I help changemakers


maximize their impact.

I’m Saleema

I’m part keynote speaker, part social entrepreneur — and all about helping others leverage their strengths to maximize their potential. I combined over 15 years of experience in business, marketing, education, and international development to develop innovative tools that help changemakers increase their influence and level up their impact.

I currently run Innovazing, where we facilitate experiences that help individuals and organizations learn 21st-century leadership and communication skills. I also teach entrepreneurship and design thinking at Johns Hopkins University.

You can follow me on LinkedIn here.

60+ Countries
150+ Speaking Engagements
12+ Publications
5+ Languages

Impact is about how you want to feel. It starts with knowing who you are and harnessing your sweet spot.

Need a bio? Here you go:

LONGER

Saleema Vellani is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and a recognized authority on inclusive innovation. She has helped leaders and organizations around the world break through their plateaus and maximize their impact through her work. A serial entrepreneur since the age of 21, Saleema launched Brazil’s largest and top-rated language school to finance an orphanage and social development programs. Shortly after, she co-founded and ran a leading online translation agency to help companies of all sizes expand their digital presence globally, which was acquired in 2012.

For over 12 years, Saleema has led Fortune 500 corporations, startups, and international finance institutions to the next stage of growth and innovation. As a former development economist, she has co-authored over a dozen publications, including her most recent groundbreaking research study with the World Bank on how to improve refugee livelihoods through water-saving, climate-smart food systems technologies in the Middle East and Africa. Saleema also led a startup education program through an Upwork-WeWork partnership to help entrepreneurs hire and manage remote teams online. Saleema is an expert in design thinking, from facilitating workshops within organizations as well as real-world applications on the ground in multi-stakeholder settings, such as her recent work in Liberia.

Currently, Saleema is the COO of Innovazing, an education firm that helps leaders learn 21st-century leadership and communication skills through experiential workshops and programs to strengthen emotional intelligence, increase diversity and inclusion, and boost creativity and innovation. She is also Adjunct Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and an advisor to several mission-driven organizations, such as Wonder Women Tech, Net Impact, Startup Africa, PCDNetwork, and the World Bank Group 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 and has lived in Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Italy, and the USA. Born and raised in Canada, she is proud of her multicultural upbringing as a Toronto native with East African and Indian roots.

SHORTER

Saleema Vellani is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and a recognized authority on inclusive innovation. She has helped leaders and organizations around the world break through their plateaus and maximize their impact through her work. Saleema is the COO of Innovazing, an education firm that helps leaders learn 21st-century leadership and communication skills through experiential workshops and programs to strengthen emotional intelligence, increase diversity and inclusion, and boost creativity and innovation. She is also Adjunct Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and an advisor to several mission-driven organizations, such as Wonder Women Tech, Net Impact, Startup Africa, PCDNetwork, and the World Bank Group Youth-2-Youth Community.

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Where did you grow up?

In the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. Yes, I’m Canadian!

Where do you live now?

Washington D.C.

How long have you lived there?

Since 2011.

What made you decide to do the work you do?

When my life crashed and I lost nearly everything I had, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and had to redesign my life in order to make the impact I wanted to make. I learned several lessons and built a lot of tools along the way to help others seeking personal growth.

What animal best describes you?

A cheetah. I have an unstoppable drive that moves at the speed of lightning.

What’s your theme song?

La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Celia Cruz

Where have you lived?

Canada, Brazil, Italy, Dominican Republic, and the USA.

What’s one thing you can do that might surprise other people?

I speak five languages fluently. English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and bits and pieces of some others.

If you could only ask ONE question to learn as much about someone as you possibly could, what would it be?

“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

What’s your answer to that question?

I would reverse the failure rate of entrepreneurs.

What was your most unusual job?

Concierge at a beach resort in the Dominican Republic.

What’s one thing do you do every single day to maintain your sanity?

Dark chocolate.