YWA 2013 Nominee: Deepa Kunapuli

UPDATE: Congratulations to Young Women of Achievement awardees Jessica Livoti-Morales and Angelique Roche (community organizing/labor work), Elizabeth Lindsey (innovation), Tenley Peterson (leadership), Ali Rozell (political/campaign work), Merry Michelle Walker (service/nonprofit advocacy), and Julia Reticker-Flynn (women in the choice movement).

Growing up, I devoured history books. I charted my own trajectory based on the stories I read; I sought solace in stories because they helped anchor me and helped me make sense of my immigrant story. My parents instilled within me a great pride and love for our new home, and I wanted to do something with my life that would honor all of the potential I knew this country had. All I knew was that I wanted to change the world. I just didn’t know how.

But in 2007, I got my answer. I met a man named Barack Hussein Obama. He was a skinny brown man with a name almost as strange as mine, and he told a group of college students that if we worked hard enough and came together, we could make all of our dreams a reality. But he couldn’t do it without us. So I changed course, and signed up to organize on my college campus.

The rest is history – over the last five years, I’ve had the privilege of working at Organizing for America to advance the President’s grassroots agenda, organizing women and young people online for the 2012 Obama for America digital team, and most recently working  at the New Organizing Institute, the foremost training ground for progressive organizers. Now, as a member of the digital team at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I get to help solve a very real problem that consumers in America face today: How do we talk to consumers, hear their stories, and figure out how to make financial products and services work for them? 

In the future, I hope to follow my North Star – finding all of the beautiful stories people have to share, and helping each and every American find their place in a democracy that works for all of us, not just some of us.

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