Jhilika Kumar Bio
Jhillika is a Gen Z woman of color, entrepreneur and activist for disability empowerment, who founded a social-impact startup, at the age of 19 while studying at Georgia Tech. She was awarded the AbitaB.org Student of Vision Award for her social-entrepreneurship and delivered a captivating speech to over 25,000 emerging technologists and D&I leaders in her Keynote Speech at the Grace Hopper conference in 2019 where she addressed an audience the size of a football stadium in Orlando. Her words reverberated across Fortune 500 companies, encouraging them to “Tap into the hidden talents of the neurodiverse community”. (Link to speech: https://vimeo.com/364112801)
2 years in, Jhillika and her team at Mentra are pioneering the new ‘LinkedIn for the neurodiverse’ using artificial intelligence and universal design to match this population with inclusive employers. The team has won several awards for this work including an international award for ‘Inclusion Project of the Year’ by Genius Within in the UK, as well as the ‘Difference Maker Award’ (also awarded to a former US Senator who developed the ADA) where Jhillika’s work with Mentra was featured on live TV.
What ignited Jhillika’s passion for the cause? Jhillika shares in her Ted Talk (TEDxGeorgia Tech) that it was her personal experience as the sister of a non-speaking autistic individual, that ignited her passion to advocate for disability rights as well as a career driven by a mission to create an inclusive world for those with autism where each individual can achieve their higher purpose (Link to startup: www.mentra.me).