Leena Akhtar, PhD
Founder and Principal
Dr. Akhtar's work is concerned with deep cultural change around problems of power-based violence and discrimination.
She earned her PhD from Harvard University in the History of Science and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, where she focused on changes in how sexual assault and harassment were understood, issues facing women and minorities in the sciences, and discrimination in institutional environments. Her dissertation was about the evolution of psychiatric understandings of rape, sexual violence, and trauma in the US in the 20th century. At Harvard, she taught seminars on power-based violence and the evolution of trauma psychiatry, developed equity and inclusion trainings for teaching fellows through the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and helped create and teach the university's first General Education course on gender and science. She also engaged in advocacy work on behalf of minorities, LGBTQ+ persons, and on Title IX-related matters, and advised on implementing comprehensive training on harassment and sexual violence for resident advisors in undergraduate housing.
Previously, she worked in the financial industry and then as the Director of Exhibits and Archives at the Museum of American Finance, where she became interested in issues of harassment, discrimination, and power in the workplace. She served as a rape crisis counselor and medical advocate for seven years in Pittsburgh and New York City and studied at New York University’s Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies program. In addition to her work with The Greater Us, she also collaborates with VISIONS, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been doing work on diversity, equity, and inclusion since 1984.
Dr. Akhtar founded The Greater Us in order to put into practice the theoretical and historical insights of her work on violence and cultural change.
Learn more about our approach at the link below.