Laila Mehta, Consultant

“I was born in India to a Muslim mother and Hindu father. Although they weren’t religious, I could sense my mother’s fear for her family both in India during bouts of sectarian violence and later in the US, following the Iran hostage crisis. That feeling of insecurity, together with a lack of ability to give voice or recognition to it, made me conscious of privilege and positionality from an early age. Eventually, I knew that I wanted to amplify the voices and agency of people who have a lot to say but too often don’t have the access, opportunity or power to weigh into the conversation or decision-making. Including mine.”

Laila has worked on social change for over twenty years in the US and in Nepal, Cambodia, Timor Leste and India. Currently Laila is a consultant for nonprofits and philanthropies that address issues of equity, immigrant services and rights, racial justice, and civic engagement. She incorporates a strengths-based approach that values, uplifts and builds leadership at different levels. Her practice offers consulting on organizational, board and staff development; strategy setting and planning; and organizational change. She’s a planner, facilitator and bridge builder that focuses on building organizational sustainability, community resilience, and innovative mindsets in order to meet the demands and opportunities that present themselves in this moment. She’s also in the early stages of building a business that brings together social impact leaders, centered on wellbeing and connectedness.

In the US, she has worked with local and international nonprofits, funder collaboratives, and affinity groups to advance the needs and rights of diverse communities, including immigrants and women. Internationally, she consulted with various UN agencies, bilateral donors (including US, Denmark, Netherlands) and NGOs. Her focus was on gender justice, post-conflict planning, organizational assessments and advocating for civil society groups.

Laila has a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs from Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology and Spanish from George Mason University. She’s a certified yoga teacher and hopes to contribute to bringing alignment to organizations, human bodies and the planet.