Heard on Campus: Ayesha Khanna of Points of Light

April 15, 2015

"I founded the Points of Light Civic Accelerator, and I get to work with hundreds of civic entrepreneurs around the country. I'm working with these entrepreneurs who are using technology and they're coming up with new thinking and ways to mobilize people, to connect people to change the world. And because I work at Points of Light and that's what our mission is about, I'm very focused on finding those new ways people are connecting and those news ways that technology's being used.

"So we’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs around the country, and I've evaluated and met with over a thousand startups to get into our two cohorts that we run a year, and 10-15 teams go through every year, and they're all focused on human connection and they're rethinking what it means to be a citizen. And they're rethinking the way that we're connecting and working collectively and how to be an active citizen, which is fundamentally changing. So it's a very exciting time to be talking about technology and the influence on culture and how it's fundamentally changing the way we're connecting. But is it a positive thing? Is it really ending the way we're connecting as human beings, or is it going to move us forward as a society? And these entrepreneurs are figuring it out."

-- Ayesha Khanna is the president of the Points of Light Civic Incubator, which puts people at the center of change by supporting social entrepreneurs and early stage civic ventures around the world. As part of this role, she founded the Civic Accelerator and oversees the organization’s global efforts.

Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, engaging 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. Khanna has worked across sectors and led nonprofit, for-profit and political organizations. She is a co-founder of the startup Fuse Corps, co-led Atlanta Women for Obama, and led and transformed several leading nonprofit organizations, including the local YWCA and United Way, after building health care centers in central India and beginning her career at Andersen Consulting LLP (now Accenture).

She holds an master of arts degree from Columbia University and a bachelor of arts degree from Franklin & Marshall College.

Khanna spoke on Wednesday, April 15, at IST Startup Week, a week-long celebration showcasing talented innovators and entrepreneurs from around the country, including alumni from the College of Information Sciences and Technology and Penn State. Tune in to a live streaming of events at http://startupweek.weebly.com/live-streams.html.

Last Updated April 16, 2015