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 is passionate about developing the leadership capabilities of change-agents and believes that change is only effective if citizens from different generations, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds co-define the country’s evolving perspectives. She is particularly interested in studying and identifying leadership practices that inculcate behavior and mindset change towards progress and impact. 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 U.S. She served as a Board Member for Nepal ko Yuwa (Daayitwa U.S.) and co-led the Nepal Rising campaign. She has been fortunate to travel across four continents and looks forward to exploring Nepal. Since returning to Nepal in 2018 after spending 12 formative years in the U.S., she has been crafting her own leadership journey through the management of the Youth Engagement for Youth Employment Campaign and leading the Academy. She is taking this opportunity to understand the challenges and realities of the community that she calls home and reintegrate into the daily intricacies of life in Nepal. Along with ensuring the organization’s growth, she also administers courses to high school students as a Coach and has worked as a Coaching Advisor for multiple courses. 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.

Apurba K.C.

Senior Leadership Research Officer

Apurba K.C. is an advocate at Nepal Bar Council. She’s a Dean’s List law and liberal arts graduate of Tribhuvan University; currently pursuing a Masters in Constitutional and International Law. She has built foundational experience in leadership, youth engagement and advocacy through her leadership in YUWA as an executive board member (2016-2018). Her internship at the International Legal Foundation counselling indigent clients, and work with The Carter Center as an LTO Assistant during Nepal’s legislative elections of 2017, fuelled her interest in working with the grassroots communities. Building on this passion, she has been working at Nepal Leadership Academy since January 2018, conducting research, design, and evaluation of NLA’s leadership courses. She has worked as Coaching Advisor in 20 leadership courses including cohorts belonging to Daayitwa Public Service Fellowship 2018 and Yuwa Aaja Campaigners 2018. She is deeply interested in interventions synergizing leadership, law and governance.

Taniya Agarwal

Project Officer

Taniya is currently the Project Officer at Nepal Leadership Academy and has been with us since December, 2019. After graduating with a Bachelors in Psychology, she was interested in exploring the human aspects of International Development. This led to her working in Social Innovation and Sustainable Enterprise Development for two years at Development Alternatives – a think tank based in New Delhi. There she was able to build her capacity in project management, communications, and understanding the rural economy of developing countries but most importantly how to conduct field work. Given her background, she takes a special interest in designing leadership interventions for entrepreneurs, often using human-centric design as the guiding principle. Apart from this, she has also worked with two social start-ups which familiarised her with working in uncertain environments. Having spent most of her time outside the country in her formative years, a large part of her wanting to work with NLA and in Nepal was rediscovering her Nepali identity. As a ‘systems thinker’ she is always interested in understanding the complex layers of a problem and mapping the ecosystem that surrounds it. Her portfolio at NLA focuses on communication and building partnerships, but what she is most appreciated for, is her ability to plan and execute pranks as seriously as her projects.

Sahara Shivakoti

Research Associate

Having always been interested in looking at the motivations and mindsets of people behind the actions they take, Sahara graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. At NLA, she gets to put this knowledge to use and research the behavioral changes that the leadership course can lead to. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor and has experience in rapporteuring for and supporting campaigns and programs on women’s rights. At HCI, she was involved in projects promoting youth’s and women’s economic empowerment and environmental sustainability. She plans to continue accumulating work experience in enhancing participation of youth and government in social development and contribute to a prosperous global future.

Bibek Basnet

Partnerships and Communications Associate

Bibek is most interested in supporting individual growth and capacity development. Before joining NLA, he was a part of the team that administered the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Programs in Washington DC, which supported professional development of secondary school teachers from around the world through educational and cultural exchanges. In the past, he has mentored “at-risk” high school students in an after school classroom in Vermont, USA. At NLA, he is most excited during a leadership course, when he can see participants gaining a deeper understanding of themselves, others, and the system and thus empowering themselves to tackle the challenge at hand. Bibek completed his undergraduate from Bennington College, USA, where he enjoyed studying interdisciplinary subjects within the Social Sciences, Public Action, and Performing Arts. He previously interned at Plan International Nepal and Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia. Moving forward, he is excited to continue supporting leadership development of students in Nepal by forging partnerships with high schools and colleges and also innovating to expand NLA’s reach and visibility, all the while developing his skills as a leadership coach. 

Elina Thapa

Finance Officer

Elina Thapa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Development Finance from Kathmandu University and is currently pursuing her MBA in Finance from Pokhara University. In addition to this, Elina is also training to become an ACCA certified professional accountant. Immediately after graduation, Elina joined Deprosc Nepal as an Account and Data Handling Assistant and spent 9 months working in Sindhupalchowk. After that, she was the Finance and Admin Officer at Yonder Music Nepal, where she was a part of the core founding team and earned valuable experience working in a multinational team. Before joining NLA, she was involved with Daayitwa as the Finance Officer. At present, Elina heads the finance team and is responsible for all matters related to Finance. She is passionate about numbers.