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Kanya Balakrishna            

Co-Founder & CEO of The Future Project; Youth Empowerment & Education Advocate

Kanya Balakrishna is the CEO & Co-founder of The Future Project – a national youth empowerment organization dedicated to giving young people the coaching and support they need to navigate life and pursue their dreams. Since its founding in 2011, The Future Project has served tens of thousands of young people in dozens of communities across the U.S.

Over the past year – in response to the growing youth mental health crisis and the demand from young people for more day-to-day support – Balakrishna and her team have been working to launch Future Coach, a first-of-its kind digital platform that will give young people on-demand access to personal coaching that helps them explore their passions and strengths and take action toward the future they want, all while navigating the challenges that arise along the way.

Prior to launching The Future Project, Balakrishna served as the chief speechwriter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg while she was Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Balakrishna's commitment to young people was born out of the decade she spent teaching students at the after-school learning centers her mother, an award-winning educator, started in Memphis, TN. Balakrishna holds a B.A. from Yale College, where she studied anthropology, worked extensively in the New Haven community, and served as Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News.

A first-generation immigrant who attended nearly a dozen schools growing up, Balakrishna has learned first-hand how important it is for young people to discover their power to make change. She leverages this belief in the work she does each day as an organizational leader and advocate for young people.


How Two Young Dreamers (And Their Supporters) Are Changing American Education
As a career coach, I spend every day helping people pursue their highest dreams for their life and work, and make those dreams a reality. Yet there are thousands of detractors in our country who claim that dreaming is for fools.
Be The Hero: Get to Know Kanya Balakrishna's Story
Kanya Balakrishna is the co-founder of The Future Project, an organization committed to helping young people realize their dreams. Founded in September 2011, The Future Project is a national campaign to empower young people to live extraordinary lives of passion and purpose. Fully-embedded in high schools, their mission is to help students understand and set their own goals.

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