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Recipient of the UNFPA-LAADLI Media Award for Gender Sensitivity in 2007 and the Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy from the AEJMC, USA in 2003, Ammu Joseph is one of journalism's most prominent feminist voices. She's an independent journalist and prolific author based in Bangalore writing primarily on issues relating to gender, human development and the media. Ammu has authored 6 books, is South Asia coordinator of the IWMF's Global Research on Women in the News Media and has contributed to several prominent policies and publications. She is the founder-member of the Network of Women in Media She has previously been the editor of the Sunday magazine of The Indian Post, Mumbai.
Kuchipudi dancer, Dr.Anupama Kylash has had a prolific career with over 600 performances given in India and abroad. She conceptualises uniquely creative dance features and has won several prestigious accolades. She’s frequently invited to present at seminars and conferences and has authored a book titled Nayikas in Kshetrayya Padams’ which was published by the prestigious ‘Writers Workshop’ Kolkata. Anupama is also a ‘Vishaarad’ in Hindustani music from the ‘Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalay’, and a graded artiste at Doordarshan.
Anuradha is a theatre practitioner, founder of the Big Fat Company and artistic director of Untitled Arts.
Recipient of the prestigious national media award LAADLI , Arathi HN is a poet, translator and a senior programme executive at Doordarshan. She writes in Kannada and has published seven publications, 3 poetry collections, travelogue, play and two translated works from English to Kannada. Her poems have been translated into seven languages. She has participated in National and international poetry meets, and has represented India in poetry festivals in Europe-Slovenia, France, Japan, Russia and Singapore. She's also won two awards from the Karnataka government - the AMMA and Sneha Sethu awards.
Chandanabala Kalyan G.
A social media sensation, G Chandanabala Kalyan’s peppy Carnatic rendition of Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Take Five, one of the world’s most popular jazz tunes, has garnered more than 2.5 million views worldwide and been shared over 40,000 times. A Carnatic classical vocalist and the 2014 winner of Ananya Puraskara, she is also a playback singer and performed with Amit Trivedi in MTv Coke Studio India. She is a band member of Sanjay Divecha and Secret, Rajeev Raja Combine, INDIVA and Sivamani Trio.
Chitra Ganapathy is a farmer, mentor and a gourmet queen of desserts. She owns and runs coffee estates, is multi-talented in dance, drama, music and art and mentors women across industries. Chitra has been called the ‘Rotary Rockstar’ for her ability to work with women to guide them and bring out the best in them.
A research economist turned professional dancer, Debapriya is a performer and instructor specialising in Egyptian Oriental and Tribal Fusion belly dance. She is also the artistic director of Nrityakosh, a belly dance performance house that has curated and produced shows, marrying elements from storytelling and oriental dance vocabulary.
Geetha Panda's prolific career as a business leader spans multiple and diverse sectors, including shipping, BPO industry, and biotechnology. She juggles her current role as Head, End User Experience at Novartis with a parallel stint as Southern Deputy Regional Chair, CII-Indian Women Network (IWN) working with industry champions to increase numbers of women professionals in India.
Muralist Girija Hariharan is an engineer turned multi-faceted artist who's significant works across a wide variety of subjects has led to several acclaimed shows and live painting events in Bengaluru and other cities. A self-taught artist, she specialises in large format murals that adorn homes and offices and are in the private collections of art cynosures in US, Australia, Dubai, Canada and Singapore. Exploring metaphorical and poetic influences, Girija's themes focus on nature, spirituality and Indian mythology.
Kalpana Rao is a former entrepreneur and owner of Bengaluru-based 'Paris Haute Couture', who has forged a new journey at the age of 50 as a television actor and model. She’s been working in various acting, advertising and film campaigns with celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Rajnikanth and brands like Figaro and Vishesh Films.
As a seasoned journalist and columnist across prominent media publications, Kalpana Sharma juggles many hats. She is the consulting editor at The Economic and Political Weekly and also contributes a regular column to The Hindu's Sunday Magazine. She has authored and edited several books that include 'Rediscovering Dharavi: stories from Asia's largest slum' and other women and gender related works.
Lalitha Kumari P. (Volga)
Winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 2015 for her short story compilation Vimukta Kadha Samputi, P Lalitha Kumari (Volga) is one of the more prominent feminist literary voices from India. She is best known for her reinterpretation of female characters in popular Indian mythology, from Sita to Mandodari, and her work has incited debates across the country. She is also the Chairperson of Asmita Resource Centre for Women, a Telangana-based NGO which addresses women's issues.
Ambassador Latha Reddy has had an illustrious career with the Indian Foreign Service from 1975-2013, serving in Lisbon, Washington D.C., Kathmandu, Brasilia, Durban, Vienna & Bangkok. She was appointed as India’s Deputy National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2011-2013. During her tenure, Ambassador Reddy was responsible for cybersecurity and other critical internal and external security issues. She is currently the Co-chair of Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.
Performer, choreographer, educator and arts entrepreneur, Madhu Nataraj is the founder-director of Natya STEM Dance Kampni. She is often invited to perform, design programmes and choreographic works for prestigious cultural organizations across India, UK, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, SE Asia, Europe & USA. She was chosen as one of India’s 50 young achievers by 'India Today’. She has received many awards, amongst which are the Mohan Khokar award for excellence in dance and Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar from the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Mamta Sagar is a poet, writer and translator from Bengaluru, India. She delves into the sounds and music innate to Kannada language and intersects her poetry performances with multimedia, multilingual and collaborative projects. Mamta has facilitated poetry workshops internationally. She currently works as a faculty of Creative Writing at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and lives in Bengaluru.
Recipient of the prestigious Puttaraj Gavaye Youth Award, Aryabhatta Award and the recent Natyakala Ratna title, Manasa Josi is an accomplished Kathak soloist and popular Kannada actress. She has choreographed the Queen’s Birthday Party 2019 for the British High Commission and has performed in several prestigious dance festivals in India and abroad. As an actor, her performances in ‘Bahuparak’, ‘Last Bus’ and ‘Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu’ were met with critical acclaim.
Manasi Prasad wears many hats. A trained classical Carnatic musician and performing artist, she is the Museum Director of the Indian Music Experience, India’s first interactive music museum. She is a TED Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the Melton Foundation. For her achievements, Manasi was recognized as one of the 30 “Indians of Tomorrow” in the annual issue of India Today (2019). She has received many awards, of which the most recent is the Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar from the central Sangeet Natak Akademi. She is also a trained engineer with a degree in Information Science and a management graduate from IIM Bangalore.
Recipient of the Rajyotsava award in the year 2013, Manjula CG is a veteran journalist, writer and media person. Formerly the Assistant Editor of Deccan Herald Media, she has written and extensively covered a wide variety of topics across women empowerment, gender sensitisation and other literary subjects.
Mia Aliyah Makhija
Winner in the open category at the Asawari Music Foundation annual competition held at the Alliance Francaise, 16 year old songbird from Bengaluru, Mia Aliyah Makhija, released her debut single at 14 called ’Speak Your Mind' which reached out to underprivileged and unfortunate children across the world, stifled under fear or abuse. With open mic and acoustic performances at venues such as., Blue Frog, Humming Tree, Take 5, The Alliance Francaise, BFlat, Mia loves interacting with her audiences and thrives on the energy of live performances. Her recent summer stint at Berklee College of Music in Boston has her excited to collaborate with interesting musicians across the globe.
Currently the Consul General of Canada at Canadian Consulate in Bengaluru, Girard has over 10 years executive leadership experience developing and successfully managing complex change initiatives to improve results. She has significant experience leading major changes in policy and programs, and managing one of Canada’s largest overseas migration operations while promoting regular innovation, including use of advanced analytics. She is an organisational diversity co-champion, and the recipient of 10 public service awards including Deputy Minister's award in 2015.
As Sr. Vice President & HRD Head, India & Americas for 7.ai, Nina spearheads the mandate to create a vibrant, people-centric organization across two distinct geographies and cultures shaping the company’s agenda & HR policies. She also has a rich experience of serving in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to her current association with 7.ai, Nina was the Chief People Officer at Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a teacher for 16 years.
‘The Ladies Finger’ is a publication that affords a fearless platform for women, and Nisha Susan its founder epitomises its voice. As a writer and author. Nisha conceptualised the Pink Chaddi campaign against right-wing vigilantes in 2013 and for this was lauded among the Top 10 Activists in India, while also being mentioned by Femina in its list of India's 35 Most Influential Women, under age 35. Nisha runs a boutique media company Grist Media and has won a slew of awards. Her short fiction has been published by nplus1, Penguin, Zubaan, Out of Print and Pratilipi.
Padmalatha Ravi is a Bengaluru based artist with the sole aim of telling stories and loves exploring different mediums to do the same.
Hailing from a family of musicians, Padma Priya is a trained Western Classical Pianist, has worked on Kannada film projects and runs a Bangalore-based music academy. She is a multitalented artist, collaborating with local musical talent while also managing a handmade jewellery business.
Featured in British Council’s campaign ‘She Leads’ as one of their most favourite women creators from India, Pooja Dhingra, an independent conceptualiser and graphic designer, works through research and illustrations to communicate and simplify information. Her series 'Post for the Patriarchy' is an attempt to address the patriarchy through humor and satire. The collection of art, zines and postcards are based on/ inspired by feminist writings, voices and experiences.
The first woman journalist to become the editor of a daily newspaper in mainstream media, Dr. R. Poornima is an award winning senior journalist and is appreciated as a trend setter in Kannada journalism. Currently she is the co-editor of Hitaishini women’s web magazine.
A spoken work poet, Pragya Bhagat is passionate about mental health and regularly shares her thoughts on this space. She's the author of two books, and her prose throws the spotlight on intersections between mental health, body image, and belonging. Pragya was the recent recipient of 'Orange Flower Award on mental health' award.
Prathibha Nandakumar is one of Bangalore's most prominent faces in journalism and theatre. Multifaceted, multi-talented and prolific writer, she has written scripts for some of the most popular documentaries and plays including Avalokana for GoK and TS Ranga's theatre acts. Pratibha's body of work has been lauded on the international stage with her references in several anthologies including 2001's 'Beyond Borders' and 'In Their Own Voice' , an anthology of contemporary women writers. She's authored and translated books, been a part of several delegations to China, Finland, was conferred with Kempegowda Award in 2019 and continues to represent India on an international stage.
Renowned Indian classical dancer Padma Shri Prathibha Prahlad is a pre-eminent cultural icon, dancer, educator, author and pioneering curator of Indian performing arts festivals. The Founder Managing Trustee of Prasiddha Foundation & Forum For Art Beyond Borders, she is also the Founder Festival Director of the signature Delhi International Arts Festival and has performed in over 85 countries. She has had the unique distinction of being the only dancer of her generation to feature on an Indian Postal Stamp, and was a jury member for the Dadasaheb Phalke and National Film Awards. She is the youngest recipient of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2001), the Karnataka State Government Award (2001) and the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award- ‘Karnataka Kalasri’ (1997).
Priya is a prolific writer and author, having contributed towards various publications including Gawker, Vox and Vice. Her work straddles the intersection of feminism and popular culture and her first book ‘Besharam’ was published recently. Her twitter popularity, prompted ‘Paper Magazine’ to name her as one of the 'Amazing Women to Follow on the Internet' in 2016.
Priya is a passionate percussionist and versatile musician across various musical genres. She’s participated in several stage shows. Her passion for music has resulted in her performing with legendary artists like S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S Janaki, LR Eswari and Usha Kokila. Having won the Nadopasana Award, she performs for Zee TV, Suvarna, Kasthuri, TV9, Big Boss and others.
Kathak exponent Ramya Nagraj is the assistant dance director at Natya Stem Dance Kampni. She studied the classical dance form under the tutelage of Dr. Maya Rao, and collaborates with dancers on contemporary and elaborate artistic dance compositions. She is an experienced dance soloist with an emphasis on adapting mythological stories to contemporary sensibilities.
Rania Atef is an Egyptian multidisciplinary visual artist, whose work explores the notions of play and craft across a wide range of mediums including: painting, sculpture, installation and video. Her practice started with the experimentation of three dimensional forms and installations, through using and combining different materials, and has spanned recently to video. Her work mainly focuses on the infrastructure of social implications, which affects human behavior and attitude. She has participated in a number of local/international exhibitions and festivals in Egypt, The Netherlands, India, Ireland, Jordan and South Africa.
Revathy Ashok is the Managing Trustee & CEO, B.PAC and co-founder, Strategy Garage. Being an integral part of B.PAC, she has been instrumental in creating a cadre of local civic leaders in Bengaluru that acts as a bridge between local authorities and residents of Bengaluru. She is an independent member on the boards of several companies, on the advisory boards of startups and a trustee of the Academy of Theater Arts, BLT Foundation.
Rohini Mohan is an acclaimed journalist who writes on contemporary politics and human rights in South Asia, for publications as varied as Al Jazeera to the New York Times, Tehelka and Outlook . Her award-winning book, The Seasons of Trouble (2014), a nonfiction account of post-war Srilanka received much critical acclaim. Rohini is the winner of The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and Tata Literature Live! First Book Award (Nonfiction). She has also won prestigious recognition for her work, including Charles Wallace Fellowship 2013; the ICRC Humanitarian Reporting Award 2012, New Delhi; and the South Asian Journalists Association award 2011, New York.
Romicon is a multi-faceted contemporary visual artist, sculptor and digital artist who's public installations and works can be found in public and private collections including Manyata Embassy Tech Park, Hilton Hotel, and World Trade Center (Kochi). She works across medium, predominantly steel, primarily focusing on feminine musings, sustainability and ecology. Her video Ocean within a drop was screened at the Birmingham Art Summit at MAC on World Water Day in 2018. She is the recipient of the 2019 CIMA Infosys Special Award and was a collaborator on “The Future is Here”, a major art &technology show curated by Dr. Arshiya Lokahndwala for the Bajaj Foundation, Mumbai.
Karnataka's first lady IPS officer, D Roopa is most renowned for her fearless and courageous work in a predominantly male-dominated workforce. Holding various portfolios across police services, including DIG Prisons, DCP City Armed Reserve and SP, she has unearthed and solved various high-profile cases. She was conferred with the prestigious President’s Medal for Meritorious Service in 2017. She is also a trained classical Hindustani singer and a Bharatanatyam dancer.
Roopamouli Mysore is a versatile, multi-faceted agriculturist and business woman.She has worked under the DANIDA scheme for the State dept of Agriculture, which imparted new technologies to farmers. Founder of the charity organisation Sahaya Hastha that creates awareness on cervical and breast cancer, she is also Mrs India United Nation and Mrs Global International Classic 2017, and a Pinkathon Ambassador. She is currently filming a movie titled ‘Ammu’ focusing on cancer awareness.
Sandhya Mendonca has a career of firsts, from being the first woman journalist on the crime beat to the Festival Director of India’s first multi-arts Festival curated by women, ie, this festival. A journalist-turned-media-entrepreneur, Mendonca is an author, prolific writer, editor and publisher through her company Raintree Media. She has recently edited and published the Augmented Reality embedded Innovate Bengaluru, which features the top 100 innovators and enablers in Bengaluru's ecosystem. Her books published by Penguin Random House include 'Disrupt & Conquer - How TTK Prestige became a billion dollar company which was in the Amazon Editor's picks as Memorable Books of 2018 and Best of business & leadership from 2018 and Reva EV: India's Green Gift to the World .
Seethalakshmi is an acclaimed journalist, writer and field reporter who has worked with several major publications including Times of India, spearheading various significant campaigns for a better Bengaluru. Having managed several news bureaus, covered assembly and civic elections since 1994, she has also instigated several city-level policy decisions. In her current role as co-founder of 'Antardhwani', a think-tank with (HCG), she builds strategy around tobacco control and cancer, spearheading the campaign for smoke-free Bengaluru besides designing public policy interventions in the fields of education, livelihood and governance. Seethalakshmi is the recipient of US-based International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP), has won the Namma Bengaluru best journalist award and Editor of the Year in 2017.
Shabari began her career as a dancer in 1999, and now works in the areas of performance,
education and research.
Passionate about grooves and soulful solos, Shalini Mohan is a pianist and musician dabbling in genres as varied as classical Carnatic to Jazz and Folk Rock. Granddaughter of the renowned Carnatic flautist T R Mahalingam, (‘Flute Mali’), she is a core member of the International Carnatic Fusion act ‘St.’, has collaborated as lead vocalist/ bassist with Hindustani jazz project, “Projekt Maya” and Bangalore-based folk rock band Lagori . She is also an accomplished multi-lingual film music composer.
A veteran of driving policy innovations through her various roles in several government bodies, Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, IAS, is currently the Principal Secretary, Planning, Programme Monitoring & Statistics Department, Government of Karnataka, & Chairperson, Tumakuru Smart City. She was instrumental in implementing Sakala, a citizen-friendly administrative initiative which combines all government departments into a single electronic platform to ensure accountability and speedier grievance redressal. Sakala received the Google Innovation Award in 2013.
Shan is one of India's most versatile artists. Dynamic and prolific, her works bring together emotional and psychological states with fleeting realism cutting across different media with continuous exploration into myriad subjects and genres for solo and individual shows, in India and abroad. Shan's work can be found in prominent public and private collections. She has collaborated with a sustainable luxury fashion brand, products of which was showcased at the New York Fashion Week. She also conducts art therapy workshops for emotional well being.
A Fulbright Scholar and Ramanujan Fellow, Dr. Olsson is part of a larger effort to promote chemical ecology in India. A professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Dr. Olson heads the Naturalist-Inspired Chemical Ecology (NICE) group, which combines chemistry, evolutionary biology, ethology, and neuroengineering to understand how different insects have evolved to smell “odor objects” and make decisions.
As a sports journalist, Sharda Ugra has worked across three decades with publications such as the Midday, The Hindu and India Today magazines. Currently the senior editor for ESPNcricinfo.com and ESPN.in, she writes and speaks on issues related to Indian sports in the country and abroad. Sharda has worked with former New Zealand captain John Wright on his memoir, 'Indian Summers' and with Yuvraj Singh on his tryst with cancer. She was a fellow of the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne in 2013.
Shrirupa (Shri) is a stand-up comedienne, and also contributes significantly to Public Health Communication systems in response to the needs of the poor. Her comedy style observational and largely drawn from her own life experiences. Shrirupa participates extensively in stage shows and loves her experimental cooking escapades.
A multi-lingual rap artist, Siri Narayan's unique voice and unusual perspective tackles subjects as varied as women empowerment to gender discrimination. She's a lyricist, stylist & producer of ‘Live it.’ Having collaborated with Vice, GQ, Nike & Divine, her track with ‘Girliyapa’ garnered over 2.5 million views on youtube, has won her the ‘Best Electronica Artist’ and ‘Best Indie Collaboration’ at the Radio City Freedom Awards 2019.
Choreographer, actor, folk exponent and storyteller, Sneha Kappanna is the co-founder of Katha Corner, executive director at Kappanna Angala and artistic director at Bhramari Dance Repertoire. As director of ‘Bhramari Dance Repertoire’, she has completed over 600 shows in India and abroad, winning several accolades, with the landmark show “Swagatha Suswagatha” produced by the Department of Tourism, GoK. Sneha is also the co-founder of ‘Katha Corner’ which addresses storytelling and children’s theatre collaborating with Bal Bhavan, Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts and Nrutyagram and is the recipient of “Namma Sadakaru” young achievers award by Karnataka Sangeetha Nruthya Academy.
Member of Parliament Dr.Sonal Mansingh is one of India’s foremost cultural icons. An accomplished dance-guru, choreographer, scholar and activist, she is the recipient of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Vibhushan (2003) and Padma Bhushan (1992) besides other prestigious international honours. Uniquely proficient in several different classical dance forms, Dr.Mansingh’s contributions have involved significant choreographic work in the social space through new genres such as Naatya-Katha or solo dance theatre. As Founder-President of the Centre for Indian Classical Dances, she has trained several thousand talented artists across India. Dr Mansingh is currently the trustee on several eminent government bodies including Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and was also the Former-Chairperson of Central Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Dr. Srikala Raghavan is a cell biologist, and an Associate Professor with inStem Bengaluru. She’s worked extensively on skin, and understanding the interaction between skin stem cells and the immune system. Dr. Raghavan holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, and has worked with Prof. Elaine Fuchs’s lab at the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University for her postdoctoral research. She also holds a joint appointment as a Principal Investigator at the SRIS/IMB, A*STAR, Singapore.
Sujata Kelkar Shetty
A biologist and certified life coach, Dr. Sujata Kelkar Shetty doesn't just work with wellness but also researches and shares it across publications. With a degree in genetics and toxicology, Dr.Sujata is curious about knowing and understanding the mind-body connection and her postdoctoral work at the NIH focuses on the same subject. She recently published a book, ‘99 Not Out! Your Guide to a Long And Healthy Life.’ and believes in the power of wellness for inner health.
Sumana's expertise as a ghatam virtuoso goes beyond performance and well into research and study with the instrument makers in TN. She has performed in venues across the world including Delhi & Germany, worked on a pioneering arts education initiative for GoK and is a recipient of the Karnataka state ‘best young vocalist award’. She is currently the Program Lead for India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), a Bangalore-based national arts organisation.