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Career · March 8, 2017

A Former Policy Director for the White House: Krishanti Vignarajah

This month, and every month, we celebrate powerful and influential women. We remember and reflect on what women all over the world have done in pursuit of equality, and celebrate those who have broken the glass ceiling (or part of it, at least). One of these incredible women is Krishanti Vignarajah, the powerhouse behind initiatives like Michelle Obamas Let Girls Learn, and her firm, Generation Impact. Krishanti Vignarajahs work is fueled by the belief that if given adequate support and opportunities, girls can change the world.

As a young girl, Vignarajah escaped the growing violence in Sri Lanka to came to America with her parents and brother. The daughter of two teachers, her parents instilled the importance of education.For me, like for so many women and girls around the world, education was the springboard - the eye-opening, world-expanding fairy dust that gave me a chance to realize my potential, says Vignarajah.

With the help of amazing teachers and mentors, Vignarajah earned a Masters degree in Political Science and a B.S. in Molecular Biology from Yale College, where she later returned for Law School. As if thats not impressive enough, Vignarajah also became a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. I've been blessed to learn from inspiring teachers and work with amazing people every day of my life, from public schools in Baltimore to Yale to Oxford, she said.

Throughout her incredible educational journey, Vignarajah began to feel a personal responsibility to help girls around the world fulfill theirs. Enter: Michelle Obama and the Let Girls Learn initiative, which helps girls around the world to receive a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential. Serving as Policy Director to Michelle Obama, Vignarajah worked alongside the First Lady to lead this influential initiative.

But Vignarajahs work didnt stop when the Obamas left the White House. She started her own firm, Generation Impact, which partners with nonprofits and social enterprises to create strategic partnerships and execute innovative strategies to positively impact on the world. She works to tackle issues like education, entrepreneurship and women and girls empowerment, allowing Vignarajah to continue the work she is so passionate about.

Krishanti has forged a path for so many women who are facing similar challenges that she did early in her life. She is a reminder that while weve made incredible progress, we still have a long way to goand that every effort helps.