Our Team

Akanksha Team

Chief Executive Officer - Saurabh Taneja

Saurabh Taneja graduated from IIT Delhi, and intended to move towards a career in the corporate sector. However due to a small stint as a volunteer, Saurabh discovered his passion for making a difference.

In 2009, Saurabh became a fellow with Teach For India. During his fellowship, he taught in a municipal school in Mumbai where he found the disparity in the opportunities available for children coming from low-income communities and from wealthy neighbourhood was starkly prevalent. Saurabh was struck by the thought of opening his own school. It was then that an opportunity to start a secondary school opened up in Pune.Saurabh led the first Akanksha Secondary school in Pune in partnership with the Pune Municipal Corporation and The Thermax Foundation. During his time as the School Leader, he took three batches of students through the SSC exams with a 100% pass rate.

Saurabh is a humble and a deeply passionate leader with a vision to lead Akanksha into its next phase of growth.


Chief Financial Officer - Sivakami Kotla

Sivakami has done her graduation in Commerce (Accountancy & Economics) from Mumbai University and advance diploma in Business Administration from Welingkar’s Institute of Management, Mumbai. She comes with a rich experience of 13 yrs in the manufacturing and development sectors.  She has successfully completed the Dasra Social Leadership Impact program in 2016 and participated in Harvard Executive Education module on Leadership and corporate accountability. Sivakami’s core competence lies in  building strong systems, processes and team development. She brings in a lot of passion, experience and understanding of the development sector


Senior Director - Operations – Anandhi Yagnaraman

Anandhi has done her graduation from Chennai University and has a MA in Educational Leadership and Management from University of London. She joined Akanksha in the year 2000 as a computer teacher. She worked with the Art for Akanksha project, and then was a teacher until 2004. She then moved to the UK for a few years, and moved back to India, working as the Program Coordinator and Head of the School Program for Akshara in Bangalore. She rejoined Akanksha Pune in the year 2009 as General Manager Pune, and is currently in charge of operations for centers and schools in Mumbai and Pune.


Senior Director – Development and Communications – Chitra Pandit

Chitra leads the communication and development team at Akanksha. Her role involves planning and implementing both internal and external communication for all stakeholders. She manages events, media relations and all branding related activities. She also drives fund raising initiatives for all of Akanksha’s programs and she is responsible for strategy and implementation of donor focused communication. 

Chitra was recently selected to be a part of the cohort of the on-going Dasra Social Impact Leadership Program, a 7-month accelerator program targeted at potential growth stage nonprofits and social businesses.

She has a Masters in Business Administration and has over 15 years of experience in the field of marketing and sales. In her earlier assignment she served as the Deputy General Manager with marketing magazines with Infomedia18 and has worked extensively in the field of promotion, distribution and content development.


Executive Director, Art For Akanksha - Ruchika Gupta

An English Literature graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay , Ruchika went on to do her post grad from Symbiosis in Media and Communications. After working on children’s television content as part of Neena Gupta’s team, she decided that it really was children who she enjoyed working with and working for the most.Combining her love for art to this, she joined the Akanksha Foundation leading their art program. She’s managed PR for the organisation and also operations across Bombay in Pune. In 2010, Ruchika returned to leading the Art program and helped set it up as a non-profit and is now focused on the new direction Art for Akanksha is moving towards.

Art for Akanksha takes a strong art program to over 4500 children in Akanksha schools, supports alumni with career opportunities and markets high quality products which make the organisation self-sustainable.