Prachi Vakharia is awarded WIBI Woman of the Year 

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Prachi Vakharia
Prachi Vakharia

In her quest to gain a better understanding of people, the mechanisms of the world around her, and advances in science and technology, Prachi Vakharia has taken on many roles simultaneously. Presently, she is a transportation and innovation specialist at Amazon, associate partner at European boutique investment bank ImprovedCF, and co-founder of Womanium. She does all this while also serving on several advisory boards, including as chairperson of the Business for a Better World Center (B4BW) Advisory Board at George Mason University’s School of Business. 

With a lengthy list of responsibilities filling her days, it is easy to see how Vakharia could get overwhelmed. However, each project leads to a focused central mission of hers, and so she finds the work itself to be invigorating. “Since a young age, I’ve been curious about the world around me, growing up in many different places and experiencing different cultures between Asia, Europe, and North America,” she says. Vakharia lets her curiosities for science, entrepreneurship, and innovation drive her. 

In 2017, Prachi Vakharia co-founded Womanium, which has awarded more than a thousand scholarships to date and trains women in a variety of cutting-edge scientific fields, including quantum computing, atomic clocks, computation neuroscience, satellites, and energy.

Vakharia’s inspiring level of engagement and achievement earned her recognition as the 2022 Women in Business Initiative (WIBI) Woman of the Year. The School of Business WIBI board is composed of professionals supporting businesswomen and female business students at Mason. “It’s great to be validated that at Womanium we’re doing the right things–advancing and placing women in scientific leadership roles and the award is the signal that we should keep doing more of it and build the leaders of tomorrow,” she says. And with the constant changes of the world and technology, there’s little rest for Vakharia, as she continues striving to make the world a better place for everyone. 

Encouraged to see more organizations educating in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), she looks to the future. “Not many institutions train one to look at the horizon, to think about the pivotal technologies that will be emerging in the next five, ten, twenty years,” she says. “A leader needs to have foresight and be ready for future disruptions–and Womanium’s role is to create and prepare this next generation of female leaders.” 

One of the newer centers at the School of Business, B4BW operates both inside and outside the classroom with the belief that business should be a force for good in the world. Vakharia became involved when Rashed Hasan, B4BW’s executive in residence, reached out and showed her how the center’s goals aligned with her own. Two of the center’s initiatives closest to her heart are the Honey Bee Initiative (HBI), which empowers communities through sustainable beekeeping and helps the conservation of bees, and the stakeholder value index, a newly constructed framework for measuring business impact. “We want to enable a corporation’s footprint to be measured by its impact on people, planet, and profits–the triple bottom line,” she says.