Leading the movement!

When it comes to the pursuit of gender equality and girls’ empowerment, we understand the magnitude of the challenges we face.
That’s why we are immensely grateful to have an exceptional team of visionary and dedicated members guiding our organisation.
They embody innovation, passion, and unwavering commitment to driving positive change.

Board Members (India)

Board Members (USA)

Bela Grover

"Greater participation of young girls from underserved communities paves the way for building a progressive, equitable economy. Milaan Foundation's Girl Icon initiative offers young girls the support and safe spaces they need, values that resonate deeply with the design and spirit of the SHEROES platform. "

Sairee Chahal is the Founder and CEO of SHEROES – the world’s largest online ecosystem for women. The SHEROES Network is home to the SHEROES app; Babygogo, a platform to support young mothers; Maya, a global reproductive health platform and remote work product MARS. The network has a global footprint of 16 million women. Sairee is armed with an M. Phil from JNU and a PGDBM from IMT Ghaziabad. She is a Fellow of the Ananta Aspen’s Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is also on the Board of Directors of Paytm Payments Bank. She is a recipient of the Devi Award, Femina Achievers Award, Editor’s Choice for LOreal, Femina Women Award and Business Today, Most Powerful Women in Indian Business, and a Cartier Award Alumni. In 2018, SHEROES had been awarded in the ‘Social and Economic Empowerment’ category at the IAMAI Digital Awards.

“Women are born empowered - we need a community of people who believe this and are willing to put the required resources and positive reinforcement behind it. Milaan’s Girl Icon Program reinforces this philosophy to help adolescent girls thrive and get to their true potential and be an example for other girls!”

Tanya Singhal is the Founder and Director of SolarArise, which is an Independent Power Producer that owns and operates 7 grid-connected solar projects in India at 450 MWp. She is an entrepreneur and industry leader in the renewable energy sector with over 15+ years of sector experience. In 2010, after spending 4 years in strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group and working across sectors, she decided something needed to be done to make clean solar energy an affordable reality in India. She then started her entrepreneurial journey and SolarArise was born. Tanya has raised over INR 450 crores of equity capital from global marquee investors along with INR 1500 crores of project debt capital. She has built and led teams to develop, execute and operate solar projects across India. She is an active member of the industry body advising the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on short-term and long-term policies. Tanya was awarded the Woman of the Year in Solar, India in 2019, Asia’s Most Influential Women in Renewable Energy in 2020, India’s Most Powerful & Influential Solar Industry Business Leaders in 2021, and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022. Her goal is to move India to a low-carbon development path and looks forward to the day when each light in every home is powered by clean energy from her solar plants. Tanya holds a Bachelor’s in Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

"With education and opportunities, girls have time and again proven that they smoothly slip into leadership positions. Milaan's facilitating role is praiseworthy."

Shubha Bahl works closely with Milaan Foundation as a board member and brings with her a commendable experience of many years. An Undergraduate in Economics and a Master’s in Business Economics from Delhi University. After a short stint at a lectureship at Delhi University, she started a business in 1985 in the export of handicrafts. In 2002, she took voluntary retirement from the business and started spending most of her time on social projects. Besides teaching children from low-income backgrounds, she started a social initiative by publishing a Hindi magazine for young children. Shubha is currently working at the Community Library Project as a trustee after volunteering in the library for three years.

"As the proud father of twin daughters, the vision and mission of Milaan resonate deeply with Harish. “The passion and imagination with which the team at Milaan goes about its work and the impact made have been truly inspiring. This is only the beginning, and I am certain that Milaan, with the support of donors and well-wishers, will transform the lives of millions of girls in India and help unleash the potential of our country."

Harish Doraiswamy is a former corporate sector professional with over 30 years of experience across multiple industries and functions. Harish has been associated with the Education Sector for more than a decade. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM Calcutta. His last assignment was as Vice-President at Pearson India, where he had been responsible for a few verticals across South Asia. He has led several pioneering initiatives in his corporate career and would now like to do the same in the social sector.

"Milaan is playing a crucial role in addressing gender equality and empowerment for adolescent girls in India. They are helping girls to lead, not only on the field but also in all aspects of life".

The Executive Director of Milaan, Rati Misra has over two decades of experience and has been an evangelist for the rights of persons with disabilities and gender-based issues. She has had successful forays in fundraising, advocacy, communications with the organisations she has been associated with, such as the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, and Special Olympics Bharat. She actively advocates for women’s leadership, gender, and disabilities to drive gender equality in the lives of women and girls in underserved communities. She has also participated as a speaker at international forums such as the United Commission in Geneva.

“Educating, enabling and empowering youth in rural India is broadly what Milaan envisions. As a board member, I strongly feel we are weaving a million dreams and translating them into reality slowly but surely.”

Bindu Singh brings 30 years of experience in the education sector to the Milaan Foundation Board. Having worked as the Project Lead of SLRC Milaan, she has been an invaluable asset in the creation and nurturing of Swarachna School. In addition to her work with Milaan, she is also the Principal of the prestigious Navayuga Radiance School in Lucknow and a member of the CBSE Subject Expert Panel for class XII.

"Educating and empowering girls is going to be the single biggest factor in determining India's growth story over the next two decades. Milaan plans to be the spearhead in the process of empowering adolescent girls to play a larger role in society."

The co-founder of the organisation, Sharadindu serves as its General Secretary. His commitment to quality sets the benchmark for the organisation, driving its culture and work ethic. He is a voracious reader and strongly believes that given the right instructions, anyone can achieve greatness, irrespective of their background, which drove him to pursue this line of work.

"It bothers me to see how we are contained in boxes made of social walls and then labelled, which challenges the very concept of exploring one’s identity and the chance to explore one’s full potential. I co-relate empowerment to freedom and thus am passionate about working towards building a free and equal world."

Dhirendra Pratap Singh is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Milaan. Under his leadership, Milaan launched the Girl Icon Program to inspire, nurture and amplify the voices of girl leaders as empowered agents of change in their communities and the world. He actively advocates for equal rights for girls both nationally and globally. With a Master’s degree in Development Studies and BSc (Honors) in Mathematics, he has also been a recipient of the Karamveer Puruskar (2009) and Youth Ambassador for Peace Award by the Universal Peace Federation (2007). In 2017, Dhirendra was a part of the Indian delegation to the South Asian Youth Summit in Afghanistan. He is also a graduate of the Artira – Leadership Accelerator Program by Phicus Social Solutions at IIM Bangalore and was a Gratitude Network Fellow in 2020 cohort. In the past, Dhirendra has worked with many international and national development organisations like Vidya Grants India, United Way of Delhi, ASER, etc. He is a board member of Community – The Youth Collective. He was also the CEO and co-founder of Azadi, a US-based impact venture committed to making menstruation a non-issue in India.

“Everyone can play a role in improving gender equality issues that exist globally. Don’t look the other way. Be part of the change.”

Amy Fahey spent 29 years in banking at JPMorgan Chase, holding myriad leadership positions in Risk Management, Banking, Finance, Operations, and Technology. While in those positions, Fahey was also a member of the Regional Executive Committee and the Foundation. Since leaving JPMorgan, Fahey has worked as a consultant for several non-profit organisations, including Opportunity International. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Milaan Foundation and IC Catholic Prep and is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for Northern Illinois University.

"I have had the fortune to spend endless nights with incredibly strong girls dealing with societal issues ranging from childhood marriage to rape to a lack of basic life opportunities. The work that Milaan is doing truly invigorates the often dormant powers that reside in each of these young girls to drive change and stand up for their rights.”

Shweta Gandhi is the Associate Director of Personalized Learning and Innovation for a national US-based Charter School Network managing over 20 schools and 10,000 kids across the country. She is the founder of Karmany, a platform aimed at driving human capital and collaboration in the social enterprise sector and a board member of Milaan Foundation since its inception. With an educational background in Finance & Accounting and one folded startup under her belt, she also has over 7 years of corporate experience managing teams of 100+ at a US-based Fortune 10 Company, AT&T. In 2008, she also co-founded an educational NGO, Vidya Grants, based out of New Delhi, India, supporting assessment-based scholarships for children at the high school level, hoping to drive vital change in the educational ecosystem.

“One of the best ways to give back and sustain our communities for lasting success is to invest in educating and empowering our youth. Milaan Foundation is the ideal driving force for social change and opportunity, delivering real impact and potential for so many young ladies in underserved communities.”

Sonia Rai brings more than 18 years of strategic executive experience with her strong dedication to worldwide social impact programs to the Milaan Foundation Board. Currently serving as CFO and Head of HR for QASource, Bebo Technologies and BTES, and the Bebo Education Foundation, Sonia co-founded the Gift of Shiksha (giftofshiksha.com) ten years ago to fund private education, books, uniforms and transportation to help eliminate generational poverty. Through her philanthropic leadership, Sonia has also guided numerous other impactful initiatives such as the Cold Buster Challenge to help those in need in the winter months, funding wells in Nigeria to provide clean water in communities, and numerous emergency reliefs and community outreach with educational support programs worldwide.

"Over the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to work on the ground to understand and appreciate the challenges and the massive opportunity that empowering adolescent girls can have on the global ecosystem. I truly believe in the organisation’s vision and mission, and Milaan’s team's ability to execute".

Ameet Mehta is the CEO at Armentum, a product innovation studio that builds digital experiences, generating revenue for clients such as Viacom and The Scripps Institute. Before starting Armentum, Ameet co-founded Azadi with Dhirendra, an impact venture with a mission to make menstruation a non-issue in rural India. Through his work at Azadi and board role at Milaan Foundation, Ameet has developed a deep sense of the development sector in India and lends that experience to grow the organisation.

“In today’s context, as inequalities become wider, what Milaan does is even more important. Ensuring that girls can follow their dreams, take decisions, and lead will not only define their future but also that of the country.”

Sonali Khan leads Sesame Workshop’s educational mission in India to create innovative and engaging content that maximises the educational power of all media to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. As Managing Director of Sesame Workshop – India, Sonali spearheads the organisation that combines the power of mass media with educational outreach to prepare children for school and life. Under her leadership, the organisation develops and implements ground-breaking programs to reach children everywhere – especially those who need it the most. Sonali is a global advocate for human rights and ending violence against marginalised communities, with an emphasis on girls and women. Her work has focused on promoting gender equity in education, empowering adolescent girls, and ending domestic violence, sexual harassment and early marriage. She began her career as a television journalist covering politics and business and has since worked for myriad organisations that harness the power of media for social change. Before Sesame Workshop – India, she was the Director of Knowledge Creation and Dissemination at Dasra, a leading strategic philanthropy foundation where her work covered areas including urban sanitation, adolescent girls’ rights, democracy and access to justice. Previously, she had also served as the Vice President and then India Country Director for Breakthrough, where she spearheaded large-scale program implementation, numerous multi-platform campaigns promoting gender equity, developed M&E practices and supported global fundraising and partnership development. She also sits on the board of Plan International. Sonali is a proud recipient of the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar (Women’s Empowerment Award) from the President of India. In 2016, she also received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship for her work in ending child marriage.

“Investing in the future of young girls is investing in the future of our country. It gives me immense satisfaction and pride to contribute to Milaan's vision of an inclusive and equal world where every girl can explore her true potential.”

With over 15 years of experience in public relations, corporate brand communications and media planning, Neha started WordsWork in 2009. Within a short span, she has spearheaded successful communications campaigns for brands ranging from lifestyle, corporate, and public diplomacy to sports. She leads strategy and content for all WordsWork clients and enjoys getting into the thick of client servicing and delivery beyond expectations. She has considerable expertise in corporate, consumer and sports PR. Her strength lies in enabling collaborations, which impact the business. This includes cross-leveraging clients and beyond, which is the basis for her business network. Before setting up an independent consultancy, she had been the Communications Director for several corporate initiatives of the Spice Energy Group companies. This role included complete management of communications and media tie-ups of Narain Karthikeyan, leading race driver and A1Team India, representing the country at A1GP–the World Cup of Motor Sport. Her PR experience began with Genesis Burson Marstellar in India, followed by a stint with Burson Marstellar in London.

“I find Milaan’s approach of driving fundamental social change through the Girl Icon Program innovative with the potential of a lasting impact, and am therefore excited to contribute to the organisation’s scaling up.”

Shantanu, based in Gurgaon, is the CEO of Social Finance India (SFI), a catalytic impact investment intermediary for designing funding and programs for improved social outcomes at scale in India. Before this, Shantanu spent three decades in corporations like Genpact, GE, Unilever and PwC in global business and functional leadership roles. Shantanu decided to move from the corporate sector to the social sector in early 2019 and mentored multiple organisations focused on education, gender equality, and rural entrepreneurship before taking on the role at SFI.

Poonam Barman hails from a small village in Madhya Pradesh. This 20-year-old has been working as an advocate for girls’ rights for five years. She is a graduate of Milaan’s Girl Icon Program, which focuses on strengthening grassroots girl leadership. From an early age, Poonam had been subjected to regressive socio-cultural norms like most girls in her village. Passionate for leading change, she became the voice for the girls in her community. Poonam actively works on issues such as child marriage, girls’ education and menstruation to instigate collective action by working with multiple stakeholders in her community. Her relentless determination has led to a complete end of child marriages in her community and increased enrollment of girls in secondary education. Poonam has continued to amplify her voice on youth forums; in 2021, she led the panel discussion for ‘Bridging Gender Digital Divide’ with women leaders from DELL Technologies and Ernst & Young. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Sciences and wishes to move to the big city of Jabalpur to complete her higher education. Additionally, she is also an active member of Milaan’s Alumni Network. Poonam envisions a world for girls where they enjoy complete freedom in the choices that govern their lives.

23-year-old Rajkumari has been with Milaan for the last six years. She is one of the leading alumnae of the Girl Icon Program, who during her leadership journey, confronted the evils of society and contributed towards bringing a positive change in the deeply embedded convictions in her community regarding gender norms. Inspired by the surge to challenge the regressive norms that she experienced, she has worked consistently around the issues of education and dowry. She persuaded and inspired numerous girls in her community to realise the power of education and stay in school. With her work on issues related to dowry, she brought about a complete change in caregivers’ perceptions, inspiring them to do away with the dowry tradition. She continues to strive toward amplifying and advocating for girls’ voices so that they are “not only seen but heard”. Rajkumari envisions a world for girls where they are provided with the opportunity to discover themselves to their full potential. Rajkumari has actively participated in youth forums with Dasra, Pravah, and Medha. She is the first girl in her family to complete graduation and currently works as part of the management team in Milaan’s girls’ hostel in Swarachna School in Sitapur, UP.

Hailing from a remote tribal village in the forested lands of Madhya Pradesh, Varsha is a 23-year-old Girl Icon Program graduate. What started with a tiny commitment to learning something new took six years of her life when she strategically undertook social action in the fields of girl education and menstruation, supported by her peers and teachers. She confronted the hurdles in her journey and successfully challenged and changed not only community discourse but also her perspective on these social issues. She continues to strive towards instigating change in her community, picking up regressive socio-cultural issues that restrict the possibilities and potential of girls. Varsha is currently pursuing her graduation in Computer Sciences and after cracking the Madhya Pradesh Police Force written examination, is preparing for the physical examination. She envisions a world where girls are considered architects of resilience, capable of being agents of change.

20-year-old Vaishali of Karnataka is a graduate of Milaan’s Girl Icon Program. Beginning her journey in 2017,  she undertook interventions to promote girl education and halt the unabated cycle of child marriage in her community. From the beginning, Vaishali realised the need to challenge the social norms and customs that restricted girls from achieving their full potential. She has worked diligently to fight these constructs and has managed to inspire girls in her community. She now owns a new image in her community, being recognised as a change-maker. Following a win-win attitude, She wishes to continue her endeavour and impart her learnings to the next generation of girl leaders as an advisory member at Milaan. She readily expresses her opinions on platforms such as Shadhika Summit. Currently, Vaishali is completing her first year of graduation in Science and is closely associated with the organisation’s Alumni Network. Vaishali envisions a world where every girl receives an education and where girls realise that they carry immense power and potential to confront any issue that concerns them.

20-year-old Damini is suffused with a vision to drive change, a trait that drew her towards Milaan’s Girl Icon Program. Hailing from a small village in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, Damini started her journey with Milaan in 2018. She has effectively mobilised and channelised not only individuals but also social institutions, customs, and communities towards stigma centred around menstruation and girl education. Her vivid determination has brought a complete change in perspective toward girls and has broken the culture of silence around girls’ rights in her community. In her confrontation against the menace of early marriage, Damini stopped four child marriages during the pandemic. Such is the diligence and determination she holds in fighting the regressive social-cultural norms and continues to do so. She has represented the voice of girls from orth India at Niti Aayog Consultation in collaboration with Girls Not Brides on the age of marriage. She has also participated in forums with Quest Alliance and the Girl Icon Leadership Summit. She is currently pursuing  Bachelor’s in Education and is also associated with Milaan’s Alumni Network. Damini envisions a world of girls, where the participation-empowerment approach is utilised when dealing with matters affecting them rather than a sympathy-relief approach.