Preethi Rao

Associate Director

As the Associate Director at LEAD, Preethi oversees the leveraging evidence function (collaborations, training, learning and communications, and innovations) and contributes to strategic decision-making. She has served the organization in various capacities such as Head – Innovation, Senior Operations Manager and Researcher (MSME). As an Innovation Champion, she drives new initiatives and is responsible for conceptualizing new areas of interest for the organization. Prior to heading the Innovation vertical, Preethi has overseen the entire field data collection and digitization operations (spanning more than 10 states) of LEAD in her capacity as Senior Manager (Operations & Development).

She was the Director of the Jaipur Digital Payments Lab at Catalyst, where she oversaw the entire on-ground execution, managed partner/stakeholder relations, managed donor liaison and expectations, anchored M&E and was involved in the production of programmatic learning outputs. For IWWAGE, which is an initiative of LEAD conducting research on women’s economic empowerment, she serves as the Innovation Lead, assisting in setting up the hub, providing particular assistance in terms of confirming policies and procedures, and setting up outreach protocols in coordination with the team.

Over the years she has undertaken interdisciplinary studies on access to finance for small and medium scale enterprises and the influence of macroeconomic policies on the low-income populations. Preethi has also been involved in developing, designing and leading research studies and short term projects in open data, financial inclusion and MSMEs. She has a Masters Degree in Management from IFMR Graduate School of Business where her focus areas were Finance and Marketing.

In her free time, Preethi likes to write poetry, read fiction and watch movies.