The Board of Dream A Dream is the organisation’s legal representative. It is primarily involved in setting the direction for the organisation, providing policy guidelines, mentoring, monitoring and evaluating its work. The Board meets at least once every quarter.
Sandeep Farias is the co-founder of Elevar and the founder of Unitus’ Indian operations in 2004. He conceptualised Unitus’ India strategy, built the India team and partnered with seven microfinance institutions that cumulatively lent to over 2.5 million women across multiple states. Subsequently, he was Chief Innovation Officer at Unitus, test piloting ideas and projects on a global basis shaping the company’s long-term strategy.
Sandeep’s association with microfinance began with his stint at Nishith Desai Associates (NDA), a leading Indian law firm, where he founded their development sector practice. He also established their offices in Palo Alto, California, and Bangalore, India. Sandeep’s work after the Gujarat earthquake in 2000 on behalf of the American India Foundation helped NDA win the Asian Law Firm of the Year (Pro Bono) Award by the International Financial Law Review.
Sandeep serves as a Director on the boards of many organisations and has an integrated Law & Arts Honours Degree from the National Law School of India University in Bangalore, India.
Meera Harish is the Vice President (Global Sales & Marketing) of Tata Coffee, a part of the Tata Global Beverages Group. She has spent more than two decades of her career with the Tata Group, at the helm of one of their premier brands – Titan Industries Limited – known for watches, jewelry and eyewear. Her expertise was instrumental in the brand’s foray into the Asia Pacific region. As head of Marketing, Design & Category Management of Tanishq – Titan’s jewelry brand – during its initial years, she spearheaded its growth. Later, as the Innovation Lead at Titan, she brought alive the concept of cross-pollination in innovation.
Meera features in the book ‘Top 100 Managers in India’ by Prof T V Rao published in 2012. Her experience and expertise earn her invitations to speak at noted educational institutions such as the Oxford University and National University of Singapore. Meera has co-authored a Harvard case study on Tata Motor’s acquisition of Daewoo Commercial Vehicles, with the National University of Singapore. She is a Board Member of Common Purpose, India – a tri-sector leadership development organisation – and was a resource speaker during David Cameron’s visit to Bangalore in 2010.
UK Advisory Board:
In 2009, Dream A Dream set up a group of volunteers and supporters to form an Advisory Board in the UK. Its primary objective is to help Dream A Dream build its presence in Europe and engage more individuals and organisations to support its work with young people with vulnerable backgrounds in India.
Ed Williams, Chairman
Ed runs his own consultancy business in the UK working with leaders and their teams to maximise their potential and deliver peak performance. He also advises organisations on the strategic development and implementation of their approach to corporate responsibility, enabling them to bring their brand values to life. Since 2005, Ed has consulted widely across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
A graduate of King’s College, London, Ed has enjoyed a 25-year career with Marks & Spencer. He established and implemented the Company’s CSR strategy and under his watch M&S was judged Business in the Community’s ‘Company of the Year 2004’.
Ed has lived and worked in Zambia as a volunteer teacher with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). He has had a range of non-executive appointments in the UK including Commissioner on the Barrow Cadbury Trust Commission on Young Adults and the Criminal Justice System, and HR Advisor to the Royal National Theatre. He is an Advisory Board member for the award-winning social enterprise Adopt a Business. Ed was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2000.
Gopi is an Associate Partner of Monitor Group, a strategy consulting firm, in their London office. He is a member of the firm’s financial services and scenario planning leadership. He has extensive experience working with private sector organisations on strategy development and organisational transformation issues, and public sector clients on national and regional competitiveness issues. Prior to joining Monitor, he was a Corporate Strategy manager, Finance Manager and Internal Consultant with Procter & Gamble. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Meenakshi is a Senior Manager in the International Tax team of Ernst & Young in London. She has significant experience in advising multinationals on their cross border corporate tax issues, specifically in the transfer pricing area. Meenakshi is a qualified accountant and a chartered tax advisor. She also holds an honours degree in Mathematical Statistics from Delhi University.
Meera works with the Global Product Finance & Strategy Team in the Commercial Cards business at American Express, London. She has extensive experience working on new product launches and product profitability analyses both at Amex and (prior to that), at Barclays Wealth, UK. She has previously worked at IL&FS Investsmart India and Thomson Reuters in Bangalore.
Meera holds an MBA degree from TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal, and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Bangalore University.
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Rajesh currently works as a Senior Manager with PwC UK in their Advisory Division.
“I have been following Dream a Dream’s fortunes since its inception and it gives me tremendous joy to see the progress made over the last decade. Being part of the UK Advisory Board is a wonderful opportunity for me to be an integral part of this vibrant organisation and join the rest of the team in the exciting journey ahead.”