Leadership and Innovation with Saleema Vellani

“Creativity goes hand in hand with emotional intelligence. The more self aware we are, the more we practice self awareness and empathy and all these things, the more we’re able to be resilient, the more we’re able to unleash that creativity inside of us. A lot of times in our workshops, we get people that say, oh, we’re not creative, or, you know, I’m just not a creative person, and they have a lot of what we call limiting beliefs about themselves. And oftentimes, after going through our workshops, they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize I had that in me! I didn’t realize I could be creative, I didn’t realize I already am creative. I just didn’t know that!’ And so, you know, it’s just amazing to see the amount of creativity that is unleashed as people work on their emotional intelligence skills.”

Saleema Vellani is the Co-Founder and COO of Innovazing, an education and leadership development firm that strives to help organizations cultivate more impactful leaders. Innovazing uses emotional intelligence tools and techniques, based on neuroscience, in its highly customized programs for social enterprises, nonprofits, higher education, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. Aside from launching 5 fast-growing ventures across 4 countries, she has also provided consulting for over 12 years to a wide spectrum of organizations. 

Saleema is passionate about empowering the developing world through technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Earlier in her career, Saleema co-founded a nonprofit language school in Brazil, which is currently the nation’s top-rated and largest Portuguese school. Recently, Saleema co-led an award-winning, groundbreaking study at the World Bank on how existing climate-smart food production technologies, such as hydroponics and aquaponics, can be adapted and simplified to tackle food insecurity while increasing livelihoods for refugees and engaging the private sector in water-scarce countries.

Saleema teaches Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and is a faculty member of Mavasive Leadership Institute. She also co-leads the World Bank Group’s largest and most inclusive mentoring program for the Youth-2-Youth Community and is the Career Advisory Networks Co-Chair of SWAN, the SAIS Women’s Alumni Network. 

Saleema has spent her life between Canada, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Italy, and the USA and is fluent in five languages.