Dr. Janhavi Nilekani, PhD

Dr. Janhavi Nilekani is an applied microeconomist, a women’s empowerment activist, a health systems reformer, an effective philanthropist, a mother, a partner, a daughter, and more.

She is the Founder and Chairperson of Aastrika Midwifery Centre and the Founder and Chairperson of AastarUrmika Health Systems (AUHS). At AUHS, she uses her background in academic research, public policy, and public health, and strives to instigate India-wide improvements in the quality of maternal healthcare. Dr. Janhavi is a 2018 alumna of Harvard where she completed her PhD in Public Policy, and holds a 2010 BA, cum laude, in Economics and International Studies from Yale.

Janhavi’s personal experience with pregnancy in India was deeply disappointing and disempowering. After a lengthy quest for evidence-based care in Bangalore, she eventually travelled to Sanctum, Hyderabad, to birth with midwife Dr. Vijaya Krishnan, who has written about Janhavi’s birth here.

Aastrika Midwifery Centre is the realization of Janhavi’s dream of establishing a birth centre in Bangalore that would offer everything she wanted during her pregnancy – ethical, evidence-based care, respectful and informed shared-decision making, and a team that supports mothers through every stage of their journey into motherhood.

Janhavi remembers her unmedicated birth experience as the best day of her life. She hopes every mother at Aastrika Midwifery Centre will remember their birth experiences the way Janhavi remembers her own – with pride, joy, and a sense of fulfilment.

Her profile photo was taken 21 hours after her son Tanush was born.

Dr. Manjula Venkatappa Rai

Dr. Manjula Venkatappa Rai is Aastrika Midwifery Centre’s Director of Hospital Operations. She is an MBBS doctor by qualification and holds a postgraduate degree in Healthcare Management and a Diploma in Culinary Arts. She comes with over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry working in the Middle East and India for reputed healthcare groups and management consulting firms.

Dr. Manjula specializes in hospital operations & strategy, facility planning, project coordination & hospital commissioning, hospital accreditation and quality, hospital information system implementation, and healthcare insurance. Prior to her healthcare management career, she worked as a Resident Doctor, at M.S. Ramaiah Hospital and PD Hinduja Sindhi Hospital in Bangalore.

Dr. Manjula is responsible for all matters related to the operations of Aastrika Midwifery Centre. In her spare time, she loves researching millet-based healthy recipes. Dr. Manjula lives in Bangalore with her family.

Aditi Roy

Aditi is Aastrika Midwifery Centre’s full-time General Counsel. She is an experienced lawyer with around 10 years of experience practicing in the areas of commercial contracts, licensing, outsourcing, compliances, privacy and data protection, general commercial matters, strategic and general advisory, dispute resolution and employment with a background of working in the diverse industries such as technology, marketing and advertising and healthcare.

In the past she has worked in a top Indian IT company with global clients and partners in more than 50 countries, a leading technology law firm, a unicorn startup in India in the mobile advertising space as well as new medtech initiative from a top Indian multinational conglomerate.

Aditi has completed her graduation in law at the erstwhile Christ College of Law (presently School of Law, Christ University) and hold a B.A. LL.B degree (awarded by Bangalore University. At Aastrika, she handles the legal portfolio as the General Counsel.

Anushree Kini, MSW

Anushree Kini is a HungryTraveller extraordinaire, a creative storyteller, a performing arts instructor, a mother of two, a partner, and more.

Anushree has been deeply involved in Janhavi’s plans to launch a birth centre in Bangalore since 2017. She is delighted to formally join Aastrika Midwifery Centre in 2021 as a Board Director, and is excited to be an integral part of a Bangalore-based movement for MotherBaby-Family Maternity Care.

Anushree is also a Board Director at AastarUrmika Health Systems (AUHS), Aastrika’s non-profit arm. At AUHS, she uses her background in social work and legal justice to contribute to Aastrika’s mission of increasing access to high quality, respectful maternity care for 25 million women annually by 2025. Anushree holds a 2008 Masters in Social Work from TISS, Mumbai, and a 2006 BA in Psychology, Sociology, and Economics from Christ University.

Anushree’s first pregnancy experience with her son Kabir in August 2016 was mixed. When she saw Janhavi’s positive birth experience in December 2016, she realized that pregnancy, birth, and the newborn phase have the potential to be joyous experiences.

After years of extensive immersion into this space alongside Janhavi, Anushree planned her second childbirth in exquisite detail, and thoughtfully made choices to ensure a positive birth. Her second birth experience with her daughter Mira in July 2021 was delightful. She remembers Mira’s birth the way Aastrika Midwifery Centre hopes every mother will – with pride, joy, and a sense of fulfillment.

Through her experience with HungryTravellers, Anushree has built a deep understanding of the needs of Bangalore’s mothers, the challenges they face, and their incredible strengths. She brings this context into her work at Aastrika Midwifery Centre, and works to ensure that expecting mothers are able to inform themselves, advocate for themselves, seek necessary help, and have an empowered, evidence-based birth. Anushree’s vision is that every mother should be able to do what she did – go on her first vacation as a family of four at 6 weeks postpartum! 

Her profile photo was taken 24 hours after her daughter Mira was born.

Visveswara Gupta

Gupta is an Infosys veteran, who has spent more than 27 years in the company. In Infosys, he has played numerous leadership roles, successfully leading multiple change initiatives. In his last role as a Vice President & Global Delivery Head, he was the key driving force for the Digital Experience unit since its inception and was responsible for growing their Digital business. Gupta is an avid traveller and lives in Bangalore with his family.

Srinivas Seshadri

Srinivas Seshadri is Director of Strategy and Technology at Aastrika Foundation. He is responsible for Product Management, Engineering, and Operations of Aastrika Sphere (Societal Platform for Healthcare), a collaborative global platform designed to enable qualitative and quantitative health system strengthening at scale. He also works closely on the midwifery initiatives at the Foundation, focusing on strategy and stakeholder management.

Srinivas is a serial entrepreneur and an IT professional with 30 years of experience. He co-founded Injoos and Kineticglue, both of which have had successful exits to BMC Software. He is also a core member of the founding team of Edgeverve – the product subsidiary of Infosys.

Srinivas keeps his passion for entrepreneurship alive by guiding a host of start-ups through various stages of venture building. Focused on impact and scale, he remains an engineer at heart who believes in using technology to solve real-life problems. Several team members at Aastrika have grown professionally due to Srinivas’s guidance and mentorship.

Srinivas is also venturing into the challenging field of agri-business through his coffee plantation.

Nirmala Narasimmaiah

Nirmala is Aastrika Foundation’s Director of Finance and Operations. She comes with 21 years of rich experience in corporate and non-profit finance. She has worked previously as Head of Finance at Greenpeace and as a Senior Manager at Arghyam.

Nirmala holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance. In her spare time, Nirmala likes to watch movies, listen to music and gardening.

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