Vanessa Kirsch is the President and Founder of New Profit Inc. Vanessa has more than 17 years of experience in developing innovative solutions to social problems and is widely recognized as a leading social entrepreneur. Her experience, combined with a trip around the world in 1995 when she met with other social entrepreneurs, citizen leaders, philanthropists, and political officials, led her to start New Profit.
Prior to launching New Profit, Vanessa founded and led two nonprofit organizations, Public Allies and the Women’s Information Network. Public Allies, a national youth service organization, grew to six cities under Vanessa’s leadership and was named by the Bush Administration as one of eight model national service programs in America, and by the Clinton Administration as an official AmeriCorps national service model. The Woman’s Information Network (WIN), an organization that provides support, training, and political access to young women, grew to a membership of 2000. Prior to launching these entrepreneurial organizations, Vanessa worked with Peter Hart of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, a polling firm, and played a key role in several projects including a study on young people’s civic attitudes. This study, combined with her experience as a convention manager and field coordinator for the Dukakis presidential campaign, led her to start Public Allies.
Vanessa has received numerous public service awards and recognition for her work. In 2005, Ernst & Young named Vanessa “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the category of Social Entrepreneurship, an award that recognizes the innovation, vision, and tenacity of New England’s top entrepreneurs. Vanessa also has been recognized by both Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report as a leader of her generation; by Forbes as one of 15 innovators who will reinvent the future; Harper’s Bazaar as one of 30 young women to be leaders in the 21st century; by Fast Company as “Who’s Fast 2000”; and by the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” as one of the most promising leaders in Boston. Additionally, she was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders for Tomorrow (GLT) for the year 2003. Currently, Vanessa serves on the Board of Advocates to Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, and on the Boards of College Summit, New Leaders for New Schools, and Stand for Children.
Vanessa is a graduate of Tufts University where she served as a TCU Senator and student member on the Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Alumni Council.
Vanessa lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, Alan Khazei, who is the founder of Be the Change, Inc., and their two children.