Dr. Neelam Maheshwari

Ashoka Staff
Dr. Neelam Maheshwari
Director, Livelihoods for All, South Asia

Dr. Neelam Maheshwari, in past twenty years, have championed the cause of catalyzing philanthropy to scale social enterprises and building gender and socially inclusive programs.

Before Joining to Ashoka, Neelam has headed Philanthropic initiatives of Deshpande Foundation India and contributed to building a social impact Ecosystem in various parts of India.


Building on her academic background Neelam has worked on creating poor and gender-inclusive programs at the foundation. She has worked with over 100+ enterprises including for profits and not for profits working on various sectors including Livelihoods, Health, Microfinance & Education sectors. Neelam has Launched and scaled one of the first Microentrepreneurs accelerator programs called Navodyami specially focusing on women enterprise owners. Neelam has also chaired the Development Dialogue, an annual conference hosted by DF at Hubli, Karnataka for over eight years.


Neelam is passionate about leveraging global ecosystems to leverage entrepreneurship to bring gender equity and livelihoods for all.


Neelam has a Ph.D. in Gender Studies from SUNY Buffalo (USA) and a Masters in International Development from Brandeis University (USA). Neelam is a recipient of the prestigious British Chevening Gurukul Fellowship (2020-21).