"My life mission is to help
1 million entrepreneurs
grow their businesses and scale their platforms"
Saleema Vellani is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, professor, and the author of Innovation Starts With “I”. At the age of 21, Saleema co-founded and launched Brazil’s largest and #1 language school to finance an orphanage and social development programs, which has taught several thousands of students to date. Shortly after, she co-founded and ran a leading online translation agency in Italy to help companies expand their digital presence globally while generating hundreds of jobs in the gig economy. The business was acquired in 2012. For over 12 years, Saleema has led 100+ international organizations, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies to their next stage of growth and innovation.As an intrapreneur, Saleema has been co-leading award-winning, groundbreaking research with the World Bank on solving food insecurity in conflict-affected countries through climate-smart technologies since 2016. Given her experience with running businesses online, in 2013, Saleema was hired by Upwork (formerly Elance) to train Washington DC-based organizations and business owners on how to hire and manage remote teams.
Currently, Saleema and her team at Ripple Impact educate, advise, and connect entrepreneurs who are seeking to increase their influence and maximize their impact. She also teaches Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University and is a frequent guest lecturer at business schools.
Saleema is the Chair for the Global Conference for the Association for Human Resources Management in International Organizations (AHRMIO) in Brussels, Belgium. She is an advisor to several startups and impact-driven organizations, including Net Impact, SXSW Pitch, Startup Africa, Wonder Women Tech, and the World Bank Youth-2-Youth Community.
Saleema holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development from McGill University and a Master’s degree in International Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. Born and raised in Canada, she is proud of her multicultural upbringing as a Toronto native with East African and Indian roots.