2014 Chennai Economic Inclusion - Strategy Thought Partners

Story bubbles on world map
Origen: Ashoka

Akila Krishnakumar

Akila Krishnakumar is the former president and country head for SunGard in India. She had been with SunGard since 2005, following the acquisition of a leading US consulting firm, a business she helped to start in 1993. In 2007, she took over as the country head of SunGard, India. Akila played a central role in managing SunGard's global product delivery model, working with more than 60 SunGard business units across the globe. Under Akila's leadership, SunGard's India footprint grew by an unparalleled 40% year-on-year. She also helped expand the SunGard R&D foot print to China and Tunisia. Her role called for bringing globally dispersed development teams as close to the customer and market as possible. Through her career spanning 27 years, Akila has extensive experience in bringing to market enterprise software products for the verticals of banking, manufacturing and education. Akila's interests extend beyond business software. She is on the advisory board of an urban governance think-tank, and has been acknowledged by NASSCOM and Dataquest as one of the top women leaders in IT. She is also currently chairing the Regional NASSCOM Council.


Arne H. Theissen


Arne H. Theissen is project manager of the “Inclusive Business Action Network”, as well as the “Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs” at GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). Prior to his current position he has worked as country manager for the GIZ portfolio in Bolivia and as focal point for the cooperation with the private sector in South America. After having elaborated GIZ’s “Resource Governance” approach, he designed and supported projects in West Africa, Afghanistan and South America. He has gained private sector experience working for Siemens as well as Bearing Point and holds a diploma in Business Administration and a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies.


Ashok Jayaram


Ashok Jayaram is Chief Executive Officer of Coaching Foundation India Limited (CFI). He is responsible for all the day-to-day operations of the institution, as well as for setting long-term vision, strategy and goals, and for overseeing the planning and execution of activities leading to their fulfilment. Ashok's professional career, spanning over 39 years, has taken him through a variety of marketing and general management roles, the immediately preceding one being a 19-year stint as the Country Head and Managing Director, Rotork Controls India Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK based Rotork plc, the market leader, globally and in India, in valve actuation and controls.


Bindu Ananth


Bindu Ananth has been the President of IFMR Trust since January 2008. Prior to this, she worked in ICICI Bank’s microfinance team between 2001 and 2005 and was Head of the new product development team within the Rural Banking Group in 2007. Bindu Ananth has an under-graduate degree in Economics from Madras University and Masters Degrees from the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) and Harvard University’s John. F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a Fellow of the Global Economic Society and a Member of the Technical Committee of CGAP. She is also a member of the FICCI Taskforce on Financial Inclusion.



Cynthia Lang

Cynthia Lang is Director of Organizational Development and Brazilian Business Development for the Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX Global) based in San Francisco. Cindy, a seasoned fundraiser and connector, coordinates engagement activities and strategic conversations with colleagues in the Bay Area and all over the world. She has deep familiarity with Brazil, its business culture and language; a keen interest in promoting social enterprise work, especially those related to the 2014 World Cup Soccer and 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Cindy serves on the Humanities and Sciences Council at Stanford University, the Board of Sustainable Conservation, an environmental organization based in San Francisco, CA and is an Advisor to Embrace, a global enterprise that delivers low-cost solutions to improve health outcomes in developing countries. In addition, Cindy is a founding member and Brazilian Initiatives Leader of the Silicon Valley Chapter of Ashoka. Cindy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in French and English Literatures and her MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. She uses her skills to create socially and environmentally responsible infrastructures.


David Green

David Green is a MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and is recognized by Schwab Foundation as a leading social entrepreneur. He directed the establishment of Aurolab (India), to produce affordable intraocular lenses suture and pharmaceuticals. He also developed high-volume, quality eye care programs affordable to poor and self-sustaining from user fees, including Aravind Eye Hospital India - which performs 370,000 surgeries per year - 50 percent of the care is provided free of charge or below - cost, yet the hospital is profitable. Played a role in developing major eye care programs in China, India, Nepal, Egypt, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Guatemala. Developed the Eye Fund with Deutsche Bank for $15M. He co-founded Sound World Solutions, a social enterprise to make affordable hearing devices with a novel fitting and founded Brien Holden Vision Diagnostics, to design unique and affordable ways to detect eye disease, diabetes and neurological disorders.



Federico Seineldin

Federico Seineldin is co-founder of Njambre an innovation and co-creation space and first social business accelerator in Argentina. He is also part of the Sustainability Council at Globant, Director at MoveRSE and board member at Endeavor Foundation and Equidad Foundation. In recent years he has participated in the creation and/or empowerment of innovative companies as: Mamagrande, Dotspin, Ourmark, Iyara y Polisofía.  In 2001, Federico was distinguished as Endeavor Entrepreneur and as Avina Foundation´s Leader in 2003 due to his vision of change in Latin American business models and to his social leadership. His track record as an entrepreneur has also been recognized by leading organisations such as Inicia, La Capital newspaper, Junior Achievement and JCI, among others. Among his ventures Federico founded Openware, an IT company acquired by Globant in 2008.  At Globant he was in charge of the Premier League and the Sustainability Infostructuture Studio until 2012.



Harish Hande

Dr. Harish Hande is Managing Director of SELCO-India, which he co-founded with Neville Williams in 1995. Dr. Hande earned his Doctorate in energy engineering (solar specialty) at the University of Massachusetts (Lowell). He has an undergraduate degree in Energy Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. Dr. Hande serves on the boards of many organizations, both national and international. Under Harish’s founding leadership and vision, SELCO has managed to work for hundreds of thousands of underserved and forgotten Indians, make US$3M in annual turnover, deliver modern energy solutions, and withstand massive supply-side inflation without passing on the costs to its customers. Harish likes to stress that the best systems are built on big-picture forecasting, and probably the best illustration of this point is from the company’s experience of “cracking the cultural code,” and getting Indians to adopt certain behaviors or practices. Harish believes “one must think in the long-term, and have patience. There is no shortcut to creating good processes… Concentrate more on the processes and the numbers will come.”


Johannes van de Ven

Johannes is the managing director of Good Energies Foundation, whose mission is to prevent and mitigate future poverty in the Global South caused by climate change. It uses forestry, clean energy and innovation as its main leverage points. In forestry, the goals are to decrease deforestation and increase reforestation by supporting customized, local, market-based interventions to raise the value of sustainable production. In energy, the goal is to increase access to clean, more efficient energy sources for the poor by supporting the supply of clean energy technology to local markets. Good Energies Foundation works with a wide variety of philanthropic tools, ranging from grants, equity, loans, or any combination deemed most effective. Johannes holds a Ph.D. in moral theology and business ethics from University of Louvain (Belgium) and studied development economics at PUC-Rio (Brazil). He conducted doctoral research on corporate rules of engagement in areas of conflict in the Amazon basin. As an investment banker, Johannes worked closely with government officials and CEOs of leading multinationals in their efforts to tap international capital markets. As a development strategist, he advised multilateral organizations on corporate responsibility strategies and micro finance policies in Latin America.


Latif Nathani

Latif Nathani is the Managing Director of eBay India and is responsible for leading the eBay business in the country. Latif is an active evangelist of eCommerce’s transformational potential for both Indian online shoppers & entrepreneurs. Latif has 22 years of experience in building and leading high performing global businesses, engineering and marketing teams. He has had a 15 year career at Microsoft US in various roles, his key achievements include co-founding the Systems Management Server (SMS) and Speech Server businesses. He was also General Manager for Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Group in India (including equity investments in mobile payments). Most recently, Latif served as CEO of a product strategy consulting firm in San Francisco. Among his other roles, Latif was Senior Director, Global Consumer Product Marketing at Symantec Corp, and was a cofounder of eMemories.com.



Lawrence Chan

Based in Singapore, Mr. Chan leads the regional business strategy, sales, partnerships and merchant adoption of PayPal's newest payment innovations to transform commerce from mobile to digital goods to PayPal Here. He is also responsible for developing PayPal into an online and mobile payments leader, as well as expanding the company's geographic reach, in the exciting, fast-growing domestic and cross-border trade markets of Southeast Asia and India.Mr. Chan brings over 17 years of financial services industry experience to PayPal, having worked for global MNCs including American Express International, American International Assurance, Bank of America, and Visa International. Prior to joining PayPal, he spent 10 years at American Express International in various regional and international leadership roles, most recently, as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Payment Option (Asia, Europe & Africa). Mr. Chan has extensive experience in developing new business models and payment products, forming strategic partnerships with banks and payment networks, and engaging with regulators and merchants in the largest commerce markets in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, China, India and Japan.


Luis Miranda

Luis Miranda is a Senior Advisor with the Global Environment Fund. Based in Mumbai, Mr. Miranda contributes to GEF’s private equity program in India and South Asia. Previously, he served 11 years in sales and trading. Mr. Miranda is the founder of the private equity group of Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IDFC), one of India’s leading integrated infrastructure finance companies. He served as the president and CEO of IDFC private equity from 2002 until 2010, and as chairman until 2011. He has an extensive experience in dealing with early stage companies and private equity investing. Prior to IDFC, Mr. Miranda held a variety of roles in finance and trading for ChrysCapital, HDFC Bank (India’s leading private sector bank, where he was a part of the founding team), HSBC, Citibank, KPMG and Price Waterhouse. Mr. Miranda has an MBA from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, where he currently co-chairs the Global Advisory Board, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).



Madan Padaki

Madan Padaki co-founded MeritTrac in 2000, and turned it into one of India’s most successful training and assessment companies. After Manipal Education bought a 70 % stake in MeritTrac, he continued to manage the company but relinquished his role in April 2013. Now he has decided that he wants to change the face of rural entrepreneurial ecosystem through Head Held High, a social enterprise focused on villages. He first started as a mentor and investor, but then decided to become on a full-time role because he saw the tremendous potential the startup had. He’s proud of the company’s progress so far. The first of which was to take a bunch of uneducated youth, put them through a rigorous 12- month training, through their subsidiary Village BPO Pvt. Ltd and turning them into white-collar BPO employees servicing MNCs. His goal for HHH is to make a hub for all village entrepreneurs, create employment opportunities for rural youth and boost trade in villages.



Narayan Rajan

Narayan Rajan was only 20 years old when he co-founded i-Vista Digital Solutions Pvt. Ltd in 1996. The seed money to start the company came from the funds generated through a series of seminars on “Internet and its Uses for Businesses” he conducted out of college. During his 16-year stint as the CEO and Founder of i-Vista, Narayan has been the driving force behind the company’s growth. In 2005, Narayan started Nautilus Shipping a company focused around Crew and Technical management for the Marine Industry. Narayan has also co-founded Right Skill HCS to improve employability in the construction and infrastructure area. Narayan also plays an active role on the board of Entrepreneurs Organization Bangalore and CII Karnataka. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Electronics from St Joseph’s Arts and Science College, Bangalore, with Honors in Human Resources and Honors in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Narayan lives in Bangalore with his wife Surbhi and two children Manya and Kimaya.



Rajasekar Ramaraj

Rajasekar Ramaraj is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in ventures in IT, cellular and Internet. His last venture was Sify, where he was the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sify was the first Indian Internet Company from India to list on NASDAQ National Market in the US (NASDAQ –SIFY).He was recognized as the ‘Evangelist of the Year’ at the India Internet World Convention in September 2000 and was also voted the IT Person of the year 2000 and in 2001, in a CNET.com poll in India. In 2010, The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recognized him with a Life Time Achievement Award for nurturing the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and inspiring and mentoring numerous entrepreneurs.Until recently he was the Senior Advisor at Sequoia Capital. He is also associated with a couple of Impact funds. Acumen and Elevarequity. He is a Member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.He is on the board of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) a Not for Profit organization. OGQ is committed to bridging the gap between the best athletes in India and the best athletes in the world thus helping Indian athletes to win Olympic Gold medals. He is the Co-Founder and Director of Coaching Foundation of India, an organization that trains and certifies CEO Coaches.


Ram Mohan

Ram Mohan is Founder/Director of Alter-Ego Management Consulting P Limited since 2008 which is providing result focused and impactful consulting services to a variety of clients in the manufacturing and IT/BPO Sectors where he completed more than twenty assignments till date for several clients. He can count on over 30 years of experience in IT/ITeS, Consulting, Manufacturing and in top management and profit center positions where he gathered direct and hands-on experience including acquisition, turnaround, new projects, substantial improvement in profit performance in all situations. Before his professional carrer he enjoyed first class academic engagements: taught strategy at IFMR, writing a series of articles in Business Line newspaper, engaged in course development of an innovative new programme ‘Management in Action: merging practice with theory’. Ram has a mature, international outlook, effective combination of the big picture with details orientation, International exposure, professional working habits, focused, high degree of delegation, highly impactful engagements.


Ronnie Screwvala

Ronnie Screwvala started his journey by launching India's first cable network in 1981. In the 90s, he founded UTV, today one of India's largest media and entertainment conglomerates spanning motion pictures, broadcasting, television, games and digital. In 2005, Ronnie took UTV public for a market cap of $55 million, and seven years later the Walt Disney Company bought UTV at an enterprise value of $1.4 billion. In 2008, Newsweek's cover story called Screwvala India's Jack Warner, Esquire named him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century and in 2009, Time magazine listed him as one of the most influential people in the world. Ronnie's hands-on experience in building strong consumer brands and scalable businesses drives his interest in championing entrepreneurship in India. His investment arm Unilazer Ventures, seeks to champion entrepreneurs of early and advanced-stage businesses who show strong potential. 



Shri Sridhar

Shri Sridhar served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Central Bank of India since March 2009. He has about 35 years of professional experience in commercial and development banking. Since 2006, he has been the Chairman and Managing Director of National Housing Bank (NHB), India. He transformed NHB into a market-oriented, innovative, national and international institution. He led NHB into housing and microfinance, both in rural and urban areas. Before NHB, he was Executive Director and Chief Operating Office of Exim Bank of India for about 5 years and worked in other capacities for about 6 years. He worked in State Bank of India for about 12 years. He has served in various national level committees and task forces involved in framing financial sector policies including technology exports, overseas investments, SME development, among others.  



Sameer Mehta

Sameer Mehta is the Director of Atlas Venturez (family offices) and Director of Dr Mehta’s Hospitals (leading 75+ year old healthcare provider and educator in South India). Sam is the founder of Mehta Children’s Hospitals, Atlas Advisory (enterprise accelerator), Everonn Medical Education (Health Education JV), India Home Health Care and participates on various national healthcare and education committees. Mr Mehta brings over 2 decades of enterprise leadership, multi-national operating, project management, governance, strategic consulting, investment management and entrepreneurial experience within leading organizations like McKinsey & Company, Shell and Fortune 10 and Family Business companies across multiple sectors (healthcare, education, energy, chemicals, technology and retail) across Asia, Europe, Latin and North America. He was a former venture advisor with TVS Capital and election observer with the OSCE/UN.



Sonny Sannon

Sonny Sannon personifies the entrepreneurial executive. His career has been devoted to developing card and electronic payments in emerging markets, and he has built businesses from the ground up for both MasterCard and American Express in multiple geographies. He is now a well-known and highly regarded veteran of the payments industry in Asia, Middle East and Africa. His career in payments commenced in 1978 with American Express, where he set up their Card Division in India, and rose to head their Travel Related Services business. In 1987, he moved to MasterCard to establish the organization in the Indian Subcontinent. Because of his pioneering efforts, MasterCard became the first internationally branded bankcard program in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sonny was transferred to Singapore in 1999 to take on the role of General Manager, South East Asia in addition to his responsibilities for the Indian Subcontinent. In 2002, he relocated to Dubai as Regional President for MasterCard’s newly established South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA) region. Under his stewardship, SAMEA recorded unprecedented gains with triple digit growth rates year after year. In December 2008, he left MasterCard to return to India to become an entrepreneur in the burgeoning payments space. In 2010, he became CEO of Transnet India, a company founded in 1995 to facilitate the development of the card industry.


Thulasiraj Ravilla

Thulasiraj Ravilla has been part of the founding leadership team that built Aravind Eye Care System since 1981. He was instrumental in establishing the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology which he continues to lead. Previously, he served as the Regional Chair - Southeast Asia of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. In 2003, he founded VISION 2020: The Right to Sight - India, a consortium of voluntary eyecare institutions and headed it as its Founder President until 2008. Thulasiraj was named as a Social Entrepreneur in 2005 by the Schwab Foundation (World Economic Forum) and is a frequent invitee to the World Economic Forum.  He has served as a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization and technical advisor to several epidemiologic studies. He along with his team at LAICO has worked with about 300 eye hospitals in India and other countries, leading them through a strategic planning process and mentoring them in the implementation, resulting in more than doubling of their outputs in about 2 years’ time. Today, Thulasiraj serves on several Boards - Acumen, Seva Foundation and a number of other academic (IIM-C and IIHMR-Bangalore) and non-profit organizations.