Author Nilofer Merchant to Speak at Lotus Festival as the Desai Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Service

Nilofer Merchant
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STOW, MA— Entrepreneur, author and thought-leader Nilofer Merchant will feature as the keynote speaker at the Desai Foundation’s annual Lotus Festival at the Collings Foundation Estate in Stow, MA, on Sept. 16.

The event will serve as the organization’s 20th anniversary celebration, bringing together Boston’s finest along with global movers-and-shakers across business, technology and media.

Nilofer Merchant

“We are absolutely thrilled that Nilofer will be joining us at Lotus Festival this year. It’s a true pleasure to welcome her support in any capacity, and it’s particularly exciting that she’ll be sharing some of her most inspiring ideas,” said Megha Desai, President of the Desai Foundation. “Her insight around individual purpose is perfectly aligned with the Desai Foundation’s mission to encourage women and girls to embrace their personal power and to dream beyond.”

Guests will be treated to an inspiring talk around Merchant’s best-selling book The Power of Onlyness, Desai Foundation said in a statement. Special for this event, Merchant will connect her concept of “onlyness” — that is, the powerful offering that is unique to everyone as an individual contribution to any situation, relationship or circumstance — to the Desai Foundation’s core mission of cultivating dignity.

Merchant is a globally-recognized thought leader and the author of three books. She is also an entrepreneur who has launched more than 100 products, netting $18 billion in sales. She was included on the “Thinkers50”  ranking as one of the world’s leading thinkers, and her TED Talk “Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation,” is in the top 10 percent of TED’s most viewed talks.

The Lotus Festival will be held in a private hangar, showcasing rare automobiles, aircraft and military vehicles. The event will include a formal sit-down dinner emcee’d by Karen Anderson of WCVB, as well as South Asia-inspired entertainment, and a live auction benefiting the Desai Foundation.

In addition to Merchant, Megha Desai will speak about the organization’s 20-year journey in community development and the progress of the organization’s vocational programs for rural women in Gujarat and their programming in the US.

Among these programs is the Asani Sanitary Napkins Program, launched this past spring. The Asani program aims to de-stigmatize menstruation, encourage self-care, and increase school attendance for girls, in an effort to help women overcome cultural barriers to self-empowerment and dignity.

Since its start as a small family foundation, the Desai Foundation has grown to become a recognized name in the non-profit impact sector with highly impactful programming that focuses on a sustainable, ground-up approach to community development. The Desai Foundation leverages strong partners on the ground in the U.S. and India with programs spanning vocational classes, health camps, community volunteer outreach, and sanitary napkin programs. The organization, to date, has impacted 330,000 lives in Gujarat, India, Metro-Boston, and Harlem, New York.

To purchase tickets to Lotus Festival, visit:


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