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Akhtar Badshah | Aspiriant Podcast Guest
Money Tales

Purpose Mindset, with Akhtar Badshah, PhD


In this episode of Money Tales our guest is Dr. Akhtar Badshah. Born, raised, and educated in India, Akhtar was accepted to MIT for graduate school. As he explains, that was the easy part. To attend school in the U.S. he also had to win the visa lottery and receive a scholarship to make his dream come true. Fortunately, the stars aligned for Akhtar. From then on, his life was shaped by people asking him to do something different from what he had been doing all along the way. As a curious and mindful person, Akhtar often said yes. These yeses led him to the enviable position of leading Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts for ten years, where there was no shortage of money conversations.

Akhtar is Chief Catalyst at Catalytic Innovators Group where he advises organizations and individuals to catalyze their strategy focused on social and philanthropic investments. He also conducts Purpose Mindset leadership Workshops with organizations to help individuals articulate their strengths and values and craft their purpose statement. Akhtar is the Distinguished Practitioner at University of Washington at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, the Business School, at the Bothell campus and a faculty advisor at the START Center in the Department of Global Health. He is the founder and curator of Accelerating Social Transformation, a mid-career professional development certificate course on social impact.

Akhtar is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in international development, managing a corporate philanthropic program and co-founding a global nonprofit for social enterprise. Akhtar led Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts for 10 years, where he administered the company’s community investment and employee contributions. He was instrumental in launching both Unlimited Potential and Youth Spark – the company’s focus to bring digital technology to the underserved communities and youth all over the world. His most recent book “Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft Inspires Employees and Alumni to Change the World,” was recently published by Harper Collins Leadership.

In May 2020, Akhtar and his colleagues launched Restart Partners funded by the Department of Commerce, WA State and supported by Facebook to increase confidence in mask adoption and vaccines and help restart the economy. Akhtar serves on the boards of Altruist Nonprofit Accelerator, CROP (Board Chair), Global Washington, Microsoft Alumni Network, National Museum and Center for Service, Restart Partners and The Indus Entrepreneurs, Seattle Chapter. He is an accomplished artist and a doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Akhtar and his family are very active philanthropists in the Seattle area.

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