How Kunal Sood Makes The Impossible Possible As An Extraordinary Citizen

 (photo credit: KUNAL SOOD)
(photo credit: KUNAL SOOD)

Kunal Sood grew up with a myriad of problems as a child that included learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD and being obese, but that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals in learning how to make the impossible possible. Sood learned very early on that persistence and grit will always, conquer talent. Today iconic leaders like  Jeffery Sachs, Steve Forbes and Tim Draper keynote his flagship summits in the General Assembly Hall of the UN with up to 1,500 delegates, and Sood is the recipient of numerous awards for his leadership for social impact, entrepreneurship and media. On October 7, 2017, Sood was honored with the RoundGlass  Samsara Lifetime Achievement Award alongside global leaders including Polar Explorer Robert Swan and honorable President Anote Tong of Kiribati, at a ceremony hosted at the Vidhana Soudha Legislative Parliament of India. What makes Sood extraordinary is his vision and steadfast commitment to “Transforming the World for a better future” by leveraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and media. Be it working with people in the trenches or world leaders at the top of the pyramid like prime minister Modi, Sood’s simple and powerful mandate is that he rolls up his sleeves and works endlessly to focus on being a solution driven impact dirver. Sood’s exponential mindset makes him an extraordinary citizen of the world and this permeates through all of the work he does in the world.

Sood hails from a family of entrepreneurs and business leaders, including his father who developed a successful manufacturing business in the automobile and earth moving sectors in India with over 2,000 employees spread across India; and Sood’s brother who continues the family tradition at India Forge, while operating an early stage venture fund called Venture Highway in India to support high tech startups. As an exponential leader, Sood constantly pushes himself to apply what he learned at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management out in the field. His efforts in doing so have paid off as he is the recipient of many prestigious fellowships such as being selected for the Harvard-PUKAR Global Health Research Fellowship in 2010, CCARE Fellow at Stanford in 2013, and Singularity University’s Field Innovation Fellowship in 2014, where Sood investigated the real-world application of exponential technologies to positively effect change in those special populations that need it most, by activating bystanders into everyday heroes as part of his venture X Fellows. 

Most recently, Sood’s company #WeThePlanet partnered with the RASIT and the Office of the UN Secretary General to produce  the 6th annual day for women and girls in science where he was also invited to speak as a plenary speaker. Prior which he produced and spoke at the SDG Action Campaign to stage a High-Level Event on Innovation and Technology on September 18, 2017, for the UN Global Goals during the UN General Assembly Week. This meeting engaged technology luminaries including the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, and CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, with incredible heads of state including the President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, as well as Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman Mozilla (Firefox), Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chair of Bharti Enterprises, and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia and WikiTribune.

So, what exactly differentiates Sood’s summits from the countless others?

Sood suggests It’s his training. He has been trained by some of the world’s best to be where he is and do what he does. Sood’s endeavors in the past include serving as the Curator and Executive Producer of TEDxUNPlaza. As a TED resident and graduate of the Graduate Studies, now called the Global Startup Program at Singularity University. He has been rigorously trained to set the bar high and achieve the impossible. “I believe we live in a time where we can unlock our exponential potential by building humanities greatest character strengths and virtues. The key to solving our global grand challenges lay at the intersection of leveraging innovation and entrepreneurship in ways that make the worlds biggest problems our greatest opportunities. Of course, capital, good governance, effective execution, along with the ability to mobilize human and financial resources all play their part; however, without moral courage, self-compassion and effective altruism, humanity will never really reach its full potential. So we must focus on building these traits in order to achieve this vision” Says Sood.

Sood uses his deep mastery in the fields of innovation, experience design and social impact along with his laser like business acumen to create the conditions for his ideas to actually move into action. He see’s his life’s calling being a curator of the future. From working with underserved populations in the slums of Mumbai to partnering with the United Nations General Assembly to bridge the worlds of omnipotent power with meaning and purpose, he always has an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference that he believes is critical in order for society and the planet to flourish. 

Sood first drew the world’s attention on July 17th in 2016 after curating the world’s first Novus Summit at the United Nations General Assembly. This gathering engaged exponential leaders from all around the world to make innovation front and center as a mandate at the UNGA to help achieve the UN Global Goals. He brought in thought leaders from the public and private sector to highlight the dire need for accelerating the use of exponential technologies to solve some of world’s most urgent and pressing challenges. “Novus is a platform where science, innovation and technology unites humanity to transform our world, we do this through showcasing incredible work being done out in the world to address many of the world’s most pressing challenges.” Says Sood. 

Exponential Leaders like Deepak Chopra, Peter Diamandis hailed Novus Summit as one of the most extraordinary experiences he had keynoted. Other stalwarts that headlined the high-level gathering were Dr. Martin Seligman founder of the field of Positive Psychology, Maye Musk, Supermodel, and dietician (Elon Musk’s Mother), and Anousheh Ansari the first space explorer. All of who said it was an amazing vision and mission worth pursuing. Numerous delegates exclaimed how the experience changed their lives inspiring them to take action in their own way to have a positive impact. Since then Sood has embarked on continuing his lifelong calling to change the world by bringing more disruptive innovators to the UN to champion and support the 17 UN Global Goals. On May 17th 2017, Sood produced the first-ever SDG Innovation event in Partnership with the Office of the President of the General Assembly. H.E. Peter Thomson, former PGA of the UN headlined this event along with Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. “Having personal heroes like Astro Teller from Google X and Peter Diamandis come back to the UN only reinforces how important it is that we begin to work on solving these global grand challenges as a united collective”. 

According to Sood being part entrepreneur and part humanitarian focused on having global impact is not an easy task as it requires constant calibration and a great deal of resilience. He has developed a life-long love for learning with earning four masters degrees! An M.A., and MS.c., in Psychology and Global Health Sciences from the University of California San Francisco. He then completed his M.B.A., from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and if that wasn’t enough he did another dual-degree in Positive Psychology and Organizational Dynamics earning the M.A.PP. and M.Phil., at the University of Pennsylvania. Clearly this qualifies Sood to be an expert in his chosen field of dreams to achieve.  

Here and now, Sood is deeply passionate about contributing to elevate humanity and making the impossible possible by transforming the lives of a billion people in the world in his lifetime using technological innovation along with the power of true stories that inspire, connect and turn ideas into real world impact. His company X Impact Group, NOVUS X Fellows, We The Future (WTF) and #WeThePlanet and supports purpose driven innovation, impact and media initiatives that are focused on solving the world’s most important problems. Sood is based in New York City, and he is the genius behind its extraordinary, ambitious, and deeply optimistic vision for a better world and future as we endure the global pandemic and make into a post COVID world. He is one of those rare and extraordinary leaders that walks the talk and seeks to build a world of leaders that can do anything and change everything.