A Robert McNamara Fellow of the World Bank, Manoj shifted career from banking to social sector with a pit stop in micro-finance, before taking over leadership at Naandi.
As the founding CEO of Naandi Foundation, Manoj disrupted the NGO space in India by being the first to implement large scale government programs with efficiency and measurable outcomes. This included feeding 1.3 million school children midday meals, assuring learning outcomes in 2100 government schools, providing skills and jobs for over 100,000 unemployed youth and looking after education of 300,000 girls across India. Naandi has also spun of a social impact venture for the provision of safe drinking water across India under the brand name iPure which is a joint venture with the French Group Danone. Under his leadership, in the last 20 years, Naandi has impacted 6 million lives.
Manoj is the co-founder of ARAKU Coffee, a premium coffee brand which has won global acclaim and retailed currently in France and India. This venture has enabled over 100,000 tribal lives to come out of poverty and created a bio-diversity reserve with nearly 25 million trees planted in the eponymous Araku region.
Manoj serves on the Boards of NICE Foundation, Ananta Centre, and Azao India apart from being the CSR Advisor for the Mahindra Group. A Laureate of the John P. McNulty Prize, Manoj was named by The Financial Times London as one of the 25 people to watch out for in India.
Manoj is a Fellow, Moderator and Member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Chief Policy Officer
A Masters of Social Work from Delhi University, Rohini Mukherjee has been active in a range of critical roles within Naandi Foundation over the last 14 years. Currently, she leads the Policy and Strategy Cell and in her role as Naandi’s Chief Policy Officer has overseen the successful completion of two large-scale surveys; The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Survey & the 2018 TAG (Teen Age Girls) Survey.
In her previous roles, she led a large RCT (randomized control trial) to test solutions to neonatal mortality – carried out in 460 villages of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, in partnership with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She was also at the helm of the World Bank-funded action research ‘Bachpan Project’ in backward blocks of Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, to establish most efficient ways of extending government services for child development to families living below the poverty line.
Before joining Naandi, Rohini worked in rural West Bengal for over 14 years, as a founding member of a grassroots community group. A state level swimmer, Rohini has base level training in classical music and mountaineering.
Chief Agriculture Advisor
David heads the Livelihoods division of Naandi Foundation as its Chief Agriculture Advisor. In the course of David’s 50 years in India he has been appointed to the Indian Coffee Board Advisory Council for the Palni Region from 2003, Co-Director of the BASIL Academy, Mysore and has been a past consultant to SRTT, IFAD and FAO. His special interest has been to apply organic principles to the various fields of agriculture and develop organic protocols for sustainable coffee production in the Palnis to ensure product quality.
In David’s role at Naandi he oversees sustainable livelihoods for small and marginal farmers and gives expert input in supply chain management and the importance of shared value to ensure agriculture is profitable.
Director, Mahindra Pride Schools & Chief Youth Employment Officer
An Engineering degree, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Calcutta and 16 years of work in the corporate sector in the sales and marketing space did not come in the way of Raj Iyer’s pet peeve – to help poor youth catch fish. It started with anchoring the Livelihood Advancement Business School – LABS of Dr Reddy’s Foundation and continued with his stewardship of the Mahindra Pride Schools (MPS) at Naandi.
Iyer currently heads the Mahindra Pride Schools & Classrooms initiative at Naandi. Thirteen years into the program, the Mahindra Pride Schools have 9 chapters across the country – Pune, Chennai, Patna, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Jammu. Over 38,000 socially and economically disadvantaged young men and women who underwent free training for 3 months have been placed in top notch organisations across the country.
Raj also dons the hat of Chief Youth Employment Officer, and heads the Learning & Development cell at Naandi.
Senior Management Team
With a solid work experience spanning over 7 years in the areas of IT & business in the US, Anupama Sreeramaneni joined Naandi’s Livelihoods division as a Volunteer in 2009. Combining her diverse work experience with a degree in Engineering & Management, she was able to effectively rise to the role of a core member in Naandi’s Senior Management team.
Anupama heads the Production, Ops, Certifications and Audits for Naandi’s coffee project, and was part of the core team which led Araku Coffee’s successful retail launch in Paris & India. Having spent around 10 years in Naandi, Anupama, fondly referred to as Anu by her colleagues, has been instrumental in exploring popular B2B markets across South Asia & Europe for Araku Coffee. Anu also heads the Ops team for the agroforestry venture under Naandi Livelihoods.
The care-taker of 40,000 farmer families that work with Naandi in the Araku region, Anu is a multi-tasker par excellence. In her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton, travelling, and socialising.
Senior Management Team
An innate problem-solver, Vikash leads the Wardha Family Farming Project at Naandi. He believes that soil fertility, the environment, farmers and consumers should be in a symbiotic relationship, which can lead to an agricultural model that is profitable, scalable, convenient and health-centric. He is part of the core team that developed the Urban Farms Co model.
Prior to Naandi, Vikash spent 15 years managing operations, sales and marketing in organizations like Volvo, Akamai and IBM. After thriving in the automobile and IT services industries, Vikash was immersed in security solutions to thwart modern-day technology hackers. He is an engineer from NIT Trichy and enjoys playing his guitar and cross country motorcycling.
Chief Financial Officer
Raheel joined Naandi as the Executive Assistant to the CEO in 2016. As a part of this, he spent 2 years travelling across the country to listen to the communities that Naandi works with. In 2018, he began heading Finance, Accounts and Quality Cell at Naandi. His work involves developing innovative funding and project implementation techniques to ensure maximising impact while minimising costs. In addition to being the Chief Finance Officer at Naandi, Raheel is the CFO for Naandi’s newest agriculture & food safety initiative, Urban Farms Co.
A chartered accountant by education, Raheel is responsible to ensure that we put our resources to the best use. Raheel had stints in audit and corporate finance with Deloitte and Cummins before joining Naandi. Having represented his home state of Maharashtra in football and badminton both, he is a sportsman at heart.