Saleema Vellani is the first guest in our ‘Meet the Lightworker’ series. We met her earlier this month – during Web Summit in Lisbon – and immediately felt connected with both her story and her purpose.
We then got to know more about her at our Female Leadership Event and discovered her beautiful light, wisdom, and journey as an intra and entrepreneur.
Saleema’s portfolio is vast and inspiring, having spent most of her professional life between Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Italy and the USA. Earlier in her career, she launched a nonprofit language school in Brazil – Caminhos Language Centre. She later co-founded two businesses which were acquired in 2012 and co-founded a digital marketing agency with partners such as Google and HubSpot.
Saleema also launched 5 fast-growing ventures across 4 countries, besides working as “intrapreneur” for over 12 years with nonprofits and multilateral organizations, such as The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, as well as with small businesses and high-growth companies, such as Upwork.
Currently, Saleema not only teaches Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University but also is the Founder and COO of Innovazing.
You can watch the video of our interview with her below.
At Innovazing, we train leaders of all kinds—from entrepreneurs, business owners, nonprofit leaders, changemakers, managers, executives, to graduate students—to become high impact leaders. We help leaders strengthen and apply their intuitive intelligence through our coaching and training programs and equip them with the tools and support they need along the way.
I have worn several hats throughout my career as an entrepreneur, intrapreneur, manager, mentor, business architect, marketing strategist, development practitioner, teacher, and volunteer. A few years ago, I realized that labels and titles alone didn’t feed my soul and what mattered to me most was to have an impact on people—and that many others shared this mission. It took a lot—I’m not kidding when I say a LOT—of introspection and inner work but the clarity I gained from the process changed everything for me.
I was finally able to design my own life and business and live on my own terms. With the amount of self-growth and fulfillment I experienced through this process, I became inspired to do the same for others and help them truly discover their unique selves, strengthen their emotional intelligence, and capitalize on their skills to have the life, career and/or business they want. And that’s exactly how Innovazing came to be, along with my amazing, talented partner, Grant Erhuanga, who shares the same values and dreams and complements my skills and experience.
Through our work at Innovazing, we empower and train leaders to maximize their impact so that we can exponentially increase our impact as a collective. Since we work with a lot of high impact leaders and entrepreneurs, I strongly believe it’s important to constantly have our feet immersed in impact work at the project level so that we can relate closely to our clients’ needs.
Hence, I’m currently leading a project to train refugees on hydroponics in the Middle East and Africa to help improve their nutrition and livelihoods in water-scarce areas. At Innovazing, we especially enjoy working with youth, and teach professional development courses to graduate students at universities such as Johns Hopkins University. We also facilitate a variety of workshops and provide consulting and coaching services to our clients.
We’re all about blending soft skills into hard skills and work globally with a wide range of organizations, such as international organizations, nonprofits, government agencies, corporations, startups, and small and medium businesses.
Still curious? Check out our live interview to find out more about Saleema: