Common Purpose / 25 July 2023

Neha Jauhari led a team of more than 100 before she turned 25. These are the 5 key things she learned.

“The thought of changing the world might be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from trying."


When Neha Jauhari was attending high school in India, she came across a girl who looked to be around her own age who was begging on the streets. Curious to know more, Neha asked her why she wasn’t going to school, and as she probed deeper, she discovered that this girl, as well as a whole community of slum dwellers across India, did not have access to education.

“I was shocked at the plight of the situation,” says Neha, a Common Purpose alumni and recipient of our 25Under25 Award. It was this moment of confronting realisation that catalysed the beginning of a powerful social enterprise.

“It sparked a desire within me to help the underprivileged section of the society, and since then, I have been determined to create solutions for widespread social issues,” she explains.

At 16, Neha set about creating EPIC – Empowering People Initiating Change. It began with a team of three, each of whom did various community service work. Fast forward five years, and she is now a social entrepreneur leading a team of more than 100 people who work across India and Ireland (where Neha now resides) to bring about positive change to underserved communities.

“The most rewarding moments come when witnessing the tangible impact of the work that we do in different communities, and seeing improvements in the lives of the communities we serve, such as increased access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities,” Neha says.

Along the way, she has learned some incredibly valuable lessons about leading a team across geographical borders. Her extensive work in policy with the Delhi Government, leading the Girl Up Movement under the United Nations Foundation and studying a Master’s Degree in International Management at Trinity College Dublin has set a solid baseline. She also attended Common Purpose’s Legacy Programme, Dublin22, where she deepened her understanding of leadership in both a personal and professional capacity, learned new skills to overcome challenges and developed her resilience. 

“It contributed to my process of self-discovery and helped me in building a strong network of like-minded young change makers,” she adds.

It goes without saying that Neha still has plenty more to give through her work as a social entrepreneur, and she’ll be taking some core lessons in leadership with her. Here, she takes us through five key things she has learned about being a young leader. 

  1. Always be open to learning: “Adopting a mindset that values continuous learning, improvement, and adaptation will take you far,” she tells us.

  2. Setbacks are normal – don’t let them put you off: “Leadership is a journey, and there will be challenges and setbacks along the way,” she says, adding that young leaders should “view these experiences as opportunities for growth and learning rather than as failures.”

  3. Don’t be afraid to think big: “The thought of changing the world might be intimidating but don’t let that stop you from trying because each step that you take towards the right direction might change the world for one person - and that’s what matters.”

  4. Network, connect, repeat: “Surround yourself with a network of like-minded individuals who share your aspirations and values,” Neha explains, “Connect with other young leaders, join professional networks, and participate in relevant communities. These connections can provide support, inspiration, and opportunities for collaboration.”

  5. Persevere through challenges by staying true to your purpose: “Introducing innovative solutions and challenging the status quo can encounter resistance from various stakeholders. It's important to articulate the value and impact and to communicate the vision effectively which is not always an easy thing to do. Learning from failures, seeking guidance and staying true to my passion and purpose has helped me persevere through these challenges.”


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