Back to team

Swetha BalakrishnanChief of Staff

Swetha joined Elevar in 2020 as Chief Of Staff.

Swetha has eight years of experience in the development sector, specifically in education and leadership. She began her journey in the sector as a Teach For India Fellow where she taught in a government school in Pune. Thereon, she worked as a Program Manager with the key responsibilities of coaching and training Fellows towards holistic student outcomes and setting up the city’s ecosystem of support for secondary students. Thereafter, as Chief of Staff, she was responsible for driving organisational governance through the Leadership and Board and led the Kid Education Revolution project, an initiative to reimagine education at scale. After her time at Teach For India, Swetha spent a year with The Akanksha Foundation as their Expansion Consultant with the responsibility of developing their medium-term strategic priorities.

Swetha holds a Masters in International Logistics and Management from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. In her free time, Swetha enjoys sports and outdoor activities, reading, and spending time with her family.

What kind of experience did you have before Elevar?

Prior to Elevar, I worked at Teach For India – a non-profit with a vision of excellent education for children in India. My experience spanned teaching students in a government school, training and coaching teachers/Fellows in government and affordable private schools. Those really exposed me to the ground level challenges/issues faced by families in extreme poverty, teachers marred by systemic constraints, and the breadth of issues that children from low-income homes confront. Thereon, I worked (at TFI) as their Chief of Staff – on organisational strategy and governance, and led an exciting project towards reimagining education.

What are the most and least favorite parts of your job?

I love having stimulating discussions with my colleagues and the ability to participate in a range of things (lucky vantage of this role), like strategy/customer-focused discussions and enabling organisational effectiveness. I also love the radical nature of Elevar’s approach – including challenging some mainstream schools of thinking and approach. My least favorite part is missing the energy that I got in my previous job working in schools/around children, which is hard to find in an office environment. 

How is Elevar different to the jobs you’ve done before?

Elevar plays an enabling role in the impact sector. Previously, I have always worked closer to the ‘customer/community’ through organisations that do the groundwork. I have realised the importance and power of the enabling stakeholders (as Elevar does with its portfolios and internally), if one brings rigour and consistency to the research and work.