CEO shift7, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer (2014-2017)
- Diversity and Inclusion in Business
- Gender Equality
- Innovation and Technology
Audience & Industry
- Board Meetings and Executive Briefings
- Senior Management Groups
- The Professional Services Industry
- Women's Events
Anjali Kumar is a Brooklyn born, first generation Indian American author, attorney, advisor, speaker, and “idea acupuncturist.”
She was most recently the Founding Chief People Officer and Founding General Counsel at Cheddar, a news network start-up based in Manhattan. Kumar was formerly the Founding Head of Social Innovation and Founding General Counsel at Warby Parker. Prior to joining Warby Parker, Kumar was Founding General Counsel at Acumen and Senior Counsel at Google where she was a commercial and product attorney on areas ranging from Google X to YouTube. While at Google, Kumar curated and hosted the @Google Speaker Series on campus in NYC bringing Googlers from around the globe face-to-face with today’s most prominent and innovative thought leaders including Anthony Bourdain, Marcus Samuelsson, Garance Doré, Questlove, and Jacques Pépin. From this speaker series, Kumar hosted a YouTube interview series “Lunchtime at Google.” Kumar recently joined the board of iFundWomen and is on the Board of Happy Money, the only financial company to combine psychology and money to help people live happy lives, as well as on the Board of Directors of Women’s World Banking.
Kumar has taught for several years as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and Fordham University. She has served as an advisor to prominent technology companies, luxury fashion brands, consumer products, and non-profit organizations including Malala Fund, IDEO.org, and organize.org.
Kumar’s lectures often deal with questions around innovation and diversity. As an “idea acupuncturist”, Kumar brings a spiritual approach to the business world. She doesn’t give black or white answers to businesses or problems, she looks at a set of issues and works on pressure points using unique interventions to help keep the energy flowing into an idea or business. Kumar has been featured as a keynote speaker at TEDX, Seattle Interactive Conference, The Connecticut Forum, and Diane von Furstenberg’s International Women’s Day Speaker Series. She has participated in fireside chats with Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Forum), Ezra Klein (Washington Post), and Neil Blumenthal (Co-CEO/Founder of Warby Parker). In November 2017, she spoke at TEDWomen. Her “beautiful inspiring, and funny” talk My Failed Mission To Find God - And What I Found Instead, based on her book Stalking God: My Unorthodox Search For Something To Believe In, has been watched by over 2 million people from around the world and translated into over a dozen languages.
Kumar is focused on redirecting the conversation around diversity and gender equality in the workplace by embracing ideas of non-absolutism. Her talks stop framing diversity in business from a moral obligation to start thinking about diversity as an untapped and proven means for businesses to increase creativity, jumpstart innovation, and produce higher revenues.
Kumar’s work in social innovation has been featured in Inc., Forbes, and the New York Times. Her book has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar India and Vanity Fair.
Kumar earned her BA in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and a JD from Boston University School of Law. In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to join the NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board and GrowNYC. She currently serves on the board of directors of Happy Money, GloScience Professional, Amplifier Foundation, Edible Schoolyard NYC, and American Documentary (AmDoc), a national nonprofit media arts organization. Kumar also serves on the Guggenheim Museum’s Global Innovation Council.
Kumar released her first book Stalking God; My Unorthodox Search For Something To Believe In January 2018 via publisher Hachette.
Anjali Kumar's Speech Topics
The Imperative for Diversity in the Work Place
In November 2017, Anjali Kumar gave a TED talk about her search for God and the meaning of life, and received a standing ovation. Since it went live in January 2018, her talk has been watched by well over 3 million viewers around the world. It has been translated into numerous languages, and rated as beautiful, inspiring, and funny. But the content of that talk is only a small fraction of what Kumar has to say about the value of an open mind, the importance of embracing extreme diversity, and the Eastern concept of anekāntavāda—non-absolutism.
Pulling from her personal experience as a nonwhite, female lawyer working in the white, male dominated tech industry—Google, Warby Parker, Cheddar—Kumar will step well beyond her TED talk and demonstrate how we can redirect the conversation about diversity and gender equality in the workplace by embracing the concept of non-absolutism.
Linking this Eastern concept with compelling data on diversity of race and gender from PEW Research, HBR, and MIT, she will expose just how systemic discrimination is, how misguided our thinking about diversity in the workplace is, and she will change how we perceive the value of all forms of diversity. In this inspiring, game changing talk, Kumar will help us to stop framing diversity in business from the standpoint of necessary window dressing, compliance, and optics—or even a moral obligation—and start thinking about it as an untapped and proven means to increase creativity, jumpstart innovation, and produce more stable, higher revenue generating companies that are better places for everyone to work.
Transform the Norm
Anjali Kumar works with all stages of businesses, focusing on early stage tech and consumer product companies with a social conscience, in order to transform the norm of how businesses work by helping them do well – and do good.
For Women, by Women: Entrepreneurs on the Rise
My failed mission to find God -- and what I found instead | Anjali Kumar