Mrs. Lila Poonawalla (recipient of the Padma Shri award, 1989)

Chairperson, LPF

  Growing up in a Refugee Camp to graduating from College of Engineering, Pune to becoming the Chairperson of Alfa Laval – Tetra Pak, India, my journey was one of dedication, hard-work and focus. Today when I look back at my academic journey, I feel proud. My experiences are what helped me, not just to grow, but also lead me to start the Lila Poonawalla Foundation. The idea behind starting the Lila Poonawalla Foundation (LPF) was to support academically meritorious girls who belong to a financially challenged background.  

Mrs. Lila Poonawalla-Mom, as she is fondly called by her 14,000+ Daughters residing across the globe, is a Padma Shri recipient, 4th highest civilian award given by Government of India.

A refugee from Hyderabad, Pakistan (Sindh Province), she began her life in independent India by staying at the refugee camp in Lonavala, before settling in Pune. Destined to walk the unknown path, Mrs. Poonawalla excelled in her studies. Her intelligence, dedication and hard work led her to the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), where she created history and broke stereotypes by becoming one of the first female Mechanical Engineer to graduate in India, way back in 1967. Believing in equal opportunities, Mrs. Poonawalla began her career at Ruston & Hornsby as an apprentice. Later she joined Alfa Laval as a Trainee Engineer. Growing through her sincere dedication and work ethics, Mrs. Poonawalla started working up the ranks at Alfa Laval and rose to become the CMD in less than 20 years. Under her management, Alfa Laval India operations grew fivefold. She again created history by becoming the first woman CMD of Alfa Laval India, and also becoming the first woman CMD in India of a multinational company. When Tetra Pak International acquired Alfa Laval, she again stepped in to get Tetra Pak start a new company for production of Packages in India and became CMD of two companies. Here, she was awarded the Padma Shri for boosting the Indo-Swedish Economic ties.

Mrs. Poonawalla is the first Indian woman to receive the Swedish Civilian Honor in the year 2003, the ‘Order of the Polar Star’ naming her as the , Officer Of The Royal Order, from Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden. In 2019, Mrs. Poonawalla received yet another recognition and was awarded the title of 'Cross of Seraphim (Commander First Class)' for boosting Indo-Swedish Business. She was felicitated at the hands of the King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Recently she has been felicitated with the Prestigious ‘Mahatma Lifetime Achievement Award’ for making a social impact and leading the way to a sustainable future, Brilliance Awards - Lifetime Excellence Award for recognition as an 'Indian Women Industrialist & Powerhouse to Women Empowerment'. The Rotary Club has also felicitated Mrs. Poonawalla for her contribution to the development sector.


Firoz Poonawalla

Founder, Trustee, LPF

  With the tremendous work that Lila Poonawalla Foundation is doing, we want to see more and more girls come forward and look at the Scholarship as an opportunity to make their dreams come true. With our work, we hope to serve humanity by educating and empowering girls. With LPF, we wish to support girls throughout India complete their education and become productive members of the society.  

Mr. Firoz Poonawalla, a graduate from the Wadia College, has worked extensively in the field of Total Quality Management. After retiring from his corporate pursuits, Mr. Poonawalla along with Mrs. Poonawalla started the Lila Poonawalla Foundation. Mr. Poonawalla’s supporting efforts led LPF to start the School Project – ‘2morrow 2gether’. Today under Mr. Poonawalla’s leadership the school project has had 12+ schools in and across the Pune district with over 2200+ girls awarded scholarships in this project.

With a keen eye for detail, Mr. Poonawalla also supports the school project by providing infrastructural services to those schools that need it.

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