Board of Directors, Patrons and Advisors

I believe that education is the biggest catalyst for the positive change that we seek in our society. Its a shame that nearly 50 years post independence, quality education is still a preserve of the privileged. Akanksha means a lot to me since its vision is to build a model of excellence for wholesome education for less privileged children.
- Amit Chandra
Board of Directors
Amit Chandra – Managing Director, Bain Capital Advisors                                
Amit Chandra is Managing Director of Bain Capital Advisors (India) since early 2008.  Bain Capital is one of the oldest and leading global private investment firms in the world.  He has previously spent over 13 years at DSP Merrill Lynch, a leading investment bank in India, from where he retired in 2007 as its Board Member & Managing Director. Amit started his professional career as an engineer at India’s leading engineering & construction firm, Larsen & Toubro. He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Genpact, Tata Investment Corporation, Piramal Enterprises and Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited. Amit serves as Member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and Remuneration and Nominations Committee at Tata Investment Corporation, the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee at Piramal Enterprises, the Remuneration and Nominations Committee at Emcure, and the Nominations Committee at Genpact.  Amit is very active in India’s not for profit space and serves as a Trustee/Board Member of The Akanksha Foundation (providing education to less privileged children) and GiveIndia (India’s leading philanthropic exchange). Forbes named him Next Generation Philanthropic Leader of the Year in 2013.  He received his MBA from Boston College and was awarded the school’s Distinguished Alumni in 2007. He received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from VJTI, Bombay University. The World Economic Forum named Amit as a Young Global Leader in 2007.
Anu Aga – Director and Ex-Chairperson, Thermax
Anu was chairperson of Thermax Limited. Anu is keenly involved in the causes of education, communal harmony and human rights. She is a Member of the Commonwealth Human Rights Commission. She is the first recipient of the Financial Express ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and ‘Management Woman Achiever of the Year’ in 2002.
Ashish Dhawan – Founder & CEO, Central Square Foundation & Co
Ashish is the Founder and CEO of Central Square Foundation. He is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who guides the Foundation with his strategic vision, values and fresh approach to philanthropy. Prior to founding Central Square, Ashish was Sr. Managing Director, ChrysCapital; a private equity firm that he co-founded in 1999. Ashish serves on the board of several non-profits including Akanksha Foundation, 3.2.1 Education Foundation, Teach For India, Centre for Civil Society, Janaagraha and GiveLife. He is also a member of the HBS India Advisory Board. Previously Ashish has worked with leading investment institutions such as Goldman Sachs, GP Investments and MDC Partners. He is an MBA with distinction from Harvard University and a dual bachelor’s (BS/BA) holder in applied mathematics and economics with Magna Cum Laude honours from Yale University.
Meher Pudumjee – Chairperson, Thermax Ltd.
Meher is the Chairperson of Thermax Ltd, a company focussed in the businesses of energy and the environment. She holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London.
Nandita Dugar – Ex-Consultant Boston Consulting Group
Nandita has been involved with Akanksha for over ten years. She was a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, prior to which she worked at Unilever in London. She has a Masters degree in Engineering, Economics and Management from Oxford University.
Neel Shahani – Director – Global Distribution, Barclays Capital
Neel is the Director of Global Distribution at Barclays Capital. Prior to that he was Head of Sales Trading at India Infoline Ltd., and CLSA India Ltd. He holds a degree in Accounting from Franklin & Marshall in the US.
Neerja Birla – Director – Aditya Birla Group Companies
Mrs. Birla serves as a Director on the Aditya Birla Group Companies. In addition, she is a Trustee of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development where she leads the Mumbai Marathon Team of the Group, which collects funds for charity. Mrs. Birla also serves as the chairperson of the Youth Wing of the Sangeet Kala Kendra (an Institute of Performing Arts). She is actively engaged in Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore and the Aditya Birla World Academy, an international school in Mumbai, as the Vice Chairperson. Mrs. Birla started and provides the strategic vision for the The Aditya Birla World Academy (ABWA). Neerja Birla has been honoured with the “Woman of Excellence Award” by FICCI-FLO; YFLO India – FICCI’s Ladies Wing (FICCI is the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).
Shaheen Mistri – Founder of Akanksha; CEO, Teach for India
Shaheen is the Founder of Akanksha and the CEO of Teach for India. Her primary focus currently is to shape the vision and guide the growth strategy for the organization at large, serving as a mentor for the National Team as well as networking with external supporters to build capacity for the charter school movement to grow in all targeted locations. She has a Masters in Education from Manchester University, UK, and is an Ashoka Fellow. She was invited as a Global Leader for Tomorrow to the World Economic Forum meet in New York in 2002.
Srila Chatterjee – COO and Executive Producer, Highlight Films
Srila is COO and Executive Producer of Highlight Films, Bombay, the first Production House for advertising films in India, and a Founding Partner of Blue Frog Media. She has been Festival Director for two years at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, heads the Highlight Trust and is involved in design and art projects. She is a Bachelor of Political Science from St Xaviers College, Calcutta and a Master of Management Studies from the Bajaj Institute of Management, Bombay.
Vandana Goyal – CEO, The Akanksha Foundation 
Vandana worked with the Boston-based nonprofit organization Citizen Schools, an organization dedicated to changing the life trajectories of underprivileged children in urban areas, for four years. She is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, with a degree in Economics, and as part of her undergraduate studies spent a year at the London School of Economics. At Akanksha, she served on the team to create a blueprint for Teach for India, later moving on to manage the Beyond School department serving all adolescent children of Akanksha. In 2007, she became the Director of The School Project, launched to create a network of high-achieving schools within the government system. She took over as CEO in January of 2010.
Patrons
Deepak Parekh – Chairman HDFC
Anand Mahindra – Vice Chairman and MD – Mahindra and Mahindra
Arjun Waney – Chief Executive Argent Fund (UK)
Anuj Malhotra – Independent Financial Consultant
Advisors
Amanda Faber, Chair, Kids In Need Of Education (KINOE)
Ganesh Natrajan, Deputy Chairman and MD, Zensar Technologies; Chairman, Nasscom 2008-09
Rati Forbes, Director, Forbes Marshall
Kumar Shah, CFO DSP Merrill Lynch
Anjali Raina, Executive Director – Harvard Business School, India Research Centre
Panel of Doctors
Dr. Bela .N. Doctor, (M.D, MRCP(UK), DCH), Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist Bhatia/ Kasturba/ Kothari Hospital
Dr. R Pankaj Parekh
Dr. Paresh C Desai