Kalpana Kanthan

Kalpana Kanthan is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the American India Foundation. In this role, she works to ensure AIF’s strategic growth, expansion, and programmatic impact through stakeholder stewardship, philanthropic partnerships, thought leadership enhancement, and experiential communications. Her professional success rests on the pillars of citizenship, community building, stakeholder engagement, and social justice, aligning her purpose-driven work ethic with the core principles of AIF’s mission and vision.

Kalpana’s extensive career spans higher education, nonprofits, consulting, and media. She is a passionate storyteller, whose training is in journalism and television writing and production from Mumbai, India, where she had worked as a writer, producer, and presenter prior to moving to the US.

She began working with New York City nonprofits in 1997, first as a development and communications consultant and later as the development team lead at Classroom, Inc. (now Read to Lead), an education technology organization serving middle- and high-school students in underserved areas. She then served as a consultant and volunteer on projects in education, curriculum building, and community engagement for several organizations in the city.

In 2015 Kalpana joined Columbia Business School’s W. Edwards Deming Center, driving the center’s center’s board stewardship, strategic communications, and fundraising goals. She executed all aspects of the annual Deming Cup for Operational Excellence—an award presented to Fortune 500 CEOs for their leadership and commitment to continuous process improvement—as well as the annual Retail Forum, Deming Lectures, professional development forums for business partners, and content-rich study tours for faculty and entrepreneurs.

She holds a BA in Economics with Honors from Lady Shri Ram College at Delhi University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Communications Media from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai University, and an MA in Communication Studies from Purdue University.

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