Spotlight: Ayesha Khanna

Ayesha long

What drives you?

“I want social entrepreneurs  to succeed because they’re working on really hard complex issues, they are so committed, it’s lonely. To me, every day is about the entrepreneurs and what they accomplish in their lives. We need to figure out new solutions.”

How do you define social entrepreneurship?

“Social entrepreneurs are Individuals that are trying to solve a social problem using business principles.”

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

“It’s a great time to be in the U.S. right now. Sure, there are still significant gaps, especially in terms of early stage funding (Pioneer Gap) and appropriate investment tools for nonprofits. Simply, we need to get more capital for social entrepreneurs. At the same time, every state has something happening in social innovation – it is becoming part of the vernacular. Investors – over time – are becoming more impact-focused. Mid-tier cities are beginning to focus on building an infrastructure: Think of Atlanta, Chicago, and Austin. Next up will be Baltimore, Charlotte, Kansas City, Detroit, Houston.

Background

Ayesha holds a Master’s degree in psychology and after graduating from college, worked in India with with Adapt (formerly the Spastics Society of Northern India). After a year, she joined at what was then Andersen Consulting (today’s Accenture) and stayed on for eight years. About her time in strategy consulting she says: “I was increasingly missing the kind of work that nurtured my soul, like the work I had done with Adapt. So I started looking for alternatives.” For six years after her career at Andersen Consulting, Ayesha led the YMCA of Greater Atlanta as Chief Executive Officer before joining the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta in early 2005.  Before her role at Points of Light, she co-chaired Women for Obama in Georgia and supported Borders for Atlanta as Director of Finance. Ayesha came on board with Points of Light in 2009 where she was head of the Civic Incubator and – as part of that – founded Civic Accelerator.

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@CivicAyesha

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