commercial sex workers spurred her passion to spend her life working on gender empowerment. After graduating with a major in English Literature, Political Science and Sociology, she went on to do a Masters in Social Work, specializing in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work. 

Trina co-founded a non-profit, Kranti at the age of 22, in Mumbai. Kranti identifies the potential in girls who have been trafficked to become agents of social change, as they have survived the worst social adversities, and have the passion and understanding to solve these social problems. Trina moved to Ashoka: Innovators for the Public to explore other areas and models of work in the development sector, through Ashoka’s fellow selection process.

In 2014-2015 Trina took a year long sabbatical from Ashoka to work with American Express, Philanthropy, in Wasington, D.C. and New York, as an Atlas Corps Fellow.

Read more about Ashoka India's Venture and Fellowship program

Olina Banerji, Intrapreneur, Venture and Fellowship

Olina Banerji, Senior Intrapreneur, Venture and Fellowship

Olina Banerji is a career writer with a keen interest in the development sector. As part of the framework change team at Ashoka India, she looks at engaging with strategic media platforms to drive Ashoka's EACH philosophy with networks both within and outside the fellowship.

She pursued a masters in communication from the London School of Economics where her thesis dealt with visual representation of western development ideals in India through an analysis of documentary films. Before joining Ashoka, Olina worked as a correspondent with the India Today Group with a special emphasis on women's empowerment in urban society. She sings often, but not very well and never at the Ashoka lunch table. She reads mostly fiction and dreams of living in South America one day.

Read more about Ashoka India's Venture and Fellowship program

Amira Aleem, Consultant, Venture and Fellowship

Amira Aleem, Consultant, Venture and Fellowship

Amira Aleem works on the Venture and Fellowship Team at Ashoka India. Her interest is in understanding how innovation affects international development. Prior to this, Amira worked in Cambodia on a rural entrepreneurship programme and explored issues of food waste in the UK. She has previously done research in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and holds a BA in Anthropology and International Development from the University of Sussex.

Read more about Ashoka India's Venture and Fellowship program

Kanika Bhandari, Consultant, Venture and Fellowship

Kanika Bhandari, Consultant, Venture and Fellowship

Kanika is a part of the Venture and Fellowship team at Ashoka and is passionate about mapping how network linkages and access to a community of supportive/complimentary entrepreneurs can impact the journey of a social entrepreneur who inevitably interfaces with the complex web of social issues, irrespective of his/her specific chosen space. She wishes to explore how collaborative frameworks develop and positively impact the efficacy and reach of individual initiatives. 

Prior to joining Ashoka, she pursued the Teach for India and Indicorps fellowships and co- founded an alternative school called Swadha, based on Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s work in education; with a view to pilot the curriculum for rural communities.

Read more about Ashoka India's Venture and Fellowship program

Yashveer Singh, Youth Venture

Yashveer Singh, Head, Youth Venture

Previously, Yashveer worked as Head - Strategy & Collaborations at Gram Vikas, a non-profit working with rural and tribal communities in Odisha. Prior to that, Yashveer founded a youth non-profit to address talent inequity in the development sector and inspire university students to pursue social innovation and entrepreneurship. For his work, Yashveer has been awarded Youth Action Net 2012 Fellowship by International Youth Foundation and was recognized as Global Shaper 2011 by World Economic Forum. He was awarded BITSAA 30 under 30 awards in the year 2012 for his contribution to the field of Social Entrepreneurship & Community Building.

He earned his MBA at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, where he was the only MBA student to receive, Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award 2014. As the President of Student’s Union BITS Pilani 2006-07, Yashveer co-founded the University VISION 2020 Plan.

Renu Shah, Changemaker Schools

Renu Shah, Changemaker Schools

Renu started “Koseli Foundation” in Kathmandu Nepal, which works towards integration of the slum and street children into the mainstream society through education. 

She worked in the private sector before switching to the non-profit sector. She also co-founded a private school in Nepal.

She has a Masters degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Read more about Ashoka India's Changemaker Schools program

Garima Aggarwal, Consultant, Changemaker Schools

Garima Aggarwal, Consultant, Changemaker Schools

Garima is part of the Changemaker Schools team at Ashoka where she is working on developing a metric to assess Changemaking across schools and children. A passionate believer in the potential of youth as harbingers of change, she started two non-profit organizations alongside working in Advertising. Following her passion, she transitioned to education and pioneered the development of several employability assessment instruments. She holds two masters degrees, most recently an MA in Education from Stanford University.

In her free time she is working on creating an open-source personal narrative exchange platform as a means to build empathy and connection.

Read more about Ashoka India's Changemaker Schools program

Shevika Mishra, Senior Intrapreneur, Changemaker Schools

Shevika Mishra, Senior Intrapreneur, Changemaker Schools

Shevika joined Ashoka to work on the Health and Nutrition initiative in May 2014. She has since then moved to the Changemaker Schools program. She graduated with a degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Shevika went on to do the IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise after her graduation. The IDEX fellowship placed her in a low-income private school in Bangalore where she worked on setting up a library, teacher training programs and improving the overall quality of education.

Read more about Ashoka India's Changemaker Schools program

Manikandan KP, Consultant, Housing For All

Manikandan KP, Consultant, Housing For All

Manikandan KP is part of the Full Economic Citizenship Team's Housing for All Initiative.  His role is to interact with Financial Institutions & increase their participation in the Housing ecosystem targeted at Low-Income Households.

Born & brought up in Chennai he brings with him 12 years’ experience in retail Housing finance. He has worked for Equitas Housing Finance Pvt Ltd, Sundaram BNP Paribas Home Finance Ltd, ABN Amro Bank & ICICI Bank Ltd. He firmly believes that all stakeholders together can solve & eradicate Homelessness from this country. 

Read more about Ashoka India's Full Economic Citizenship program

Rajesh Varghese, Consultant, Strategic Resources

Rajesh Varghese, Strategic Resources

Rajesh works at Ashoka with the Strategic Resources team. With the goal of building infrastructure for the social space, he is responsible for partnerships with individuals, corporates and institutions for Ashoka and its Fellow network. He comes with strong expertise in corporate fundraising and will be managing Ashoka India's fundraising initiatives.

Wissam Hamady, Consultant, Talent Search

Wissam Hamady, Consultant, Search

Wissam worked as a consultant on the Senior Search Task Force at the Global Office (Washington D.C.) until this December, mining entrepreneurial networks for seasoned, pattern-changing entrepreneurs to form Ashoka's newly expanded leadership group.  He has now joined the India team with the goal of implementing Search strategies in the context of Ashoka's growing South Asia hub.

 

Archana Sinha, Change Manager, Health and Nutrition

Archana Sinha, Senior Change Manager, Health and Nutrition Initiative

Archana joined Ashoka in 2012 to lead the Health and Nutrition Initiative. In partnership with Ashoka Fellows, she is managing the baseline study and engaging various stakeholders to help design sustainable, scalable and system-changing interventions to tackle malnutrition.

After completing her Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, she worked as a consultant with i3 Consulting in Delhi for over two years. During her consulting stint, she primarily advised clients from industries such as financial services and e-commerce on business development and setting up new ventures. While pursuing her Masters, she interned with a micro finance NGO in Delhi wherein she helped streamline its borrower database and created business plans for borrowers. She has also worked as a journalist for The Asian Age.

Read more about Ashoka India's Health and Nutrition program

Pragya Mishra, Consultant, Health and Nutrition Initiative

Pragya Mishra, Senior Intrapreneur, Strategic Resources

Pragya is championing Walls No More at Ashoka. She is working on creating collaborative spaces between social, business, media and government for scaling impact.

Prior to joining Ashoka, she worked in a tribal village in Chhattisgarh for 3 years on the issues of malnutrition, education and livelihoods.  She also worked closely with Chhattisgarh Handicraft Development Board in designing and facilitating capacity building interventions for traditional artisans and youth. She co-founded Saudaagar in 2011, which aims at creating dignified livelihood options for differently abled people in Uttar Pradesh. This venture was showcased as grass root innovation by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in 2012.

Parth Barad, Tech Support

Parth Barad, Tech Support, Integrated Technology Initiative

Parth became a part of ITI team in Ashoka as on April 2015.He graduated with a degree in Computers and now helps Ashoka with their IT related Technical Issues.

 

 

 

Rohan Suseelan, UIUX Designer

Rohan Suseelan, UI/UX Designer, Integrated Technology Initiative

Rohan joined Ashoka as a part of the tech team in October 2015. He is the UI/UX Designer responsible for all the web user interface requirements of the team. 

He is an engineer by qualification and a designer by passion. Prior to joining Ashoka, he has worked as a freelance user interface consultant on various early-stage startups with over 8 years of experience in front end development and design. After his Bachelors in Computer Science, he started as a freelance designer and moved on to work with a technology incubator. During this time, he worked and led multiple projects focused on web accessibility and also worked closely with different non-profits. In early 2012, he co-founded Citrusvault with a focus on technology services and product development for early-stage startups. He followed this up with a brief stint in another venture of his, providing remote surveillance. 

He is a seasoned rider, an automobile enthusiast with a passion for innovation. He enjoys road trips, music and travel. 

Anjana Balakrishnan, Consultant, ITI

Anjana Balakrishnan, Institution Builder, Integrated Technology Initiative

Anjana joined Ashoka in March 2014 as a part of the Integrated Technology Initiative team. She is a content aggregator working to improve the performance of Ashoka websites. She has previously worked extensively with content as a copywriter, freelance writer, copy editor and content manager.

 

 

Jayalakshmi Jayanth, Senior Institution Builder, ITI

Jayalakshmi Jayanth, Senior Institution Builder, Integrated Technology Initiative

Jaya joined Ashoka in April 2015 as a part of the Integrated Technology Initiative team. She is a mother of two, multilinguist, Drupal evangelist who started her career as an Analytical Chemist and then a Russian Technical translator and Interpreter and now enjoys development of websites since 2007.

 

Rajesh Kumar, Project Co-ordinator

Rajesh Kumar, Project Coordinator, Transforming Childhood and Youth Years

He joined Ashoka in November, 2014 for the project, Transforming Childhood and Youth Years in South Asia as Project Coordinator. Previously, he has worked with Ashoka Innovators as Admin Manager. He has worked in an administrtive capacity in both development and corporate sector.

Nagendra Chandrashekar, Accounts Manager

Nagendra Chandrashekar, Accounts Manager

Nagendra joined Ashoka in October 2010 and is the Finance and Accounts Manager. He has over 24 years of progressive and significant experience in Accounts management and office administration.  

His key skills include preparation of final accounts, income and expenditure statements, receipts and payments statement, balance sheet, funding and project proposals. Previously, he has handled statutory and internal auditing and income tax and sales tax assessments. He has also handled matters relating to statutory compliances like income tax, exemptions proposals, FEMA, RBI, VAT, PF, PT, central excise and customs independently. He also has experience in creating working capital proposals and liaising with banks as required.

Nikitha Varsha, Assistant Accounts Manager

Nikitha Varsha, Assistant Accounts Manager

Nikitha Varsha joined Ashoka as Assistant Manager for Finance & Accounts. She comes with 12 years of experience in the field. Prior  to joining Ashoka, Nikitha was specialized in the preparation of receipts & payment, income & expenditure accounts, profit & loss account, cash flow statement & balance sheet, payroll, budget & MIS reports, coordinating with the auditors for the finalization of accounts and also interacting with statutory work like ESIC, PF, PT, TDS and Service Tax. She is well-versed in accounting softwares like Tally ERP 9 & Netsuite.

 

Ganesh,office assistant

Ganesh S P, Administrative Assistant

Ganesh joined Ashoka in June 2010 and works as the Administrative Assistant. Before Ashoka, he was the security superviser and receptionist at a software company—Avio Electronics Info Systems.

 

 



More on Ashoka Indi
a