What is Faces of New Profit? It’s a spotlight on members of the New Profit community, why they do what they do, and who they are. This week, we talk to Rukmini Reddy...
What is your role at New Profit?
I’m an Associate on the Early Learning team, which means I provide analytic, strategic, and operational support across all of the Early Learning Fund’s workstreams.
What motivated you to work at New Profit/in the social sector?
I’m fortunate to have grown up in a large, tight-knit family. My parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were tireless advocates for me and, drawing on their support, I was able to access incredible opportunities. I’m a firm believer that all children deserve the same level of support and commitment to ensure they are able to reach their full potential. We can’t let social or economic barriers hold people back.
What is the most surprising thing about you?
I have a black belt in Taekwondo. I’m not sure why I started exactly (I think I had a vague interest in martial arts, or maybe I just didn’t want to take gym class in school and this was a way out of it) but I enrolled in my freshman year of high school and continued to go to classes four to five times a week, every week, for four years. I also tried to run hurdles on the track team for a couple of months but, being a pretty short person, it didn’t pan out.
What is on your bucket list?
Going hiking in Patagonia—it looks so beautiful!
Describe yourself in three words.
Kind. Quirky. Energized.
What is the theme song of your life? Or Name a few songs that make up the soundtrack of your life.
What inspires you/keeps you going in this work?
I am deeply committed to breaking down barriers to opportunity and leveling the playing field in our country—there’s nothing else to which I could imagine dedicating my time and energy. While inspiring and motivating, these are huge problems and our work can be challenging, complex, and frustrating. On a day-to-day basis, it’s the amazing people I work with that keep me going.
What is your favorite quote?
“You have to have a habitual vision of greatness ... you have to believe in fact that you will refuse to settle for mediocrity. You won't confuse your financial security with your personal integrity, you won't confuse your success with your greatness or your prosperity with your magnanimity ... believe in fact that living is connected to giving.”
– Cornel West
What is your favorite book?
Who in your life has had the greatest influence on who you are today?
I know this is a cliché but I have to say my mom and dad. My parents uprooted their lives so my brother and I could have all the opportunities we grew up with, for which I will be eternally grateful. Their constant compassion, joy, and warmth continue to sustain and inspire me every day.