The Crooked, Windy, Pothole-Filled Road to Success

Event Series: 
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:00pm-6:30pm (ended)
223 Moses Hall
Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read

Scripted career paths are over-rated, according to Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of global nonprofit Room to Read. Instead of following an overly scripted career path, Murali advises you to assess opportunities as you go and identify where you can add the most value based on your skill set or an acquirable skill set. Then contribute effectively towards organizational priorities and beyond to become a critical part of the team. That approach has led Murali from an initial career in statistics to becoming a powerful fundraiser and CEO of Room to Read. This ability to pivot to fulfill unmet organizational needs has not only has been instrumental to Geetha’s success – it has also transformed Room to Read from a startup nonprofit to the $50 million organization that it is today. Geetha will discuss both her own and the organization’s journeys, and how new graduates should proactively create, pursue, and maximize career opportunities. She’ll also provide insights for those interested in a nonprofit career.

Dr. Geetha Murali is the Chief Executive Officer of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children.® Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world.

As Chief Executive Officer, Geetha oversees Room to Read’s global operations, which include programmatic work in 16 countries, a global network of investors and volunteer chapters, and a worldwide staff of more than 1,600 employees.

In her most recent role as Chief Development and Communication Officer, Geetha oversaw Room to Read’s global resource development department with staff across nine locations. In that role, she was responsible for global fundraising, marketing, public relations, and communications, while working directly with the organization’s largest investors. Under her leadership, Room to Read embarked on several key initiatives, including the development of major institutional and cause-marketing partnerships, as well as the launch of legacy giving and multi-currency crowdfunding programs. Dr. Murali was instrumental in helping Room to Read scale its impact by building innovative public and private partnerships.

Geetha has almost 20 years of diverse experience across the corporate and non-profit sectors.  She has worked with pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Chiron as well as with educational technology programs like the Digital Equalizer Program (American India Foundation) and Adobe Youth Voices (Adobe Systems Incorporated). During her time with the American India Foundation, she was responsible for major corporate partnerships that supported the growth of the Digital Equalizer program into 13 states across India.

Geetha received her master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s and doctorate degrees in South Asian Politics from the University of California at Berkeley. She has also held an Adjunct Faculty position at Mills College.