I am in many ways the product of my background and experiences, and yet also somehow beginning to transcend them. As I evolve, so does my work. So, while I have laid out some of the key elements of my professional background and qualifications below, I have a feeling the best is yet to come.
I began with a fairly traditional set of choices for a Zambian-born Sri Lankan girl who knew she did not want to do medicine or law, but had no idea what she did want to do. Initially I made conservative choices that built skills while keeping my options open. Over time I learned to follow my heart as well as my head, allowing myself to do more of what made me come alive, and thus allowing more and more of my true essence and purpose to emerge.
As a result, I have accumulated 25 years of experience across the public, private and nonprofit sectors (I am older than I look!), and have a proven ability to work strategically, build trust and consensus across diverse cultural and multidisciplinary groups, and unleash potential. Some of the highlights so far are as follows.
- 10 years of advising and coaching leaders of social change. Projects have included:
- Working as a deeply embedded team member with the Rapid Results Insitute to advance their results-based approach and build and scale local innovation and implementation capacity in the UK (working closely with Nesta and various local stakeholders from across the National Health Service and social care), culminating in a 200+ person system-wide transformation event
- Leading a team of volunteers and helping to launch Start Up Washington, a movement that seeks to expand and accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in Washington State, while connecting the disparate parts of the regions entrepreneurship ecosystem (e.g. social entrepreneurs, tech entrepreneurs, educators, accelerators, investors, funders...)
- Co-creating and co-hosting SOCENT Weekend, a start-up weekend for social entrepreneurs, with Hub Seattle and Fledge, a conscious company incubator
- Advising the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's nutrition team on a variety of private sector strategies and risks
- Advising and building capacity at the Association of Africa Business Schools as they developed and launched an agribusiness training program for professionals working in the sector
- Reviewing and advising on the open innovation strategy of Concern Worldwide's program to improve maternal, newborn and child health in Africa by engaging the local population
- 3+ years of teaching and mentoring, including as an Adjunct Faculty member of the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington where I taught classes on Inclusive Business Models and Harnessing Business and Markets to Address Global Health; and at Pinchot (now merged with Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco), where I taught elective classes and core classes, and co-designed the first year of their integrated Sustainable MBA curriculum.
- 5 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, where I explored new potential areas of giving; brought a value-chain approach and a systems perspective; drove strategy development and managed a diverse portfolio of grants on water & sanitation; and developed and led a strategic review of private sector engagement and market-based solutions being utilised across the Foundation's Global Health and Global Development programs to extract and synthesise the lessons learned.
- Co-founded a non-profit/social enterprise in the US focused on addressing the global nursing shortage and brain drain by harnessing the global movement and trade in nurses. Successes include generating consulting income to advance the work, and securing support and funding to host a symposium at Yale Law School in combination with Yale School of Nursing and ASTM International (a global standards organisation).
- 6 years of finance and investment banking in London, working with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (a US investment bank, which was purchased by CSFB), and Ernst & Young.
- Several years of volunteering in a variety of capacities ad countries, including providing strategic advice and advancing diversity in my role as a Director of the Sightline Institute, a sustainability think tank for the US Pacific Northwest; serving as Treasurer for the London Voluntary Sector Council; teaching in India; and volunteering for the National Trust in the UK (ongoing).
My qualifications include a MBA from Yale University with a concentration in strategy and leadership, a Postgraduate Diploma in International Development Studies from the University of London, and a BSc in Mathematics & Computer Science from the University of Durham. I am also a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA).
In addition to a variety of online and offline programs and courses I have taken, I completed the Lean Start-Up Instructors program several years ago. I am also a licensed True Purpose coach, a trained Voice Dialogue practitioner, and have studied a variety of coaching and group focalisation and facilitation methods.
Can you tell I love to learn!
One of the Most Important Things I Have Learned
True transformation begins within. This is similar to saying that the 'how' matters at least as much as the 'what', if not more. So much of the well intended work in the world loses sight of this, and as a result loses its aliveness and transformative power. This we can each change by first looking within.