Neera’s first grassroots experience of rural India was with the day school for Adivasi children her mother set up near Kharagpur, West Bengal. That was also how she began to empathise with the lives of others, eventually transitioning from her investment banking job in the US to co-found Dasra in 1999, to accelerate social change by driving collaborative action among a trust-based network of stakeholders.
Neera leads Dasra’s ecosystem-building initiatives in the areas of Adolescents, Urban Sanitation, and Democracy & Governance and facilitates collaborative platforms by engaging donors, non-profits, government and other stakeholders. In 2016, she initiated the Dasra Adolescents Collaborative, an impact-driven platform that has united institutional funders, technical experts, government stakeholders from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and several social organizations to focus on four key outcomes for adolescent empowerment.
She initiated and led the launch of the Dasra Social Impact Leadership Program with Harvard Business Publishing, a first-of-its-kind executive education program for social sector leaders in India. Internally, she has supported the analysis of over 70 Dasra sector reports on education, health and livelihoods, enabling over USD 44 million in funding for hundreds of social enterprises.
She has been critical in establishing partnerships with global leaders such as Harvard University, Stanford University, USAID, Omidyar Network and the Gates Foundation to push the boundaries of social impact in India. Closer to the ground, she has worked with Dasra's portfolio organizations such as Educate Girls, SNEHA, Sarathi and Aangan to refine their strategies and accelerate their growth by 10-20x.
Neera holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and is an Indian Leadership Fellow with Anantha-Aspen Institute. She is a recipient of the Canadian Governor General's Medallion for her dedication to addressing India’s critical development challenges, and the Forbes Philanthropy Award in the Crossover Leaders.