CORO has evolved to become a grassroots-owned organisation: led, shaped and managed by women and men who live and work in the communities they serve.
Biju is one of the founder members of CORO. She’s been on a long journey – from life as an ordinary housewife to Vice President of CORO and President of Mahila Mandal Federation, the women’s group initiated by CORO. Since 1995 she has worked to strengthen the MMF and is using her 25 years of experience and leadership expertise towards its organisational development. In 2013 she was one of the first recipients of a Quest Fellowship.
Shivi is the Development Coordinator for the Leaders’ Quest Foundation and works in partnership with CORO to co-create and deliver the Quest Fellowship Programme. She joined LQ's Mumbai office as Development Coordinator in 2013, having previously worked in the NGO and business sectors. Prior to this, she was with Atma, a capacity-building organisation that works to address the issue of quality education for Mumbai’s underprivileged children and young adults through a consultancy model. Before moving into the development sector, she worked as a consultant with Protiviti, a global audit firm.
Shivi is passionate about social change and is excited about developing the Leaders’ Quest Foundation’s fundraising base and expanding the Quest Fellowship Programme in India. She is a keen animal lover and enjoys reading, travelling and listening to music, although on weekends she is currently busy pursuing an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship.
Rahul grew up in a slum, and this gave him a deep understanding of his community. He has been associated with CORO for the past 22 years, and was the recipient of one of the first Quest Fellowships. During this period, he led a project on youth personality development and male sexuality, and is currently working on youth and employment-related issues in an urban context.
Despite his lack of early education, Rahul has graduated in Economics and is currently studying for his MBA in Social Entrepreneurship. Presently he is leading CORO’s one of the flagship programs of grassroots leadership development in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi, implemented in collaboration with Leaders Quest, UK.
Mumtaz joined CORO in 2000 as a community volunteer for CORO’s integrated development program. She soon became the assistant counselor in program aimed at combating violence against women and girls. Her passion in dealing with violence related issues led her to be the elected vice president of Mahila Mandal Federation, a CORO initiated, community women’s organization with 10000+ strong community women as members. Mumtaz continues her work as Program Coordinator on violence against women and girls in Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra (supported by APPI).
Mumtaz was felicitated with ‘Daughter of Maharashtra’ award and she recently figured in BBC’s list of most influential 100 women of 2015. She was amongst 7 Indians in the list.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Nitin has been associated with CORO for the last 10 years. During this time, he’s been a part of its intervention research into understanding gender attitudes amongst young boys and girls in the community. He has also provided support to other CORO programmes. Nitin is married and lives in northeast Mumbai with his wife Sangeeta and their son Rishi. When he isn’t working, he enjoys playing cricket, reading and spending time with his son.
Mahendra joined CORO in 1989 as a literacy volunteer. He had opted out of education after 12th class, but completed his graduation in social science while working in CORO. His commitment and consistency in vision for social change has helped him to lead CORO through various stages of growth. Mahendra is now Program Director and member of Executive Council.
Mahendra is leading CORO’s one of the flagship programs of grassroots leadership development in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi, implemented in collaboration with Leaders Quest, UK. The program has built a community of 1100+ grassroots leaders and their mentors and the network of 250+ organizations across Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Nagesh started his career with the Cummins India Foundation, in Pune, as a Programme Co-ordinator. After seven years spent working with CSR, NGO, government and academic bodies, he joined CORO in 2015. At present he is responsible for setting up, conceptualising, co-ordinating and executing its Quest Fellowship Programme training. Nagesh gained his MA in Social Work from Pune University. He enjoys writing poetry and fiction in Marathi.
Lisa is Director of the Leaders’ Quest Foundation and works in partnership with CORO to co-create and deliver the Quest Fellowship Programme. Lisa spent close to 10 years in various roles at CARE USA – including Director of Development for the Chicago Office, Coordinator for Strategic Planning and Special Projects for the Program Division, and Senior Technical Advisor in Human Resources. After this, she joined the Department of Patron Services at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to solicit high-end subscription sales for their Annual Campaign. Lisa has consulted for Oxfam GB and also served as Deputy Director of Research for the City of Chicago’s office for liaison with the philanthropic community. Her most recent position, prior to joining Leaders’ Quest, was Head of Fundraising for People In Aid, an organisation that improves NGO performance through better HR and people management. Originally from Chicago, Lisa now calls Richmond (southwest London) home. When not working she enjoys yoga, cycling, travelling and improvisational theatre. Lisa holds a BA in French from Middlebury College, Vermont and an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.
Sujata joined CORO in 1996 as volunteer in combating violence against women. She then shouldered responsibility of counselor in Counseling and Legal aid centre. Sujata in her grassroots fellowship project worked extensively on Domestic Violence Act and focused on systemic gaps in implementing this act. She developed and led a network of 30 organisations in Maharashtra working on domestic violence issues.
Sujata is currently Program Coordinator for women empowerment project (supported by APPI) focusing on domestic violence related issues.
Shrikant has been working with CORO for 12 years. He discovered the organisation in 1998 when he was a night college student and joined CORO’s professional course for upcoming social activists. Shrikant has since opened an organisation in his home village to help Zila Parishad schools deliver quality education and provide better opportunities for children belonging to economically weaker sections of society.
Suryakant joined CORO in 2003 as a volunteer for the core programme, working with men on gender sensitisation in Mumbai slums. Prior to this, as a member of the Dalit advocacy movement, he was particularly active in politics. Suryakant has a strong understanding of the issues around human security and politics in the urban context of his home city. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Rupali and their son Tejas.
Shishir started his career in Pune, with Indo Global Social Service Society, where he was Executive in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation. After working for five years with two different Pune-based organisations, in 2011 he joined CORO in Mumbai as Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation. He is currently responsible for setting up its M&E process, recruiting and managing the team to deliver this and building an effective Management Information System. Shishir lives in Karjat (100 kms from the office) with his joint family. He gained an MA in Social Work from Pune University and is currently pursuing his PhD at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.
Deepchand is a social activist with 25 years of experience in field work and NGO management across several districts of Rajasthan. He has been involved in the expansion of the Quest Fellowship Programme across the state – from initial conversation onwards.
Deepchand has an MA in Sociology and a Diploma in Rural Development.
Supriya is currently leading the Right to Pee (RTP) Campaign which is advocating for safe, clean, and free public urinals for women in Mumbai and in other parts of the state of Maharashtra. This campaign was initiated and incubated by CORO. Her core areas of interest are urban planning and development.
Supriya studied Political Science in college and was awarded a gold medal during her Bachelor of Law degree from Goa University. She is currently pursuing her MA in Women's Studies in Mumbai.
Neomi Rao is very excited to be working at CORO because she whole-heartedly agrees that "CORO gives you every opportunity - you just have to take it!" She looks after content creation, social media, event management, and other tasks that arise. She is also a research assistant with Dr. Lakshmi Lingam at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Neomi graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Linguistics and a B.S. in Biological Sciences. She is planning to pursue graduate studies in Social Psychology. Her research interests include social and cultural identity, intergroup stigma and solidarity, intersectional frameworks, and open science.
Namrata has been working as a Fundraising and Partnership Associate. Before CORO, she was working in the capacity of Project Officer at Praja Foundation. Namrata has completed her Bachelors and Masters Honours in Political Science from University of Mumbai. She has also interned with Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. Namrata has been passionate about movies, documentaries and visual imagery. Her liking for the development sector stems from watching documentaries on social causes. In her free time, Namrata regularly contributes for movie websites including The Cinemaholics and High on Films and volunteers for the largest digital journalism network, People's Archive of Rural India. Her other interests include Sports, Culture and History.
Deepak started his career in development sector with Each One Teach One, an organisation working on holistic development of underprivileged children particularly studying in BMC schools where he worked for 15+ years. Developing case stories, proposals and reports has been his forte along with social media and website management.
Inspired by CORO’s community centric work around grassroots leadership development, Deepak found an opportunity to serve the organisation in its documentation and communication initiatives. He is with CORO since June 2016.
Sujata is co-founder of CORO. She was formerly an assistant engineer in Mahaarshtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), Mumbai when she was deputed for adult literacy related work initiated by the government of Maharsahtra and CORO. She received MA in Gender, Education and International Development from University of London and was a fellow in Leadership Development Program of MacArthur Foundation (India). Sujata has authored a book in Marathi titled “Aashevin Aasha’ (Hope without Hope) based on her community related work. She has represented CORO in national and international forums and has contributed to many publications.
Sujata is currently also pursuing her PhD on ‘Meanings of Women Empowerment’ with focus on collective knowledge building from the grassroots.
Luis founded IDFC private equity in 2002 and retired in 2010 to focus on not-for-profits in human rights, health and education. He is the chairperson of Centre for Civil Society, a trustee of the Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action (SNEHA), and a senior advisor to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure. He also sits on the advisory boards of the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago and St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
Luis received an MBA from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. According to Economic Times, ‘Luis has recast himself as something of a philanthropic catalyst, using his powers of persuasion and strong business network to advocate the cause of a bunch of organisations’.
JM Trivedi (JM) is based in Mumbai. He heads South Asia operations at Actis, an emerging markets private equity firm which invests in mid-market control/buyout and growth capital deals. JM joined the UK-government’s CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) in 1997 to establish private equity operations out of its Mumbai office, and was one of the founding partners when Actis spun out of CDC in 2004. Prior to this, JM was Senior Vice President of GVFL, one of the first VC firms in India. He has led a number of marquee deals in the PE market in India including UTI Bank, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Paras pharmaceuticals. JM has worked in the financial services industry in India for more than 35 years. He graduated in Chemical Engineering from IIT-Bombay in 1975.
Sulakshana is a researcher in urban and women's issues, with a particular focus on India. She has produced several papers, articles and newspaper columns, and her writing appears in both English and Marathi language publications. She is a visiting lecturer at Sir JJ School of Art and Architecture and Rachana Sansad's Academy of Architecture in Mumbai.
Dr. Lakshmi Lingam is a Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.         Dr. Lakshmi Lingam was the Deputy Director at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), in Hyderabad from May 2011- May 2016 and prior to that she was Dean, Research and Development at the Institute. She is an academic leader, administrator and a well-known gender specialist. In the year 2015, Dr. Lakshmi was selected to participate for the Fulbright-Nehru Education Administrators Fellowship programme. She was a Fulbright New Century Scholar (2004-5) exploring the subject of Global Empowerment of Women. Dr. Lakshmi was a Indo-Shastri Visiting Scholar associated with the University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada (2011); Visiting Fellow, Gender, Sexuality and Law Fellowship program, School of Law, Keele University, Keele, North Staffordshire (2007). She has research collaborations with various Universities abroad.
Dr. Lakshmi Lingam is on the Curriculum Advisory Boards of several Women’s Studies Departments in Indian Universities as well as Technical and Ethical Advisory Board member of NGOs. In addition to her outstanding teaching and research activities, she has contributed to gender and equity mainstreaming activities of Government departments in a number of states in India. She was the General Secretary of the Indian Association for Women Studies during the period 2000 -2002. Dr. Lakshmi was a member of the National Resource Group of the Government of India, Mahila Samakhya program for women’s empowerment under the Ministry of HRD.
Dr. Lakshmi has undertaken several national and international development research and evaluation studies, published extensively and has traveled widely within and outside the country on academic pursuits.
Vinta Nanda is the Managing Director of ACEE and CEO of the project THE THIRD EYE. She has over 16 long running TV serials to her credit as Producer, some of which she has also written and/or directed, including the trail blazing TARA which captivated viewership for 5 long years.
Vinta has produced and/or has directed over 11 documentaries on various socio-political issues, a full length feature on AID’s, and telefilms on Maternal and Child Health and Girl Child Issues, all of which were in the entertainment space.
Vinta has spearheaded a communications program in partnership with the New Delhi Administration and 19 NGO’s working in urban slums. She has also headed programming for 16 channels of Zee Network from 2000 – 2002. Vinta wrote, produced and directed the feature White Noise, starring Rahul Bose and Koel Purie.
Pallavi is associated with CORO since 1994. Her involvement in the community women’s reproductive and sexual health program in 2002, helped her get immersed in community based work. In 2006, she was chief coordinator of the intervention research titled ‘Sakhi Saheli’ aimed at addressing unequal gender norms to reduce violence against women and sexual risk. Pallavi then led the research (2008) titled ‘Gender Equitable Movement in Schools (GEMS)’ which aimed at sensitizing children between the age group of 12-14 years in Municipal schools in Mumbai (GEMS was a collaboration of CORO, International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Learning from GEMS is now integrated into ‘Meena Raju Manch’ a program running in 24000 primary and upper primary schools in Maharashtra implemented in collaboration of CORO, State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and UNICEF.
Pallavi currently looks after Gender and Education program. Along with gender sensitization activities in 24000 schools the program focuses on 120 schools (also villages) for developing a model for gender sensitization of children with community participation and leadership; for implementation in the State.
Gopal is managing partner (and a co-founder) of Gaja Capital, which invests in high-growth small and mid-sized businesses that serve the growing needs of India’s rising middle class. Prior to this, he was MD (India) of View Group, one of the earliest India-focused VC firms. Gopal began investing at an early age and has been doing so professionally since 1991, with a particular focus on education and financial services. His interests include developing entrepreneurship in India. Gopal graduated in Electrical Engineering from IIT-Delhi.
Lindsay is the Founder & Managing Partner at Leaders' Quest.She spent the first fifteen years of her career building entrepreneurial companies. In 2001 she founded Leaders’ Quest as her ‘last start-up’. She has since worked to connect leaders from all disciplines and sectors, to explore solutions to some of the big issues in the world today. Currently, much of her time is spent working with corporate CEOs and their leadership teams on the role and purpose of business, company values and culture change. She is passionate about bridging divides – between cultures, perspectives and opposing voices. She also works extensively with leaders from non-profit institutions and NGOs and in 2004 founded the Leaders’ Quest Foundation to build leadership capacity in grassroots communities in collaboration with CORO. Lindsay serves on the Board of Hartford Care, a nursing home group in the UK, and of Unitus Capital, an India based investment firm that develops finance structures and raises capital for entrepreneurial businesses that benefit those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Between 2008 and 2012 she was Chair of the International Steering Committee of OneVoice, working to amplify the voices of Israelis and Palestinians committed to peaceful coexistence. Lindsay lives in New York with her husband David and their youngest son, Louis; their older sons are at university in the UK. Her first book, Invisible Giants: changing the world one step at a time, was published by Vala in March 2013.
Kalpana is Co-Founder of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), a private-public partnership between civil society and the Karnataka government. Using policy interventions and citizen engagement, BATF tackles issues such as health and sanitation, roads and transportation, and urban planning. For her efforts to better Bangalore, Kalpana received Karnataka’s highest civilian honour, The Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, in 2004. After gaining an MPhil from Oxford University, Kalpana joined Tata Administrative Services (TAS) in 1984. She went on to work with Tata Unisys and Titan Industries, where she was one of the core team that created Tanishq – a leading Indian jewellery chain. Kalpana runs the Cancer Patient’s Aid Association, and helps a number of citizen forums and corporations to work together on waste management. Aside from her husband Pradeep and their daughter Pranika, Kalpana has a passion for travel and a deep interest in art, culture and history.
Anu is a passionate champion of the rights of girls and women and a believer in developing grassroots-based youth leaders to effect social change. In the recent past, Anu has been at the heart of global policy-making on financial sector development, leading interventions on financial inclusion at the UK Department for International Development (DFID). She was UK Co-Chair of the G20’s financial inclusion agenda from 2011-2014, advocating for a global regulatory environment to foster innovation in financial services delivery. Prior to joining DFID, Anu was a banker with ABN Amro and ANZ Grindlays Bank in India. She is an economist with an MBA from Mumbai University and has an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Neera has 34 years of experience in the public and private sector and is skilled in formulating and implementing national and state level strategies, programmes and public private partnerships. For 28 years, as member of Indian Administrative Service, she worked within the government with multiple stakeholders – including ports,special economic zones, areas of export promotion, textiles, area administration and rural development. As the President of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) for the year 2013-14, she was the first woman thus elected in the 177 year history of India’s oldest Chamber. Neera was formerly the Chief Executive of L&T Seawoods, a billion dollar infrastructure and real estate project and is currently associated with Boards of several companies, non-profit organisations and associations. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Delhi and an MA in Business Administration.
Amit, who joined Goldman Sachs in 2012, is an Executive Director in the Principal Investment Area in India, responsible for sourcing, investing, monitoring and executing the exit of investments across growth and buyout opportunities. Prior to joining the firm, Amit spent nearly five years in Mumbai with Kotak Investment Advisors, the alternate assets group of Kotak Mahindra Bank, and four years as a manager at Deloitte's Transaction Advisory Services. Amit gained significant experience of government and policy-making by working in New Delhi with Prithviraj Chavan (Chief Minister of Maharashtra) during 1996 and 2000, while Mr Chavan was an MP. Amit has a BA in Statistics from the University of Mumbai (1994) and an MBA from the London Business School (2007).