Who Are We?

Fritha – Founder and CEO

Fritha is the creative entrepreneur behind the Secret Projects. During her 13-year career in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector, Fritha has worked in organisations both in the U.K. and abroad, including Save the Children, and led Adventure Ashram, a small grassroots charity raising funds for projects in India. It was during this time that she became aware of the diverse challenges that mothers face in India. She created Secret Projects in order to work with women as business partners rather than beneficiaries. From a pilot project in 2013, Fritha was able to build a committed crowd created through numerous crowdfunding campaigns in order to transform Secret Projects into what it is today. Fritha believes that with the leadership team firmly in place, Secret Projects has a bright future, one which she is dedicated to for many years to come.

Fritha is delighted to introduce the rest of the global Secret Projects team … 

Ailsa – Business Development Consultant

 

Ailsa has been part of Secret Projects from the very beginning, focusing specifically on business development. She has offered constant support, advice and encouragement drawing on her own experience as a headmistress in charge of the growth of pupil numbers in schools and of setting up a retail brand from scratch in the U.K. and in Europe. (She is also Fritha’s mum!)

Banke – Global Director of Finance and Operations

Banke is a chartered management accountant (ACMA). She joined Secret Projects in 2017 after a career that has spanned retail logistics, insurance and manufacturing both in the for-profit and not-for profit sectors. Banke has held responsibility for setting targets for national companies with over 350 branches with a combined annual turnover of circa £500 million. She was also CEO of a social sector organisation that brought together agencies to work together in the interest of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Fi – Design and Communications Consultant

Fi first connected with Secret Projects in September 2017 through an internship scheme at the University of Bristol in the U.K., which provides funding for students wanting to work in the charity and SME sectors. She is passionate about women's rights and, as a keen dressmaker herself, was drawn to Secret Projects as it is a model of sustainable fashion in which everyone along the value chain is empowered. Over the past two years she has taken on various roles with Secret Projects both in the U.K. and in India. She now works as a Consultant for Secret Projects, with a focus on communications, website development and digital design.

Jo – Creative Director

Lissy - Quality Controller

Lissy is from the tropical southern Indian state of Kerala, and holds over 15 years of experience working as a Quality Controller across India. She now lives in a quiet village area on the outskirts of Bengaluru with her family. She has been working as a Quality Controller for Secret Projects for 2 years and recently took on the role of Assistant Production Manager. She travels long distances to meet our Maker Groups in different states in order to hold training sessions, to check their products and answer any queries or doubts they may have. She is well experienced in the textiles industry and is highly organised and meticulous!

Margaret – Communications Manager

Margaret has worked for over 20 years in the charity sector in various roles including Volunteer Management and Project Management as well as Fundraising and Comms. She began her career in the retail sector with John Lewis on their Management Training Programme. Margaret has a deep passion for India and spent 5 years working with a charity that supports small grassroots charities in South India. She is delighted to be a member of the Secret Projects team and to work with such inspirational colleagues and the Secret Projects Maker Groups. Margaret lives in London with her husband and son. 

 

Maria – Intern

Maria lives in North Bengaluru with her mum Lissy (our Quality Controller!) and her dad and brother. She is in her final year of studies at St Anne’s Pre-University College (where she is head girl!) and she hopes to go on to study Sciences at university. Maria has taken on an internship role with Secret Projects in order to gain professional experience in the not-for-profit sector. With her excellent interpersonal and public speaking skills, we believe her to be a future leader!

Nirmala – Country Director

Nirmala is a ninja at developing relationships with people and we think she is one of India’s best corporate fundraisers. She can understand instinctively how a number of different people or organisations can work together for the benefit of all and towards a social outcome. Nirmala has been working in the development sector in India for over 22 years, leading successful bids with USAID, the European Union and other international grant givers. In addition to all of this, Nirmala is incredible at building the trust of our Makers and facilitating meetings with them where they feel comfortable enough to share what they really want to say rather than what they think we want to hear.

Rachel – Product Developer

Rachel works in product development for Secret Projects, helping bring together ideas for products that are appealing, whilst also making the most of the expertise the Makers might already have and the opportunities there are for them learn new skills.  Rachel started working with Fritha after a long period of being a stay-at-home mum. She says that the energy and the sense of hope that Secret Projects radiates made the transition of going back to work much smoother. In this way, the empowerment of women is not limited to the Makers in India, it is alive all the way through the process.

Rozario – Fulfilment Officer

Rozario is from Madurai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He has significant experience in the textiles industry, having worked in diverse roles for Coats India for over 25 years. He is Secret Project India’s dedicated Fulfilment Officer. He works tirelessly to ensure that all Secret Products safely reach our customers. He is an expert in navigating the Indian postal system and is great friends with everyone who works at the local post office!

Sarah – Garment Technologist

As a professional garment technologist, Sarah has always been interested in who makes the clothes we all wear. After living in India for many years, she developed a passion for helping Indian women become empowered through textile work. It is such a versatile skill, from simple mending to high end fashion design, offering something to everyone who is interested. So many under privileged Indian women are so talented and hardworking but lack the opportunities and encouragement to work independently. She loves Secret Projects because it lifts these women up and helps them to help themselves. She says it is amazing to see each woman gain independence and spend their income on sending their children to school and to collectively create community groups to support one another.

Shin – Assistant Marketing Manager   

Shin is from Manipur in northeastern India. After completing his MBA degree at AAM Business School in Chennai, he took on the role of Assistant Marketing Manager at Secret Projects India. He says that since becoming involved with Secret Projects, he has become even more aware of the diverse challenges faced by women in India. He is pleased that his first job after university is one that has such a profound social impact. Beside from his professional career, Shin is a musician, playing guitar in a metal band.

 

Sophie – Graphic Designer