Nira S. Desai

Senior Director of Strategy & Learning, World Cocoa Foundation

Focus Areas: Improving Farmer Income Combatting Child Labour

Nira S. Desai serves as the Senior Director, Strategy & Learning, where she leads overarching strategy and business planning for WCF, as well as the knowledge and learning function. Nira also leads CocoaAction in West Africa and Brazil. CocoaAction brings the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies together with governments and key stakeholders to accelerate sustainability and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.  Nira brings over 15 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, where she has specialized in building multi-stakeholder partnerships to amplify impact.

Before joining WCF, Nira was a sustainability consultant and worked with clients such as Unilever, the Clinton Global Initiative and various non-profits and NGOs in Asia and Africa.  While at Unilever, Nira spearheaded the start of a pre-competitive, cross-industry initiative to reduce global waste.  From 2009-2012, Nira served in President Barack Obama’s administration as a Special Assistant at the Department of Defense.  She was responsible for government-to-government relationships, as well as strategic communications for Asia-Pacific, including public and legislative affairs.  Nira started her career working in communications consulting as a strategic planner and account manager, working with a wide range of private-sector industry clients.

Nira holds a BA in government and politics and a BS in marketing from the University of Maryland (USA) and an MBA with a concentration in Sustainable Business from the University of Cambridge (UK).