My Story

Hello, I’m Menka Sanghvi. 👋🏽
I’m passionate about finding ways to nurture our human capacities for mindfulness, curiosity and wonder in this Digital Age.

I was born at a time when there was only 341.50 ppm CO² in the atmosphere, and the internet had not yet been invented. My childhood was happy and safe, although I grew up in the Middle East through the turbulence of the Gulf War.

Later I graduated with honours as a Physicist from Cambridge University, and my thesis was on the role of bias in seeing clearly. I became fascinated with how to understand complex challenges and did a second Masters in Sustainable Development with Forum for the Future, where we studied with a radical mix of faculty, including environmentalists, corporate leaders, policy experts, and monks.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2021-12-05-at-00.26.39-1.png
Presenting on social innovation at an IUCN environmental conference held at the oldest known library in the world: Alexandria, Egypt. 2007.

For over 15 years, I worked as an innovation specialist in the social sector on problems such as climate change, access to water, and the refugee crisis. I was a senior consultant and advisor to the UN, Oxfam, WaterAid, and other global non-profits, co-founder of the award-winning Impact Hub, and a partner of the systems change consultancy Reos. During this time, I had the opportunity to teach and mentor widely. In 2011 the British Council recognised me as a “significant force in the creative economy”.

Documenting research into smallholder farmers in Azerbaijan for Oxfam, 2012

My biggest insight from these experiences at the frontline of social change – which seems so obvious in retrospect – was that for any of us to truly care for our communities and our planet, we must feel care inside ourselves. I decided to shift my work and contribution to explore this. Building on my personal meditation practice in the Jain wisdom tradition, I undertook further training in modern mindfulness, yoga and breathwork, neuroscience, and mental wellbeing. I studied with inspiring teachers at institutes such as the Greater Good Science Centre.

What impact does silence have on our attention? A photography exhibit I did at Central Saint Martins, in 2018 after one of my 5-day silent solo retreats.

In 2017 I founded Just Looking: a creative project to share ideas and practices around mindful curiosity. I also work with a few organisations as an independent consultant, including Mind Over Tech, the Mindfulness Initiative, and the UNDP, on what I call “inside-out” projects. All of these endeavours treat cultivating capacities of the heart and mind as the starting point for personal, societal, and systemic change.

Online launch event for my book “Fieldbook for Mindfulness Innovators”, 2019, which combined my interests in both innovation and mindfulness.

The role of technology in being mindful is a major focus of my current work. There is a lot to be concerned about, but equally, it is exciting to reimagine how technology (especially AI and wearables) can deeply support us to be more fully human. This is why I am a founding investor of Stix a design company that is making mindfulness training fun for children. I’m also writing a book about how to make our digital habits more intentional.

How can mindfulness training be accessible to everyone? Strategy workshop with the Mindfulness Initiative, 2021.

When not surrounded by post-it notes, or trying to meditate, I’m likely found on long muddy walks – often with my camera or binoculars serving as physical reminders for me to slow down and pay attention. I live just outside London with my husband and son, very close to a rare community of down shieldbugs.

I appreciate your interest in my work. If you’ve read this far, please feel free to get in touch to say hello. Or come find me on Instagram.

<< Back to homepage