My name is Menka Sanghvi. I am passionate about creating tools and experiences that support our natural capacities for mindfulness, curiosity and wonder.
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.
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 had the opportunity to teach and mentor widely. In 2011 the British Council recognised me as a “significant force in the creative economy”.
My biggest insight during this time (which seems obvious in retrospect) was that for any of us to truly care for our communities and our planet, we must feel awake inside ourselves. This is why 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, breathwork, neuroscience, and mental wellbeing at institutes such as the Greater Good Science Centre.
I now work with organisations including Mind Over Tech, the Mindfulness Initiative, and the UNDP on what I call “inside-out” projects. These treat cultivating capacities of the heart and mind as the starting point for personal, societal, and systemic change. I’m particularly interested in helping children and young people with their wellbeing and freedom.
So what do I actually do? Currently, I am creating an Awards programme for innovation in the mindfulness sector, facilitating mindful photography walks, hosting and producing a podcast about digital habits, and I also publish a regular newsletter as part of my Just Looking project. Collaboration and experimentation are core to my ethic because I really want to engage diverse communities, beyond the usual suspects.
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.