Seema Paul

Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy India

Seema Paul, Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy India, is passionate about making a difference to the future of people and the planet. As an entrepreneurial executive, she has translated concepts into organizations and program strategies into impactful public policies in energy, climate change and ecosystems conservation. She has worked across philanthropies, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and media; and has managed program portfolios totalling more than $120 million over her career. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Seema was the Vice President at Climate Works Foundation and Founder CEO of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to advancing climate mitigation in India. She has also served as Program Director for Biodiversity at Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation. An alumna of St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, University of Maryland, U.S., and INSEAD, France, Seema is passionate about leading non-profit start-ups, setting vision and implementing strategy. She lives in New Delhi with her two daughters and travels frequently across India and around the world for work and pleasure. In her free time, she likes to read and explore nature and history through books, site visits and collecting vintage memorabilia. She has a passion for the arts.

Kunal Sharma

Director of Programmes

Kunal Sharma oversees The Nature Conservancy India’s conservation portfolio and leads the programme teams by providing strategic guidance to conservation goals and objectives. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, he was head of the Climate Policy Programme at the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation. In his eight years with Shakti, he led the development of the programme’s grant portfolio and provided strategic guidance on numerous projects spanning low carbon development, mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants and air quality management. Kunal managed working relationships with officials at several Ministries and State Government Departments. His previous professional experience includes working at Abt Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., where he contributed to several analytic assessments in support of EPA regulations and initiatives. He also has six years of experience in the private sector. Kunal graduated from Yale University with a dual Master’s in Environmental Studies and Economics. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Hindu College, Delhi University. In his free time, Kunal likes to play field hockey, go on hikes, and try out new recipes in the kitchen.

Robin Gusain

Director of Finance & Operations

Robin Gusain is a qualified Chartered Accountant, Company Secretary and MBA (Finance) with more than 14 years of experience in finance, internal audit, management reporting, grants and risk management functions. At The Nature Conservancy India, he oversees Finance, Legal, Human Resources and Operations. He played a key role in ensuring The Nature Conservancy was legally registered in India. In the past, he has served as the Finance Director at Room to Read for two years and an Internal Auditor at the Aga Khan Foundation for six years. Robin has extensive experience in handling matters relating to regulatory compliance with respect to Income Tax Act, FCRA, Companies Act, Accounting Standards and more. He has also successfully monitored and executed long-term projects funded by international organizations, agencies and donors such as the European Commission, CIDA, DFID, USAID and UNICEF. Robin is a committed father to two daughters and plans to devote his retirement to a brighter tomorrow for the next generation of girls in India.

Aditi Khurana

Manager, Partnerships

Aditi Khurana is a management graduate as well as a qualified homoeopathic doctor with over eight years of work experience in the private and development sector. She specialises in business development and fundraising. She leads The Nature Conservancy’s fundraising efforts in India with a focus on corporates, HNIs and foundations. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Aditi worked with Doctors Without Borders India where she was responsible for leading the Major Donor Fundraising channel. She started her career with Yes Bank Ltd., a private Indian Bank, after completing her post-graduation in Management in 2010. She is passionate about dance and loves to spend her free time learning the French language and reading.

Amit Pathak

Executive Assistant to MD

Amit Pathak is the Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy India. He has over 20 years of experience in managing offices of executive leaders and administration management. He is an MBA with specialisation in Human Resources. He has worked in Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, where he managed the annual administration budget of Rs. 4.5 crore independently in addition to ably running the CEO’s Office. A proactive team member, he has worked with the NV Group of companies, where he was the Executive Assistant to the Founder Chairman and Managing Director. He has worked in public, private and social sectors, including organisations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. He is a nature lover and likes to travel to unexplored destinations in India.

Ashok Biswal

Project Associate, Narmada

Ashok Biswal is a passionate nature explorer and keen wildlife photographer who is rarely seen without a camera hanging from his neck. He enjoys capturing nature’s mysteries through his lens. He manages The Nature Conservancy India’s project on restoring River Narmada and is based out of the Divisional Commissioner’s office in Narmadapuram. He has travelled extensively in East India to research on flora, fauna and other conservation aspects of wetlands. These works are reflected in his three books – ‘Aquatic Plants of Eastern India’, ‘Glimpses of Biodiversity of Odisha’ and ‘Biological Diversity of Regional Plant Resources Center’. Ashok received his academic and professional training from the Wildlife Institute of India, Wildlife Conservation Society, Utkal University, Bharathiar University and Indian Institute of Forest Management. He is a field researcher at heart and spends any free time in the jungles exploring nature and capturing its beauty through photography.

Dhaval Negandhi

Ecological Economist

Dhaval Negandhi is an Ecological Economist with The Nature Conservancy’s India programme and supports all programme teams in conducting economic analyses for conservation projects. He currently manages the projects on Renewable Energy and Reforestation by Design and Restoring River Narmada in the Central Indian Landscape. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Dhaval also worked with the Institute on issues related to ecosystem services, conservation finance and natural capital at the science-policy interface. He has been an integral part of research studies that have influenced national policies in India on forest and wildlife management including the Net Present Value of Forest Diversion in India, Forest Fiscal Federalism for the 14th Finance Commission of India and Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves in India. He has a Master’s in Forestry Management from India and another Master’s in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from three universities across Europe. He is based out of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh where he lives with his wife and two children. He is passionate about travelling and cricket and spends his free time playing with his son and daughter.

Divya Vohra

HR Manager

Divya is a seasoned HR professional who leads the Human Resources Function at The Nature Conservancy. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Divya has over a decade of experience of working as a Human Resource Business Partner with organizations like SoftwareONE, Pitney Bowes and IBM. She believes in creating impact that enables positive change. She is a self-starter and has to her credit some of the most disruptive solutions for complex business problems. Her forte lies in recognizing opportunities and tapping them as prospects. She aspires to evolve the Human Resources function with her experience and firmly believes in innovating for collaboration. She is a music lover, amateur singer and has a penchant for travel. She also has a deep interest in nature and loves to keep a track of global nature conservation efforts and movements. Divya did her post-graduation in Human Resources from School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) and graduated as an Electronics and Communication Engineer from Apeejay College of Engineering (MDU, Rohtak).

Neeraj Garg

Assistant Manager, Finance & Administration

Neeraj Garg is semi-qualified Chartered Accountant and a commerce graduate with over 10 years of experience in accounting, taxation, financial reporting and administration work. He has worked for profit as well as non-profit organisations in India. At The Nature Conservancy India, he manages accounting, processes and procurements, financial analysis including budget utilisations and cash projections and provides administrative support to the team. In the past, he has also worked with Citi Group and Barclays Bank and managed compliance and control audits. Before joining The Nature Conservancy India, he was working with Room to Read and managing budget monitoring, funds projections and administration audit. He loves spending time in nature, especially meditating against the backdrop of beautiful landscapes.

Nisha Priya Mani

Project Manager, Cities Programme

Nisha has over 13 years of experience in various fields of environment management with expertise in water quality and solid waste management, environmental planning, management and assessment, resource conservation and policies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. She holds a Ph.D in Environmental Science from Anna University, Chennai. As the Project Manager for Cities programme, Nisha oversees the implementation of the project on restoring Chennai’s wetlands. She works closely with multiple stakeholders including the City, State and Central Government and project partners to ensure project delivery. In the past, she has offered consultancy services to various sectors such as thermal power plants, chemical industries and other developmental projects pertaining to environmental management, regulatory compliance and obtaining statutory environmental clearances. She also worked for the Government of India in its preparation for the historical COP 21 on ‘Paris Agreement on Climate Change’ during her stint in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). Nisha loves spending time in nature and nurturing it all around her. She enjoys trekking, bird watching, photography and listening to upbeat music.

Roshni Arora

Applied Freshwater Scientist

Roshni Arora is a budding ecohydrologist with a keen interest in nature and environmental conservation. In the past, she has worked with the Wildlife Institute of India on environmental impact assessment and biodiversity conservation projects with a focus on water resources. She has a Joint PhD in River Science from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany and University of Trento, Italy through the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program. She also has a Masters in Environmental Management from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. After completing her PhD, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany. Her primary research interests lie in exploring the processes interlinking ecological and hydrological functioning of rivers and multiple stressor impacts on freshwater ecology. Most recently, in her role at Wildlife Institute of India, she has worked with TNC-India team on the e-flows assessment for River Ganga. Roshni likes to learn new things, read detective novels, solve logical puzzles, do yoga, travel with her husband and dance hip-hop to refresh herself.

Sharan Thandlam

Policy & Partnerships Specialist and Manager

Sharan Thandlam Sudhindra is the Policy and Partnerships Specialist and Manager for the India program. With a background in urban design and architecture, he joined The Nature Conservancy in India after working with urban think tanks, philanthropies and government. Most recently, he was with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities where he handled governmental affairs and policy for 23 cities in the Asia Pacific region, including infrastructure financing, water management, strategic planning, urban interventions as well as capacity building initiatives at the various levels of government. His work thus far has been focused on rapidly urbanizing territories in Southeast Asia where he collaborated and liaised with governmental agencies and multilaterals such as the ADB, World Bank Group, IRRI, URA, AIIB and several others. His past experiences also include work as a developmental planner for ETH Zurich’s – Future Cities Laboratory Program where he was involved in comprehensive analysis of urban mega-projects across the world. In 2014, he founded ‘Atelier Now Architects’ based in Chennai. He is a licensed architect with the Council of Architecture – India and an associate member of the Indian Institute of Architects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Anna University – India and Masters in Urban Design from the National University of Singapore.

Shuchi Vora

Applied Freshwater Scientist

An engineer, social scientist and conservationist, Shuchi’s interest area is the science-policy interface in freshwater conservation. She graduated from University of Oxford in 2018 where she read Water Science, Policy and Management. Her research at Oxford was on the effectiveness of water allocation policy decisions in the Mara river basin in Kenya. Prior to Oxford, she worked with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on urban water management and multi-stakeholder river basin organisations in the Ganges basin. She is a gold medallist from TISS-Mumbai and has worked with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd as a Supply Chain Team Lead.

Sushil Saigal

Program Lead – Lands

Sushil Saigal has over 25 years of experience of working on issues related to climate change, conservation and natural resources management. As the Applied Lands Scientist at The Nature Conservancy India, Sushil oversees the organisation’s portfolio of land conservation projects. He has led the development of the organisation’s strategies for climate change mitigation through natural climate solutions as well as its work in the Central Indian Highlands. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, he worked in leadership positions with USAID Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-PLUS) Program, Winrock International India, International Institute for Environment and Development, and Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development. Sushil has authored/edited five books and several papers on forestry, conservation, and climate change issues. Sushil has completed three Master’s degrees: MBA (IIFM), MSc Forestry at the University of Oxford, U.K., and an MPhil in Environment & Development at the University of Cambridge, U.K. He was a Gates & ORS Scholar at Cambridge and holds a Ph.D in Political Ecology from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. Sushil loves travelling to offbeat places, following current affairs and listening to Bollywood music.

Sushmita Mandal

Freshwater Lead

Sushmita is an applied researcher – manager with a background in managing large scale trans-boundary freshwater, conservation and livelihood projects. She has worked on crafting common pool resource management institutions in the biodiversity-rich Eastern Ghats in India at Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), India; forest rights of tribal communities and mapping of cultural landscapes in the Western Ghats at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), India; strengthening water diplomacy through multi-stakeholder dialogues and joint research in the Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna basin of India and Bangladesh at International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), India, and grassroots diplomacy for conservation of Hilsa fish and livelihood of fisherfolk dependent on the same, across riverscapes in India and Bangladesh at the International Water Association (IWA), Netherlands. Sushmita is an alumna of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Mumbai, and also graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Conservation Leadership. In her free-time she enjoys being outdoors: bird watching and tree-spotting. She loves to explore heritage, crafts, and textiles in her travels.