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Nitya Kanuri ’20

Nitya Kanuri ’20


Founder, NaviWell; Consultant, The Chartis Group (starting January 2021)

I’ve spent my career working to understand how the puzzle pieces can fit together to achieve improved public mental health outcomes. We need researchers passionate about the hunt for truth; clinicians dedicated to delivering evidence-based care; startups eager to disrupt and innovate; and large industry incumbents ready to collaborate or perish.

I want to build bridges between these spaces by understanding everyone’s incentives and bringing people together to design sustainable solutions.

Yale SOM’s interdisciplinary core has helped me understand this challenge and reframe my approach. I’ve learned that success in business doesn’t come down to knowledge. It comes down to people and understanding the world they live in. It’s taught me to focus more on systems and stakeholders, as I seek to influence public health outcomes.

I’m working with classmates on a mental health startup called NaviWell. We’re developing technology for college counseling centers and student affairs administrators that will increase student access to mental healthcare resources.

Our first product, Connect to Care, is a digital navigator that recommends a personalized care plan to a student based on preferences and resources available. Care plans can include services like one-on-one counseling, group-based therapy, or mindfulness and meditation workshops. 

We also offer longitudinal digital assessments so that students can track their progress; service providers can receive timely feedback; and administrators can monitor population trends and engage high-need students more proactively. 

We’ve collaborated with several fantastic stakeholders at Yale, including the SWAY (Student Wellness @ Yale) network, and we’re launching a pilot with Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of the Environment at orientation. We’re excited to learn more and hopefully scale a useful product to as many colleges, students, and administrators as possible.

A career coach recently advised me to consider how I want to feel as I move on to the next chapter in my career, as an additional tool to discern among opportunities, on top of the usual “pro and con” list.

Completing the exercise, I landed on the following feelings: connected, trusting, freedom, and fulfilled. Above all, I want to work with value-aligned people. I want to feel connected to a community. I want to trust that I can show up as myself, make mistakes, learn from them, and continue.  I want to be in an environment that allows for playfulness and mess, and I want to feel proud of what I’ve done by the end of the day. When I think about where these “feelings goals” came from, I circle back to Yale SOM. This school’s emphasis on serving “business and society” really attracts a unique student body. My time here has helped me understand what real “fit” feels like and how to seek it in future communities.