Follow the story of Kunal Sood, a social entrepreneur who is changing the world
Kunal Sood is a social entrepreneur, transformational leader and impact investor who empowers innovators and entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality. He does this through meticulously curating extraordinary experiences that create the conditions for these entrepreneurs to have the best shot at attracting the right investors and influencers in achieving their dreams.
Dressed in his signature look, which is a black Indian traditional suit and red glasses, Sood is busy interacting with his X-Fellows that he describes as a highly curated league of extraordinary citizens who are pioneers in their chosen fields of excellence, and are equipped with an exponential mindset. A carefully matched network of artists, celebrities, social entrepreneurs, business magnates, diplomats, mavericks and mavens willing to unite in action taking a deep dive into solving our global grand challenges.
“The idea was born out of the need for creating a new league of extraordinary citizens, given the fast and accelerated pace at which exponential technology is outpacing our own lives,” says Sood. “By leveraging science, innovation and technology we can enable present and future humans to be best prepared for the future.”
Over the past decade, Sood has helped to organize over 55 high-level meetings globally and curate eight summits at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Sood became a TEDx Organizer while he was in graduate school at UCSF in San Francisco. He had just returned home from completing a global health assignment as a co-principal investigator with Harvard School of Public Health fancy title for a lead scientist and saw the need for him to empower and impact more lives than he could with the current methodology. This is when he came upon TED talks and used his creative skill to find a way to bring it to highlight the work being done in the slums of Mumbai by these extraordinary humanitarians.
Sood curated his first event, TEDx San Francisco in November 2012, which included iconic artists and experts in the field such as Deepak Chopra, Tanvi Shah and Vinod Khosla. He then set his sights on a bigger stage and felt the UN would be one of the most suited to his vision. “Why not put bring the two missions of the UN and TED together?” said Sood. This resulted in TEDxUNPlaza in 2013, after which Sood spoke at the actual UN General Assembly.
As the founder and chairman of Novus Summit in 2016, Sood has positioned the world’s most accomplished and extraordinary leaders such as Peter Diamandis and Anousheh Ansari on stage alongside unsung heroes like the iconic Maye Musk (more famously known as Elon Musk’s mother) by giving them a platform at the UNGA to tell their stories to a global audience. This audience consists of 1,250 plus delegates, representing 83 countries and includes heads of state, UN ambassadors, industry titans, social innovators and youth activists. This work has led Sood to start a long-term collaboration with the UN and curate summits such as SDG Innovation, SDG Youth Dialogue, SDG Icons which is slated to happen in 2019.
Sood will soon launch an important campaign that will be a project born out of Novus in November: the first being #BillionActsofLove. Here, he hopes to reimagine the stigma of disability in today’s divisive world. Partnering with Grammy Award Winning artists like Ricky Kej and differently-abled pop star Emmanuel Kelly from the X Factor, the goal is to use music to help inspire a whole new vision. The goal will be to demonstrate love in a world where we still see so much discrimination among the disabled.
Every year, speakers are selected from about 1,200 nominations for Novus and other summits that Sood organizes and curates at the UN and other iconic locations. The selection process is often rigorous and goes through three stage vetting process that often requires the UN approval to ensure that there is a balance of gender, diversity and relevance. “They need not be billionaires or celebrities. But rather have made a significant contribution to something that matters to them and be able to share why this is important for the world to receive. I want people from different cultural ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and influence engage with each other harnessing the power of collaboration to create extraordinary partnerships. It’s all about building circles of safety and trust, that then inspires action around causes that are meaningful relevant and solve for something in the world that benefits the individual, group and society.”
Overall, Kunal Sood believes in making the impossible possible and wishes to leave a leave a planet that is full of extraordinary citizens.