Pukar Malla

Dr. Pukar Malla

Executive Coach

Dr. Pukar Malla has been leading parallel careers as a leadership coach, community organizer, and innovation specialist. As Founder and Executive Director of a leadership non-profit, Daayitwa, he has been organizing youth to lead innovative solutions in the government, business and civil society sectors. As a Former Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, he investigated and piloted frameworks for communities of innovators to lead change. As a Senior Innovation Policy Specialist at the World Bank, he supported the Indian, Chinese and Ghanaian governments to promote innovation and inclusive growth. Prior to that, he led technology designs at Intel, AMD, Silicon Graphics, and a Silicon Valley start-up, and secured 2 US patents. He received his Bachelors from Swarthmore College, with a focus on engineering and economics. He spent 3 years at Cornell, attaining a MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering with a Minor in Business Management. He earned his MPA from Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard, he also led the university-wide Harvard Graduate Student Government as its elected President.

Diva Shrestha

Diva Shrestha

Program Director

Diva Shrestha is passionate about understanding and developing the leadership capabilities of Nepalese people and believes that change is only effective if citizens from different generations and genders co-define the country’s evolving perspectives. Her professional journey includes eight years of senior leadership roles in admissions and financial aid offices at Nazareth College, Bucknell University, and Colby College in the US. She serves as a Board Member for Nepal ko Yuwa (Daayitwa US) and co-leads the Nepal Rising campaign. She has been fortunate to travel across four continents and looks forward to exploring Nepal. She returned to Nepal after 12 years in the US and is excited about adapting back to life here, as well as crafting her own leadership journey by working with incredibly talented Nepalese youth. She has a Masters in Public Policy with a concentration in International Development and Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelors from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY

Tara Panthi

Tara Prasad Panthi

Leadership Coach

Tara Prasad Panthi is the co-founder and director of Daayitwa, a campaign of young leaders who are striving for innovative solutions to systemic challenges in Nepal through entrepreneurship practice, policy change, and civic engagement. He is one of the coaches at the Nepal Leadership Academy (NLA). Through NLA, he has co-designed and co-offered several leadership courses to hundreds of youth representing universities, businesses, politics, and civil society. He has worked as a consultant and entrepreneurship specialist for various startup businesses, social enterprises, and NGOs such as the World Bank and UNICEF in the US, East Africa, Europe, and Nepal. He is also a lecturer at the King’s College, Nepal. He holds a MSc in Economics and Business Administration from Aalto University, Finland, and a BA in Economics from Middlebury College, USA. He is a student of spirituality and meditation at the Oshodhara Mystery School.

Aman Shrestha

Aman Shrestha

Coaching Advisor

Aman Shrestha is a 2015 Daayitwa Summer Fellow and has also worked on Daayitwa’s Rural Enterprise Accelerator Program (REAP). He recently completed his MSc Management (Entrepreneurship) from Durham University as a Chevening Scholar and is looking forward to entrepreneurial ventures in Nepal. He previously participated in the LEAD course and has assisted the Executive Coach as a Coaching Assistant. He believes the LEAD course has drastically changed his view of and approach towards leadership, and that the course has the power to transform people into innovative leaders.

Apurva KCApurba KC

Leadership Research Officer

Apurba K.C. is a law and liberal arts graduate from National Law College, Tribhuvan University, with an avid interest in national governance and international law. Parallel to her studies, she has accumulated research and leadership experience through engagement in varied capacities at various I/NGOs. Since 2016, she has been working as an executive board member at YUWA, a youth-led NGO working for youth empowerment, engagement, and advocacy. She worked with The Carter Center as an LTO Assistant/Interpreter during Nepal’s legislative elections of 2017. Additionally, she coached and led her law school teams to multiple international moot court competitions, and spent four months counseling indigent clients at the International Legal Foundation. Apurba enjoys reading books and following podcasts on philosophy, leadership, and emotional intelligence in order to continuously evolve and strengthen her understanding of the world.

Sameer Rana

Operations and Communications Associate

Sameer Rana graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, majoring in International Relations and minoring in French. While there, he studied abroad on the School for International Training’s International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Program in Geneva, writing a published research project on the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process, and at Sciences Po in Paris, taking French-language courses on comparative politics and international law. On campus, he served as Head Mentor for the International Student Mentor Program, Program Assistant for the Office of International Initiatives, and Marketing Coordinator for the Model United Nations team. He also held summer internships in New York with BRAC USA and UNAIDS. Following graduation, Sameer returned to Kathmandu and was a Program Intern at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), a human rights INGO that works with conflict victims and key political actors to advance transitional justice in Nepal. Now at NLA as an Operations and Communications Associate, he is looking forward to gaining more nuanced understandings of leadership and development, as well as contributing positively to a shared vision of a resilient and thriving Nepal.

Abish Rajbhandari

Creativity Associate

Abish Rajbhandari is a recent Business Administration graduate from Webster University, Thailand. As a self-taught graphic designer, he is passionate about graphic design and other various forms of art. At his high school and University, he held various leadership roles and worked with numerous clubs and groups in his high school and University. He previously worked as an illustrator intern at ECS media and as a Public Relation Head and Marketing Executive at his University. At Daayitwa, he currently serves as a Creativity Associate under the Leadership and Civic Engagement department.

Larisha Dhakal


Larisha Dhakal recently graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, with a major in Economics and a double minor in Business Management and Philosophy. During her time there, she participated in a 3 month long entrepreneurship program called the StartUp Term which allowed her to attended several seminars with copyright law professionals, entrepreneurs, local professionals, and grant writers. She co-planned a successful fundraising campaign to finance a summer pilot program of her StartUp project. The past summer, she completed a training program at SMEC India under the supervision of the General Manager of Finance. SMEC is a professional services firm with Australian origins that provides consultancy services on major infrastructure projects around the world. On campus, she served at Alpha Phi Omega, a nation-wide service fraternity. She was also elected to coordinate the biggest cultural showcase on campus: International Fair. During her free time, she likes to play table-tennis, visit quirky local eateries, and watch documentaries. At NLA/Daayitwa, she hopes to constructively contribute to the mission of transforming societal challenges into innovative opportunities while also internalizing the importance of effective leadership.