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Ashwin Mahalingam
Co-founder and Board Member

Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam is Associate Professor at the Building Technology and Construction Management division of the Civil Engineering Department at IIT-Madras. Dr. Mahalingam’s current research interests include Public Private Partnerships in Infrastructure, Megaproject governance and management, IT based Innovation in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, and ways in which organizations react to the globalization of engineering services. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a B.Tech from IIT Madras. Ashwin is a Director on the boards of several infrastructure project companies and is also involved in setting up the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at IIT-Madras.

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Parama Roy
Lead Researcher, Urban Transformation

Dr. Parama Roy is the Lead Researcher of the Urban Transformations portfolio at Okapi. Parama is interested in the multifaceted and complex nature of urbanization process and its social and environmental implications. She has over 10 years of research experience relating to contemporary urban planning processes and associated possibilities and challenges across varied socio-political contexts. Parama’s work is specifically motivated by principles of socio-environmental justice and sustainable development and guided by political-economic and political-ecological theories, and mixed research methodologies. Her most recent publications are based on her work on Danish urban renewal planning in Copenhagen. Parama completed her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked at Georgia State University and State University of New York-Binghamton in the US and University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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Rajesh Rangarajan
Lead Researcher, Energy and Environment

Rajesh is an environmental sector professional having more than fifteen years of work experience engaging in programmes and projects on environmental pollution and sustainability, coastal and urban environmental protection, climate change and environmental governance. Rajesh has experience working in different kinds of organisations including government, non-government and international development organisations, think-tanks and research organisations Rajesh’s domain expertise is interdisciplinary, encompassing environmental quality, sustainability and environmental governance with project experience in environmental management, energy efficiency, climate change adaptation, waste management and pollution prevention. His interests lie in employing policy & social entrepreneurship abilities in collaborative problem solving for better environmental outcomes and sustainable development.

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Auralice Graft
Lead Researcher, Water

At Okapi Auralice is lead researcher, water. She is currently developing a project to measure the impact of drip irrigation on water tables in the Pondicherry region. She is also working on a "state of water" report for Okapi's Integrated Governance project in Chennai.  Auralice has lived in Auroville, South India for more than 3 decades, working as a researcher, writer and implementer of projects. Her primary interest is ecological balance and environmental sustainability. Previously, she worked with the Population Council in New York and New Delhi, in the reproductive and public health space, and for the Open Society Institute in New York. She has a master’s degree in economic and political development from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in New York.

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Krishna Kumar
Senior Research Associate

Krishna Kumar holds a Masters in Sustainable Energy Supply from Brandenburg Technical University, Germany. He has worked on last mile energy access projects in India and Africa, with particular emphasis on microgrids and community ownership models, while promoting sustainable development and strong ecosystem for rural entrepreneurs

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Jessica Seddon
Founder and Board Member

Dr Jessica Seddon is the Founder of Okapi, an India-based strategy group focused on institutional design for social innovation. Okapi is incubated by IIT Madras and works with government, corporate, and philanthropic clients to understand and shape the ecosystems around complex social and environmental challenges. Dr. Seddon is also a Visiting Fellow at IDFC Institute and Adjunct Faculty at IIT Madras, where she works on institutional design for infrastructure governance, pollution mitigation, risk management and other aspects of a transition to a more sustainable relationship with the environment. She is on the advisory boards of the Wilderhill Global Clean Energy Index (NEX), Prakti Design Labs and Vidyartha. Prior to founding Okapi, Dr. Seddon served as Head of Research at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (Bangalore), Director of the Centre for Development Finance at IFMR, Chennai, and Assistant Professor, UC San Diego. She was also a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Seddon earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her B.A. from Harvard University.

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Meena Vaidyanathan
Advisor/Mentor

Meena has had a long and accomplished career across several industry sectors, in business development, research and public affairs since 1994. She has two Masters degrees, is a certificate holder in Social Entrepreneurship from INSEAD, and has worked with some of the best thought leaders at Harvard Business School, Indian Institute of Management and INSEAD on case studies and teaching programmes.She founded niiti consulting in 2010, with the aim of supporting and enabling programmes and organisations that create large scale social impact, through impact measurement design, sectoral research, and strategy support. Meena is a visiting faculty on marketing and social entrepreneurship in many business schools in India and abroad and has authored several papers and video case studies. She also serves on the Boards of a few technology start-ups.