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Audience in Lecture






Chief Executive Officer




Leona Christy is an impact entrepreneur who excels at finding innovative and elegant solutions to vast, complex, and often hidden challenges. She founded Catalyst:Ed to improve outcomes for America’s children and youth by strengthening the schools, institutions, and nonprofits that serve them, and transforming the capacity of the nation’s education ecosystem. Under her leadership, Catalyst:Ed has pioneered a unique model to rapidly and effectively match organizations to the expertise and hands-on support they need to become more effective, innovative, resilient, and equitable. Catalyst:Ed is currently working with state and local education agencies, schools, and nonprofits in all 50 states to address long-standing challenges and expand the limits of what they can accomplish. At a systemic level, Catalyst:Ed is building the “marketplace” infrastructure – the tech, the network, and the know-how – needed to support capacity building at scale, strengthen the field of providers, and facilitate sector-wide learning.

Leona is a Malayali, who grew up in India and emigrated to the United States as an adult. Without access to networks of power and wealth, she overcame multiple challenges and constraints as she sought to launch and grow Catalyst:Ed to its national presence. Her experiences have fueled her drive to remove barriers to access, knowledge, and opportunity for all.

As the Founder and CEO of Catalyst:Ed, Leona is responsible for defining Catalyst:Ed’s vision and strategy and for shepherding its ongoing impact, growth, health, and sustainability. She writes and speaks about topics at the intersection of capacity building, innovation, entrepreneurship, and equity. Leona has previously built thriving teams and organizations across the world throughout her professional career in both the corporate and social sectors. Leona has an MPP from Duke University and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management.

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