TOP 20 IMPACT MAKERS AWARDS 2020
Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy
Top 20 Power Couple Impact Maker Award
Sunday, January 19, 2020
The St. Regis Houston
6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Leela and Natesan Krishnamurthy are well-known for their philanthropic work and their belief in, and support of, social programs and the arts.
Leela received her master’s degree from Clark Atlanta University, after which she was immediately recruited by the Los Angeles County library system. Though a librarian by profession, Leela was also focused on assisting the community. As the head librarian at the Bell City Library in Los Angeles County, and later, as the head librarian of the Barbara Bush Library in Houston, Leela initiated many innovative programs designed to encourage children and adults from underserved communities to utilize the various services offered by the library and to encourage knowledge and literacy within the community.
Because of her dedication, and the success of her programs, Leela was awarded the key to the City of Bell, an incorporated city in the County of Los Angeles. She also received numerous awards and accolades from the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County and from the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Natesan received his master’s degree in business administration from Clark Atlanta University. He joined Getty Oil Company as a financial analyst in the international marketing and manufacturing division in Los Angeles. Moving up the ranks within the company, Natesan was promoted to financial planning manager for the southern exploration and production division in Houston, regional planning manager of Texaco southern exploration and production region in New Orleans, and manager of shared services for two major exploration and production divisions also in New Orleans. His promotion to director of strategic planning for North American production division brought him back to Houston.
When Leela and Natesan moved to New Orleans, Leela made a change in her career, joining the Food Bank as volunteer coordinator. While in this position, Leela wrote grants to support adoption and prevention of child abuse for the Children's Bureau of New Orleans and performed fundraising for the homeless for the House of Ruth. She also volunteered at women’s shelters, runaway teen shelters, and at inner-city schools doing whatever was needed. Leela’s selfless contributions to the community were noticed, and the Governor of Louisiana presented her with the Outstanding Citizen Award.
Natesan has always been active in developing and implementing strategic initiatives designed to improve the lives of those who are less privileged. During his time in New Orleans, he helped develop UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a collaboration among industry, state, city, and service providers formed to eliminate the city’s homeless issue. Natesan became its first chairman of the board. Today, UNITY still coordinates community partnerships to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness. In 2010, the organization received the Nonprofit Sector Achievement Award from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Leela combines her dedication to social programs with her passion for the arts by sponsoring music, dance, and cultural programs to raise funds for her favorite charities. For example, Leela brought the world-renowned sitarist Ravi Shankar to Houston for a concert for UNICEF, bringing attention to the Indian arts, and, at the same time, educating people on the work of the charity. She has also raised funds for the Indo-American Charity Foundation, Houston Habitat For Humanity, Sri Meenakshi Temple Society, Expectation Graduation for the Houston Independent School District, and many other important organizations and initiatives.
Natesan is a past cochair of United Way Listening Tour. The initiative develops strategies and processes for optimum fund allocations and identifies performance measures for service providers. He is also a past treasurer and advisory council member of the Sri Meenakshi Temple Society and a past treasurer of Indo-American Charity Foundation. Currently, Natesan is a member of the national board of Save a Mother and the chairman of the board for the Youth Leadership Development Program of Houston.
Leela currently serves on the boards of Houston Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, Save a Mother, and the Youth Leadership Development Program of Houston. She is also a trustee and past president of Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust and a member of Ek Disha. Leela and Natesan were cochairs of the 2012 Houston Habitat for Humanity Gala and honorary cochairs of the 2019 UNICEF Gala.
Leela has been honored by Meenakshi Temple, Houston Telugu Cultural Association, and Tamil Nadu Foundation Houston Chapter. She is also an Easter Seals Hats Off to Mothers honoree 2014, an Outstanding Service Award recipient from Friends of the Barbara Bush Library, and a Leadership and Support Award recipient from Bharathi Kalai Manram. Together, Leela and Natesan were honored with the 2019 Angels of Charity Award from The Indo-American Charity Foundation.
Because philanthropy and community service are crucial aspects of who they are, Leela and Natesan have raised their three children to recognize their importance. As a result, they, too, are active members of their communities providing service where it is needed. Sujata is a senior executive in music and actively mentors inner-city students. Gita is a senior level executive for the County of Los Angeles and oversees children's mental health programs. Sanjay is a partner in a large international law firm and devotes significant time to pro bono matters. Like their parents, Leela and Natesan’s children are now instilling the importance of philanthropy and community service in their children. Their legacy is one that will continue through the generations of their family.
It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Leela and Natesan Krishnamurthy have been named a Top 20 Power Couple Impact Maker for 2020.