Dr. Mona Varonica Campbell
Before she was known as Dr. Mona Varonica Campbell, she was Adapala Mohan Naidu, a young boy whose parents hoped he would make them proud. When Mona came out of the closet in her teenage years, she faced, like many trans people in India, quite a lot of opposition. Even her father took some time to understand that she was physically a boy, but mentally she was a woman.
But that was then and this is today. She struggled, fought her fight with panache, and has now emerged as India’s first plus-size trans supermodel. Known as the backbone of the family by her father, Mona is a role model for the LGBTQ community.
She has studied Fashion and Textile at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Hyderabad and even has a degree in fashion management at the London School of Fashion. She then received her Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Business Administration from the Florida University. Her first big break came as the show stopper for ace designer Wendell Rodrick’s plus-size show for Lakme Fashion Week 2017. This proved to be the niche for her modeling career, which has now extended to her working as a grooming coach too.
Apart from this, she has her own signature makeup label ‘Varonica Makeup Artistry’ and has worked with A-listers like Kim Kardashian and Kate Moss. Mona is truly an inspiration for people to be confident about themselves and her story tells the society to let everyone live happily.
A gold medalist in Sociology from Delhi University, Anu Aggarwal is also a state-level basketball player. Her career started with a brief stint in modeling, VJing, and an appearance in the Doordarshan serial Isi Bahane in 1988, following which she was much in demand. She then made her Bollywood debut with the musical blockbuster Aashiqui which appealed to the public because of its innocent and sympathetic acting. Her later works include a Tamil film Thiruda Thiruda and a short movie The Cloud Door.
The self-made young achiever stepped out of glamour when still a CoverGirl, only to head to the Himalayas and live as a yogi, monk, sanyasi by the Ganges. Leaving in past her days as a model and actress, Anu then studied and devoted herself to Vedic knowledge, to master the mind. Little did she know that this knowledge would later get her out of a deathtrap.
After a serious car accident, she healed herself single-handedly. Then the karmayogi found Anu Aggarwal Foundation, a non-profit organization. The motto of Anu’s brainchild AAF is “Aware Awake Fit” which aims to transform lives by reprogramming the mind positively and share the miraculous experiential healing knowledge for her care of the community.
Academia– Masters Social Work MSW, Yoga certified from BSY, Alternative Yoga Therapist, YTT from the U.S., Naturopathic Doctor ICNM, Mindfulness expert Berkeley Univ, Proprietor anufunyoga, Founder director AAF, Anu Aggarwal Foundation.
Data geek, obsessed with technology, long-distance runner, entrepreneur – that’s how our next speaker Pankaj Risbood describes himself. The co-founder and Vice President of Data, Engineering at ZenDrive, a company committed to making roads safer using data and analytics, he is an expert in building large scale systems that deal with massive volumes of data. Under his leadership, Zendrive has developed the world’s largest platform for driver behavior analysis serving millions of users and covering over 150B miles of driving data.
Pankaj has 18+ years of experience leading teams and building core technology products that involve massive amounts of data. At WalmartLabs as director of engineering, he built tools for social media analysis including an engine for real-time analysis of 100B tweets. During his role as Engineering Manager at Google, Pankaj worked on Google’s Speech Recognition Engine and Google Compute Engine. While at Google he also built the first ever English/Hindi bilingual Text to Speech (TTS) system. He bootstrapped and then scaled the voice search to many languages. Early in his career, he held a research position at Bell Labs specializing in networking.
A graduate of Indian Institute of Science, Pankaj is the author of several research papers in premier IEEE conferences and has 30 patents issued from USPTO. Apart from being the recipient of Thomas Alva Edison best patent award and Bell Labs President’s gold medal, he is also an avid reader, a marathon runner and enjoys spending time with his kids.
After graduating in Social Sciences and Humanities, Kanishk Priyadarshi was determined to make an ineradicable mark on the competitive acting industry. He started acting at Asmita Theatre during the second year of his college. This rigorous theatre training went on for two years where he acted in more than 900 Street plays and 40 Stage plays. Then he worked with a Youtube channel called Brown Street, where he acted, directed, edited several videos and hosted the others. He did a couple of videos with Pop Xo, DLF then got selected in an audition at Scoopwhoop, a well-known Indian media and news company.
Currently, he is an actor and an anchor at Scoopwhoop. He has done more than 70 videos with Scoopwhoop and its subsidiaries now and is one of their popular faces.
This hardworking method actor is also a firm believer of the fact that acting is all about emotions; how you manage and portray them on stage in front of an audience determines how good of an actor you can be. The key is to take care of all the minute details. Now a professional freelancer, he also feels that acting can make you more empathetic. Add to that his observant nature, he is more than comfortable in sharing experiences with thousands of people from different walks of life.
Having hosted shows for NGO’s, for social meet-up’s, brand promotions, B2B events, college fests, and product launches, he has also been a professional anchor for the past 4 and a half years now having hosted more than 300 live shows till date!
Born in Kolkata, Baisakhi Saha grew up in diverse states of India, each with a totally new culture, custom, and costume. At the tender age of 17, she left India having won full scholarships to study abroad in Singapore.
Since then she has not just traveled, but lived in different continents; from Asia to Europe to Africa to North, South and Central America, she has traversed the world on various student exchange programs, studying life through diverse mirrors of reality. Multilingual, she is fluent in six languages. Currently, she is a resident of Costa Rica, a country in Central America.
Baisakhi went from being a software graduate to a marketing executive to an English teacher, interpreter and is now an author, speaker, dancer, and actor. While writing her book ‘magicNine’, she even introduced us with a new dance form, ‘Dance in abunDance’. During her India trip, she penned down two new books; one of them titled, ‘Life is Abracadabra’ which recounts 21 magical stories from her travels across the globe that will make anyone look at life with new eyes and a fresh perspective.
So far this globetrotter has penned three books and an inspirational Journal, two of which are in the process of publishing. This goes hand in hand with her lectures on various esoteric and exoteric topics, including following one’s dreams, listening to the heart and tuning into our inner calling.
Chase after the little things because it is the little things in life that count, after all. Keeping this in mind is our next speaker with a heart of gold, Naman Ahluwalia.
A Computer Engineering graduate, Naman is the Co-Founder of a National Award winning social impact organization called Clothes Box Foundation (CBF) that bridges the gap between the donor and the receiver in the most transparent manner. His passion lies in solving global challenges that impact communities and the environment and CBF is just the right step in that direction.
Having had corporate stints at large multinational companies such as Sapient, KPMG, and Nagarro Software, he observed the lack of resources available to the not so fortunate and decided to give back to society. In the last 4.5 years, CBF has provided clean clothes to more than 92,000+ less-fortunate individuals across the world with the help of 3,000+ unique donors and 30+ volunteers. Under his leadership, CBF has partnered with the finest corporates, the Indian Army and renowned NGOs to reach out to people living in the Naxal infested areas and extremely remote villages in Kashmir.
With acknowledgment and support from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Amitabh Bachchan, Naman’s out-of-the-box organization values the importance of little gestures and hence the unusable clothes are recycled in the form of blankets, saving the environment. His organization was also awarded the prestigious National Youth Award conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution towards community development.
In this age of cut-throat competition, it is rather unusual for someone to not follow the orthodox path and instead pave the way for others to follow. Our first speaker is one of the few who took it upon herself to lead an unconventional life and was successful in it too.
From being a banker to becoming one of India’s most loved fitness stars, Shwetambari Shetty has indeed come a long way. She has successfully established herself as a leader in the male-dominated fitness space despite all the cynics making her rethink her each step. All this was possible because of the staunch support she received from her loved ones while making a switch this big in her career.
Having already done a radio show, a TV show on Tata Sky Active Fitness channel and even a web series for Tetley Transformation, she has a Guinness Book of World record under her belt too. Currently, she is working closely with superstars like Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff to curate their own Fitness Workouts.
Shwetambari was among the few in India to take a Zumba instructor training course when it was introduced in 2011. She put her certification to good use by promoting the high-energy workout which has since then become a craze in India. Then she pioneered in the field of introducing the concept of Group Fitness in India by opening her own chain of Fitness Clubs called The Tribe and is now a Fitness Expert at CureFit, India’s fastest growing chain of Fitness Clubs. Her app CureFit also has some DIY (Do It Yourself) workouts to help the beginners and other people who prefer to work out on the go.
Gaurav Rawat (Artist)
A science student, Gaurav too was studious and wanted to crack JEE. But in 11th standard, he realized that his passion was something entirely different – dance.
His family did not have the same belief in his passion, and he had to be a little rebellious in life. It was after the 12th standard that he dropped to pursue professional training in dance. Even then, he picked up the wrong subject Electronics Hons for his graduate degree. The only solace in college was his dance society, Verve.
Gaurav, along with his teammates, choreographed the routines in his second and third year, and currently, he is a teacher at the Art Academy of Arts and Dance.
Anmol Rattan (Artist)
Anmol Rattan discovered flute in 10th standard and fell in love with it. By the end of the school, he had started creating original compositions.
He played flute for Red FM 93.5, all the while composing music for different street plays and stage plays as well as performing in the plays.
Having created the background score for various short films, Anmol even played flute in TTL Social which is a segment by The Timeliners featuring musicians. Now he is the creator and founder of his own Youtube channel Rattan Music.
Siddharth Sehgal (Artist)
Siddharth Sehgal grew a fondness for music at an early age of 4 and started with classical music.
After finishing all the grades for Indian classical tabla and vocals, there was no looking back for him. Winner of various state and national level competitions for Indian classical music, he even started with western music in school and became a national level drummer in 2 years. He then won one of India’s biggest national music conclaves in Kamani auditorium in 2014.
Currently, he plays 11 different types of percussions and 14 instruments in total. Siddharth is also pursuing engineering and entrepreneurship and is the winner of one of the various major business conclaves held in SRCC and NSIT.