Krish O’Mara Vignarajah served as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama, where she led the Let Girls Learn initiative the President and First Lady launched in 2015. This year, she ran a groundbreaking campaign for Governor of Maryland. She currently serves as Founder & CEO of Generation Impact. Before the White House, she served as Senior Advisor at the State Department for Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary John Kerry. In this capacity, Mrs. Vignarajah helped shape White House and State Department initiatives and programs related to entrepreneurship, private sector investment, public-private partnerships, global women’s issues, public diplomacy, engagement with youth and religious communities, development strategies concerning health, food security and climate change, the UN and other multilateral institutions, and regional issues relating to Africa and the Middle East. Before joining the Obama Administration, Mrs. Vignarajah practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC, worked at McKinsey & Company, where she consulted for Fortune 100 companies, clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught U.S. foreign policy and international law at Georgetown University as an adjunct faculty member.
Mrs. Vignarajah attended Yale College, where she earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a B.S. in Molecular Biology, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University (Magdalen College), where she received an M.Phil. in International Relations. At Yale Law School, she served as a senior editor on the Yale Law Journal and received the Potter Stewart Prize and the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best brief and best oralist during its Supreme Court competition. She has published articles on women in executive leadership, climate action, free trade, judicial scrutiny of political questions, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS in, among others, the Washington Post, Journal of World Trade, Chicago Law Review and the Baltimore Sun. For her scholarship, she has received the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Prize, the Benjamin Scharps Prize, and the Joseph Parker Prize.
#MeToo.2: What comes next?
The #MeToo movement is a historic and timely moment for businesses to affirmatively close the gender gap. As an expert who has worked with leading activists like Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem to propose real solutions to harassment, Krish delivers a lively talk on how women and men can work together to address sensitive issues like workplace harassment. She draws from a career working at the highest levels of government, business and the law to provide her unique (and sometimes surprising) insights on issues ranging from unconscious bias to childrearing. This is a must-hear talk for any employer serious about implementing concrete strategies to create a safer, harassment-free workplace (while avoiding man-bashing).
Marketing to the “Me” Generation: A Millennial’s Insight into Marketing to and Engaging Millennials
With an intergenerational perspective, Krish brings both her policy and branding expertise to provide insight into how social, cultural, and technological shifts require a complete retooling for how we attract and capture the attention and engage more activist, tech-savvy and ambitious millennial audiences. This speech offers a critical roadmap that can be tailored to industries from financial institutions and healthcare companies to advocacy organizations and nonprofits to given audiences valuable and operative insight into what invites and incites millennials’ engagement.
Shattering the Glass Ceiling – Women & Executive Leadership
Drawing both from Krish’s experiences running for Governor of Maryland as the only woman in the field and from working for powerful female leaders like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, this timely speech highlights the current trends, challenges, opportunities, and innovative strategies to advancing female talent and guaranteeing gender parity in critical areas like education, employment & the environment. This inspiring keynote addresses why women have hit a glass ceiling of less than 20% leadership roles across all sectors of the economy and offers advice to women on how to get out of their own way and to both women and men on how to build coalitions based on common ground.
Please note that this keynote can be tailored to be entirely contemporary and US-focused or global and based on Krishanti’s international travel as an American diplomat working to support the causes of other female leaders like Queen Rania, President Johnson Sirleaf and Laura Bush.
Trump Doctrine & Your Bottom Line
The actions taken during the Trump Administration’s first 100 days will impact every company operating on the global stage. As organizations and audiences desperately try to navigate this radically new world order, this speech provides unique insights that only a former senior Administration official serving at the White House and State Department could provide. Analyzing President Trump’s initial executive orders, the Administration’s incoming cabinet secretaries, initial conversations with global leaders, and the President’s campaign promises, Mrs. Vignarajah explains the far-reaching implications on everything from business regulations, taxes, and trade, to immigration, healthcare, and climate change.
Bringing About Change from the East Wing – The Role of the First Lady’s Office in Presidential Administrations
First Ladies, though not publicly-elected or Senate-confirmed, have often wielded incredible political power and been intimately involved in policy and politics since the days of Abigail Adams. This speech centers around Mrs. Obama’s transformative role as First Lady, including her national campaigns, use of pop culture, and ultimate service as a surrogate for Secretary Clinton, but contextualizes her role alongside previous First Ladies who very publicly championed sometimes controversial political positions from the East Wing, including Eleanor Roosevelt’s fight for civil and women’s rights, Mary Todd Lincoln’s support for freed African-American slaves, Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs, and Laura Bush’s advocacy on gay marriage, abortion and international human rights.
Please note that these speeches can be customized for consumer products, retail industries, education, healthcare, and government/public policy audiences.
Additional speech topics
Managing Millennials in the Marketplace
Cause Marketing & Employee Engagement: Mainstreaming Charitable Giving Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility
Countering Violent Extremism in the Age of Globalization
Author of The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary
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