Now & Then: featuring Kiron Chandy

Posted by globalgoodfund on Sep 13, 2022

By day, 2018 Global Good Fund Fellow, Kiron Chandy is a Public Policy Manager at Google, and on nights and weekends, she is the CEO of Consult Your Community (“CYC”). Consult Your Community is a nonprofit organization pairing small businesses with college students to drive community change. Through semester-long, skills-based consulting projects, CYC mobilizes college students to leverage their education, digital fluency, mentorship networks, and knowledge as consumers to empower small business owners. CYC started out as a club at UC Berkeley, and 7 years later it’s providing free small business support from 28 colleges and universities. 

Kiron, like so many other deserving female small business operators, needs our support. A $10,000 gift to The Global Good Fund covers 1 Leadership Development Grant to another overlooked entrepreneur with limitless potential to better our world. Donate now and read on to learn how investing in Kiron’s leadership has directly impacted her business growth, and the community at large.

How have you transformed personally from 2015 to now?
Since 2015 I’ve learned to think bigger, when I started thinking bigger the world felt smaller, and the positive change I’ve been trying to enact now feels within my reach. From my first interview with The Global Good Fund, I remember feeling so grateful that someone believed in me and my vision for my organization. I was awarded the fellowship at just the right time, and its focus on my leadership was exactly what I needed; I was feeling shaky and was struggling with a great deal of imposter syndrome. The Fellowship provided me the space to address those feelings, lean in, and grow. Moreover, I gained the ability to feel more resolute in my decision-making. People used to ask me why my team and I are not working at CYC full time, and that always made me question my business model. But, in hindsight I would not be able to hire this amazing team if we were doing this work full time because CYC is a nonprofit; and the passion for the work is what drives my colleagues who have full-time jobs outside of CYC to dedicate their “free time” to do this work. That shared level of commitment is so special, and I don’t question this structure anymore.

How has your business transformed between then and now?
In 2015, we started by helping 5 students get corporate jobs! Since then we have almost tripled our footprint across America. In 2018, we were at 10 Colleges, and now we are at 28. We have rebuilt our business model and have over 3,000 volunteers.

What are some personal accomplishments you’re extremely proud of that have occurred between then and now?
Consult your community was awarded a check from PWC which resulted from me cold emailing the CEO and then sharing our vision and mission. We used the money to convene students and small businesses across America to have a conversation about civic involvement. Frankly, this was both a business accomplishment and a personal accomplishment; I never expected that I could cold email a CEO and get a response let alone a check! Also, during the pandemic, CYC created student internships that were able to run undisrupted when many other business models failed.

What are some business accomplishments you’re extremely proud of that have occurred between then and now?
Since 2015, some 2,500 student volunteers from 28 universities have contributed more than 637,000 consulting hours, creating $12 million in economic value for neighborhoods nationwide. And rather than dampening CYC’s efforts, COVID had an invigorating effect. 50 volunteers from 18 universities contributed to CYC’s largest volunteer-driven effort in our company’s history! Through this process, young leaders got the confidence they needed to pursue their dreams. I am so proud to lead an organization that is empowering others to create positive change.

How have you persevered building Consult Your Community from 2013 to Now?
There have been a lot of ups and downs since I started my business Consult Your Community, and to persevere I’ve had to learn to lean on others. People think of a leader as one person, but a successful leader has a whole network of people supporting them; I learned this from my time as a Global Good Fund fellow, and I’m so grateful for the amazing network GGF has given me. Specifically, in times of disarray, this community has helped me navigate how to remain a steady and authentic leader.

How did The Global Good Fund Fellowship contribute to your journey?
The fellowship contributed to my journey by making me feel less lonely; it provided me with a community of like-minded people pursuing a life of service which is exactly what I needed to keep going.

Where do you see yourself and Consult Your Community in the future?
Economic development is my passion. I want CYC to be the conduit for cities and businesses to work together to create inclusive and sustainable communities. I’m excited to work with mayors in the near future to make this vision a reality.

What piece of advice would you give a new GGF Fellow?
Embrace the mess because it’s part of the fun, and spend time figuring out the best and worst parts of yourself as a leader. Being a good leader requires self-awareness, so surround yourself with people who bring out your best and shine a light on the things you shy away from. Only when you understand yourself can you truly serve others, and accomplish your mission.