Meet Our People
Get to know the Cuddles team
Purnota Dutta Bahl
In 2012, with a successful career as head of marketing with a leading internet based company, Purnota was still a donor at TATA Memorial Hospital. But a visit to see the facility and several meetings with the social wing there exposed her to the issue of malnutrition affecting the treatment of children with cancer. This triggered her on a journey to start Cuddles Foundation in 2013.
Priti spent a lifetime in risk management, banking, product management before calling it quits to spend time with her young daughter. Priti joined Cuddles to lead our programs, run day-to-day operations and help us maximise our impact and efficiency. Outside of work, she loves retreating to her collection of Hindi Ghazals and Sufi music.
Aparna joined Cuddles as Executive Director in 2015 after working at Goldman Sachs in the US and Merrill Lynch in Switzerland in the technology, private banking and wealth portfolio management sectors. Her entrepreneurial streak has led her to start and lead a language academy and a networking group for professional women. As a part of the senior leadership team at Cuddles, Aparna brings her zing and energy to a variety of roles including fundraising, strategy and management. An art aficionado and a fashion enthusiast, when she's not busy growing Cuddles' wings in North India, she spends her time travelling, reading and bringing up her young kids.
Jasmita grew up in Bhuvaneshwar and worked in Singapore with some of the best design houses in the world for brands like Muji and Zara. She brings her decade-long global experience, to manage our partner and beneficiary relationships. Jasmita is the bridge between our doctors, nutritionists and donors and keeps a hawk’s eye on the delivery of our programs. She’s also our resident party planner!
Uma worked for 10 years in advertising before finding her calling as a special educator and working with kids with special needs. Overseeing expansion, Uma is helping us take our services to the most needy areas across the country while keeping a check on the wellbeing of our nutritionists. When not making new connections for Cuddles, Uma spends time with her family in the outskirts of Madurai or Goa.
Miral was a Program Officer with Population First before joining Cuddles in 2014 to manage donor relationships and CSR grants. With an MA in Sociology, Miral brings her understanding of Social Work to our program reporting. Miral’s absolute passion for dancing means you can’t find her during Dandiya nights!
Peppy and vivacious, Architta started her career with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and an MBA in Finance. After a few years of working in the corporate world, her passion for social service pulled her to Cuddles. Her zeal for understanding both the business and the community makes her a great asset to the Finance and Compliance team at Cuddles. Outside the office, you might either find her finishing a bowl of fried rice or hitting the gym.
Bhavna has spent close to 20 years with healthcare and banking brands. A CRM whiz, she brings her obsession with results, can-do attitude and her management skills to our donor relationships. Mother to a beautiful daughter, Bhavna is also a certified Advanced Mountaineer from WHMI, Manali. When not deepening our engagement with donors, she’s busy planning her next trek.
Our in-house guide to healthy eating and lifestyle, Nikita holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and has a decade-long experience of working in the field of nutrition. Her warm presence and zen-like attitude is a calming influence on all the nutritionists or ‘her girls’ as she likes to call them. Nikita is our Head Nutritionist keeping a firm leash on the quality of our counsel.
Happy to help always, Janhavi graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Mumbai University. She has worked as an account executive and team leader for several multinational companies. Her penchant for deadlines and follow-throughs makes her an invaluable asset to the Finance and Compliance team.
Suhani has been instrumental in setting up our Bengaluru Chapter. She coordinates and implements the operations with a team of consultants and volunteers. An MBA from Cardiff University, Wales, she was a Public Relations professional working with leading brands in India before deciding to use her skills, knowledge and network for Cuddles. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, Suhani finds her calm in practicing yoga and Buddhism.
Nisha has been instrumental in setting up our Delhi Chapter. She brings her infectious energy and positive attitude to our operations, fundraising, marketing, PR and relationships in Delhi. A graduate from Lucknow University, Nisha is an experienced hand at nonprofit work with an interest in education, healthcare, livelihood and capacity building. She’s our Dilli girl with two beautiful daughters.
A passionate storyteller, Poulomi manages our Kolkata Chapter. Poulomi was a Programme Officer with Total Sanitation Foundation before joining our mission to bring nutrition to children fighting cancer. When not at her desk, you will see her in the hospital planning a game or workshop for parents and children on nutrition.
Chumki graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with honors from Magadh University in Patna. She also holds a diploma from All India Educational & Vocational Teachers Training. Chumki is our eyes and ears in Lucknow, keeping a check on our service delivery there.
Meet the Trustees
Neeraj is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 17 years of experience. He started his career with erstwhile Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young before he charting his own practice. His domains range from auditing, income-tax, service tax, FEMA, international tax and transfer pricing. Besides being the Founder and CEO of his company, Neeraj is also the Chief Financial Officer of Cuddles.
Gunjan Bahl is Vice President at Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) Group at GIC, a Sovereign Wealth Fund, in the Mumbai office since October 2015. Prior to this he was an Executive Director with J.P. Morgan Asset Management in the PERE group and worked there for 9 years. He also holds an MBA with a specialization in Finance and Marketing from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Meet the Board
After a chance encounter with a Japanese professor who needed support in editing his research paper, Abhishek co-founded Cactus Communications in 2002 with a focus on providing English editing services (though the service brand Editage) for researchers in Japan.
Today CACTUS is a pioneering global scientific communications company with offices in Mumbai, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, London and Philadelphia. Cactus ranked first as India’s Great Mid-Size Workplaces, 2017 by the Great Places to Work Institute.
Abhishek brings to CACTUS entrepreneurial vision; a rich, in-depth understanding of customer expectations and needs; and strong leadership and business development skills. A long supporter of Cuddles, Abhishek mentors Cuddles with his immense wisdom in organizational growth, entrepreneurial vision, leadership and business development skills and strategy.
Ajay, an avid traveler, is an Internet evangelist in open source technologies. When not travelling, he heads the engineering team of Shaadi.com. He has been unleashing the power of the web over the last 17 years. When not submerged in the world of tech and codes, Ajay is our de-facto Chief Tech Officer devoting his time and knowledge to make us more tech efficient. He has played a massive role in building our FoodHeals App.
Dr. Brijesh Arora
Dr. Brijesh Arora is Professor in Pediatric Oncology and immediate past convener of Pediatric Hemato-Lymphoid disease management group at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India. Dr. Arora has done his post graduation in Pediatrics from Delhi University and has done his DM (fellowship) in Medical & Pediatric Oncology from AIIMS, New Delhi. He has done his training in Pediatric hematology Oncology and BMT from Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada. He has been actively involved in pediatric oncology clinical research and has done his formal postgraduate training in clinical research at Bombay College of Pharmacy. He is also the national managing committee member of Indian Cancer Society, Medical Advisor to Cuddles foundation and treasurer of Mumbai Hematology group. He is an Honorary Trustee of the Indian Cooperative Oncology Network (ICON) & Chair of ICON Pediatric Sub-Committee.
She’s Chairperson of high-ranking Indian schools, The Aditya Birla World Academy and The Aditya Birla Integrated School. She also the Founder and Chairperson of Mpower, a movement that aims to affect a positive change in the attitudes towards mental health. Neerja has also been honoured with the Icon of Excellence Award by FICCI-FLO – Sambhavaa, as well as the Woman of Excellence Award by FICCI’s Ladies Wing.
Holding an Honors Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Derby, she is married to Kumar Mangalam Birla and is the proud mother of three successful and loving children.
To Cuddles, Neerja brings her love for children, and her astute vision and strategic direction to our daily operations.
He was awarded the Hall of Fame by the Advertising Agencies of India and the Advertising Club, Calcutta. He is currently the Chairman of the NorthPoint Centre of Learning, which he founded. This evolved from his special interest in the development of young talent to help them build productive careers within the advertising industry.
Shalini is an early believer, torch bearer, mentor and guide who has steered Cuddles to where it is today. She is the Secretary of ImPaCCT Foundation, the Pediatric Foundation of Tata Memorial Hospital. As Secretary, she uses her network and social skills to reach out to the well-off and business community to make charitable donations towards pediatric care. Shalini was awarded the prestigious Contributions to Society award by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s political organization, Friends of NaMo for her unwavering commitment to society. She is also an active member of the Abandonment Working Group in the Pediatric Oncology Group of Developing Countries and is involved with the development of software that helps keep track of patients. Additionally, she has contributed richly, as a Member of the Ethics Review Board for clinical trials.
Vandana has over 14 years of legal experience. She did her Bachelor in Law from National Law School, Bangalore and her Masters at Columbia Law School, New York. She is a partner at Bharucha & Partners and her practice areas include Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions, General Corporate and Employment Law. She has been recognized as a leading lawyer for Private Equity in India.
Vandana holds our legal torch, making sure we are transparent and compliant, always.
Viji brings with her 28 years of professional experience in cancer patient care and support in her role as Country Head India at The Max Foundation. Through the years, Viji has served many community leadership roles in the cancer care arena; including her time as the Asia Coordinator for the International Union against Cancer (UICC) where she developed and led symposiums, workshops and learning programs. She was also instrumental in help setting up the Preventive Oncology Department at Tata Memorial Hospital in 1991, where she has contributed to the renowned institute as an active member of its Ethics Committee. In 2009, Viji was awarded the Scroll of Honor for her outstanding contribution in the field of Social Service from the Health Minister of Bihar at the World Cancer Day Celebration in Patna, India.