Jessica Seddon
Founder & Managing Director

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.
Ashwin Mahalingam

Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam is Assistant 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, 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
Amber Luong
Lead Researcher - Infrastructure and Environment

Amber is a lead researcher focused on Okapi's infrastructure and environment portfolio of projects, based out of Delhi. She has a decade of experience working with organizations in the fields of finance, environment, and development, with a focus on cross-disciplinary research and project implementation. Prior to joining Okapi she worked with the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia managing a large-scale policy research collaboration with the Government of India's Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, and three State Pollution Control Boards on air pollution from industrial sources. Her professional experience also includes work with the American India Foundation (as a William J. Clinton Fellow), the Clinton Climate Initiative, CORDIO East Africa, and Goldman Sachs. She holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, a B.A. in Economics from Barnard College, Columbia University and is a CFA Charterholder.
Anjali Neelakantan
Senior Research Associate

Anjali Neelakantan's research interests include assessment metrics for sustainability of infrastructure systems, climate change, impact evaluation of social enterprises, environmental valuation, public policy and urban public health (focussed on water pollution and sanitation). She holds an MSc. in Environmental Economics from the University of East Anglia, Norwich and a B.A. in Economics from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She also holds a graduate certification in public policy from Takshashila Institution, Bangalore.
Ayushman Banerjee
Senior Research Associate

Ayushman’s interests span a wide variety of issues involving urban governance and policy. His current pursuits at Okapi include working on governance of resilience and pollution control projects in Chennai and Bangalore. Past experiences include producing conferences on urban development; risk analysis at a sub-national level government housing department in Canada; contributing to research on municipal finance and governance in developed and emerging economies; supporting urban conservation initiatives; and a number of endeavours in program evaluation. Ayushman holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. He also completed his undergraduate degree in Urban Studies and Sociology from the University of Toronto. Lived experiences in metropolises ranging from Bangalore to Toronto have complemented his multidisciplinary background.
Smylie Patric
Head of Administration

Smylie Angeline Patric is Head of Administration in Okapi. She comes with an experience of 22 years of trouble shooting regular and administrative activities. Smylie loves music, reading, and spending time with her family (in addition to keeping Okapi on track!)
Geetanjali Shahi
Senior Research Associate

A Development professional with over five years of experience in research and consulting working on a wide range of projects in the domain of Natural Resources Management, Rural Livelihoods, Forestry, off-grid Renewable Energy and Adaptation Studies. She has worked intensively with the BoP segment on various aspects such as alternate livelihoods, demand and need for clean energy, clean drinking water, improved cook-stoves and the impact of government schemes on this segment. Her Experience and interest areas include Monitoring and Evaluation, Impact Assessment Studies, Access to Clean Energy, Ecosystem Services Valuation Studies. She holds a Masters in Environment and Development Management from Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal.
Seema Kumar
Senior Research Associate

Seema Kumar holds a Juris Doctor and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Okapi, Seema worked with a Delhi-based NGO on rural livelihood enhancement through natural disaster rehabilitation, agricultural value addition, enterprise management training and technical capacity building. Seema is interested in equitable development and poverty eradication, with a focus on sustainable energy access.
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
Bhavay Sharma
Senior Research Associate

Bhavay comes with a background in solid waste management, waste water, community development & energy. He has spent much of his career working on project management at the grass roots level.
Charis Idicheria
Lead Researcher

Charis is interested in studying and designing scenarios for equitable work. Having worked and studied across 4 continents, she is motivated to identify solutions that create sustainable and resilient business solutions, particularly for workers and entrepreneurs in India's informal economy and MSME sector. Charis has worked on consulting and research projects on urban livelihoods; poverty; e-governance; and participatory urban planning. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a Master of Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance.
Aditi Agrawal
Associate- New Initiatives

Aditi joined Okapi in December of 2016 after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles where she earned a B.A in Political Science and Public Affairs. Passionate about driving social impact, Aditi has had diverse internship experiences ranging from the 321 Education Foundation to Brookings India and Elevar Equity. At Okapi she works closely with our lead researchers and the administration to identify and develop new product and service areas, vet new project partners and support growth and scale of our organizational impact.
Kalai Selvi
Finance Associate

Kalai Selvi holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance. She comes with an 7 plus years experience in Accounts and Finance department.Kalai to manage financial tasks for an organization, and she is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining efficient finance systems.
Parama Roy

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.
Ramesh Srinivasan
Associate Professor, UCLA

Ramesh is an Associate Professor at UCLA in Design and Media/Information Studies. His work focuses on how new media technologies impact political revolutions, economic development and poverty reduction, and the future of cultural heritage.
Auralice Graft
Expert in sustainable waste management at community and urban scales

Auralice Graft has lived and worked in the Pondicherry, India, area for more than 3 decades. She implements interventions there relating to solid waste management and environmental sustainability. She also consults for international organizations on a range of development, governance and open data issues. Previously, Auralice worked on reproductive and public health issues for the Population Council in New York and New Delhi; and also worked 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 Pubic Affairs, Columbia University in New York.
Venkata Santosh
Infrastructure project management and governance, Sustainable infrastructure projects

Dr. Venkata Santosh Kumar Delhi is an expert associate with Okapi. His research interests include infrastructure project governance, public-private partnerships, sustainability in infrastructure projects. He holds a PhD and a B.Tech. in Civil Engineering from IIT Madras.
Nachiket Kulkarni

Nachiket has a masters in Industrial Management and a Bachelors in Electrical & Electronics Engineering. He also holds a graduate certificate in public policy from The Takshashila Institution. He previously worked at Intel Corporation, California as a Business Operations Analyst. After volunteering initiatives at Association for India’s Development (AID) and International Rescue Committee (IRC), he transitioned into the world of economic development. In the development sector, Nachiket has worked in micro-enterprise development in rural Uttar Pradesh, and later as a fellow at Villgro, India’s leading social enterprise incubator. At Villgro, he helped develop metrics for measuring impact of social enterprises and contributed to research on regional social entrepreneurship ecosystems in India's tier 2 towns. During this journey, he has developed a keen interest in the lives and businesses of street vendors and also in related development topics like decentralized energy dissemination, financial inclusion and SME ecosystems.
Vivek Ashok Sakhrani
Senior Consultant, CPCS Transcom Inc.

Vivek Sakhrani, PhD is a Senior Consultant at CPCS Transcom Inc. He is a systems engineer with significant expertise in infrastructure project organization, analytics and modeling. He has worked with local, regional and national governments to assess the relative impacts of different modes of infrastructure delivery, including public-private partnerships (PPPs). In much of this work, Vivek provides policy-relevant advice based on strategic frameworks and detailed analytic investigations. He has led studies on infrastructure PPPs from the perspectives of design, contracting, and governance in transportation (airports, roads), water, and energy. He has partnered with water and energy sector utilities, public authorities, private firms, and multi-lateral agencies. Prior to CPCS, Vivek led and published research in a number of initiatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he also received both his PhD (Engineering Systems) and Master’s (Technology and Policy). He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Business from the University of Texas at Austin. Vivek is based in Washington, DC. Personal website:
Sangeetha Nair
Research and Operations Associate

Sangeetha has experience in the field of rural development and her interests include the study of quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas. She is a Research and Operations Associate at Okapi
Rajesh Rangarajan

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 inter-disciplinary, 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.