Nita Mukesh Ambani (nee Dalal) is an Indian philanthropist and businesswoman. She is the first Indian woman to become a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was included in ‘the most influential women business leaders in Asia’ list by Forbes.
In 2016, Nita was listed in ‘the fifty high and mighty Indians’ list by India Today. For her initiatives on sports in India, Ambani was given the ‘Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Award 2017’ by the President of India. She is also the recipient of the Times of India award for Best Corporate Supporter of Indian Sports.
Nita Ambani (née Dalal) was born on 1 November 1963 to Ravindrabhai Dalal and Purnima Dalal. She was raised in a middle-class Gujarati family in Mumbai and has a sister, Mamta Dalal, who currently works as a school teacher. Nita completed her bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, and took up the classical Indian dance called Bharatnatyam from an early age and grew to become a professional Bharatnatyam dancer. She worked as a school teacher and it was during this period she met Mukesh Ambani and married him in 1985. After marriage, she continued to work as a teacher for a few years. They have two sons and a daughter – Akash Isha and Anant Ambani.
In 1997,Nita Ambani participated in the project of building a company township for the employees of Reliance’s refinery at Jamnagar. The project involved establishing a tree-lined and environmentally-friendly colony to house more than 17,000 residents. Currently, the Jamnagar complex has one of the largest orchards in the world with nearly 100,000 mango trees that is also home to a variety of birds.
Nita Ambani is the chairperson and founder of the Reliance Foundation; the CSR arm of Reliance Industries. The foundation was founded in 2010. Ambani is also the founder of the Dhirubhai Ambani International School and it has been ranked among the best schools in Resources & Services.
In 2014, she was elected to the board of Reliance Industries and became a non-executive director of the company. Her husband, Mukesh Ambani is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries. Their family fortune is estimated in excess of US$80 billion (August 2020), making the Ambani family among the richest in the world. Apart from philanthropy, Nita is also an art collector and owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Mumbai Indians. Her team, Mumbai Indians won the title in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. She also championed the ‘Education and sports for All’ (ESA) initiative under the Mumbai Indians’ as a way of giving back to society. This initiative, ESA, has impacted over 100,000 underprivileged children and created awareness for education using both traditional media and digital platforms.
Ambani was one eight candidates nominated for membership in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by the Swiss-based panel in June 2016. Ambani was elected as a member of the IOC on 4 August 2016, making her its first Indian woman member.