Leela Najafi


About Leela

Leela Najafi joined Candou Ventures in 2024 as an Associate. She joins our team with a deep passion and drive to support innovation’s ability to transform and impact the challenges facing society. 

Leela holds significant experience in overseeing high-level functions, processes, and strategies of organizations, both public and private, from serving in a senior leadership role in the U.S. Senate to founding nonprofit organizations aimed at removing financial barriers for underserved communities.

At Candou, Leela is involved in the firm’s operations and processes, supporting partners at the firm on a variety of projects involving portfolio company support, developing partnerships with various stakeholders, and more.

In her previous roles, particularly while serving as Nominations Director for Senate leadership, she has demonstrated her ability to navigate through complex, evolving high-stakes issues and oversee stakeholder management while executing the strategy of her organization. Prior to her four years in U.S. Senate leadership, she held internship roles with the Senate Finance Committee and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. 

Leela holds a B.A. in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University’s School of Public Affairs.