Shikha Bhatnagar has over seventeen years of working across sectors, with diverse global stakeholders, on issues such as labor, international trade, economic development, education, health/nutrition, civil society, and gender.
Throughout her career, she has worked on behalf of under-served communities in the US and abroad. Her career began as a Program Assistant for the International Labor Rights Fund (now Forum), a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of workers around the world through the collaboration of companies, NGOs, and governments. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (www.mcca.com) where she helped mobilize over $ 1 million for the organization. She has also served as an independent consultant to nonprofit organizations, and established and emerging leaders. Her clients includes 100Kin10 (www.100Kin10.org), a coalition of nearly 160 organizations, institutions and companies from all sectors, committed to building a movement towards education reform, specifically getting more excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers into American classrooms. She was also a consultant/program coordinator for the Global Youth Leadership Institute (www.gyli.org), a leadership program for students and educators in various parts of the world.
From 2009 to 2013, Shikha was the Associate Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, where she engaged leaders at all levels in working towards effective solutions for political stability and economic growth in the greater South Asia region. During her time there, she helped secure over $1,000,000 in funding for the Center, engaged regularly with donors, including Skoll Global Threats Fund, Ploughshares Fund, Carnegie Corporation, the US State Department and the British Council. In 2012, she helped launch the “Emerging Leaders of Pakistan” fellowship program (www.elpak.org), which empowers the next generation of civil society activists from across Pakistan. She designed the project, secured partnerships, managed logistics and programming for the group’s travel, and led follow-up activities in Pakistan.
Prior to the Council, Shikha lived in India, serving as an Executive Director for Teach For India, inspired by the Teach For America model of selecting outstanding young leaders, recruiting them to serve as teachers in low-resourced schools and developing a community of alumni who continue to serve as advocates of educational equity. She also launched and led the U.S. office of Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world's largest non-profit run school lunch program, where she increased the organization's presence nationally and globally through critical partnerships and grassroots mobilization.
From 2001-2006, Shikha spent time working within the U.S. Government as a Presidential Management Fellow, where she served as an International Trade Specialist at the Department of Commerce, and represented the U.S. textiles and apparel industry in bilateral trade agreements and market access cases, with regional emphasis on the Middle East/North Africa and Asia.
Shikha is also actively involved in her community. She is currently a member of Columbia University's SIPA Alumni Advisory Council. She previously sat on the Board of Directors of the Upakar Foundation, a non-profit organization that provided merit and need based college scholarships to Indian Americans, and previously held leadership positions with the Network of South Asian Professionals (NetSAP) and Indus Women Leaders, in Washington, DC. She is also an alumnus of the Washington Leadership Program, which provides young South Asian Americans an opportunity to intern with Congressional offices in Washington, DC.
Shikha was born in New Delhi, India and raised in Las Vegas, NV. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1997 and received her Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in 2001.