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up! SURGE Speakers for August 2023

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Father Director K S Casimir

Director, XLRI-Delhi NCR

Director of XLRI Delhi-NCR since August 2022.

Ph.D. from NIT Warangal. 

Communicative competence, servant leadership for transformation, education for the 21st century, personal and professional excellence, awakening in the spirit are his areas of interest and he has conducted conferences and FDPs across the country in these areas. He has over 25 years of experience in academics and administration in higher education

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Bindu Vinodhan

Founder, TILLT & Mauna Dhwani Foundation

Bindu is the Founder of ‘TILLT’ (The Institute of Leadership Learning and Transformation), an organization that is aimed at bringing about high impact transformation in the corporate  as well as social realms. 

Bindu’s core areas of consultation are in the area of senior leadership vision, leadership transformation,  executive presence, business storytelling for sales, marketing and inspirational leaders, women leader empowerment and coaching on global leadership.

Bindu is an ICF certified executive coach and an HR professional with two decades of  experience in Learning and Development. 

In the social sector Bindu designs and facilitates leadership transformation interventions for women survivors of trafficking, rape and domestic violence to provide them with  entrepreneurial skills that enable them to integrate back into society. 

Bindu holds a Bachelors Degree in Engineering, specializing in Electronics and Telecom; and  a Masters Degree in Education, specializing in Learning Technology from Oxford University. 

She delivers guest lectures at Oxford on ‘Applications of Learning Technology at the Workplace’ and has been doing that consecutively for  the last 5 years.

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Diya Kapur Misra 

Leadership Impact Coach, DEI Champion, THE POWER OF i

Diya Kapur Misra is a leadership advisor, facilitator, and coach, with over twenty years of rich consulting as well as business HR experience. For the past five years, she has worked as an independent professional and has also collaborated with other experts and boutique firms such as Dr. Linda Hill of Harvard Business School and Paradox Strategies, and The River Group LLC.

Before striking out on her own, Diya held a number of impactful roles across Hindustan Unilever, Hewitt, Cadbury/Kraft Foods, and Korn Ferry. Her areas of expertise are executive development, top team effectiveness, succession, high potential identification and development, talent assessment, and talent management. 

Diya is passionate about coaching individuals to realise their potential and has a special drive to support women leaders in their journey to develop themselves and enhance their impact. She has been the Program Lead on up! SURGE, to inspire, prepare and support women leaders to reach the top.

Diya is a double gold medallist from XLRI Jamshedpur, and an Economics (honours) graduate from Delhi University. She is a budding writer, an avid singer, and a theatre and yoga enthusiast. Diya is married to Punit, who is also an XLer, and they have two wonderful daughters.

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Harish Devarajan 

Leadership Coach and Organisation Consultant

Harish also recently served as an Independent Director on the Board of Bank of India, and is the Author of a top selling book "HR Here and Now" along with two others.  

​In 2008, Harish started his own company, People Unlimited, to focus on Leadership Development at an individual level in the form of Executive Coaching, and at a team level through Top Team Effectiveness Coaching. 

​Prior to becoming an independent professional, Harish was a part of the HR teams at Sundaram Fasteners and then at Unilever. In 2004, he became the Head of HR at Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

He has mentored and coached many leaders including young HR professionals to be more effective in their roles. 

​Harish’s specialties are Leadership Coaching, Organisation Transformation and HR Mentorship. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations from XLRI Jamshedpur and a B.Com from Madras University.


Pankajam Sridevi Managing Director, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (India)

34+ years of rich experience in diverse segments ranging from Manufacturing to Technology to Banking Domains.

Pankajam is passionate about diversity and is keen to get women, persons with disability and LGBTI persons in the workplace. 

She has been conferred with prestigious honours such as NCPEDP Helen Keller Award for making a difference to communities, the Woman CEO of the Year Award from GISR foundation in 2020, Iconic Leaders Creating a Better World for All Award at Women Economic Forum (WEF) Bangalore 2020, India's Top 30 Emerging Tech Leaders at the Intelligent Automation India 2020 and the most recent recipient of Top 10 Tech Women Leaders Award 2022.

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Prabha Narasimhan

MD and CEO, Colgate - Palmolive (India) Ltd.

Ms. Prabha Narasimhan is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Colgate - Palmolive (India) Limited.

Prabha joined Colgate in 2022 from Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL), where she led the Home Care category as Executive Director and served as a member of the HUL Leadership Team.

Prabha has nearly 25 years of rich and varied experience in customer development, Consumer Marketing and Innovation across geographies and multiple categories, including Home Care, Foods, Personal and Skin Care.

Prabha is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and Melbourne Business School.

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Prerana Issar

Chief People Officer and Head of Corporate Affairs, Sainsbury’s

Prerana has 25+ years of leadership experience across multiple sectors:

16 years at consumer goods giant Unilever

6 years in the executive team of the (Nobel Peace Prize winning) United Nations World Food Programme, where she travelled to more than 40 countries affected by conflict and famine to support frontline staff.

4 years as the Chief People Officer for the 1.4 million employees of the UK’s NHS, one of the biggest and most complex people roles in Human Resources in any sector globally. She is the first ever leader from a minority ethnic background to be a national leader in the NHS since it’s inception.

Prerana’s TedX talk on “The Power of Purpose” is one of the most widely viewed in healthcare.

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Sindhu Ganghadharan 


Labs India, Head, SAP User Enablement, Board of Directors: Siemens India, Titan Company

Sindhu is among the leading voices in the world of technology today. She is widely regarded as the Technology Humanist – a title she earned for her deep-rooted belief in Technology and for leveraging Tech solutions for the benefit of the society at large.

Over the last 24 years, Sindhu rose through the ranks and navigated several strategic and

leadership roles to become the first woman to lead SAP Labs India

Sindhu’s continued support in empowering the youth of India has earned her a position on the Advisory Board of YuWaah, supported by the UNICEF. 

Sindhu has also received several industry recognitions such as Most Influential AI Leader, Fortune Top 50 Most Powerful Women, Asia’s Most Promising Business Leader, etc.

Sindhu is based out of Bangalore where she lives with her husband, two daughters and



Suparna Mitra 

CEO, Watches and Wearables Division, Titan Company Limited

Suparna started her career as a management trainee in Hindustan Lever Limited. Subsequently she joined Titan where she worked on several roles in marketing, both International and Domestic. Her next stint was at Talisma Corp. as a Director – Product Marketing after which she moved on to become Business Head – Lee in Arvind Brands Ltd. 

​Suparna rejoined Titan and became the Global Marketing Head, where she was responsible for all marketing in India and international markets. Her next role was Regional Business Head - South in Titan, heading all businesses of the company including watches, jewellery and eyewear for the South region. ​

Suparna is an electrical engineer from Jadavpur University and an MBA from IIM, Calcutta. She is married and has two daughters. Suparna is an avid reader and has a passion for travelling.

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Supria Dhanda 

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Early-Stage Investor Fund

Supria is a Business leader with more than 25 years of corporate experience in leading technology companies: Western Digital, SanDisk, Alcatel-Lucent and General Electric. Her last assignment was Country Manager- India and Vice President for Western Digital, including being a member of the Board.

She is Managing Partner at Early-Stage Fund focused on accelerating entrepreneurial success of Tech/AI Led start-ups, in their Zero to One stage of start-up journey.

She is the Founder & CEO of BAGGGEL Foundation, a not-for-profit venture, which

is missioned to develop more Women CEOs. 

A TEDX speaker, co-author of ‘Wiley Innovation Black Book Enterprise 4.0’, Supria

is a thought leader in Engineering R&D industry of India, NASSCOM Council

Member, TiE Charter Member and Lead Anchor for Women@Work, a KDEM

initiative, for Government of Karnataka.

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Vasanthi Srinivasan

Professor of OB and HRM, Chair for Digital Learning at IIM - Bangalore.

Before joining IIMB, Professor Vasanthi Srinivasan worked as an HR Professional and a consultant. She was the ICCR Chair Professor of Corporate Responsibility and Governance at the HHL School of Management, Leipzig, Germany, from 2012 to 2013. 

Her current research projects include “Assessment and reporting on business and human rights reporting by corporate India” with National Human Rights Commission and “Building the gender diversity index for Corporate India” with support from National Foundation for Corporate Governance.

Her research interests are Women on Boards, Business and Human Rights, and HRM in rapid growth contexts. 

Vasanthi also runs Tanmatra: Women in Leadership program for senior women leaders.

The program is in its seventh edition and has over 150 women alumni from leading Indian


She is a Distinguished Alumnae of XLRI Jamshedpur. 

Vasanthi did her Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from XLRI Jamshedpur, and a Fellow in Management (Ph. D equivalent) from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

up! SURGE Speakers in Previous Years

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Aarti Parmar

Certified Brand Strategist + Coach

An award winning brand strategist, personal performance coach and designer who loves to educate and empower business owners to mindfully define their brand and use it with intent, joy, and impact. 

With over 18 years’ experience working with solopreneurs and SMEs both in the UK and overseas. Aarti has empowered hundreds of business owners to steer their brand to lead with purpose, communicate with certainty and enjoy commercial growth.

She was Selected as Enterprise Nations Top Brand Adviser 2021 and Listed as one of the top 100 female business leaders across the UK 2020 for ƒ:entrepreneur #iAlso100

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Ajay MK

HR Director,

Colgate Palmolive

(APAC Region)

Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion - John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd.

Ajay previously served as the HR Director for Colgate Palmolive’s Asia Pacific region, leading HR across 22 countries, including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, and the ASEAN countries. 

​Ajay is also an award-winning poet and has been an invited writer at many national and international literary festivals. His works have been translated and published in Hindi, German, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Slovakian, Russian, Vietnamese, and Serbian. He is also a certified trainer of Compassion-Based Resilience Training by the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science.

​Ajay holds an M.A (Psychology) degree from Annamalai University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations from XLRI Jamshedpur.

He is married to Lakshmi, who is also an XLer, and they have two lovely daughters.

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Akhil Saxena

Vice President of Customer Fulfilment Operations, APAC, MENA & LATAM, Amazon

Vice President of Customer Fulfilment Operations, APAC, MENA & LATAM, and World Wide Customer Service, Amazon.

Akhil joined Amazon in July 2013 as the Director of Operations for India and was responsible for fulfilment centre (FC) operations. The rapid expansion of the network under his leadership has been at the core of Amazon’s business growth in India. He also led the growth of the last-mile (LM) delivery channel using variable models like the Delivery Service Partner program and the ‘I Have Space’ program. 

Akhil is an amateur gardener, enjoys watching movies and spending time with his family, bonding over food and travel.

Partner - EY

Anjali has more than 25 years of work experience, mostly in Financial Services, spanning different roles in Operations, Account Management, Strategy and Business.  

 Prior to joining EY, she was MD – Deutsche Bank and Global COO for Banking and Capital Markets at Genpact. Prior to this, Anjali has worked for American Express and FIS.

Anjali has an inherent passion for developing and sponsoring women leaders and promoting gender diversity. She is part of many Women Leadership forums and organizations and an active participant in this domain. She mentors women both in and outside the companies she has worked for. She is also the National President for the Banking & Credit Council of Womens Indian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WICCI).  

Anjali is a post graduate from Delhi University and enjoys reading, writing and traveling in her free time. She is married and has a son who also works in Financial Services.

 Anjali Singh

MD, Corporate Bank Operations, Deutsche Bank 

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Apurva Purohit

Co-Founder Aazol; Independent Director; Author - Lady, You're the Boss and Lady, You're not a Man

Co-Founder - Aazol Ventures Pvt Ltd, a consumer products company which aims to create a market for traditional food items made by self-help groups and micro entrepreneurs, by reconnecting Indian consumers with their roots and the local foods of their regions.

Apurva is an Indian Businesswoman with over three decades of experience in the corporate world where she formed significant partnerships with private equity firms and promoters to build and scale up a diverse set of businesses - from early stage fledgling businesses, to setting up new ventures and to supervising turnarounds in mature and declining organisations.

Apurva has been a leading voice in the Indian business landscape advocating gender diversity, what ails it, and what organisations and leaders can do to improve this critical imperative. 

She is also the author of the two national bestselling books “Lady, You’re not a Man – the Adventures of a Woman at Work” and “Lady, You’re the Boss!” Through her books, Apurva aims to empower women and encourage them to achieve their full potential.

She won the Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater IIM Bangalore in 2022.

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Arundathi Bhattacharya 

 Chairperson and CEO, Salesforce India Service

Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer for Salesforce, India. 

In her role, Arundhati oversees the growth strategy of the company and plays an integral role in defining Salesforce’s relationship with the ecosystem of customers, partners and community across India.

Prior to Salesforce, Arundhati was the first woman chairperson at the State Bank of India (SBI), where she was credited with ushering in the digital transformation era at the company. Under her leadership, SBI went on to be voted as one of India's top 3 Best Places to work in India.

​With 40+ years of rich experience in India's financial sector working across varied roles and diverse national & international locations; Arundhati has also earned a string of accolades to her name, most notably -- "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes, “Top 50 globally most powerful women in business” and “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders" list by Fortune.

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Debarati Sen - President, 3M Abrasives Systems Division

President, Home Improvement & Consumer Well-being at 3M

Debarati’s career with 3M started in 1996 in Bengaluru, India. Under her leadership from 2016-19, 3M India gained nationwide recognition at prestigious forums. On a personal level, she was inducted into Fortune India’s listing of 50 Most Powerful Women in business, 2018.

​Debarati is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and volunteers her time in addressing multiple issues like gender and racial equity, poverty alleviation, education, and women’s empowerment. In 3M, she has served on the board of the 3M A3CTION (Asian Employee Resource Network), as well as held the post of Executive Member of 3M’s Women’s Leadership Forum.​

During her India assignment, Debarati was the Co-Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) National Committee on Technology, as well as a member of the Karnataka State Council of CII.

​Debarati holds a BS/BE in Electronics Engineering, as well as an MBA in Marketing & Finance from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

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Irina Ghose

Managing Director, Microsoft India

A Microsoft veteran of over two decades, Irina has held a variety of Strategy and Sales leadership roles across Enterprise, Solution Sales, Partner Solutions, and Education segments, focusing on Business management, Operations, Partnerships and New business initiatives.

She is an Electrical Engineer from IIT BHU and an MBA from XLRI. A proponent of Women in Business and Technology, she is a recipient of the ‘Inspirational Women’s Award’ at Microsoft and 'Distinguished Alumnus Award' from IIT BHU. Besides being a marathon runner and a music lover, she’s a strong champion of Diversity & Inclusion. 

She is the founder of ‘MyLittleBit’, a philanthropic foundation, focusing on education and jobs for underprivileged girls. She’s also actively engaged with ‘Microsoft for Startups’ and is a Trustee of SonderConnect, a foundation for women entrepreneurs.

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Madhura DasGupta

Founder and CEO,

Aspire for Her

Founder & CEO of Aspire For Her, a unique start-up to motivate young women to enter and stay in the workforce. 

Madhura has been a banker for the last 25 years – holding leadership positions in IDFC, Standard Chartered and ANZ Grindlays Bank, after an MBA from XLRI and Electrical Engineering from Jadavpur University. 

Madhura was one of the 12 women across India to be awarded the British Chevening Scholarship in 2003. 

Since its birth on Women’s Day, 2020, the rapidly-growing community at Aspire For Her has become a movement for women, in India and across the world, getting together members, supporters and mentors to unleash the trillion dollar potential in the Indian economy. Aspire For Her has been honoured by awards from UN Women and International Advertising Association.

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Manisha Lath Gupta

Marketer, an Entrepreneur and a Sustainability/ Permaculture expert

Manisha runs Aanandaa Permaculture, which aims to create awareness and impact on the planet through sustainable farming and healthier homes through earth architecture.

She started her career with Unilever in India as a Management Trainee and spent 8 years across different roles. She then spent six years at Colgate Palmolive. In 2010, she transitioned to the banking industry as the EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at Axis Bank and repositioned the brand with the campaign Badhti ka Naam Zindagi based on the consumer insight of a ‘desire for continued growth’. 

In 2014, Manisha turned full time entrepreneur, with her start-up venture an e-commerce portal for original Indian contemporary art, which she founded in 2005. It continues to be the largest online platform for Indian contemporary art, now called Mojarto.

Manisha is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore (1997) and holds a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is married to Agam, a career banker and they have two amazing daughters.


Renuka Ramnath

Founder, MD and CEO,

Multiples Alternate Asset Management

Founder, Managing Director and CEO of Multiples Alternate Asset Management, a private equity manager and advisor to funds of ~ USD 1.7 bn. 

Renuka has 30+ years of experience in the Indian financial sector across private equity, investment banking and structured finance. She successfully built several businesses in the ICICI Group including Investment Banking, e-commerce and private equity. As the MD & CEO of ICICI Venture for close to a decade, she led that firm to become one of the largest private equity funds in India.

Renuka is an avid champion for the industry to open up alternate assets to both domestic and international investors. She draws motivation from the fact that supporting entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses, has the potential to generate employment, to create ripple effects in the Indian economy and to facilitate the greater process of nation building. As a woman leader, she is also dedicated to promoting gender diversity.

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Sanjay Gupta 

Country Manager and Vice President,

Google India

Sanjay joined Google from Star and Disney India where he was the Managing Director and played a pivotal role in Star becoming the largest media company in India. He played an instrumental role in extending their traditional television content to digital consumers through Hotstar. He is also widely credited for building their sports business via the acquisition of marquee cricketing properties and launch of the hugely popular: Pro Kabaddi League and Indian Super League.

​During his time at Hindustan Unilever Sanjay led marketing for two of the company's critical segments: Oral and Home care. Then at Bharti Airtel as Chief Marketing Officer for the mobile business, he spearheaded several successful sales and marketing initiatives. 

Sanjay is a post graduate from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kolkata, and is an engineer from Delhi College of Engineering.

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Shalini Kapoor
President & Chief Technologist Amazon Web Services (AWS India)- WW Public Sector

With 25+ years of experience, Shalini has worked with many clients, Global System Integrators, ecosystem partners, and Academia while incubating several next-gen solutions in Internet of Things and AI

Shalini is a torchbearer of Good tech projects in India focusing on STEM and AI for women and the underprivileged, working with schools, universities, government and industry leaders. She has 14 patents and is a prolific speaker in academia and various industry forums.

Shalini is passionate about yoga, and has been learning Kathak for the past two years. She lives in Bangalore with her husband, Rajeev. They have two teenage sons.


Shilpa Ajwani

Strategy Consultant & Leadership Advisor;

Founder and CEO - Unomantra

Founder & CEO of Unomantra, a Business Strategy Consulting & Leadership Advisory Firm that enables Consumer and Lifestyle Businesses to thrive by aligning strategy with purpose. 

Shilpa is passionate about creating iconic brands, leaders, communities and organisations using this unique “Purpositioning” approach. 

She has also founded SHEmantra, a community of women Founders in the Coaching & Consulting domain. 

An illustrious career of 25+ years with reputed MNCs has earned her a rock-solid reputation as a transformative leader. She won CEO of the year 2017 conferred by the Economic Times Polymer Awards while she was leading Tupperware India as the Managing Director. 

She actively supports impact initiatives in creating inclusive workspaces, unleashing entrepreneurial zeal especially in women and promoting growth of communities that help to make our world a better place.

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Chetana Pai - Design and Interactive Technology, Universiteit Twente

Chetana works and most engages with movement, music, human interaction, art, and the potential that exists when combining these fields. In addition to this, she enjoys experimenting with and combining various creative mediums - visual, performance, musical, and otherwise. 

Chetana is passionate about bringing together communities in order to visualize, articulate, and share their thoughts and reflections. She designs new and innovative ways to facilitate creative making for groups of people and has held multiple Zine Workshops. Her Zine workshops explore a variety of topics including Purpose, Growth, Personal Identity, Taking Up Space, and more. Her work finds space in conferences, student seminars, and community settings.

​Chetana is originally from Bangalore and did her Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship at Ashoka University.


Samit Ghosh
- Founder, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank & Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd.

Chairman of the Board of Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd., the holding company of UFSB.

Samit served as the Bank’s Managing Director and CEO till his retirement in November 2019. He founded Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd. as a pioneering NBFC microfinance institution in 2005 and successfully launched UFSB in 2017. 

​Prior to Ujjivan, Samit was a career banker for 30+ years. 

​Samit has played a very active role in the evolution of microfinance, development of Small Finance Banks and overall financial inclusion in India. He was on the board of Women’s World Banking (WWB) headquartered in New York (2011-19). Established in the 70s by outstanding women leaders like Ela Bhatt, the organization was built for promoting women empowerment & financial inclusion across the world. Samit’s association with WWB continues, and he is also an active board member of Parinaam Foundation. 

Samit is currently a Partner of Nudge Foundation and mentor to a number of high potential start-up NGOs in diverse fields of education, social emotional enterprise & leadership development.
Samit completed his BA from Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 1970. He graduated with an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974.

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