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Passion with purpose defines us. A team that truly believes in the vision of Inclusion and has set forth its pace towards enabling organizations to find this purpose and join us in creating truly diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces where innovation thrives, and businesses succeed. Determination and steadfastness meet empathy and authenticity at team Avtar. These are the qualities that have seen us grow from being a team of five to a strong team of hundred today – a lean team that sustains the core principles of work at Avtar.

Our leadership consists of people who have pioneered the DEI movement in India and created the blueprints for many a company to navigate in the Indian workplace milieu.

avtar team
  • Avtar is born: On 3rd Dec 2000, Saundarya Rajesh sets up talent strategy consulting firm, Avtar. Founding team comprising of Umasanker Kandaswamy, Priya Dayabaran and others offer recruitment services to India Inc.
  • HSBC: Few months old Avtar bags a major Recruitment Process Outsourcing project for multi-national Bank, HSBC. Thousands of professionals screened, interviewed, shortlisted in what was possibly India’s first few RPO offerings.
  • CCT: Shortly after, Avtar wins the privatization of Chennai Container Terminal project amidst tough competition from more established HR players. 224 positions closed at a time when India was reeling under the dotcom bust. Avtar places the first woman engineer in CCT as part of this drive.
  • Avtar’s Triple-Eye: Avtar hosts its first conference, an Industry, Institute Interface event.
  • Bharti Telecom RPO: Avtar begins hiring from Tier-II/Tier III cities such as Trichy, Vellore and Coimbatore as part of an RPO for Bharti Telecom for hiring candidates for their front-line sales, customer service, marketing.
  • HSBC: HSBC returns to engage Avtar once again
  • Mahaveer Glass Industries: Avtar bags its first ever Organizational Development project.
  • Managemantra I & II: Avtar is knowledge partner to CII’s Managemantra, a two- day job-creation conference, in which over 2000 fresh MBA’s battld each other for jobs that were the prizes.
  • ICICI Bank: Avtar’s reputation for effective and professional work brings in more business with 100% YOY growth. ICICI (after taking over Bank of Madura) engages Avtar to hire several hundred personal bankers across TamilNadu.
  • ISO Certification: Avtar gets ISO certified – one of the first in the recruitment services.
  • Polaris : Avtar works on a specialized turn-key project for IT hiring for Polaris
  • Managemantra – III: 3 editions of Managemantra run by Avtar for CII empowering management graduates from Tier II, Tier III B-Schools.
  • IVLP program by US Consulate: Saundarya Rajesh is selected for the International Visitors Leadership Program by the American Consulate and visits the USA as part of a team of women leaders across South Asia.
  • Chevening Scholarship: Shortly after, the same year, Saundarya is selected for the Chevening Women in Leadership program by the UK’s British Foreign Office. She completes the 3 month course at Bradford University.
  • Viewport: Avtar releases its first primary research report in which it is found that more than 18% of attrition in Indian industry is caused by women who step off the career track never to return. Careers for these “Second Career Women” – (a term coined by Saundarya and now used widely in the industry), is emphasised with business and socio-economic benefits.
  • Avtar I-WIN: In a landmark move, India’s first National Registry for Second-Career women professionals seeking part-time/flexi-time assignments launched. Now known as Avtar Women, (www.avtarwomen.com), it is India’s first Diversity Recruitment service providing opportunities for corporates to engage with second-career women.
  • Avtar on The Hindu’s front page: India’s leading national daily carries a four-column article about Avtar on the front page as the nation’s first Career Service provider for Women.
  • Standard Chartered Bank hires second career women: The very first recorded instance of a ‘second career’ program in India, takes place in 2006, for Standard Chartered Bank with hundreds of women getting hired.
  • Research on Diversity & Inclusion: Avtar begins research on Diversity & Inclusion by conducting FGD’s on the phenomenon of career breaks.
  • Future Group Flexi-Work project: Avtar is engaged by Future Group to hire over 1800 women returnees across India
  • SCOPE Woman Exemplar Award: Saundarya receives the Woman Exemplar award from Standard Chartered Bank’s SCOPE.
  • VIEWPORT: Avtar publishes research on Flexible working and its effect on the careers of women professionals.
  • Session at Asian HRD Society at Beijing – Saundarya invited to speak at AHRD Society at Beijing on flexible careers for increasing women’s workforce participation – Avtar’s first international forum.
  • Sathyam Computers D&I Research: Avtar completes a cutting edge research project on Diversity & Inclusion strands for Sathyam Computers (presently Tech Mahindra).
  • Diversity and Inclusion in ASIA 2008: Saundarya invited to speak on Generational Diversity at Community Business’s conference in Hong Kong
  • Accenture’s Project Santulan: Accenture engages Avtar to work on Project Santulan, the organization’s first instance of a structured method to allow several flavors of flexi-working. Possibly the country’s first too
  • Avtar Human Capital Trust: Avtar’s CSR arm – a public charitable trust for empowering underprivileged women and children, instituted.
  • MMFL’s rural hiring: Avtar closes 364 positions for Madura Micro Finance at small villages near cities such as Madurai, Trichy, Erode, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Villupuram, and Salem, hiring first generation women graduates as mentors for self-help groups.
  • Business Case for Diversity: In the aftermath of global recession, Avtar undertakes research on the Business Case for Gender Diversity. More organizations sign up for Avtar’s D&I consulting.
  • D&I Readiness Assessment: Avtar develops tools for assessing organization’s commitment and readiness for Gender Diversity and advancement of women.
  • Bhoomi Pooja for Avtar’s Udyog Gruhaa: Avtar begins construction of its 3-storeyed premises at Neelangarai in Chennai.
  • Work-Life Balance Survey: In partnership with OUTLOOK Business, Avtar conducts a seminal research on work-life balance – moving to call it work-life integration and is featured on the cover. More organizations begin working on work-life integration
  • Standard Chartered’s Diversity Town Halls: Avtar is engaged by SCB to conduct research-backed Diversity townhalls at all its regional offices
  • SHRM Annual Conference, San Diego: Saundarya speaks at SHRM’s Annual Conference at SanDiego, California on “Flexible Working Methods to Promote Organizational Diversity – the India story”.
  • Vital Voices: Saundarya speaks on Women Entrepreneurship at the plenary session of Hillary Clinton’s Vital Voices in New Delhi
  • New premises! Team Avtar moves into its own premises – Udyog Gruhaa
  • Flexi Careers India: Under the ambit of Avtar Group, Flexi Careers India launched to focus extensively Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with special focus on gender diversity.
  • Hindu Women’s Job Fair: The Hindu partners with Avtar to host India’s first career fair for women professionals, with special focus on second career women. Over 25,000 women professionals attend the fair creating a record of sorts.
  • Segue Sessions: Avtar partners with over 40 corporates (PepsiCo, Unilever, CapGemini, Deutsche Bank, Vodafone, Accenture, Genpact and Deloitte, to name a few) and conducts 14 editions of this skill-building and career creation conference from 2011 to 2018. Over 5000 women benefit. All partner organizations later create their own talent track for returning women and between themselves hire over 10,000 second career women each year.
  • Diversity Audits: Avtar begins conducting Diversity & Inclusion audits and workplace audits for enabling different strands to diversity to co-exist
  • Global Advancement of Women Conference: The Working Mother Media company, partner with Avtar to conduct the GAWC
  • Dissertation defence: Saundarya successfully defends her PhD thesis dissertation on the topic “Flexible Working Methods to increase women’s workforce participation”
  • Career Enabler research – Avtar’s research on the top career enablers for women professionals makes it to the set of must-haves in India’s preferred employers.
  • Doctorate in Women’s Workforce Participation: Dr. Saundarya receives her PhD degree from Shri. Narendra Modi, Gujarat’s Chief Minister, at SRM University’s convocation
  • #100Women Achiever Award Dr. Saundarya is award with a scroll from the Ministry of Women and Child Development for her work in bringing back thousands of women into the workplace. She lunches with the President of India (Late) Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Project Puthri Launch: Avtar Human Capital Trust (AHCT) launches Project Puthri, to make 10,000 school girls from under privileged families career intentional and pursue white-collar jobs upon graduation.
  • Best Companies for Women in India: Working Mother Group of the USA returns to partner with Avtar in launching India’s first and largest gender-analytics exercise – the Best Companies for Women in India. The BCWI ranks over 450 metrics in assessing the gender inclusion levels of organizations. Over 300 companies participate annually.
  • Best of the Best Conference: Avtar presents BOB – India’s most exhaustive and cutting-edge conference featuring best practices of the Best 100 companies.
  • Udyog Utsav: Avtar kicks off an annual career guidance platform at Chennai for underprivileged girls to visualize and experience the benefit of education and a long-term career. Over 1000 Puthri’s from over 100 Corporation and Government schools across Chennai are made aware of various courses that they can pursue to choose specific careers
  • Foray into AI in HR: Bruhat Insights Global, the AIHR (Artificial Intelligence in HR) arm of Avtar is launched to reduce bias and deliver actionable insights.
  • The 99 Day Diversity Challenge: Dr Saundarya debuts as a non-fiction writer for Sage via “The 99 Day Diversity Challenge”
  • Udyog Utsav: Avtar takes the career conference to Coimbatore.
  • Future of Women: Dr Saundarya invited to keynote at Future of Women Conference at Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Twitter’s “WebWonderWomen”: Dr. Saundarya receives the WebWonder Woman award from Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with Twitter India for spreading positivity on the web
  • Global Changemakers: Dr. Saundarya is recognized as one of the 35 Global Changemakers by Chevening to celebrate 35 years of the UK Government’s Chevening Scholarships program by featuring specially-commissioned portraits of the leaders from across the globe.
  • Winds of Change Award: Dr. Saundarya receives the Winds of Change award conferred by The Forum on Workplace Inclusion becoming the first International Awardee.
  • Top Women: Dr Saundarya Rajesh keynotes at the Top Women Conference in, Johannesburg, South Africa, speaking about social entrepreneurship and her journey
  • World AI show: Dr. Saundarya invited to address the World AI Show at Dubai, speaking about the impact of AI in HR, its impact and future workforce.
  • MITR – Avtar creates MITR – Men Impacting Trust & Respect – a training program to transform adolescent boys studying in schools into empathetic Gender Champions of tomorrow.
  • Most Inclusive Companies Index: Avtar, in partnership with the Working Mother Group, creates the Most Inclusive Companies Index to deliver frameworks for organizations to adopt the best of practices when it comes to comprehensive inclusion.
  • GAWC, Dubai: Avtar is Knowledge Partner to Working Mother in organizing the maiden edition of the Global Advancement for Women Conference in Dubai.
  • DigiPivot: Google partners with Avtar and Indian School of Business to build digital marketing capability for women professionals in India.
  • Flexcurity: Avtar releases Flexcurity©, a suite of assessments and algorithms for remote workforce management to provide solutions for organizations implementing WFH in the wake of Covid19.
  • Flexing Success: Avtar launches a unique workshop to help first-time work-from-home professionals during Covid times.
  • D&I Reboot: Avtar hosts D&I Reboot, to help organizations manage culture building during the Pandemic. D&I Reboot emphasizes the usage of the research-based AHEAD framework
  • The Power of I: Avtar hosts India’s first virtual D&I Conference to discuss and throw light on the cascading effect of an individual’s power in personal transformation thereby directly paving way for organizational transformation.
  • myAvtar.com: Avtar creates India’ first and exclusive job portal for the under-represented talent pools.
  • Dec 3rd 2020: Avtar celebrated 2 decades of existence!
  • Avtar launches its foundation certification training program, Avtar DEI Primer. A blueprint for DEI, it assists in fostering inclusion in organizations.  
  • IWD 2021: With an emphasis on 'Belongingness at the workplace,' Avtar inaugurates campaigns to rekindle and embrace the purpose of a harmonized culture.   
  • My Avtar, India's First Diversity Job portal, conducts its virtual Job Fair exclusively for Women. The job fair discusses women's career enablement & empowerment via panel discussions and keynotes to help them excel in their respective roles by overcoming hurdles.   
  • During Pride Month, Avtar holds its first webinar on 'Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth.'   
  • Avtar launches its revamped website with a focus on four segments; Enrich Diversity, Embed Diversity, Enable Diversity, and Experience Diversity. This new site presents better navigation across the portal with an enhanced user-friendly approach.   
  • Offering more insights into the space of DEI across segments, Avtar reinvents its blog in the name of Diversity Digest. It features various articles, podcasts, e-books, and videos covering topics in the DEI space.   
  • Avtar conducts a panel discussion called 'From Acknowledgements to Acceptance – Supporting Gender Expression.' It illustrates how accepting gender expression can make organizations better employers.  
  • Avtar conducts a month-long festival dedicated to DEI called Diversity Mahotsav.

Our Team

Dr. Saundarya Rajesh

Founder – President, Avtar Group

Dr. Saundarya Rajesh is one of India’s most respected thought leaders on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. An award-winning social entrepreneur, she is best known as the pioneer of Second Career opportunities for women in Corporate India.A relentless advocate of the potential of women in the workplace, Dr. Saundarya is the founder of successful social enterprises such as Avtar Career Creators, Flexi Careers India, Bruhat Insights Global and Avtar Human Capital Trust. Her latest brainchild myAvtar.com is India’s first diversity jobs portal for candidates belonging to the under-represented groups such as Women, People with Disabilities, People with LGBTQ+ identity and Veterans.

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avtar founder

Karthik Ekambaram (He/Him/His)

Senior Vice President, Consulting Services

Umasanker Kandaswamy (He/Him/His)

Senior Vice President, Sales & Relationships, Founding Team Member

Priya Dayabaran (She/Her/Hers)

Vice President, Organizational Development

Eswar Balasubramanian (He/Him/His)

Head- Outreach

Roy Vijayakumar (He/Him/His)

Head – IMT

Dr. Nandini Murali, PhD

Vice President – Learning & Research

Veena Mukund (She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Vice President – Client Services

Anju Rakesh (She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Vice President – Research & Solutions

Nisha Chandran (She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Vice President – Consulting & Solutions

Rashmi Ravindran (She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Vice President – MarCom and User Experience

Shankari Nandi (She/Her/Hers)

Divisional Manager – Client Services

Lakshmi Vijaykumar (She/Her/Hers)

Divisional Manager, Events & PR

Sridevi Bharadwaj (She/Her/Hers)

Senior Manager, Technology

Suresh G (He/Him/His)

Senior Manager – Talent Acquisition

S. Bhanu Kumar (He/Him/His)

Head-Information Technology

Avtar’s Industry Experts

Leaders who have industry experience and unique domain expertise, join us at Avtar to enhance our potential.

Bhavani Balasubramanian

Chief Strategist – Diversity Assessment

Kannan Hariharan

Chief Strategist – Culture & Belongingness

Amita Kasbekar

Principal Strategist – LGBTQ+ Practice

Sriram P

Chief Strategist, DEI Transformation, Avtar Group

Anuradha Kanchi

Principal Strategist, Audits and Assessments, Avtar Group

Avtar Human Capital Trust

Avtar Human Capital Trust (AHCT) is a not-for-profit public charitable organization, working in the field of economic empowerment of women and creating change in their lives that are positive, holistic and sustainable.

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