Team Members

Sejal Desai, Executive Director
Sejal has been a passionate advocate and supporter of various US and India based nonprofits focusing on education, hunger relief and women’s issues. Her 30-year career includes work in sectors like venture capital, M&A, accounting, entrepreneurship, nonprofit and corporate social responsibility. Most recently, she worked at Communities Foundation of Texas, where she led a strategic initiative focused on engaging businesses in the community. She also has experience supporting individuals and families with their philanthropic giving and engagement. Among other career highlights, she also started a social venture, SevaYatra focused on engaging US based universities and multinational corporations with India based NGOs. Sejal was born in India and lived and worked in Mumbai for 20 years. She is a Chartered Accountant from India and holds a Masters in Business Administration from University of Texas at Dallas and Masters in Liberal Studies from Southern Methodist University. Sejal is a passionate and engaged citizen of both countries and joined Akanksha in 2021 with a strong desire to transform lives through education.
Chandrima Poddar, Corporate and Alumni Engagement Officer
Chandrima joins us with over 8 years of work experience in the financial sector. She has performed various roles including project management, corporate finance, strategic consulting and analytics at American Express. Chandrima grew up in India and completed her bachelors and Masters in Mathematics and Economics respectively from the University of Delhi. After which she moved to the US to pursue her second masters at the University of Chicago. Having grown up in India, Chandrima understands the struggles of the underprivileged to access a decent level of education. She has often volunteered her time to teach and work with kids at the underserved schools in Delhi and Manhattan. Her passion for education and dedication brings her to Akanksha. After a successful career at American Express, Chandrima took a break to raise her family. And is now very excited to resume her career with Akanksha.
Fareeda Ehtesham, Donor Relations Officer
Fareeda joined Akanksha after six years in the nonprofit sector working in public health and CSR. She has worked with international aid agencies to effectively engage the private sector on public health issues. Prior to that, she worked with UNDP’s Private Sector Division where she worked on addressing development issues through private sector partnerships and building sustainable value chains. Fareeda has attended school in Saudi Arabia, India and the United States. She holds a Masters of Arts in International Relations from the City College of New York-CUNY and a Bachelors in Commerce (Honours) from Osmania University in India. An Indian at heart, Fareeda believes in the transformative power of education, especially its role in creating equal opportunity for women and girls.