Vilan Odekar
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Vilan Odekar | Director, Programs & Strategy

Vilan works closely with the President and CEO and the Leadership Team on the strategic priorities of the organization. She works across teams to ensure alignment with Gary’s vision, mission, and strategic framework.

Vilan has a wide range of experience in the legal, policy, and education fields. A former attorney, educator, and a first-generation college graduate, she is passionate about education equity and is committed to using her strategic, analytical, and management skills to close the opportunity and educational gaps for students of color. Prior to Gary, Vilan worked on developmental education reform in higher education and managed a portfolio of research grants aimed at advancing equity-focused reforms.

Vilan has a juris doctorate in law from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a master’s degree in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree in resource ecology and management from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In her spare time, Vilan enjoys traveling, reading, bird watching, photography, and hiking with her husband and rescue dog, Gobi.

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I would like to see business people try to solve social problems with the same imagination and energy they use to finance a factory or make a deal. Don’t call it philanthropy; call it corporate social investment. Make it integral to business.