Raji Kalra ’04 always wanted to use her business skills to help others and celebrate diversity. After earning her MBA, Kalra transitioned from consulting to the nonprofit sector, serving as CFO and chief administrative officer of Harlem RBI, a youth development program, before finding her way to New York City’s Museum for African Art, where she now serves as CFO.
The museum, with its mission to educate people about African art and culture, appealed to Kalra: “All you often hear is negative press about Africa in the media, but rarely do you get to see and experience the richness of the culture and the diversity of the people,” she says. Since its opening 27 years ago, the museum has organized 56 exhibitions that have traveled to 167 venues in the United States and abroad. “Chances are, if you have seen an exhibit on African Art, it was created by the museum,” says Kalra. The museum will open its first permanent location this fall on Fifth Avenue between 109th and 110th Streets — “where Harlem meets Museum Mile,” notes Kalra. It will be the first addition to Manhattan’s storied Museum Mile since the 1959 opening of the Guggenheim Museum.
In her free time, Kalra advises Business School students on their careers through the Career Management Center’s Columbia Coaching Program. “Navigating the very vast field of social enterprise can be confusing,” she says. “I love teaching and mentoring.”