Meet the team

We are delighted to introduce you to the WeAreTheCity India Team. We have had a lot of help from colleagues, supporters, sponsors, partners, contributors and bloggers since we launched in March 2014 but we are also growing our core team and have added a few new faces! If you have any questions, or would like to hear about you could get involved, please contact us below directly.

vanessa vallely
Vanessa Vallely
Founder & CEO

Vanessa Vallely is our founder. Having started up WeAreTheCity in 2008 on the basis to try and provide the right information and guidance to all. Vanessa has won the Champion for Women Award 2011 with WIBF. She is on the Financial News Top 100 Rising Stars list for 2010 and recently published her first book Heels of Steel

You can contact her directly here

Jo Gaglani
Chair, WeAreTheCity India

Jo Gaglani is Chair of WeAreTheCity.IN and is responsible for our committee, events and relationships in India. Jo provides support for WeAreTheCity.IN in her spare time as she is passionate about giving back to women.

Jo is a highly accomplished business woman with an in-depth knowledge of natural beauty products that deliver significant results on the Asian skin. Jo has successfully launched international beauty brands in India including Aromatherapy Associates. Jo’s client list includes The Leela Group, Marriott Hotels, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and many more.

Jo also has an avid interest in fine teas and herbal infusions that enhance the overall wellbeing. She is the co-founder of a heritage tea brand, Iford Manor Collection, based in the UK.

Contact [email protected]

Tejal Gandhi
Tejal Gandhi
Deputy Chair, WeAreTheCity India

Tejal is passionate about female development and supports WeAreTheCity India in her spare time.

Tejal is a certified financial planner with over 23 years experience in the financial services industry out of which she worked for 13 years with Standard Chartered Bank. She has extensive experience in Retail Banking across India.

In 2002, Tejal founded her own firm ‘Money Matters’ which focuses on financial planning and consulting. She works with HNI families and small corporates and is well recognised in her field.

Tejal has also been a dedicated Rotarian for over 24 years and is youngest and only female President in 1998-99 in Mumbai. She was the youngest team leader to take a group to Switzerland as part of the Rotary’s Exchange program in 2010 and has won several awards. She currently holds the post of Chairperson for Women in Rotary. In addition Tejal is involved with various women’s committees and is a visiting faculty to various leading business schools.

+91 09821 152591

Rachna Rachandani
Rachna Rachandani
WeAreTheCity Mumbai Committee Member

Mumbai based Rachna Raichandani is a story teller in the world of Public Relations with an expertise in lifestyle, mainly fashion and fitness. She holds an MBA with a marketing specialisation and is always eager to learn more about the fantastic work that women in various industries are doing today. Previously an internationally licensed Zumba instructor, Rachna is currently an amateur yogi, baker and avid traveler.

Twitter: @rachna_r

Farah Bakhshay
WeAreTheCity Mumbai Committee Member

Farah has spent almost a decade understanding world people and assisting them to settle into Mumbai. She now heads Semurg Relocations in Mumbai and has an empathy for relocating business leaders and their families who come to the financial hub of India which is second nature to her. She remembers the times when she was pursuing her degree in Business Management at the University of Massachusetts, and later living in California, how important cultural understanding was to her own personal welfare and growth. Her unlikely mix of a Parsi birthright combined with her South Indian upbringing makes her spiritual quotient even stronger and she melds business operations with an extended warm touch. Work life balance includes barefoot running, cultivating and consuming organic foods, and time dedicated to travel and dog Dash!

Abhishek Chandola
Abhishek Chandola
WeAreTheCity Mumbai Committee Member

Based in Mumbai I am thrilled to be one of the first men to be associated with WeAreTheCity India. I believe in empowering women and WeAreTheCity India is an ideal platform for giving women the required exposure and helping them with self-branding and networking.

I am enjoying my role as a WATC India contributor and actively seek out inspiring women and related events which can be featured on the website. I am also passionate about social media marketing and blogging and have always been involved with supporting small and medium scale entrepreneurs with respect to marketing and business development.

Phone: +91 9930505516

Puja Kohi
Puja Kohli
Co-Founder of the WeAreTheCity Bangalore Committe

Co-Founder of the WeAreTheCity Bangalore Committee, Puja has over 17 years of experience in the people domain, providing strategic HR thought to shape human capital strategy and enable a diverse culture working with imperatives of inclusion, dynamics of gender and multiple generations at work and in communities. She is closely involved with forums that promote women as achievers, leaders and entrepreneurs. She has led research on millennials.

She is equally passionate about inspiring senior generations for a meaningful engagement post retirement. She has had leadership roles in talent management and organisational development with companies including CGI and Accenture.

As an interventionist and coach, her organisation ‘Unfold’ offers people based services and programs for managing change for businesses and individuals

Follow Puja’s blog. Follow Puja on Twitter or Facebook or visit

Neela Kishore
Co-Founder – WeAreTheCity Bangalore Committee

Neela Kishore is the co-founder of WeAreTheCity’s Bangalore Committee. Neela is passionate about creating pathways to participative change in the way people, organisations and communities engage, live and work. She regularly mentors professionals, entrepreneurs and is committed to developing women leaders.

Her 20 years of professional experience has spanned across sales, marketing, human resources and entrepreneurship. She now manages Advaya Humanistic Systems a Human Capital consulting firm she co-founded.

In her HR career as a leader, Neela partnered to co-create high performing value based organisations with enabling people practices in companies like Juniper Networks and Cisco in India, while collaborating across multiple cultures.

She enjoys creative cooking with her children, jogging with her pup, listening to Indian classical music, practices meditation and Ashtanga yoga.

Email Neela here
Phone: +91 99005 91395

NEW Anju Arora
Anju Arora
WeAreTheCity Hyderabad Committee Member

Anju worked with Deloitte for seven years before taking a break to spend time with her kids. She has experience in a number of HR verticals including recruiting services, talent operations and talent technology. She last worked as a Recruiting Management system (RMS) Administrator for entire India offices.

Recently, Anju launched a Women Wellness programme called Naari. Via Naari she aims to spread awareness among women regarding personal wellness, while highlighting the kind of harmful chemicals women expose themselves to and their potential health risks. She also promotes organic hygiene products.

Contact Anju at +91 9866772813

Email: [email protected]


Ashish Bhardwaj
WeAreTheCity Delhi Committee Lead

Ashish Bhardwaj is based in New Delhi. Ashish is a Management Graduate and has worked with a number of leading Indian companies.

Ashish works tirelessly to connect with and interview Indian women across India and abroad and is proud to be actively involved in empowering Indian women. His interests are reading, networking and football and his favourite team is Argentina where he hopes to visit one day!

Email: [email protected]

Laila Dastur Haksar
Media Editor

Laila Dastur Haksar is the Media Editor of WeAreTheCity India.

Born and raised in Virginia, USA, Laila moved to Mumbai in 2005. Her work experience includes six years in Investment Banking and two years in Advertising and Branding.

Currently, Laila writes weekly articles for WATC India as well as blogs about her experiences as a Work At Home Mom and expat in Mumbai.