“Wear a crown of flowers on your head, let its roots reach your heart.” — Kabir Das, 15th century Indian poet and mystic
Empowerment, healing, and wellness are central to Chetna’s life, both personally and professionally. As director of people and culture at the Foundation, she is dedicated to supporting and developing the talent of the Foundation’s team members while fostering a values-driven culture for the organization. In the greater philanthropic field, she’s part of a community of leaders who are advocating for inclusion and equity—reimagining systems and processes and creating new pathways in how philanthropies engage with staff and communities.
Chetna brings 13 years of HR experience to the Foundation, with her most recent role as manager of talent at Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP). She was instrumental in recruiting staff, contractors, and interns, enhancing MACP’s recruitment process to prioritize equity, inclusion, and candidate experience. Her dedicated efforts for over a decade contributed to the steady growth of MACP’s staff base. Chetna’s commitment and passion for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) were clearly demonstrated through her active participation in various committees and advisory groups at MACP.
The cultural experiences Chetna brings to NWAF are invaluable. She spent her formative years living and traveling across the globe. She was born in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, then spent the majority of her elementary years living with relatives in India. After college, she lived and worked in Singapore as an expat for 4+ years. She’s traveled to more than 35 countries. And her journey continues.
Being part of a global community has helped shape Chetna’s authentic self and inspires her as she works to advance the Foundation’s mission to create a culture that’s rooted in JEDI.
She earned her master’s in organizational development and change leadership, as well as her bachelor’s in finance and economics, from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Chetna is a board member for Camp Fire Minnesota, a nonprofit dedicated to creating impactful youth experiences through camps. She’s also completed her teacher’s training program as a yoga instructor and guides meditation classes on a volunteer basis.
When she’s not working, traveling, or volunteering, Chetna enjoys vegetarian cooking with recipes from around the world. She lives her life by the principles of Ayurveda, a holistic approach to health originated in India more than 5,000 years ago that promotes a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and environment to help people live long, healthy, balanced lives.